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Faculty Profile
Colin Beier

Colin  Beier

Associate Professor

Orange horizontal rule

311 Bray Hall



  • Ph.D. Systems Ecology, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, 2007
  • M.Sc. Forest Ecology, Virginia Tech, 2002
  • B.Sc. Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1999

Research Interests

I am a broadly trained ecologist interested in the functions, dynamics, and adaptive capacity of forest ecosystems and landscapes - including humans and our economic, political, and cultural institutions - in a rapidly changing world.

  • Forest Ecology & Management
  • Climate Change Impacts & Adaptation
  • Ecosystem Services 
  • Long-Term Ecosystem Monitoring
  • Land Use Planning, Policy and Governance of Forest Landscapes
  • Traditional Ecological Knowledge & Biocultural Restoration
  • Forest Biogeochemistry & Greenhouse Gas Budgets
  • Applied Geoinformatics

Prospective Students

Our group conducts research on the ecological and social functions, drivers and dynamics of change, and overall 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. We blend basic and applied research and draw from multiple disciplines and knowledge systems, with recognition 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:

  • role of multiple stressors (acid rain, climate change, insects) on forest productivity and health in the Adirondacks
  • forest ecosystem services, especially regulation of water and climate, and their responses to forest management in the US Northeast
  • social and economic impacts of acid rain damage and recovery in Adirondack lakes and forests
  • forest resource governance, policy drivers of 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 severely acid-impaired 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.

Current Graduate Advisees

Elizabeth ClippardElizabeth Clippard

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Beier
  • Area of Study: Forest Resources Management

Sam GordonSam Gordon

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Beier
  • Area of Study: FRM Natural Resources Mgt

Abigail GuinanAbigail Guinan

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Beier
  • Area of Study: Environmental Science

Graduate Research Topic
Management and restoration of novel shrubland ecosystems following agricultural abandonment

Mike MahoneyMike Mahoney

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Beier and Ackerman
  • Area of Study: ESC Coupled Natural and Human Systems

Google Scholar

Research Gate

GitHub Profile


Graduate Research Topic
Visualization of environmental data; landscape visualization; stochastic forest modeling

Favorite Quote
Bob Morris Sr. asked me when I met what I do. “I study math.” “For whom?” -- Halvar Flake - OffensiveCon 2020 Keynote

Home Page
Personal Website

Laurel WilliamsLaurel Williams

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Kohl and Beier
  • Area of Study: Environmental Science

Graduate Research Topic
My research project is focused on discovering if virtual (reality) models of environmental landscapes is a possible tool to integrate environmental education into the public school systems to inform future decisions on environmental issues.

Web Mapping and Interactive Data Applications


  New York Climate Change Science Clearinghouse - Maps & GIS Viewer developed by ESF, Frontier Spatial LLC and partners for the official NY State website for understanding the impacts of climate change and promoting climate adaptation and resilience across the entirety of New York State. 
Great South Woods Interactive Map - developed in partnership with, the map provides access to the 50+ recommendations developed by a participatory, community-based and large-scale recreation planning project in the southern Adirondack Park. Learn more about the GSW effort here
  Forest Ecosystem Services Toolkit (FEST) - A collaborative, data-driven effort to measure the many benefits that forest ecosystems provide to people, while accounting for and identifying the impacts of multiple drivers of change on the capacity of ecosystems to support human well-being.  FEST is continuously in development with new case studies, R scripts and visualizations being added.
  Adirondack Regional Geographic Information System (ARGIS) - our first proof-of-concept web map for the Adirondacks that continues to have a small but dedicated user group.  


*graduate or postdoctoral advisee, **undergraduate advisee

Bondi CA, Beier CM, Fierke M, Ducey PK. In press. The role of feeding strategy in the tolerance of a terrestrial salamander (Plethodon cinereus) to biogeochemical changes in northern hardwood forests. Canadian Journal of Zoology [online first]

Jackson B, Kuehn D, Briggs R, Beier CM, Zhang L. In press. Comparison of Campsite Impact Monitoring Methodologies for the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness Area in New York State. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration

Sullivan TJ, Driscoll CT, Beier CM, Burtraw D, Fernandez IJ, Galloway JN, Gay DA, Goodale CL, Likens GE, Lovett GM, Watmough SA. 2018. Air pollution success stories in the United States: The value of long-term observations. Environmental Science & Policy 84:69-73.

