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Dr. Neal Scott
Canada Research Chair in Greenhouse Gas Dynamics and Ecosystem Management
Office: Mackintosh-Corry HalL, Room: D132
Phone: +001 (613) 533-6000 ext. 75915
Fax: +001 (613) 533-6122
Email: scottn@queensu.ca
Web: http://www.geog.queensu.ca/fabrecc



Teaching Interests





I was born and raised in Hamilton, New York (USA) on a dairy farm, my first experience studying plant/soil interactions! I received a BA in Biology (1982) with a minor in Environmental Studies from Williams College (Williamstown, MA). After graduation, I spent almost one year in India as an agricultural research intern, then worked as a laboratory technician for the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Project. Following a one year internship at the Rodale Research Center in Kutztown, PA, I entered graduate school at Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO). While at Colorado State, I completed my MSc. (Dept. of Agronomy: Soil Science/Ecology (1991)), and my Ph.D (Dept. of Forest Sciences: Forest Ecology (1996)) – both theses explored the impacts of plant/soil interactions on ecosystem processes. I then went to work at Landcare Research in Palmerston North New Zealand (until 2000), where I applied my experience in plant/soil interactions and contributed to the development of a national carbon monitoring system for plants and soils. I also studied land-use impacts, particularly afforestation and reforestation, on greenhouse gas emissions. This experience introduced me to the excitement of interdisciplinary research, and the rewards of applying my research to national policy development. I joined the staff at the Woods Hole Research Center in 2000, continuing with my research on land-use change and greenhouse gas emissions. I joined the Geography Department at Queen’s in 2005 as a Canada Research Chair (II) in Greenhouse Gas Dynamics and Ecosystem Management.

Teaching Interests

GPHY 207 Principles of Biogeography
GPHY 819 Modeling the Earth System

I currently teach two courses. GPHY 207 explores the ecological, biological, and environmental factors that control the distribution and abundance of organisms. Particular emphasis is given to current issues such as the impact of invasive species on biogeographical patterns. My graduate course (GPHY 819) will introduce students to basic concepts and tools needed to incorporate simulation modeling into their research. Topics include: systems modeling, model analysis, model comparison.

In the future, I plan to develop an additional undergraduate course exploring Soils in the Environment. This course will have a strong field and laboratory component geared towards understanding how physical, chemical, and biological processes interact in soils. I also plan to develop a graduate course in Carbon Cycle Science.

All of my courses will include a strong writing component, and encourage students to connect what they learn in class to real-life issues. When possible, field work will be integrated into my courses.


My research program strives to increase our understanding of the processes of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling in terrestrial ecosystems, and how human-induced disturbances influence these processes. Perturbation of these cycles has enormous consequences to humans. Changes in the C cycle, particularly those that release C to the atmosphere, will contribute to rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and rates of climatic change. Nitrogen deposition may enhance forest growth rates, but excess N can lead to reduced soil and water quality and increased emissions of greenhouse gases such as N2O. The key questions I am addressing at present include 1) how do forest management practices and other disturbances, particularly non-stand-replacing events, alter rates of C exchange with the atmosphere 2) how will soil disturbance and climate-related shifts in plant community distribution in the high Arctic influence soil biogeochemical processes 3) what is the fate of different forms of N added to forest ecosystems, and how does this exogenous N influence rates of C exchange between the forest and the atmosphere, and 4) is biomass production for bioenergy sustainable, and how does it impact the climate system (both through GHG production and changes in surface reflectance). I am also interested in the impact of invasive plant species on plant/soil interactions, and the impact of historical land-use patterns on contemporary C and N cycling processes. My research approach includes field studies, development and testing of process-based terrestrial C and N cycling models, and use of remote sensing and GIS to extrapolate research results in space and time. When possible, I try to use my research results to help address key environmental policy issues.

Current funded projects include:

High Arctic hydrological, landscape and ecosystem responses to climate change: integrated watershed research and modeling at the Cape Bounty Arctic Watershed Observatory, Melville Island. (ArcticNet, 2007, CO-PI)

Nitrogen fixation, hydrogen production, and N2O emissions. (Green Crop Network (NSERC), 2007, CO-PI)

Optimizing Ontario-based Wood Pellet Production for Co-firing and Market Development and Penetration – Atikokan (Ontario Center for Excellence, 2007, CO-PI)

Climate change and permafrost impacts on High Arctic watershed fluxes: Cape Bounty, Melville
Island experimental watershed observatory (Canadian IPY Program, 2007, CO-PI)

Carbon and Water Cycling in Boreal Mixedwood Forests. Canadian Carbon Program, Ontario Flux Station (Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Studies, 2007, CO-PI).

