John S. Gunn, Ph.D.

John S. Gunn, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor


  • Forest management planning for climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • Carbon dynamics of managed and old-growth forests
  • Forest sector life cycle greenhouse gas emissions accounting
  • Measuring and monitoring the benefits of forest conservation incentives such as ecosystem markets and third party certification
  • Old forest restoration and conservation
  • Invasive species impacts on forest ecosystem services

Current & Recent Research Projects

  • Invasive plant impacts on New Hampshire forest ecosystem services. Invasive non-native plants lead to significant financial and ecological damage to forest systems and are likely to increase in scale and severity under a warming New Hampshire climate. Ecosystem services such as timber product outputs and carbon sequestration can be influenced by non-native plant invasions and present challenges to forest managers. Outcomes of this project will provide a statewide assessment of the status and distribution of invasive plant species throughout New Hampshire that pose the greatest threat to forest systems. The project will also provide an evaluation and quantification of the stand- and landscape-level factors that increase forest resistance to colonization by invasive plants. Based on these factors, management best practice guidelines will be produced to help foresters and landowners minimize the risk of invasive plant species invasion into native forest stands.  This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, McIntire-Stennis Project #1010675


  • Silvicultural Strategies for Mitigating Northern Forest Carbon Reversal Due To Spruce Budworm (SBW). The goal of this project is to provide concrete guidance on silvicultural options for mitigating an anticipated SBW outbreak in the Northern Forest region, with particular attention to the C consequences of those options and the risk of disturbance-initiated C reversal.  Supporting objectives include: 1) Develop projections of future forest and wood-in-use C pools for FIA plots and re-measured old-growth plots in the Northern Forest region, under alternative management strategies and SBW attack outcomes; 2) Evaluate the influence of initial stand conditions and probability of SBW attack on optimal C strategies and the tradeoffs associated with alternative choices; and, 3) Assess the carbon offset market transaction feasibility of implementing strategies for avoiding or mitigating SBW-associated C reversal. Lead PI is Dr. Mark Ducey (UNH). This work is supported by a grant from the Northeastern States Research Cooperative.


  • Synthesis of Net Carbon Impacts of Biomass Energy Development in the Northern Forest. Outcomes of this project will be a review of the peer-reviewed and gray literature on net carbon impacts of forest biomass energy from temperate forest regions around the world, in part because of gaps in research specific to the Northern Forest region. The primary objective is to synthesize that work in the context of the unique ecological, social and economic conditions of the Northern Forest. Lead PI is Dr. Charles Canham (Cary Institute). This work is supported by a grant from the Northeastern States Research Cooperative.



  • 2004 Ph.D. Biology, University of New Brunswick
  • 1996 M.F.S. Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University
  • 1991 B.S. Wildlife Management, University of Maine      

Selected Publications

Cheng, A.S., R.J. Gutierrez, S. Cashen, D.R. Becker, J.S. Gunn, A. Merrill, D. Ganz, M. Liquori, D. Saah, and W. Price. 2016. Is there a place for legislating collaborative forestry? Examining the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act Pilot Project. Journal of Forestry 114 (4): 494-504.

Buchholz, T., M.D. Hurteau, J.S. Gunn, and D.S. Saah. 2016. A global meta-analysis of forest bioenergy greenhouse gas emission accounting studies. Global Change Biology – Bioenergy 8(2):281-289

Matzek, V., C. Puleston, and J.S. Gunn. 2015. Can carbon credits fund riparian forest restoration? Restoration Ecology 23(1): 7-14.

Gunn, J.S., M.J. Ducey, and A.A. Whitman. 2014. Late-Successional and Old-Growth Forest Carbon Temporal Dynamics in the Northern Forest (Northeastern USA). Forest Ecology and Management 312: 40–46.

Ducey, M.J., J.S. Gunn, and A.A. Whitman. 2013. Late-Successional and Old-Growth Forests in the Northeastern United States:  Structure, Dynamics, and Prospects for Restoration. Forests 4(4): 1055-1086. (in Special Issue: Forest Restoration and Regeneration)

Hennigar, C., L. Amos-Binks, R. Cameron, J.S. Gunn, D.A. MacLean, and M. Twery. 2013. ForGATE - A Forest-sector GHG Assessment Tool for Maine: Calibration and Overview. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-116. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 54pp.

Walker, T., P. Cardellichio, J.S. Gunn, D. Saah, and J.M. Hagan. 2013. Carbon Accounting for Woody Biomass from Massachusetts (USA) Managed Forests: A Framework for Determining the Temporal Impacts of Wood Biomass Energy on Atmospheric Greenhouse Gas Levels. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 32 (1-2): 130-158.

Gunn, J.S., D. Ganz, W.S. Keeton. 2012. Biogenic vs. geologic carbon emissions and forest biomass energy production. Global Change Biology – Bioenergy 4: 239-242.

Gunn, J.S., D. Saah, K. Fernholz, D. Ganz. 2011. Carbon Credit Eligibility under Area Regulation of Harvest Levels in Northern Minnesota. Forest Science 57(6): 470-478.

Betts, M.G., A.W. Diamond, G.J. Forbes, M.-A. Villard, and J. Gunn. 2006. The importance of spatial autocorrelation, extent and resolution in predicting forest bird occurrence. Ecological Modelling 191: 197-224.

Gunn, J.S., A. Desrochers, M.-A. Villard, J. Bourque, and J. Ibarzabal. 2000. Playbacks of mobbing calls of black-capped chickadees as a method to estimate reproductive activity of forest birds. Journal of Field Ornithology 71(3): 472-483.

Gunn, J.S., and J.M. Hagan. 2000. Woodpecker abundance and tree use in uneven-aged managed, and unmanaged, forest in northern Maine. Forest Ecology and Management 126: 1-12.

John Gunn
210 Nesmith Hall