Colin Beier

Colin M. Beier
Associate Professor
Associate Professor Months

311 Bray Hall
1 Forestry Dr.
Syracuse, New York 13210

Phone: (315) 470-6578



Ph.D. Systems Ecology, University of Alaska-Fairbanks

M.Sc. Forest Ecology, Virginia Tech

Research Interests

  • Forest Ecology & Management
  • Climate Change Impacts & Adaptation
  • Ecosystem Services Assessment & Decision-Support
  • Landscape Change Modeling
  • Policy & Governance of Complex Forest Landscapes
  • Forest Biogeochemistry & Greenhouse Gas Fluxes
  • Applied Geoinformatics

Prospective Students

Our group asks research questions related to the functions, patterns of change and resilience of forest landscapes during the Anthropocene – the current age in which humans have fundamentally shaped all of the Earth’s basic life support systems. Broadly defined as 'sustainability science', our work is a blend of basic and applied research that draws from multiple disciplines and knowledge systems, and recognizes that humans are integral parts of the Earth system, capable of inducing rapid and irreversible changes (within human time scales) as well as careful stewardship that fosters adaptive capacity.  Topics studied currently by our group include:

  • impacts of simultaneous climate and land use change on terrestrial biodiversity
  • role of multiple stressors (acid rain, climate change, insects) on forest productivity and health across the Adirondacks
  • quantification of forest ecosystem services, particularly regulating services, and their responses to forest management in the Northern Forest
  • forest resource governance, land use change and social-ecological vulnerability in Chile
  • wilderness perception mapping and adaptive management of cultural ecosystem services in the Adirondack Park
  • climate change mapping and development of landscape bioclimatic metrics for research, education and adaptation
  • ecosystem services assessment and decision-support in a variety of systems, from Alaskan rainforest to urban green infrastructure in Syracuse
  • climate sensitivity of boreal and temperate ecosystems and their ecotones
  • development of geoinformatic systems for web-mapping and management decision-support

My philosophy is to mentor students to develop innovative, rigorous and collaborative research, and to encourage students to follow their strongest interests and abilities.  Please send me an email for more information or to set up some time to chat.

Summer Residence

Adirondack Ecological Center
6312 State Route 28N
Newcomb, NY 12852
Voice: (518) 582-4551 x106
Fax: (518) 582-2181

Current Graduate Advisees

Graduate Advisees

Cheryl BondiCheryl Bondi

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Beier
  • Area of Study: ESC Water & Wetland Resource Studies
  • Undergraduate Institute: Salem State College (Biology)
  • Previous Graduate Study: Humboldt State University (Biology )

Graduate Research Topic
My dissertation research focuses on the role of Calcium in northern hardwood forest floor ecology. I am studying community structure and trophic interactions between snails, arthropods and terrestrial salamanders in forests with varying levels of available Calcium in the organic soil horizon. In a landscape that has undergone historically high levels of acid deposition, this research will provide insight into the effects that Calcium leaching may have on the leaf litter fauna and bottom up processes in northeastern forests.

Brigid FarrellBrigid Farrell

  • Degree Sought: MPS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Beier
  • Area of Study: Ecology and Ecosystems

Raymond GutteriezRaymond Gutteriez

Caitlin HomanCaitlin Homan

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Beier
  • Area of Study: Ecology and Ecosystems
  • Undergraduate Institute: SUNY-ESF (Biology)

Abigail LarkinAbigail Larkin

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Beier
  • Area of Study: Economics, Policy, and Human Dimensions
  • Undergraduate Institute: Xavier University OH (Biology)
  • Previous Graduate Study: SUNY-ESF (EFB )

Web Link

Graduate Research Topic
I study the social-ecological process of natural resource management and decision-making at the landscape scale, with a focus on methods that spatially represent intangible, non-consumptive forms of public use, broadly understood as cultural ecosystem services. My work concentrates on the complex management and regulatory structure of recreation, community development, and wilderness protection in the Adirondack Park, NY.

Sherry MartinSherry Martin

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Beier
  • Area of Study: Environmental Monitoring
  • Undergraduate Institute: Cornell University

LinkedIn Profile
Web Link

Daniel RockefellerDaniel Rockefeller

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Beier
  • Area of Study: Ecology and Ecosystems

John WileyJohn Wiley

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Beier and McGee
  • Area of Study: Ecology
  • Undergraduate Institute: Hanover College (Biology)
  • Previous Graduate Study: Ohio University (Plant Biology/Forest)


Larkin AM*, Beier CM. Accepted with revisions. Wilderness perceptions versus management reality in the Adirondack Park, USA. Landscape & Urban Planning. 

