Thomas T. Veblen

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Thomas Thorstein Veblen (born 15 November 1947) is an American forest ecologist and physical geographer known for his work on the ecology of Nothofagus (southern beech) forests in the Southern Hemisphere and on the ecology of conifer forests in the southern Rocky Mountains of the U.S.A. He is an Arts and Sciences College Professor of Distinction at University of Colorado at Boulder, USA (2006).



Veblen’s research focuses on disturbance ecology in the contexts of climate change and human impacts on temperate forest ecosystems in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. From 1975-79 he was professor of plant ecology in the Forestry School of the Austral University in Valdivia, Chile where he initiated pioneering research on the disturbance ecology and regeneration dynamics of Nothofagus forests. One of his early achievements was the unravelling of how repeated coarse-scale disturbances related mostly to tectonic events control the dynamics of forests in the Andes of southern Chile. [1] His early work developed a conceptual framework which was seminal to the shift from equilibrium to non-equilibrium paradigms in ecology in the 1980s. His early work defined a research agenda for multiple generations of forest ecologists in southern Chile and Argentina including many internationally recognized research leaders who completed their doctoral training with Veblen. [2] His continuing work in the forests of Patagonian Chile and Argentina examines climatic influences on wildfire activity and the effects of introduced mammals on vegetation responses to fire. [3]

In the U.S. Rocky Mountains Veblen has published on the roles of wildfire, bark beetle outbreaks, and wind storms in the dynamics of conifer forests. [4] [5] He published one of the first quantitative studies of interacting disturbance by wildfire, snow avalanches, and bark beetle outbreaks. [6] Using tree ring methods he and his students have reconstructed multi-century records of bark beetle outbreaks and wildfires and related them to interannual climatic variability. [7] [8]

Professor Veblen held a postdoc fellowship with the Forest Research Institute of New Zealand from 1979 to 1981 where he conducted research on the disturbance ecology of beech and conifer forests and the effects of introduced mammals on tree mortality and regeneration in collaboration with Dr. Glenn H. Stewart of the Forest Research Institute. Their papers published in the early 1980s were pivotal to the adoption of non-equilibrium paradigms in plant ecology in New Zealand. [9] [10]

Honours and awards

In 1985 Veblen was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. Since 1991 Veblen is Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand. [11] In 1992 Veblen received an Honors in Research Award from the Association of American Geographers. In 2000, Veblen was the recipient of a "Carl O. Sauer Distinguished Scholar Award". [12] In 2008 Veblen was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. [13] [14] In 2017 Veblen received the title of Distinguished Professor, the highest honor bestowed by the University of Colorado on its faculty. [15]


Veblen was a co-editor of The Ecology and Biogeography of Nothofagus Forests, a book published by Yale University Press in March 1996. [16]

Related Research Articles

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Araucaria araucana, commonly called the monkey puzzle tree, monkey tail tree, piñonero, pewen or Chilean pine, is an evergreen tree growing to a trunk diameter of 1–1.5 m (3.3–4.9 ft) and a height of 30–40 m (98–131 ft). It is native to central and southern Chile and western Argentina. It is the hardiest species in the conifer genus Araucaria. Because of the prevalence of similar species in ancient prehistory, it is sometimes called a living fossil. It is also the national tree of Chile. Its conservation status was changed to Endangered by the IUCN in 2013 due to the dwindling population caused by logging, forest fires, and grazing.

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<i>Nothofagus</i> Genus of plants

Nothofagus, also known as the southern beeches, is a genus of 43 species of trees and shrubs native to the Southern Hemisphere in southern South America and east and southeast Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, and New Caledonia. The species are ecological dominants in many temperate forests in these regions. Some species are reportedly naturalised in Germany and Great Britain. The genus has a rich fossil record of leaves, cupules, and pollen, with fossils extending into the late Cretaceous period and occurring in Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica, and South America.

<i>Pinus contorta</i> Species of plant

Pinus contorta, with the common names lodgepole pine and shore pine, and also known as twisted pine, and contorta pine, is a common tree in western North America. It is common near the ocean shore and in dry montane forests to the subalpine, but is rare in lowland rain forests. Like all pines, it is an evergreen conifer.

