Neil Pederson

Neil Pederson grew up in snow-bound central NY State and spent much time in the Adirondack Mountains. Between his B.S. and M.S. degrees in forest ecology, he worked in the longleaf pine forests of southern Georgia, hardwood forests of northern Vermont and then forests of Mongolia and Russia before focusing on eastern U.S. forests for his dissertation. Neil taught at Eastern Kentucky University for five years in the department of biological sciences before becoming a research scientist at the Tree Ring Laboratory of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Columbia University. His primary research interest is the interaction between climate and forest dynamics in diverse, temperate forests and has initiated research the broadleaf forests of the eastern US, Turkey, and Bhutan.

Recent Posts

This section of Clausland Mountain is diverse - we counted >15 tree species without trying. Photo: N. Pederson

Fire on the Mountain, Fire in the ‘Burbs

I walked out of the house Thursday morning when my nose detected it – a forest fire! Having worked for two years in the piney woods of southwest Georgia, I had become accustomed to and, actually, come to love forest fires. That classic line kept coming into my mind, “the scent of fire in the morning reminds me of healthy forests.”

by |November 20, 2013
A deluge during the Long Rain of June 2013 at Black Rock Forest. Photo: N. Pederson

The Pluvial Continues… Has the Long Rain Epoch Begun?

Daily comparisons on TV or other media sources are typically based upon recent climate and ignore the past. Dased upon paleo records, the full picture indicates that we are sitting in one of the more unusually wet periods of the last 500 years.

by |September 15, 2013
Ana paying great attention to her inquisitor. Photo: N. Pederson

Out of the Woods

When we walked into the Sheraton in Springfield, Massachusetts we were greeted by none other than a wall full of cross sections from trees perfectly sanded to reveal the rings. “No way” I say. “I forgot the camera!” says Neil. We were just walking into the Northeast Natural History Conference, along with Dario and Jackie from the Tree Ring Lab. When I pictured my freshman year of college last summer, I pictured a lot of things. I did not picture getting to go to a conference to present a poster on my own research.

by |May 6, 2013
Microsnails on the Honest Abe - can you find the 28 microsnails? Image: D. Douglas

‘Are You Using This Idea for Your Thesis Research?’ [UPDATE]

“Are you using this idea for your thesis research?”

I heard this as I stood in front of a classroom full of old-growth forest ecology students. The question had come from Neil Pederson, who was sitting directly in front of me. He was asking this question because I had just spent the past 12 minutes discussing the intricacies of land snail biology and ecology that would make them great organisms to use for ecological modeling in regards to disturbance.

by |February 28, 2013
Glade and Jacob in front of 512 year old tuliptree, aka tulip-poplar. Photo: N. Pederson

Epic Wetness in Greater NYC, and What Broadleaf Trees Have to Say About It

2012 is turning out to be an exceptional year in the eastern US. Starting out with what was essentially a #YearWithoutaWinter, followed by a heat wave in March, a hot summer, Macoun and Cortland apples coming in 2-3 weeks early, and the continuation of a severe drought in the Southern US that expanded into the Midwest… read more

by |September 6, 2012
Massive black cherry & field crue. Photo: N. Pederson

Brief Broadleaf Forest Happenings: tulip goodness, delighted about Turkey, and drought

I have to call myself out. Earlier I had professed to being a former coniferphile. That was, of course, silly. I like coniferous trees very much. Half of my business is made from this lovely branch of the tree family. This introduction is a lead in to say that this blog will be quieter while… read more

by |July 29, 2012
The new Chinggis Khaan statue, Photo: U. Aria

Chasing Ghengis Khan

Once you, as an outsider, spend considerable time in Mongolia, especially during Naadam and especially in the open Gobi steppe with people who still live as their ancestors did centuries ago, you will also begin to chase Chinggis Khaan.

by |July 19, 2012
View from the Murgul Mountains, Turkey (N. Pederson)

Finally – Some true Turkish Delight! Discovery of some tasty oaks

After a few days of mild frustration, the sampling of potentially old umbrella pine lifted our spirits and put us in a good frame of mind to conduct our last day of research in the temperate rainforest region of northeastern Turkey. We headed out of Borçka and met with a forest officer in charge of forests… read more

by |June 17, 2012
Logs of Oriental beech as backdrop for the 'gangstas' of the Borçka Depot. Photo: N. Pederson

Tree-Ring Science in a Log Yard?

The cool, snowy weather really put a crimp in our plans. Dario, Tuncay, Cengis, and others spent two days trying to find potential sampling locations before Nesibe and I arrived. Even though it had been well above freezing during the day and above freezing at night, the snow had only retreated so far in the… read more

by |May 11, 2012
This Oriental beech is 164 centimeters in diameter (5 feet)

Maybe not the Turkey you imagine

Despite reading about these temperate rainforests, this is not the Turkey I imagined. This might not be the Turkey most people imagine. I’m really not sure what you envision when you think about Turkey. A dry, open landscape? That is what I thought.

by |May 5, 2012