Colin Beier

Colin M. Beier
Associate Professor

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

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

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.

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)

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 or in the last few years 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 in the Adirondacks
  • quantification of forest ecosystem services, particularly regulating services, and their responses to forest management in the Northern Forest
  • social and economic impacts of acid rain damage and recovery in Adirondack lakes and forests
  • forest resource governance, land use change and social-ecological vulnerability in Chile
  • landscape-scale recreation planning in the Adirondacks using a participatory GIS-driven process
  • climate change mapping and development of landscape bioclimatic metrics for research, education and adaptation
  • restoration of acidified forest and lake ecosystems via whole-watershed liming
  • ecology and management of invasive species related to recreation and ecosystem restoration activities in the Adirondacks
  • climate sensitivity of boreal and temperate ecosystems and their ecotones
  • application of open geoinformatics technology for web-mapping, data sharing 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.


*graduate advisee, **undergraduate advisee

Gomez J, Vidon P, Gross J, Beier CM, Caputo JD, Mitchell MJ. In review. Estimating greenhouse gas emissions at the soil-atmosphere interface in forested watersheds of the US Northeast. Environmental Monitoring & Assessment

Gomez J, Vidon P, Beier CM, Mitchell MJ, Gross J. In review. Spatial and temporal patterns of CO2, CH4, and N2O fluxes at the soil-atmosphere interface in a northern temperate forested watershed. Forest Science

Raney PA, Leopold DJ, Dovciak M, Beier CM. In review. Hydrologic position mediates sensitivity of conifer growth to recent climate change: wetlands as refugia in a warmer world. Ecological Applications

Manuschevich DI* and Beier CM. In press. Simulating land use changes under alternative policy scenarios for conservation of native forest in south-central Chile. Land Use Policy

Bondi CA*, Beier CM, Ducey P, Bailey SW. In press. Can the eastern redback salamander (Plethodon cinereus) persist in an acidified landscape? Ecosphere

Caputo J*, Beier CM, Groffman P, Burns D, Beall F, Yorks T, Hazlett P. 2015. Effects of harvesting forest biomass on water and climate regulation services: a synthesis of long-term ecosystem experiments in eastern North America. Ecosystems 

Bishop DA*, Beier CM, Pederson N, Lawrence G, Stella JC, Sullivan T. 2015. Regional growth decline of sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and its potential causes. Ecosphere 6:179

Beier CM, Caputo J*, Groffman PM. 2015. Measuring ecosystem capacity to provide regulating services: forest removal and recovery at Hubbard Brook (USA). Ecological Applications 25(7): 2011-2021

Bondi CA*, Green S**, Ducey P, Beier CM. 2015. Evaluation of the gastric lavage method to collect diet samples of northern redback salamanders. Herpetological Review

Zhuang W, Mountrakis G, Wiley JJ*, Beier CM. 2015. Estimation of aboveground forest biomass using metrics based on Gaussian decomposition of waveform LiDAR data. International Journal of Remote Sensing 36(7): 1871-1889.

Shanley CS, Pyare S, Goldstein MI, Alaback PB, Albert DM, Beier CM, Brinkman TJ, Edwards RT, Hood E, et al. 2015. Climate change implications in the northern coastal temperate rainforest of North America. Climatic Change [online] DOI: 10.1007/s10584-015-1355-9

Larkin AM*, Beier CM. 2014. Wilderness perceptions versus management realities in the Adirondack Park, USA. Landscape & Urban Planning 130: 1-13. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2014.06.003

Jarzyna M, Finley A, Porter WF, Maurer B, Beier CM, Zuckerberg B. 2014. Accounting for the space-varying nature of the relationships between temporal community turnover and the environment. Ecography 37: 1073–1083

Bishop DA*, Beier CM. 2013. Assessing uncertainty of high-resolution spatial climate data in 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, 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.

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 115: 399-417.

Beier CM, Signell SA, Luttman A, DeGaetano A. 2011. High-resolution climate change mapping using gridded historical climate products. Landscape Ecology 27(3): 327-342.

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

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.

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, 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, 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.

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

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 forests. Plant 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.

Current Projects

Vidon PG, Gold A., Lowrance R, Addy K, Beier CM.  2015-2018. A new landscape based approach to optimize riparian zone nitrogen and phosphorus management in glaciated settings. USDA-AFRI Nitrogen and Phosphorus Cycling Program ($475,000 – expected start date 01 April 2015).  

Vidon PG, Wang J, Bokuniewicz H, Walter T, Boyer G, Endreny T, Quackenbush L, Beier CM, Ferguson C. 2014-2015. The integrated water-system of the Great Lakes region: its condition and challenges for the future. SUNY 4E Network of Excellence ($149,978 – expected start date 01 Dec 2014).

Beier CM, Parker AM, Hirsch P, Houseal B, McNulty SA. 2014-2015. Great South Woods Complex Planning. NYS Department of Environmental Conservation ($250,000 – current). 

Beier CM, McNulty SA. Application of GIS to Resource Inventory for Unit Management Planning.  2013-2014. NYS Department of Environmental Conservation ($185,514 – completed).

Beier CM. 2013-2015. Social and Economic Impacts of the Acidification and Potential Recovery of Adirondack Ecosystems. NY State Energy Research and Development Authority ($165,113 - current).

Lawrence G, Josephson D, Beier CM, Kraft C, Baldigo B. 2013-2016. Whole Ecosystem Restoration Through Liming of Honnedaga Lake Tributary Watersheds. NY State Energy Research and Development Authority ($350,000 - current).

Rector L, DeGaetano AT, Beier CM, Mecray E, Ochs M, Manion M. 2013-2016. Establishment of a New York Climate Change Science Clearinghouse. NY State Energy Research and Development Authority ($750,000 - current).  

Beier CM, Bishop DA*. 2013-2014. Integrating Effects of Climate Change, Acidic Deposition and Insect Defoliation on Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) Growth and Yield in the Northern Forest.  USDA Forest Service – Northeastern States Research Cooperative ($10,000 - completed).

Beier CM, Larkin AM*. 2013-2014. Developing an Adirondack Trail Register Database to Support Recreation Management and Community Planning. USDA Northeastern States Research Cooperative ($10,000 - completed).

Kimmerer R, Beier CM, Cook M, Van Lopik W, Mitchell B. 2012-2015. Learning from the Land: A Cross-Cultural Partnership in Forest Stewardship Education for Climate Change Adaptation in the Northern Forest Region. USDA NIFA – Higher Education Challenge Program ($736,312 – current).  

Vidon, P, Mitchell MJ, Beier CM. 2012-2014. Determination of Climatic and Geomorphological Drivers of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Forested Landscapes of the US Northeast. USDA McIntire-Stennis ($77,807 - current).

Beier CM, Groffman P, Volk TA, Limburg KL. 2011-2014. 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 ($117,115 – completed). 



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