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Gevuina avellana, is an evergreen tree, up to 20 meters tall. It is the only species currently classified in the genus Gevuina. It is native to southern Chile and adjacent valleys in Argentina. It is found from sea level to 700 meters above sea level. Its distribution extends from 35° to 44° south latitude. The composite leaves are bright green and toothed, and the tree is in flower between July and November. The flowers are very small and beige to whitish, are bisexual and group two by two in long racemes. The fruit is a dark red nut when young and turns black. The peel is woody. It can grow up straight or branched from the soil, making up either a tree or a shrub.

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  1. Veblen, Thomas; Donoso, Claudio; Schlegel, Federico; Escobar, Bernardo (1981). "Forest dynamics in south central Chile". Journal of Biogeography. 8 (3): 211–247. doi:10.2307/2844678. JSTOR   2844678.
  2. González, M.E., M. Amoroso, A. Lara, T.T. Veblen, C. Donoso, T. Kitzberger, I. Mundo, A. Holz, A. Casteller, J. Paritsis, A. Muñoz, M. L. Suárez. 2014. Ecología de disturbios y su influencia en los bosques templados de Chile y Argentina. Pages 411-502 in C. Donoso, M. E. González, A. Lara (eds). Ecología Forestal. Bases para el Manejo Sustentable y Conservación de los Bosques Nativos de Chile. Ediciones de La Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia.
  3. Veblen, T.T.; Holz, A.H.; Paritsis, J.; Raffaele, E.; Kitzberger, T.; Blackhall, M. (2011). "Adapting to global environmental change in Patagonia: What role for disturbance ecology?". Austral Ecology. 36 (8): 891–903. doi:10.1111/j.1442-9993.2010.02236.x. hdl: 11336/76727 .
  4. Veblen, T.T.; Hadley, K.S.; Reid, M.S.; Rebertus, A.J. (1991). "The response of subalpine forests to spruce beetle outbreak in Colorado". Ecology. 72 (1): 213–231. doi:10.2307/1938916. JSTOR   1938916.
  5. Veblen, T.T.; Kulakowski, D.; Eisenhart, K.S.; Baker, W.L. (2001). "Subalpine forest damage from a severe windstorm in northern Colorado". Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 31 (12): 2089–2097. doi:10.1139/cjfr-31-12-2089.
  6. Veblen, T.T.; Hadley, K.S.; Nel, E.M.; Kitzberger, T.; Reid, M.; Villalba, R. (1994). "Disturbance regime and disturbance interactions in a Rocky Mountain subalpine forest". Journal of Ecology. 82 (1): 125–135. doi:10.2307/2261392. JSTOR   2261392.
  7. Veblen, T. T.; Kitzberger, T.; Donnegan, J. (2000). "Climatic and human influences on fire regimes in ponderosa pine forests in the Colorado Front Range". Ecological Applications. 10 (4): 1178–1195. doi:10.2307/2641025. JSTOR   2641025.
  8. Hart, S.J.; Veblen, T.T.; Eisenhart, K.S.; Jarvis, D.; Kulakowski, D. (2014). "Drought induces spruce beetle (Dendroctonus rufipennis) outbreaks across northwestern Colorado". Ecology. 95 (4): 930–939. doi:10.1890/13-0230.1. PMID   24933812.
  9. Veblen, T. T.; Stewart, G. H. (1982). "On the conifer regeneration gap in New Zealand: the dynamics of Libocedrus bidwillii stands on South Island". Journal of Ecology. 70 (2): 413–436. doi:10.2307/2259912. JSTOR   2259912.
  10. Veblen, T. T.; Stewart, G. H. (1982). "The effects of introduced wild animals on New Zealand forests". Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 72 (3): 372–397. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8306.1982.tb01832.x.
  11. "List of Current Honorary Fellows of the Royal Society of New Zealand". The Royal Society of New Zealand. Royal Society of New Zealand . Retrieved November 10, 2015.
  12. Young, Kenneth R (2002). "Thomas T. Veblen: Recipient of the 2000 Carl O. Sauer Distinguished Scholar Award" (PDF). The Journal of Latin American Geography . Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  13. People on the move, Denver Post, December 30, 2008. Accessed November 10, 2015
  14. AAAS Fellows for 2008, American Association for the Advancement of Science. Accessed November 10, 2015
  15. "Interview with Tom Veblen, Distinguished Professor". 19 December 2017.
  16. "Yale University Press - The Ecology and Biogeography of Nothofagus Forests". Yale University Press . Retrieved 9 November 2015.