John Aber, Ph.D.

John Aber, Ph.D.

Program Coordinator for Environmental Sciences, Professor


Most of my research is now in the area of sustainable ecosystem management, applying concepts learned over 30 years in the study of native forest ecosystems to managed woodlots and pastures.  One active project focuses on the nutrient and energy balances of the UNH’s first-in-the-nation Organic Dairy Research Farm.  The goal of the project is to reduce dependence on external sources of energy and bedding, reduce the farm’s environmental footprint, and using static pile, aerobic composting techniques to generate heat energy for use on the farm.  With USDA and AES support, the project is focused on providing research opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students, and also maintains close ties with external stakeholders. This work is part of an overall approach to measuring and monitoring the Nitrogen footprint of the University and assessing the value of Life Cycle Analysis in determining environmental impacts.


  • 1976 Ph.D. Yale University, Department of Forestry and Environmental Studies
  • 1973 M.F.S. Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
  • 1971 B.S. Computer Science, Yale College, Department of Engineering and Applied Science

 Teaching Responsibilities

  • NR 403: Introduction to Environmental Science
  • NR 502: Forest Ecosystems and Environmental Change



Selected Publications(from a total of 232)

Aber, J.D., T. Kelly and B. Mallory (eds.). 2009. The Sustainable Learning Community: One University's Journey to the Future. University Press of England. 267pp.

Foster, D.R. and J.D. Aber (eds.). 2004. Forests in Time: The Environmental Consequences of 1000 Years of Change in New England. Yale University Press, New Haven. 477pp.

Aber, J.D. 2001and J.M. Jelilo. 2001. Terrestrial Ecosystems (2nd Ed.) Academic Press. 556pp.

Peer Reviewed Papers:

Richardson, A.D., D.Y. Hollinger, J.D. Aber, S.V. Ollinger and B.H. Braswell. 2007. Environmental Variation is directly responsible for short- but not long-term variation in forest-atmosphere carbon exchange. Global Change Biology 13:788-803    

Chapin, III, F.S., G.M Woodwell, J.T. Randerson, G.M. Lovett, E.B. Rastetter, G.M. Lovett, D.D. Baldocchi, D.A. Clark, M.E. Harmon, D.S. Schimel, R. Valentini, C. Wirth, J.D. Aber, J.J. Cole, M.L. Goulden, J.W. Harden, M. Heimann, R.W. Howarth, P.A. Matson, A.D. McGuire, J.M. Melillo, H.A. Mooney, J.C. Neff, R.A. Houghton, M.L. Pace, M.G. Ryan, S.W. Running, O.E. Sala, W.H. Schlesinger, E.-D. Schulze. 2006. Reconciling Carbon-Cycle Concepts, Terminology, and Methodology. Ecosystems 9:1041-1050

Fahey, T.J., T.G. Siccama, C.T. Driscoll, G.E. Likens, J. Campbell, C.E. Johnson, J.J. Battles, J.D. Aber, J.J. Cole, M.C. Fisk, P.M. Groffman, S.P. Hamburg, R.T. Holmes, P.A. Schwarz, R.D. Yanai. 2005. The Biogeochemistry of Carbon at Hubbard Brook. Biogeochemistry 75:109-175

Aber, J.D. and A.H. Magill. 2004. Chronic Nitrogen Additions at the Harvard Forest: The First Fifteen Years of a Nitrogen Saturation Experiment. Forest Ecology and Management 196:1-6

Magill,A.H., J.D. Aber, W. Currie, K.J. Nadelhoffer, M.E. Martin, W.H. McDowell, J.M. Melillo and P. Steudler. 2004. Ecosystem Response to 15 years of Chronic Nitrogen Additions at the Harvard Forest LTER, Massachusetts, USA. Forest Ecology and Management 196:7-28

Galloway, J.N., J.D. Aber, J.W. Erisman, S.P. Seitzinger, R.H. Howarth, E.B. Cowling and B.J. Cosby. 2003. The Nitrogen Cascade. Bioscience 53:341356

Aber, J.D., C.L. Goodale, S.V. Ollinger, M.-L. Smith, A.H. Magill, M.E. Martin, J.L. Stoddard. 2003. Is nitrogen altering the nitrogen status of northeastern forests? BioScience 53:375-390

Aber, J.D., S.V. Ollinger, C.T. Driscoll, G.E. Likens, R.T. Holmes, R.J. Freuder, and C.L. Goodale 2002. Inorganic N losses from a forested ecosystem in response to physical, chemical, biotic and climatic perturbations. Ecosystems 5:648-658

Aber, J.D. 2001. Reaching Scientific Consensus and Informing Public Policy. BioScience 51:699

Aber, J.D.., W.H. McDowell, K.J. Nadelhoffer, A. Magill, G. Berntson, M. Kamakea, S.G. McNulty, W. Currie, L. Rustad and I. Fernandez. 1998. Nitrogen saturation in temperate forest ecosystems: hypotheses revisited. BioScience 48:921-934


Selected Service Activities

  • U.S. National Assessment: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change Forest Sector - Co-Chair (1998-2001)
  • Program Review Panel, Sustainable Forest Management Program, Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research, Sweden (May, 2000)
  • National Research Council Committee on the Future of Biosphere Dynamics (2002)
  • NSF-IGERT Site Review - University of Michigan Biological Research Station (2002)
  • National Research Council - Report Review - "Funding Smithsonian Research" (2002)
  • National Research Council Committee on NEON - A National Ecological Observation Network (2003)
  • National Research Council Committee on “The Geological Record of Ecological Dynamics” (2002-2005)
  • Lund University, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Thesis Opponent (March, 2006)
  • National Ecological Observing Network (NEON) – Board of Directors (2006-8)
  • University Press of New England, Board of Governors (2009-)
  • Board of Trustees, University of New Hampshire School of Law (2010-)
  • Yale University, President' Council - Member (2011-2014)
    Chair, Council Review Committee on the School of Forestry and Env. Studies
Dr. John Aber
Nesmith Hall - Room 126
Durham, NH 03824