Bishop DA*, Beier CM.  2013. Assessing uncertainty in high-resolution spatial climate data for the US Northeast. PLoS ONE 8(8): e70260. [online]:

Sullivan T, Lawrence G, Bailey S, McDonnell T, Beier CM, Weathers K, McPherson G, Bishop DA*. 2013. Effects of acidic deposition and soil acidification on sugar maple trees in the Adirondack Mountains, New York. Environmental Science & Technology 47(22): 12687-12694. 

Li M, Im J, Beier CM.  2013. Machine learning approaches for forest classification and change analysis using multi-temporal Landsat TM images over Huntington Wildlife Forest. GIScience & Remote Sensing 50(4): 361-384. 

Beier CM. 2012. Cultural landscapes and scientific narratives. Ecology 93(8): 1983-4

Beier CM, Woods AM, Hotopp K, Mitchell MJ, Gibbs JP, Dovciak M, Leopold DJ, Lawrence GB, Page B. 2012. Changes in faunal and vegetation communities along a soil calcium gradient in northern hardwood forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 42: 1141-1152  DOI: 10.1139/x2012-071 Online

Beier CM, Stella JA, Dovciak M, McNulty SA. 2012. Local climatic drivers of changes in phenology at a boreal-temperate ecotone in eastern North America. Climatic Change DOI: 10.1007/s10584-012-0455-z Online

Beier CM, Signell SA, Luttman A, DeGaetano AT. 2011. High resolution climate change mapping with gridded historical climate products. Landscape Ecology DOI: 10.1007/s10980-011-9698-8. Online

Beier CM. 2011. Factors influencing adaptive capacity in the reorganization of forest management in Alaska. Ecology and Society 16 (1): 40. Online

Volk TA, Beier CM, Buchholz T, Caputo J, Castellano P, Germain R, Kelleher M, Luzadis V, Malmsheimer RW. 2010. Sustainability Criteria for the New York Renewable Fuels Roadmap. In: Nostrand JM, Rutzke C, eds. Renewable Fuels Roadmap and Sustainable Biomass Feedstock Supply for New York. White Plains, NY: Pace University Energy and Climate Center. 874 pp.

Walker B, Kinzig A, Quinlan A, Cundhill G, Beier CM, Biggs R. 2010. Assessing Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems: A Workbook for Practitioners. Version 2.0. Resilience Alliance: Online

Beier CM, Lahiri S, Volk TA. 2009. Overview of the Carbon Services (Storage and Sequestration) Provided by Forests of the Adirondack Park, New York. In: ADKCAP Adirondack Energy & GHG Inventory. Tupper Lake, NY: Ecology & Environment. 68pp.

Horton JL, Clinton BD, Walker JF, Beier CM, Nilsen ET. 2009. Variation in soil and forest floor characteristics along gradients of ericaceous shrub cover in the southern Appalachians. Castanea 74(4): 340-352.

Beier CM, Lovecraft AL, Chapin FS. 2009. Growth and collapse of a resource system: an adaptive cycle of change in public lands governance and forest management in Alaska. Ecology & Society 14(2): 5. Online

Stager JC, McNulty SA, Beier CM, Chiaranzelli J. 2009. Historical patterns and effects of changes in Adirondack climates since the early 20th century. Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies 15(2): 22-38.

Beier CM, Patterson TM, Chapin FS. 2008. Ecosystem services and emergent vulnerability in managed ecosystems: a geospatial decision-support tool.  Ecosystems 11(6): 923-938

Beier CM. 2008. Influence of political opposition and compromise on conservation outcomes in the Tongass National Forest, Alaska.  Conservation Biology 22(6): 1485-1496.

Beier CM, Sink SE, Hennon PE, D’Amore DV, Juday GP. 2008. Twentieth-century warming and the dendroclimatology of declining yellow-cedar forests in southeastern Alaska.  Canadian Journal of Forest Research 38(6): 1319-1334.

Hennon P, D’Amore D, Wittwer D, Johnson A, Schaberg P, Hawley G, Beier CM, Sink S, Juday G. 2007. Climate warming, reduced snow, and freezing injury could explain the demise of yellow-cedar in Southeast Alaska.  World Resource Review 18(2): 427-450.

Beier CM, Horton JL, Walker JF, Clinton BD, Nilsen ET. 2005. Carbon limitation leads to suppression of first year oak seedlings beneath evergreen understory shrubs in Southern Appalachian hardwood forestsPlant Ecology 176(2): 131-142.

