Alan Taylor

Affiliate Researcher
Titles and Affiliations
Professor, Geography

Research Summary

I have broad research interests in ecological biogeography and vegetation dynamics, particularly the role of natural and human disturbance and climate variation on forest dynamics. Much of my recent research has focused on identifying the influence of changes and interactions of land-use history and climate on fire disturbance and forest conditions in the western United States. I address theoretical and applied questions in my research and use a wide range of methodological approaches, including tree ring analysis, spatial analysis, statistical modeling, simulation modeling, and historical ecology. I have also conducted research on the dynamics of subalpine bamboo forests with giant pandas in southwest China and on highland bamboo forests in mountain gorilla habitats in the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda. At Penn State, I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in Global Ecology and Biogeography, Geographical Ecology, Forest Geography, Landscape Ecology, Vegetation Dynamics, and Invasive Species.

In the News

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Recent Publications

Reduced fire severity offers near-term buffer to climate-driven declines in conifer resilience across the western United States

Davis, K. T., Robles, M. D., Kemp, K. B., Higuera, P. E., Chapman, T., Metlen, K. L., Peeler, J. L., Rodman, K. C., Woolley, T., Addington, R. N., Buma, B. J., Cansler, C. A., Case, M. J., Collins, B. M., Coop, J. D., Dobrowski, S. Z., Gill, N. S., Haffey, C., Harris, L. B., Harvey, B. J., & 43 othersHaugo, R. D., Hurteau, M. D., Kulakowski, D., Littlefield, C. E., McCauley, L. A., Povak, N., Shive, K. L., Smith, E., Stevens, J. T., Stevens-Rumann, C. S., Taylor, A. H., Tepley, A. J., Young, D. J. N., Andrus, R. A., Battaglia, M. A., Berkey, J. K., Busby, S. U., Carlson, A. R., Chambers, M. E., Dodson, E. K., Donato, D. C., Downing, W. M., Fornwalt, P. J., Halofsky, J. S., Hoffman, A., Holz, A., Iniguez, J. M., Krawchuk, M. A., Kreider, M. R., Larson, A. J., Meigs, G. W., Roccaforte, J. P., Rother, M. T., Safford, H., Schaedel, M., Sibold, J. S., Singleton, M. P., Turner, M. G., Urza, A. K., Clark-Wolf, K. D., Yocom, L., Fontaine, J. B. & Campbell, J. L., Mar 8 2023, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 120, 11, e2208120120.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Humans and climate modulate fire activity across Ethiopia

Harris, L. B., Taylor, A. H., Kassa, H., Leta, S. & Powell, B., Dec 2023, In: Fire Ecology. 19, 1, 15.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Species Sensitivity to Hydrologic Whiplash in The Tree-Ring Record of the High Sierra Nevada

Winitsky, A. G., Meko, D. M., Taylor, A. H. & Biondi, F., Jan 2023, In: Environments - MDPI. 10, 1, 12.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Changes in fire behavior caused by fire exclusion and fuel build-up vary with topography in California montane forests, USA

Airey-Lauvaux, C., Pierce, A. D., Skinner, C. N. & Taylor, A. H., Feb 15 2022, In: Journal of Environmental Management. 304, 114255.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Vegetation type conversion in the US Southwest: frontline observations and management responses

Guiterman, C. H., Gregg, R. M., Marshall, L. A. E., Beckmann, J. J., van Mantgem, P. J., Falk, D. A., Keeley, J. E., Caprio, A. C., Coop, J. D., Fornwalt, P. J., Haffey, C., Hagmann, R. K., Jackson, S. T., Lynch, A. M., Margolis, E. Q., Marks, C., Meyer, M. D., Safford, H., Syphard, A. D., Taylor, A., & 8 othersWilcox, C., Carril, D., Enquist, C. A. F., Huffman, D., Iniguez, J., Molinari, N. A., Restaino, C. & Stevens, J. T., Dec 2022, In: Fire Ecology. 18, 1, 6.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

MODIS-based smoke detection shows that daily smoke cover dampens fire severity in initial burns but not reburns in complex terrain

Harris, L. B. & Taylor, A. H., 2022, (Accepted/In press) In: International Journal of Wildland Fire.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

