Earth’s vast forests provide human communities with irreplaceable goods and services such as carbon sequestration, hydrologic regulation, clean water, biodiversity, critical wildlife habitat, wood products, and recreational and spiritual opportunities. An overarching goal of Dr. Nathan Stephenson's research is to improve scientists' and land managers' ability to understand, forecast, and adapt to the effects of ongoing global changes – particularly changing climatic and disturbance regimes – on forests. Accordingly, most of his research falls in three broad, complementary themes: (1) improving mechanistic understanding of forest and carbon dynamics, (2) detection, attribution, and interpretation of forest changes, and (3) adaptations to rapid global changes. The last theme extends well beyond forests, to natural areas in general.
- Forest ecology
- Global change biology
- Climate change
- Fire ecology
- Natural areas management
- Ph.D., Ecology and Systematics, Cornell University, 1988
- B.S., Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine, 1979
Science and Products
Advice for the Secretary of Agriculture about Management of the Giant Sequoia National Monument
No abstract available at this timeScientific Advisory Board; Clarke, J.N.; Graber, D.M.; Nissen, K.M.; Piirto, D.D.; Stephenson, N.L.; Tormey, D.R.; Waggoner, P.E.
Growth rate predicts mortality of Abies concolor in both burned and unburned stands
Tree mortality is often the result of both long-term and short-term stress. Growth rate, an indicator of long-term stress, is often used to estimate probability of death in unburned stands. In contrast, probability of death in burned stands is modeled as a function of short-term disturbance severity. We sought to narrow this conceptual gap by...van Mantgem, Phillip J.; Stephenson, Nathan L.; Mutch, Linda S.; Johnson, Veronica G.; Esperanza, Annie M.; Parsons, David J.
Restoring fire to wilderness: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, established in 1890, consist of 863,741 acres (349,551 ha) of Sierra Nevada foothills, mid-elevation conifer forest, and high-elevation alpine environment. The parks contain 36 giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) groves, including the largest known tree, the General Sherman. Ninety-four percent of the...Manley, Jeffrey; Keifer, MaryBeth; Stephenson, Nathan L.; Kaage, William
2nd interface between ecology and land development in California
The 2nd Interface Between Ecology and Land Development Conference was held in association with Earth Day 1997, five years after the first Interface Conference. Rapid population growth in California has intensified the inevitable conflict between land development and preservation of natural ecosystems. Sustainable development requires wise use of...Keeley, Jon E.; Baer-Keeley, Melanie; Fortheringham, C.J.
Estimated ages of some large giant sequoias: General Sherman keeps getting younger
During 1975-77, 168 bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) found moribund or dead in 29 states were analyzed for organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); 32 specimens from 13 states were analyzed for polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs). PCBs were present in 166 bald eagle carcasses and DDE was found in 165. TDE and dieldrin were...Stephenson, N.L.
Forest gradient response in Sierran landscapes: the physical template
Vegetation pattern on landscapes is the manifestation of physical gradients, biotic response to these gradients, and disturbances. Here we focus on the physical template as it governs the distribution of mixed-conifer forests in California's Sierra Nevada. We extended a forest simulation model to examine montane environmental gradients,...Urban, Dean L.; Miller, Carol; Halpin, Patrick N.; Stephenson, Nathan L.
Prescribed fire as the minimum tool for wilderness forest and fire regime restoration: a case study from the Sierra Nevada, California
No abstract available at this timeKeifer, M.; Stephenson, N.L.; Manley, J.
Reference conditions for giant sequoia forest restoration: structure, process, and precision
National Park Service policy directs that more natural conditions be restored to giant sequoia groves, which have been altered by a century of fire exclusion. Efforts to find a reasonable and practical definition of “natural” have helped drive scientists and land managers to use past grove conditions as reference conditions for restoration....Stephenson, Nathan L.
Actual evapotranspiration and deficit: Biologically meaningful correlates of vegetation distribution across spatial scales
Correlative approaches to understanding the climatic controls of vegetation distribution have exhibited at least two important weaknesses: they have been conceptually divorced across spatial scales, and their climatic parameters have not necessarily represented aspects of climate of broad physiological importance to plants. Using examples from the...Stephenson, N.L.