David Affleck

Photo of Affleck, David

David Affleck

Professor of Biometrics & Director, Inland Northwest Growth & Yield Cooperative

Office Hours:

Fridays 2-3:30 pm

Personal Summary

I think it’s fair to say that my upbringing on a nearly treeless expanse of Canadian prairie gave rise to my interests in forests and forestry. These interests took me to the University of British Columbia where I first studied forest science, specializing in forest soils, and then went on to obtain a master’s degree in forest biometrics. Following this, I worked for several years as a biometrician with a forestry consulting firm in B.C., which gave me the opportunity to work in resource inventory design and analysis, on forest growth modeling, and on diverse quantitative and statistical modeling projects. But eventually I was drawn back to academics and moved to the east coast to earn a Ph.D. in biometrics from Yale University.

My research is focused on the development of probability sampling methods and statistical modeling techniques for natural resource assessment and monitoring. Recently my work has been directed to the design of sampling strategies for forest inventory and the survey of downed woody materials, and to the application of nonlinear mixture models for characterizing forest growth and mortality. Results of this research have been published in the forestry, ecological, and statistical literature.


Ph.D., Forest Biometrics, Yale University, 2006
M.Phil., Forest Biometrics, Yale University, 2005
M.Sc., Forest Biometrics, University of British Columbia, 2001
B.Sc., Forest Soils, University of British Columbia, 1998

Courses Taught

Biometrics (FORS 201)
Geographic Information Systems (FORS 250)
Sampling Methods (FORS505)
Statistical Models for Ecological Data Analysis (FORS 538)

Seminars and Special Topics:

  • Advanced Biometrics (FORS 595)
  • Forest Growth Modeling (FORS 595)
  • Laser Scanning and Forest Vegetation Analysis (FORS 595)
  • Graduate Seminar in Forestry (FORS 594)

Research Interests

Forest inventory and sampling strategies for environmental resources
Statistical modeling of longitudinal and spatially-structured ecological data
Development and integration of individual tree and stand growth models
Inferential methods in environmental statistics

Professional Experience

Associate Professor of Biometrics, University of Montana, 2012-present
Visiting Scholar, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Jan-Apr 2015
Director, Inland Northwest Growth & Yield Cooperative, 2011-present
Station Statistician, Montana Forest & Conservation Experiment Station, 2007-present
Assistant Professor of Forest Biometrics, University of Montana, 2006-2012
Forest Biometrician, J.S. Thrower & Associates Ltd., Vancouver, British Columbia, 2000-2002
Forest Soils Research Assistant, British Columbia Ministry of Forests, 1997
Research Assistant, Department of Forest Ecology, University of Helsinki, 1996

Selected Publications

Affleck, D.L.R. & U. Dieguez-Aranda (2016). Additive Nonlinear Biomass Equations: A Likelihood-Based Approach. Forest Science 62(2), 129 – 140.

Castle, S., Y. Lekberg, D.L.R. Affleck, & C. Cleveland (2016). Abiotic and biotic controls on plant performance in early ecosystem succession. Journal of Ecology (in press).

Affleck, D.L.R. & T.G. Gregoire (2015). Generalized and Synthetic Regression Estimators for Randomized Branch Sampling: Small and Combined Sample Properties. Forestry 88, 599 – 611.

Ferrarese, J., D.L.R. Affleck, & C. Seielstad (2015). Conifer crown profile models from terrestrial laser scanning. Silva Fennica 49(1), no. 1106.

Weiskittel, A.R., D.W. MacFarlane, P.J. Radtke, D.L.R. Affleck, H. Temesgen, J.A. Westfall, C.W. Woodall, & J.W. Coulston (2015). A call to improve methods for estimating tree biomass for regional and national assessments. Journal of Forestry 113, 414 – 424.

Affleck, D.L.R., C.R. Keyes, & J.M. Goodburn (2012). Conifer crown fuel modeling: current limits and potential for improvement. Western Journal of Applied Forestry 27, 165 – 169.

Finkral, A.J., A.M. Evans, C.D. Sorensen, & D.L.R. Affleck (2012). Estimating consumption and remaining carbon in burned slash piles. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 42, 1744 – 1749.

Abrahamson, I.L., C.R. Nelson, & D.L.R. Affleck (2011). Assessing the performance of sampling designs for measuring the abundance of understory plants. Ecological Applications 21, 452 – 464.

Contreras, M.A., D.L.R. Affleck, & W. Chung (2011). Evaluating tree competition indices as predictors of basal area increment in western Montana forests. Forest Ecology and Management 262, 1939 – 1949.

Affleck, D.L.R. (2008) A line intersect distance sampling strategy for downed wood inventory. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 38(8): 2262 – 2273.

Affleck, D.L.R. (2007) Mixed and modified Poisson models for the analysis of stand-level mortality. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 36(11): 2994 – 3006.

Valentine, H.T., M.J. Ducey, J.H. Gove, A. Lanz, & D.L.R. Affleck (2006) Corrections for cluster-plot slop. Forest Science 52(1): 55 – 66.

Affleck, D.L.R., T.G. Gregoire, & H.T. Valentine (2005) Design unbiased estimation in line intersect sampling using segmented transects. Environmental and Ecological Statistics 12(2): 139 – 154.

Graduate Students

George Gaines (PhD student)

John Hogland (PhD student)

Jarred Saralecos (PhD candidate)