The North American tree-ring fire-scar network

Margolis, E. Q., Guiterman, C. H., Chavardès, R. D., Coop, J. D., Copes-Gerbitz, K., Dawe, D. A., Falk, D. A., Johnston, J. D., Larson, E., Li, H., Marschall, J. M., Naficy, C. E., Naito, A. T., Parisien, M. A., Parks, S. A., Portier, J., Poulos, H. M., Robertson, K. M., Speer, J. H., Stambaugh, M., & 67 othersSwetnam, T. W., Tepley, A. J., Thapa, I., Allen, C. D., Bergeron, Y., Daniels, L. D., Fulé, P. Z., Gervais, D., Girardin, M. P., Harley, G. L., Harvey, J. E., Hoffman, K. M., Huffman, J. M., Hurteau, M. D., Johnson, L. B., Lafon, C. W., Lopez, M. K., Maxwell, R. S., Meunier, J., North, M., Rother, M. T., Schmidt, M. R., Sherriff, R. L., Stachowiak, L. A., Taylor, A., Taylor, E. J., Trouet, V., Villarreal, M. L., Yocom, L. L., Arabas, K. B., Arizpe, A. H., Arseneault, D., Tarancón, A. A., Baisan, C., Bigio, E., Biondi, F., Cahalan, G. D., Caprio, A., Cerano-Paredes, J., Collins, B. M., Dey, D. C., Drobyshev, I., Farris, C., Fenwick, M. A., Flatley, W., Floyd, M. L., Gedalof, Z., Holz, A., Howard, L. F., Huffman, D. W., Iniguez, J., Kipfmueller, K. F., Kitchen, S. G., Lombardo, K., McKenzie, D., Merschel, A. G., Metlen, K. L., Minor, J., O'Connor, C. D., Platt, L., Platt, W. J., Saladyga, T., Stan, A. B., Stephens, S., Sutheimer, C., Touchan, R. & Weisberg, P. J., Jul 2022, In: Ecosphere. 13, 7, e4159.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Interpretable machine learning for analysing heterogeneous drivers of geographic events in space-time

Masrur, A., Yu, M., Mitra, P., Peuquet, D. & Taylor, A., 2022, In: International Journal of Geographical Information Science. 36, 4, p. 692-719 28 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Topography, Climate and Fire History Regulate Wildfire Activity in the Alaskan Tundra

Masrur, A., Taylor, A., Harris, L., Barnes, J. & Petrov, A., Mar 2022, In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences. 127, 3, e2021JG006608.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Low-Severity Wildfire Shifts Mixed Conifer Forests toward Historical Stand Structure in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas, USA

Sakulich, J., Poulos, H. M., Gatewood, R. G., Wogan, K. A., Marks, C. & Taylor, A. H., Aug 2022, In: Fire. 5, 4, 119.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Severity patterns of the 2021 Dixie Fire exemplify the need to increase low-severity fire treatments in California's forests

Taylor, A. H., Harris, L. B. & Skinner, C. N., Jul 1 2022, In: Environmental Research Letters. 17, 7, 071002.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Public and manager perceptions about prescribed fire in the Mid-Atlantic, United States

Wu, H., Miller, Z. D., Wang, R., Zipp, K. Y., Newman, P., Shr, Y. H., Dems, C. L., Taylor, A., Kaye, M. W. & Smithwick, E. A. H., Nov 15 2022, In: Journal of Environmental Management. 322, 116100.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Precipitation alters the CO2 effect on water-use efficiency of temperate forests

Belmecheri, S., Maxwell, R. S., Taylor, A. H., Davis, K. J., Guerrieri, R., Moore, D. J. P. & Rayback, S. A., Apr 2021, In: Global Change Biology. 27, 8, p. 1560-1571 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Prescribed fire alters structure and composition of a mid-Atlantic oak forest up to eight years after burning

Dems, C. L., Taylor, A. H., Smithwick, E. A. H., Kreye, J. K. & Kaye, M. W., Dec 2021, In: Fire Ecology. 17, 1, 10.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Evidence for widespread changes in the structure, composition, and fire regimes of western North American forests

Hagmann, R. K., Hessburg, P. F., Prichard, S. J., Povak, N. A., Brown, P. M., Fulé, P. Z., Keane, R. E., Knapp, E. E., Lydersen, J. M., Metlen, K. L., Reilly, M. J., Sánchez Meador, A. J., Stephens, S. L., Stevens, J. T., Taylor, A. H., Yocom, L. L., Battaglia, M. A., Churchill, D. J., Daniels, L. D., Falk, D. A., & 10 othersHenson, P., Johnston, J. D., Krawchuk, M. A., Levine, C. R., Meigs, G. W., Merschel, A. G., North, M. P., Safford, H. D., Swetnam, T. W. & Waltz, A. E. M., Dec 2021, In: Ecological Applications. 31, 8, e02431.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review