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 Universidad Austral 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] .

Carl O. Sauer American geographer

Carl Ortwin Sauer was an American geographer. Sauer was a professor of geography at the University of California at Berkeley from 1923 until becoming professor emeritus in 1957. He has been called "the dean of American historical geography" and he was instrumental in the early development of the geography graduate school at Berkeley. One of his best known works was Agricultural Origins and Dispersals (1952). In 1927, Carl Sauer wrote the article "Recent Developments in Cultural Geography," which considered how cultural landscapes are made up of "the forms superimposed on the physical landscape."

Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Fellowship of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (FAAAS) is an honor accorded by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to distinguished persons who are members of the Association. Fellows are elected annually by the AAAS Council for "efforts on behalf of the advancement of science or its applications [which] are scientifically or socially distinguished".


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

Yale University Press university press associated with Yale University

Yale University Press is a university press associated with Yale University. It was founded in 1908 by George Parmly Day, and became an official department of Yale University in 1961, but it remains financially and operationally autonomous.

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  1. Veblen, Thomas; Donoso, Claudio; Schlegel, Federico; Escobar, Bernardo (1981). "Forest dynamics in south central Chile". Journal of Biogeography. 8: 211–247. doi:10.2307/2844678.
  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: 891–903. doi:10.1111/j.1442-9993.2010.02236.x.
  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: 213–231. doi:10.2307/1938916.
  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: 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: 125–135. doi:10.2307/2261392.
  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: 1178–1195. doi:10.2307/2641025.
  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: 930–939. doi:10.1890/13-0230.1.
  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.
  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
  16. "Yale University Press - The Ecology and Biogeography of Nothofagus Forests". Yale University Press . Retrieved 9 November 2015.