Land-use change impacts on carbon and nitrogen cycling and greenhouse gas emissions (NSERC Discovery Grant, 2006, PI)

Renewal of Collaborative Research: Economically viable forest harvesting practices that increase carbon sequestration (Dept. of Energy, USA, 2006, CO-PI)

Using model analyses and surface-atmosphere exchange measurements from the Howland
AmeriFlux Supersite in Maine, USA, to improve understanding of forest ecosystem C cycling
(US Dept. of Energy, 2006, CO-PI)

Laboratory instruments and Field Equipment to Examine Land-Use Change Effects on Carbon and Nitrogen Cycling in Canadian Ecosystems (Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, 2006, PI)

Laboratory instruments and Field Equipment to Examine Land-Use Change Effects on Carbon and Nitrogen Cycling in Canadian Ecosystems (Canada Foundation for Innovation, 2006, PI)

Laboratory instruments and Field Equipment to Examine Land-Use Change Effects on Carbon and Nitrogen Cycling in Canadian Ecosystems (Queen’s University, 2006, PI)

Linking forest structure to viable development pathways of diversely managed northern conifers: a pilot study exploring the potential of FIA data for modeling regional carbon dynamics (USDA – NSRC program, 2006, CO-PI)

Proposals pending:

Opportunities for Rural Economic Development in Ontario’s Emerging Bioeconomy. Ontario Research Foundation (2008 submitted, CO-PI).

Precision Planning Inventory Tools for Forest Value Enhancement (Forestry Product Innovations/NSERC). Letter of intent submitted Nov. 2008.


Dail, D.B., D.Y. Hollinger, E.A. Davidson, H.C Sievering, N.A. Scott, J.T. Lee, E. Gaige. 2008. Distribution of 15N Tracers Applied to the Canopy of a Mature Spruce-Hemlock Stand, Howland, Maine, USA. Oecologia in press.

Scott, N.A., and S. Brown. 2008. Measuring the Decomposition of Down Dead Wood. In: C.M. Hoover (ed) Field Measurements for Forest Carbon Monitoring: A Landscape-Scale Approach. Springer, New York. pp113-128.

Karberg, N., N.A. Scott, C. Giardina. 2008. Methods for estimating litter decomposition. In: C.M. Hoover (ed) Field Measurements for Forest Carbon Monitoring: A Landscape-Scale Approach. Springer, New York. pp103-112.

Tate, K.R., D.J. Ross, N.A. Scott, N. Rodda, J.A. Townsend, and G.C. Arnold. 2006. Post-harvest patterns of carbon dioxide production, methane uptake and nitrous oxide production in a Pinus radiata D.Don plantation of high nitrogen status. Forest Ecology and Manag. 228: 40-50.

White, J.D., and N.A. Scott. 2006. Specific Leaf Area and Nitrogen Distribution in New Zealand Forests: Species Independently Respond to Intercepted Light. Forest Ecology and Manag. 226: 319-329.

White, J.D., N.A. Scott, A.I. Hirsch, and S.W. Running. 2006. 3-PG productivity modeling of regenerating Amazon forests: Climate sensitivity and comparison with MODIS-derived NPP. Earth Interactions 10: Paper 8, pp. 1-26.

Scott, N.A., K.R. Tate, D.J. Ross, and A. Parshotam. 2006. Processes influencing soil carbon storage following afforestation of pasture with Pinus radiata at different stocking densities in New Zealand. Australian Journal of Soil Research 44: 85-96.

Tate, K.R., R.H.Wilde, D. J.Giltrap, W.T.Baisden, S. Saggar, N.A.Trustrum, N.A.Scott, and J.P.Barton. 2005. Soil organic carbon stocks and flows in New Zealand: System development, measurement and modeling. Can. J. Soil Sci. 85:481-489

Trotter, C.M., Tate, K.R., Scott, N.A., Townsend, J.A., Wilde, R.H., Lambie, S., Marden, M., and Pinkney, E. 2005. Afforestation/Reforestation of New Zealand marginal pasture lands by indigenous shrublands: the potential for Kyoto forest sinks. Ann. For. Sci. 62:865-872.