Chapin FS, Peterson G, Berkes F, Callaghan TV, Anglestam P, Apps M, Beier CM, Bergeron Y, Crepin AS, Danell K, Elmqvist T, Folke C, Forbes B, Fresco N, Juday G, Niemela J, Shvidenko A, Whiteman G. 2004. Resilience and vulnerability of northern regions to social and environmental change.  Ambio 33: 344-349.

Walker JF, Miller OK, Horton JL, Beier CM, Clinton BD, Nilsen ET. 2002. Distribution of ectomycorrhizal fungi on tree seedlings grown in gradients of ericaceous shrubs in the southern Appalachian Mountains.  Inoculum 53(3): 58.

Manuscripts In Review & Preparation

Beier CM, et al. In preparation. Landscape assessment of ecosystem services for adaptive management of resource systems. Ecological Economics

Beier CM. In preparation. Land use policy and ecosystem services in a complex forest landscape. Landscape Ecology

Wiley JJ*, Beier CM, Mountrakis G, Zhuang W. In preparation. Field validation of LVIS-derived vegetation structure along an old-field successional chronosequence. Ecological Applications

Funded Projects

Beier CM. Social and Economic Impacts of the Acidification and Potential Recovery of Adirondack Ecosystems. NY State Energy Research and Development Authority ($150,000 - funded start date TBD).
Lawrence G, Josephson D, Beier CM, Kraft C, Baldigo B. Whole Ecosystem Restoration Through Liming of Honnedaga Lake Tributary Watersheds. NY State Energy Research and Development Authority ($350,000 - funded start date TBD).

Rector L, DeGaetano AT, Beier CM, Mecray E, Ochs M, Manion M. Establishment of a New York Climate Change Science Clearinghouse. NY State Energy Research and Development Authority ($750,000 - funded, start date TBD).  

Bishop DA*, Beier CM. Integrating Effects of Climate Change, Acidic Deposition and Insect Defoliation on Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) Growth and Yield in the Northern Forest.  USDA Northeastern States Research Cooperative ($10,000 - current).

Larkin AM*, Beier CM. Developing an Adirondack Trail Register Database to Support Recreation Management and Community Planning. USDA Northeastern States Research Cooperative ($10,000 - current).

Kimmerer R, Beier CM, Cook M, Van Lopik W, Mitchell B. Learning from the Land: A Cross-Cultural Partnership in Forest Stewardship Education for Climate Change Adaptation in the Northern Forest Region. USDA - NIFA ($713,849– current).

Fuller R, Josephson D, Kraft C, Beier CM, Lawrence G, Baldigo B, Dovciak M. Whole-ecosystem Restoration Through Liming of Acidified Tributary Streams in the Honnedaga Lake Basin in the Adirondack Mountains. Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute ($70,000 - current).

Vidon, P, Mitchell MJ, Beier CMDetermination of Climatic and Geomorphological Drivers of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Forested Landscapes of the US Northeast. USDA-CSREES ($77,807 - current). 

Beier CM, Groffman P, Limburg KE, Volk TA. Impacts of Forest Management on Regulating Services in Northern Forest Watersheds: Development of the Forest Ecosystem Services Toolkit. USDA Forest Service - Northeastern States Research Cooperative ($115,117 - current)

Dovciak M, Beier CM, Lawrence G, Battles J. Global Change Fingerprints in Montane Boreal Forests: Implications for Biodiversity and Management of the Northeastern Protected Areas. USDA Forest Service - Northeastern States Research Cooperative ($87,489 - current)

McNulty SA, Beier CM, Signell SA.  Application of GIS to Resource Inventory for Unit Management Planning.  NYS Department of Environmental Conservation ($330,000 - current).

Mountrakis G, Beier CM, Porter WF. Using LiDAR to Assess the Roles of Climate and Land-Cover Dynamics as Drivers of Changes in Biodiversity.  NASA ROSES ($910,800 - current). 

Beier CM, Dovciak M. Coupling Local-Scale Climate Change and Forest Ecosystems in the Adirondack Mountains, NY. USDA-CSREES ($51,799 – current).

Im J, Dovciak M, Beier CM, Quackenbush L. Characterization of Montane Forest Ecosystems Using Advanced Remote Sensing Technology. USDA-CSREES ($79,543 – current).

Dovciak M, Beier CMForest Change in the Adirondacks Over Forty Years of Multiple Stressors.  USDA-CSREES ($54,034 – current)

Beier CM, Mitchell MJ, Gibbs JP, Dovciak M, Fierke M. Impacts of Acidic Deposition and Soil Calcium Depletion on Terrestrial Biodiversity and Food Webs in Northern Hardwood Forests. USDA Northeastern States Research Cooperative – Theme Two ($144,488 – current).

