Forest Ecology

The Forest Ecology Program focuses on understanding our dynamic world, engaging learners of all ages in field-based research, and developing effective stewardship responses to global change threats.

Director of Forest Ecology, Dr. Nicholas A. Fisichelli


Advancing interdisciplinary field-based forest research, controlled experiments, and systems modeling.


Leading participatory field studies, discovery, and observations of the natural world.


Facilitating effective resource stewardship through science and decision-making support.

Interested in doing forest research with Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park?

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Latest Projects


Common Campus Tree Experiment

How will the forests of Maine look in the future? Which tree species will thrive and which may decline? Will we continue to see a spruce and fir dominated landscape in the north and Downeast or will more warm-adapted species such as oaks, maples, and cherry overtake the forest?




The Schoodic Spruce Citizen Science Project

How will the forests of Acadia and Maine look in the future? Which tree species will thrive and which may decline? Will we continue to see a red spruce dominated landscape or will more warm-adapted species such as oaks, maples, and birches overtake the forest? These are some of the science questions we’re pursuing at Schoodic Institute. Join in the science and help us discover solutions.



Cadillac Mountain Restoration

Vegetation restoration experiment testing methods to re-establish plants on eroded areas of Cadillac Mountain summit (1530’).





Acadia Island Forests

Assessing forest change on Acadia National Park islands by resampling forest monitoring plots established around 25 years ago on eight islands.





Tree Test Beds

Examining tree seedling responses of northern and southern tree species within common gardens along a climate gradient in coastal Maine.




Schoodic to Schoodic Forests

Observational studies of tree seedling dynamics across a coastal to inland climate gradient.





Forest Biodiversity

What species are found in our forests, how does biodiversity above, and below ground relate?




Recent Publications

Alexandra J. Wright; Nicholas A. Fisichelli; Cindy Buschena; Karen Rice; Roy Rich; Artur Stefanski; Rebecca Montgomery; Peter B. Reich. 2018  Biodiversity bottleneck: seedling establishment under changing climatic conditions at the boreal–temperate ecotone    –   Journal of Plant Ecology

Janowiak, Maria K.; D’Amato, Anthony W.; Swanston, Christopher W.; Iverson, Louis; Thompson, Frank R.; Dijak, William D.; Matthews, Stephen; Peters, Matthew P.; Prasad, Anantha; Fraser, Jacob S.; Brandt, Leslie A.; Butler-Leopold, Patricia; Handler, Stephen D.; Shannon, P. Danielle; Burbank, Diane; Campbell, John; Cogbill, Charles; Duveneck, Matthew J.; Emery, Marla R.; Fisichelli, Nicholas; Foster, Jane; Hushaw, Jennifer; Kenefic, Laura; Mahaffey, Amanda; Morelli, Toni Lyn; Reo, Nicholas J.; Schaberg, Paul G.; Simmons, K. Rogers; Weiskittel, Aaron; Wilmot, Sandy; Hollinger, David; Lane, Erin; Rustad, Lindsey; Templer, Pamela H. New England and Northern New York Forest Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis: A Report from the New England Climate Change Response Framework Project. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-173. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 234 p.

Fisichelli, N., Miller, K. 2017. Weeds, worms, and deer: positive relationships among common forest understory stressors. Biological Invasions.

Middleton B., Boudell J., Fisichelli N. 2017. Using management to address vegetation stress related to land-use and climate change. Restoration Ecology. doi: 10.1111/rec.12507

Thakur M., Reich P., Wagg C., Fisichelli N., Ciobanu M., Hobbie S., Rich R., Stefanski A., Eisenhauer N. 2016. Effects of soil warming history on the performances of congeneric temperate and boreal herbaceous plant species and their associations with soil biota. Journal of Plant Ecology: doi:10.1093/jpe/rtw066.

Monahan W., Rosemartin A., Gerst K., Fisichelli N., Ault T., Schwartz M., Gross J., Weltzin J. 2016. Climate change is advancing spring onset across the US national park system. Ecosphere 7(10):e01465. 10.1002/ecs2.1465.

Craven D., Thakur M., Cameron E., Frelich L., Beausejour R., Blair R., Blossey B., Burtis J., Choi A., Davalos A., Fahey T., Fisichelli N., Gibson K., Handa I., Hopfensperger K., Loss S., Nuzzo V., Maerz J., Sackett T., Scharenboch B., Smith S., Vellend M., Umek L., Eisenhauer N. 2016. The unseen invaders: introduced earthworms as drivers of change in plant communities in North American forests (a meta-analysis). Global Change Biology: doi:10.111/gcb.13446.

Fisichelli N., Schuurman G., Hoffman C.H. 2016. Is ‘resilience’ maladaptive? Towards an accurate lexicon for climate change adaptation. Environmental Management 57(4): 753-758.

See full list of publications here 


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