Tate, K.R., R.H. Wilde, D.J. Giltrap, W.T. Baisden, S. Saggar, N.A. Trustrum, N.A. Scott. 2004. Soil carbon changes and uncertainties with New Zealand land-use change. Proceedings of the joint New Zealand, Australia Soil Science Society Meeting, December 2004. Sydney, Australia. www.regional.org.au/au/asssi/

Trotter, C.M., K.R. Tate, G.M.J. Hall, I.J. Payton, N.A. Scott, and R.H. Wilde. 2004. Carbon inventory and its potential application to CDM projects: the New Zealand experience. Proceedings of the International Conference on Tropical Forests and Climate Change: Carbon Sequestration and the Clean Development Mechanism, Manila, Philippines, Sept. 2003. Environmental Forestry Programme, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of the Philippines Los Baänos, Laguna, Philippines. pp. 28–47.

Hollinger, D.Y., J. Aber, B. Dail, E.A. Davidson, S.M. Goltz, H. Hughes, M.Y. Leclerc, J.T. Lee, A.D. Richardson, C. Rodrigues, N. A. Scott, D. Achuatavarier and J. Walsh. 2004. Spatial and temporal variability in forest-atmosphere CO2 exchange. Global Change Biology 10: 1689-1706.

Whitehead, D., A.S. Walcroft, N.A. Scott, J.A. Townsend, C.M. Trotter, G.N.D. Rogers. 2004. Characteristics of photosynthesis and stomatal conductance in the shrubland species manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) and kanuka (Kunzea ericoides) for the estimation of annual canopy carbon uptake. Tree Physiology 24: 795-804.

Scott, N.A., C.A. Rodrigues, H. Hughes, J.T. Lee, E.A. Davidson, D.B. Dail, P. Malerba, D.Y. Hollinger. 2004. Changes in carbon storage and net carbon exchange one year after an initial shelterwood harvest at Howland Forest, ME. Environmental Management 33 (Suppl. 1): S9-S22.

Hirsch, A.I., W.S. Little, R.A. Houghton, N.A. Scott, J.D. White. 2004. The net carbon flux due to deforestation and forest re-growth in the Brazilian Amazon: Analysis using a process-based model. Global Change Biology 10: 908-924.

Coops, N.C., J.D. White, and N.A. Scott. 2004. Estimating fragmentation effects on simulated forest net primary productivity derived from satellite imagery. International Journal of Remote Sensing 20:819-838.

Standish, R.J., P.A. Williams, A.W. Robertson, N.A. Scott, and D.I. Hedderley. 2004. Invasion by a perennial herb increases decomposition rate and alters nutrient availability in warm temperate lowland forest remnants. Biological Invasions 6:71-82.

Trotter, C.M., K R Tate, S Saggar, N A Scott, and M A Sutherland. 2003. A multi-scale analysis of a national terrestrial carbon budget: Uncertainty reduction and the effects of land-use change. In: Global Environmental Change in the Ocean and on Land (Editors: M Shiyomi, H. Kawahata, H. Koizumi, A Tsuda, and Y Awaya), Terrapub, Tokyo, p311–342.

Parfitt, R.L., N.A. Scott, D.J. Ross, G.J. Salt, K.R. Tate. 2003. Land-use effects on soil C and N transformation in soil of high N status: comparisons under indigenous forest, pine plantation and pasture. Biogeochemistry 66:203-221

Halliday, J., K.R. Tate, R.E. McMurtrie, and N.A. Scott. 2003. Mechanisms for changes in soil C storage with pasture to Pinus radiata land-use change. Global Change Biology 4:1294-1308.

Tate, K.R., J.P. Barton, N.A. Trustrum, W.T. Baisden, S. Saggar, R.H. Wilde, D.J. Giltrap, and N.A. Scott. 2003. Monitoring and modeling soil organic carbon stocks and flows in New Zealand. Pages 253–268 in C.A.Scott-Smith ed. Soil organic carbon and agriculture: Developing indicators for policy analysis, Proceedings of an OECD Expert Meeting, Ottawa, Canada, October 2002. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris.

Tate, K.R., N.A. Scott, S. Saggar, D.J. Giltrap, W.T. Baisden, P.F. Newsome, C.M. Trotter and R.H. Wilde. 2003. Land-use change alters New Zealand’s terrestrial carbon budget: reducing uncertainties associated with estimates of soil carbon change. Tellus 55B: 364-377.

