Forks in my road toward more mathematics in forest dynamics models (An Invited Autobiographical Note)

Rolfe A Leary


This note describes personal fits and starts in the author’s career seeking an education to permit a serious use of applied mathematics in forest dynamics research. The personal journey through mathematics, while maintaining roots in forest dynamics, was not very efficient, and the sought after goal of universal description remains only partially tested. It would appear that significant improvement has been made in representing sugar maple height growth, based on application of 14 different differential equation models found in the literature over the last 175 years, but causal environmental variables are not identified.


Forest dynamics models; differential/difference equations; applied mathematics; significant digits in parameter estimates; forks in career path.

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Leary, R., & Johannsen, V. (2010). Using strong inference to falsify differential equation models of sugar maple height growth. Mathematical and Computational Forestry & Natural-Resource Sciences (MCFNS), 2(1), Pages: 1-11 (11). Retrieved from


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