D'Orangeville L, Maxwell J, Kneeshaw D, Pederson N, Duchesne L, Logan T, Houle D, ArseneaultS, Beier CM, Bishop DA*, et al. 2018. Drought timing and local climate determine the sensitivity of eastern temperate forests to drought. Global Change Biology

Beier CM. 2017. Conserving biodiversity and sustaining ecosystem services in the Anthropocene: understanding the social–ecological legacy of acid rain in the Adirondack Park (USA).  Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene - Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences.

Wason J, Dovciak M, Beier CM, Battles J. 2017. Tree growth is more sensitive than species distributions to recent changes in climate and acidic deposition in the northeastern United States. J. Applied Ecology

Beier CM, Caputo JD*, Lawrence G, Sullivan TJ. 2017. Loss of ecosystem services due to chronic pollution of forests and surface waters in the Adirondack region (USA). J. Environmental Management 191: 19-27 [open access online]

Caputo JD*, Beier CM, Fahkraei H, Driscoll CT. 2017. Impacts of acidification and potential recovery on expected value of recreational fisheries in Adirondack lakes (USA). Environmental Science and Technology 51(1): 742–750 [online first]

Endres A, Mountrakis G, Jin H, Zhuang W, Manakos I, Wiley JJ*, Beier CM. 2016. Relative importance analysis of Landsat, waveform LIDAR and PALSAR inputs for deciduous biomass estimation. European Journal of Remote Sensing 49: 795-807. 

Raney PA, Leopold DJ, Dovciak M, Beier CM. 2016. Hydrologic position mediates sensitivity of tree growth to climate: groundwater subsidies provide a thermal buffer effect in wetlands. Forest Ecology & Management  379: 70-80 [online]

Caputo JD*, Beier CM, Luzadis VA, Groffman PM. 2016. Integrating beneficiaries into measurement of ecosystem services from managed forests at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, USA. Forest Ecosystems 3:13 [open access online]

Gomez J, Vidon P, Gross J, Beier CM, Caputo JD, Mitchell MJ. 2016. Estimating greenhouse gas emissions at the soil-atmosphere interface in forested watersheds of the US Northeast. Environmental Monitoring & Assessment DOI: 10.1007/s10661-016-5297-0

Caputo JD*, Beier CM, Sullivan TJ, Lawrence G. 2016. Modeled effects of soil acidification on long-term ecological and economic outcomes for managed forests in the Adirondack region (USA). Science of the Total Environment 565: 401-411. [open access online]

Bondi CA*, Beier CM, Ducey P, Bailey SW. 2016. Can the eastern redback salamander (Plethodon cinereus) persist in an acidified landscape? Ecosphere 7(4) [open access online]

Homan C*, Beier CM, McCay T, Lawrence G. 2016. Application of lime (CaCO3) to promote forest recovery from severe acidification increases potential for earthworm invasion. Forest Ecology and Management 368: 39-44. [online]

Manuschevich DI* and Beier CM. 2016. Simulating land use changes under alternative policy scenarios for conservation of native forest in south-central Chile. Land Use Policy 51: 350-362 [online]

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

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

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

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 & Recent Projects

Beier CM. 2018-2022. Adirondack Long-Term Monitoring (ALTM) Program - Streams Component. NYSERDA ($85,000 - current). 

Beier CM, McHale P, Johnston M. 2018-2022. Long-Term Environmental Monitoring of an Adirondack Ecosystem under Multiple Drivers of Climatic, Atmospheric, and Biotic Change. NYSERDA ($612,900 – current).

Powell WA, Horton T, Parry D, Drake J, Beier CM, Holliday J, Fitzsimmons S. 2018-2021. Environmental Impacts of GE and Conventionally Produced American Chestnut. USDA-NIFA ($500,000 - current)

Kimmerer R, Leighton A, Diemont SAW, Beier CM, Hurley E, Folta E, Manno J, Sachatello-Sawyer B, Patterson N. 2016-2019. Sowing Synergy: A Graduate Program to Integrate Indigenous and Scientific Knowledge for Sustainability. USDA NIFA – Higher Education Challenge Program ($642,811 – current).

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 ($475,000 – completed).  

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

Beier CM. 2013-2016. Social and Economic Impacts of the Acidification and Potential Recovery of Adirondack Ecosystems. NY State Energy Research and Development Authority ($165,113 - completed).

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 - completed).  

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 – completed).

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, 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).