Angermeier P, Frimpong E, Limburg K, Bennett E, Beier CM, Beard D. Spatial Analysis of Relationships among Conservation Practices, Aquatic Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Human Well-being. USGS Aquatic Gap Program ($265,500 - current). 

Beier CM, Mitchell MJ, Gibbs JP, Leopold DJ, Dovciak M. Importance of Calcium-Rich Substrates for Supporting Refugia of Biodiversity and Productivity in an Increasingly Acidified Landscape.  USDA Northeastern States Research Cooperative – Theme Four ($41,543, completed). 

Volk TA, Luzadis VA, Beier CM, Buchholz T, Amidon T, Malmsheimer R, Germain R.  Sustainable Biofuels Roadmap for New York State. Collaborative multi-institution project led by Pace University. New York State Energy and Regulatory Development Agency (ESF subcontract: $115,300, completed).

Beier CMImpacts of Climate Change on Tongass National Forest Management: Widespread Decline of Yellow-Cedar and its Sustainability as a Timber Resource in Alaska. Center for Global Change, International Arctic Research Consortium ($10,000, completed).

Beier CM, Juday GP.  Salvage Logging of Declining Yellow-Cedar in Southeast Alaska: Information for Sustained Yield Management of Alaska’s Most Valuable Timber Resource Under Climate Change. USDA New Crops ($68,600, completed).

Invited Seminars & Conference Talks

(*indicates graduate advisee)

Yantachka J*, Beier CM, Glennon M, Gibbs JP. 2012. Relationships among Adirondack songbird communities, calcium availability and acidic deposition. 2012 North American Ornithological Conference, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Beier CM, Brinkman TJ, McNeeley S, Robards M, Fresco N, Hansen W, Knapp C. 2012. Fostering resilience while driving transformative change: Terry Chapin's contributions to sustainability science in the Arctic and beyond.  Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Portland, OR. 

Bondi CA*, Beier CM, Fierke M. 2012. Importance of Soil Calcium in the Distribution and Diet of Eastern Redback Salamanders: Contrasting Results from Across the Northern Forest Region. 2012 Northeastern Natural History Conference, Syracuse, NY. 

Bondi CA*, Beier CM, Fierke M. 2012. Are redback salamanders sensitive to soil calcium? Contrasting evidence from across the Northern Forest region. Northeast Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation 2012 Annual Meeting, Crawford Notch, NH.

Yantachka J*, Beier CM. 2012. Relationships among Adirondack songbird communities, calcium availability and acidic deposition. 2012 Northeastern Natural History Conference, Syracuse, NY.

Beier CM, Stella JC, Dovciak M, McNulty SA. 2012. Changes in Adirondack lake ice indicate rapid warming in the High Peaks region. Adirondack Research Consortium 2012 Conference, Lake Placid, NY. Invited talk.

Beier CM. 2012. Landscape assessment of ecosystem services for adaptive management: applications in the Southeast Alaska resource system. Coastal Temperate Rainforests: Integrating Science, Resource Management and Communities. Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center, Juneau, AK.  Invited talk. 

Beier CM. 2011. High-resolution climate change mapping for research and adaptation. Climate Change and New York Ecosystems Workshop, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Invited talk.

Bishop DA*, Beier CM, Signell SA, Luttman A, DeGaetano AT. 2011. Mapping climate change in the Adirondacks: local-scale comparison of trend maps based on two-high resolution gridded data products. NYSERDA Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Protection Conference, Albany, NY.

Beier CM, Mountrakis G, Porter WF, Zuckerberg B, Zhang L, Blair B. 2011. Using LiDAR to assess the roles of climate and land cover dynamics as drivers of changes in biodiversity. NASA Carbon Cycle and Ecosystems Joint Workshop, Alexandria, VA.  

Beier CM, Lovecraft AL, Chapin FS. 2011. Growth, collapse and renewal of a resource system: an adaptive cycle of change in public lands governance and forest management in Alaska. Resilience 2011, Tempe, AZ.

Wiley JJ*, Beier CM, Mountrakis G. 2011. Using LiDAR to model forest regeneration: preliminary model development. NY Society of American Foresters Annual Conference, Syracuse, NY.

Beier CM. 2010. Sustainability science in forest landscapes. Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies Seminar Series, Millbrook, NY. Invited talk. 

Beier CM, Woods AM, Hotopp K, Mitchell MJ, Gibbs JP, Dovciak M, Leopold DJ, Lawrence GB, Page B. 2010. Soil calcium shapes communities across multiple trophic levels in Adirondack northern hardwood forests. Northeastern Ecosystem Research Cooperative (NERC) 2010 Conference, Saratoga Springs, NY.

