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Nathan Stephenson

Dr. Nathan Stephenson is a Scientist Emeritus at the Western Ecological Research Center.

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
  • Adaptation


  • Ph.D., Ecology and Systematics, Cornell University, 1988
  • B.S., Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine, 1979