John Aber

Phone: (603) 862-3045
Office: Natural Resources & the Environment, Nesmith Hall Rm 126, Durham, NH 03824
john aber

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.


  • Ph.D., Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University
  • M.F.S., Yale University
  • B.S., Computer Science, Yale University

Courses Taught

  • NR 400: Professional Perspective NR
  • NR 403: Intro to Environmental Science
  • NR 502: Forest Ecosyst & Environ Chang
  • NR 791: Proj/Environmental Science I
  • NR 795W: Investigations/Vernal Pools

Selected Publications

Smith, M. M., Park, C. J., Andam, C. P., & Aber, J. D. (2018). Utilization of Low Grade Wood for Use as Animal Bedding: A Case Study of Eastern Hemlock. Journal of Forestry, 116(6), 520-528. doi:10.1093/jofore/fvy040

Smith, M. M., & Aber, J. D. (2018). Energy recovery from commercial-scale composting as a novel waste management strategy. Applied Energy, 211, 194-199. doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.11.006

Smith, M. M., Aber, J. D., & Rynk, R. (2017). Heat Recovery from Composting: A Comprehensive Review of System Design, Recovery Rate, and Utilization. Compost Science & Utilization, 25(sup1), S11-S22. doi:10.1080/1065657x.2016.1233082

McNulty, S. G., Boggs, J. L., Aber, J. D., & Rustad, L. E. (2017). Spruce-fir forest changes during a 30-year nitrogen saturation experiment. Science of The Total Environment, 605-606, 376-390. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.06.147

Smith, M. M., Simms, C. L., & Aber, J. D. (2017). Case Study: Animal bedding cost and somatic cell count across New England dairy farms: Relationship with bedding material, housing type, herd size, and management system. The Professional Animal Scientist, 33(5), 616-626. doi:10.15232/pas.2016-01601

Galloway, J. N., Aber, J. D., Erisman, J. W., Seitzinger, S. P., Howarth, R. W., Cowling, E. B., & Cosby, B. J. (2003). The nitrogen cascade. BIOSCIENCE, 53(4), 341-356. doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2003)053[0341:TNC]2.0.CO;2

Vitousek, P. M., Aber, J. D., Howarth, R. W., Likens, G. E., Matson, P. A., Schindler, D. W., . . . Tilman, D. G. (1997). Technical Report: Human Alteration of the Global Nitrogen Cycle: Sources and Consequences. Ecological Applications, 7(3), 737. doi:10.2307/2269431

Vitousek, P. M., Aber, J. D., Howarth, R. W., Likens, G. E., Matson, P. A., Schindler, D. W., . . . Tilman, D. G. (1997). HUMAN ALTERATION OF THE GLOBAL NITROGEN CYCLE: SOURCES AND CONSEQUENCES. Ecological Applications, 7(3), 737-750. doi:10.1890/1051-0761(1997)007[0737:haotgn];2

Aber, J. D., Nadelhoffer, K. J., Steudler, P., & Melillo, J. M. (1989). Nitrogen Saturation in Northern Forest Ecosystems. BioScience, 39(6), 378-386. doi:10.2307/1311067

Melillo, J. M., Aber, J. D., & Muratore, J. F. (1982). Nitrogen and Lignin Control of Hardwood Leaf Litter Decomposition Dynamics. Ecology, 63(3), 621-626. doi:10.2307/1936780

Most Cited Publications