Beier CM. 2010. Calcium, acid rain and forest biodiversity in the Adirondacks. Biology Seminar Series – Colgate University, Hamilton, NY. Invited talk. 

Beier CM, Woods AM, Hotopp K, Mitchell MJ, Gibbs JP, Dovciak M, Leopold DJ, Lawrence GB, Page B. 2010 Variability in land snail and amphibian communities along a soil calcium gradient in upland hardwood forests of the Adirondack Mountains, NY. Ecological Society of America 2010 Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA. 

Larkin A*, Beier CM. Wilderness perception mapping in the Adirondack Park, New York. Representing Reality: Imagery in the Cognitive, Social and Natural Sciences, University of Buffalo (NCGIA), Buffalo, NY. 

Beier CM. Ecosystem services: A framework for understanding and fostering sustainability in the Adirondacks? Adirondack Research Consortium 2010 Annual Meeting, Lake Placid, NY.  Invited talk.

Larkin A*, Beier CM.  Understanding and mapping wilderness perceptions in the Adirondacks.  Adirondack Research Consortium 2010 Annual Meeting, Lake Placid, NY

Beier CM, Limburg KL, Luzadis VA, Groffman P. 2010. Bioenergy and resilience of northern hardwood ecosystems: concepts and applications of the Forest Ecosystem Services Toolbox for Hubbard Brook. Hubbard Brook Scientists Meeting – Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY. Invited talk.

Beier CM, Spada D. 2010. Forest and Land Management Task Force – An Agenda for Building Adaptive Capacity in a Changing Adirondack Climate. Adirondack Climate Action Program (ADKCAP) 2010 Conference, Tupper Lake, NY.

Erickson JD, Beier CM. 2010. Alternative ways to understand and assess the impacts of environmental pollutants: Capturing the value of ecosystem services. NY State Energy Research & Development Agency 2010 EMEP Conference, Albany, NY. Invited talk. 

Beier CM. 2009. A systems framework and methodology for geospatial assessment of ecosystem services.  International Association for Landscape Ecology – U.S. Chapter 2009 Conference, Snowbird, Utah. 

Beier CM, Patterson TM, Chapin FS. 2008. Landscape-scale assessment of emergent vulnerability: ecosystem services and disturbance feedbacks. Resilience 2008 – Stockholm University and Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden.

Beier CM, Volk TA. 2008.  Biomass forestry in the Adirondacks. Adirondack Research Consortium 2008 Annual Meeting, Lake Placid, NY.

Beier CM. 2007. Complex systems and climate change: vulnerability and adaptive capacity of forest ecosystems and institutions in Southeast Alaska.  Adaptive Peaks Seminar Series, Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, SUNY-ESF.  Invited talk.

Beier CM, Patterson TM, Chapin FS. 2007. Mapping social-ecological vulnerability at the regional scale: ecosystem services, societal importance, and disturbance impacts. North American Forest Ecology Workshop, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.  Invited talk.

Beier CM, Sink SE, Juday GP, Hennon PE, D’Amore DV. 2006. Climatic factors in the widespread decline of yellow-cedar in the mixed-conifer temperate rainforests of southeast Alaska. Ecological Society of America 2006 Annual Meeting, Memphis, TN.

Beier CM, Albert D, Patterson TM. 2006. Conservation of critical natural capital in southeastern Alaska: significance of wilderness, land use designations and disturbance.  International Symposium on Society and Resource Management. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 

Patterson TM, Beier CM. 2006. An ecosystem services assessment from the Tongass National Forest.  International Symposium on Society and Resource Management. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Beier CM, Brinkman T, Meek C, Kofinas GP, Chapin FS. 2006. Managing for regional resilience: the interface of policy and ecology in Alaska.  NSF IGERT PI Conference, Washington, DC.

Beier CM, Chapin FS. 2004. Institutional inertia and adaptation of Tongass National Forest land planning in response to shifting political and economic conditions.  Fifth International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences, Fairbanks, AK.

Chapin FS, Baer P, Beier CM. 2004. Limits to sustainability in a directionally changing world: Circumpolar patterns and a conceptual model of regional mechanisms. International Arctic Social Sciences Association. Fairbanks, AK.


YouTube Channels

ESF | Athletics | Research | Academics | Sustainability | New York | Nature

State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
1 Forestry Drive | Syracuse, NY 13210 | 315-470-6500
Copyright © 2015 | Admissions Information | Webmaster