Skip to main content

Dr. Charles D. Canham

Forest Ecologist | PhD, Cornell University

forest ecology and management

845 266-3471

Charles Canham studies the dynamics of forest ecosystems and how they respond to a wide range of human impacts. Using field research, novel statistical methods, and computer models, Canham predicts forest response to factors including climate change, introduced pests and pathogens, logging regimes, and air pollution.  

Northeastern forests have been a critical source of carbon sequestration to combat climate change, and can also potentially provide a renewable energy source. Canham and his collaborators have developed methods to assess the tradeoffs between managing forests for carbon sequestration versus biomass energy production to ensure that forest biomass energy is truly carbon neutral.

All of Canham’s work builds on a neighborhood theory of forest dynamics he has developed through research in forests around the world. The theory, and the computer model that encapsulates it (SORTIE-ND), are particularly valuable in his work to explore the development of new forestry that can simultaneously maximize the ecological benefits of species diversity and carbon sequestration and the production of high-value forest products.

In 2020 he published a book, Forests Adrift: Currents Shaping the Future of Northeastern Trees (Yale University Press), which focuses on the future of northeastern forests. His next book will focus on the role of forests in a carbon-neutral, sustainable world.

Putz, F. E., Charles D. Canham, and Scott V. Ollinger. 2024. “Belowground Exploration By Trees And Shrubs”. Plant Ecology. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi:10.1007/s11258-024-01416-7.
Brown, ML, Charles D. Canham, T Buchholz, JS Gunn, and TM Donovan. (FEB) 2024. “Net Carbon Sequestration Implications Of Intensified Timber Harvest In Northeastern Us Forests”. Ecosphere 15 (2). doi:10.1002/ecs2.4758.
Canham, Charles D., L Murphy, and Winslow D. Hansen. 2024. “Successional Dynamics Of Carbon Sequestration In Forests Of The Eastern United States”. Ecosphere 15 (4). Wiley. doi:10.1002/ecs2.4838.
Gratzer, G, MB Pesendorfer, F Sachser, L Wachtveitl, U Nopp-Mayr, J Szwagrzyk, and Charles D. Canham. (FEB) 2022. “Does Fine Scale Spatiotemporal Variation In Seed Rain Translate Into Plant Population Structure?”. Oikos 2022 (2). doi:10.1111/oik.08826.
Martin, P. H., and Charles D. Canham. 2020. “Peaks In Frequency, But Not Relative Abundance, Occur In The Center Of Tree Species Distributions On Climate Gradients”. Ecosphere 11 (6). Wiley. doi:10.1002/ecs2.3149.
Canham, Charles D. 2020. Forests Adrift: Currents Shaping The Future Of Northeastern Trees. The Future Series. Yale University Press.
Canham, Charles D., Lora Murphy, R. Riemann, Richard McCullough, and Elizabeth Burrill. 2018. “Local Differentiation In Tree Growth Responses To Climate”. Ecosphere 9 (8): e02368. doi:10.1002/ecs2.2368.
Coates, K.D., Erin Hall, and Charles D. Canham. 2018. “Susceptibility Of Trees To Windthrow Storm Damage In Partially Harvested Complex-Structured Multi-Species Forests”. Forests 9 (4): 199. doi:10.3390/f9040199.
Ostfeld, Richard S., Taal Levi, Felicia Keesing, Kelly M. Oggenfuss, and Charles D. Canham. 2018. “Tick-Borne Disease Risk In A Forest Food Web”. Ecology 99 (7): 1562 - 1573. doi:10.1002/ecy.2386.
Brown, Michelle L., Charles D. Canham, Lora Murphy, and Therese M. Donovan. 2018. “Timber Harvest As The Predominant Disturbance Regime In Northeastern U.s. Forests: Effects Of Harvest Intensification”. Ecosphere 9 (3): e02062. doi:10.1002/ecs2.2062.
Buechling, Arne, P. H. Martin, and Charles D. Canham. 2017. “Climate And Competition Effects On Tree Growth In Rocky Mountain Forests”. Journal Of Ecology 105 (6): 1636 - 1647. doi:10.1111/1365-2745.12782.
Canham, Charles D., and Lora Murphy. 2017. “The Demography Of Tree Species Response To Climate: Sapling And Canopy Tree Survival”. Ecosphere 8 (2): e01701. doi:10.1002/ecs2.1701.
Bigelow, S. W., and Charles D. Canham. 2017. “Neighborhood-Scale Analyses Of Non-Additive Species Effects On Cation Concentrations In Forest Soils”. Ecosystems 20 (7): 1351 - 1363. doi:10.1007/s10021-017-0116-1.
Thompson, Jonathan R., Charles D. Canham, Luca Morreale, David B. Kittredge, and Brett Butler. 2017. “Social And Biophysical Variation In Regional Timber Harvest Regimes”. Ecological Applications 27 (3211013): 942 - 955. doi:10.1002/eap.1497.
Schnurr, Jaclyn L., and Charles D. Canham. 2016. “Linkages Among Canopy Tree Neighbourhoods, Small Mammal Herbivores And Herbaceous Communities In Temperate Forests”. Journal Of Vegetation Science 27 (5): 980 - 986. doi:10.1111/jvs.2016.27.issue-510.1111/jvs.12437.
Lovett, Gary M., Marissa Weiss, Andrew M. Liebhold, Thomas P. Holmes, Brian Leung, Kathleen F. Lambert, David A. Orwig, et al. 2016. “Nonnative Forest Insects And Pathogens In The United States: Impacts And Policy Options”. Ecological Applications 26 (5): 1437 - 1455. doi:10.1890/15-1176.
Buechling, Arne, P. H. Martin, Charles D. Canham, Wayne D. Shepperd, and Mike A. Battaglia. 2016. “Climate Drivers Of Seed Production In Picea Engelmannii And Response To Warming Temperatures In The Southern Rocky Mountains”. Journal Of Ecology 104 (4): 1051 - 1062. doi:10.1111/1365-2745.12572.
Canham, Charles D., and Lora Murphy. 2016. “The Demography Of Tree Species Response To Climate: Sapling And Canopy Tree Growth”. Ecosphere 7 (10): e01474. doi:10.1002/ecs2.1474.
Canham, Charles D., and Lora Murphy. 2016. “The Demography Of Tree Species Response To Climate: Seedling Recruitment And Survival”. Ecosphere 7 (8): e01424. doi:10.1002/ecs2.1424.
Forsyth, David M., Deborah J. Wilson, Tomas A. Easdale, Georges Kunstler, Charles D. Canham, Wendy A. Ruscoe, Elaine F. Wright, et al. 2015. “Century-Scale Effects Of Invasive Deer And Rodents On The Dynamics Of Forests Growing On Soils Of Contrasting Fertility”. Ecological Monographs 85 (2): 157 - 180. doi:10.1890/14-0389.110.1890/

Authored posts