Ross, D.J., K.R. Tate, N.A. Scott, R.H. Wilde, N.J. Rodda and J.A. Townsend. 2002. Afforestation of pastures with Pinus radiata influences soil carbon and nitrogen pools and mineralisation and microbial properties. Australian Journal of Soil Research 40:1303-1318.

Coops, N.C., J.D. White, and N.A. Scott. 2002. Assessment of regional forest and scrub productivity using a coupled vegetation process model with remote sensing. Geocarto 17(4):3-12.

Coomes, D.A., R.B. Allen, N.A. Scott, C. Goulding, and P. Beets. 2002. Designing systems to monitor carbon stocks in forests and shrublands. Forest Ecology and Management 164:89-108.

Scott, N.A., K.R. Tate, D.J. Giltrap, C.T. Smith, H.R. Wilde, P.J.F. Newsome, and M.R. Davis. 2002. Monitoring land-use change effects on soil carbon in New Zealand: quantifying baseline soil carbon stocks. Environmental Pollution 116: S167–S186.

McMurtrie, R.E., J.C. Halliday, R.C. Dewar, K.R. Tate, M. Corbeels, and N.A. Scott. 2001. Modelling long-term changes in forest productivity and soil nitrogen supply following conversion of pasture to Pinus radiata plantation. In Models for the Sustainable Management of Temperate Plantation Forests. Jean-Michel Carnus, Roderick Dewar, Denis Loustau, Margarida Tome and Christophe Orazio (eds.). EPI Proceedings No. 41, 2001. pp 59-70.

Ross, D.J., N.A. Scott, K.R. Tate, N.J. Rodda, J. Townsend. 2001. Root effects on soil carbon and nitrogen cycling in a Pinus radiata D.Don plantation on a coastal sand. Australian Journal of Soil Research 39:1027-1039.

Ehrenfeld, J.G., and N.A. Scott. 2001. Invasive species and the soil: effects on organisms and ecosystem processes. Ecological Applications 11:1259-1260.

Scott, N.A., G.E. Likens, J.S. Eaton and T.G. Siccama. 2001. Loss of trace metals following whole-tree harvest of a northern hardwood forest. Biogeochemistry 54:197-217.

Scott, N.A., S. Saggar, and P.D. McIntosh. 2001. Biogeochemical impact of Hiercium invasion in New Zealand's grazed tussock grasslands: sustainability implications. Ecological Applications 11:1311-1322.

Scott, N.A., J.D. White, J. Townsend, D. Whitehead, J. Leathwick, G. Hall, M. Marden, G. Rogers, A. Watson, and P. Whaley. 2000. Carbon and nitrogen distribution and accumulation in a New Zealand scrubland ecosystem. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 30:1246-1255.

White, J.D., N.C. Coops, and N.A. Scott. 2000. Estimates of indigenous New Zealand forest and scrub biomass from the 3-PG model. Ecological Modelling 131:175-190.

Tate, K.R., N.A. Scott, A. Parshotam, L. Brown, R.H. Wilde, D.J. Giltrap, N.A. Trustrum, B. Gomez, and D.J. Ross. 2000. A multi-scale analysis of a terrestrial carbon budget: is New Zealand a source or sink of carbon? Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Environment 82:229-246.

Percival, H.J., R.L. Parfitt and N.A. Scott. 2000. Factors controlling soil carbon in New Zealand grassland soils: is clay important? Soil Science Society of America Journal 64:1623-1630.

White, J.D., C. Trotter, L. Brown, and N.A. Scott. 2000. Nitrogen concentration in New Zealand vegetation foliage derived from laboratory and field spectrometry. International Journal of Remote Sensing 21:2525-2531.

Tate, K.R., N.A. Scott, D.J. Ross, A. Parshotam, and J.J. Claydon. 2000. Plant effects on soil carbon storage and turnover in an adjacent forest and grassland. Australian Journal of Soil Science 38:685-698.

Pairman, D., S. McNeill, N. Scott, and S. Belliss. 1999. Vegetation identification and biomass estimation using AIRSAR data. Geocarto 14:67-75.

Scott, N.A., K.R. Tate, J. Ford-Robertson, D.J. Giltrap, C.T. Smith. 1999. Soil carbon storage in plantation forests and pastures: land use change implications. Tellus 51B:326-335.

Ross, D.J., K.R. Tate, N.A. Scott, and C.W. Feltham. 1999. Land-use changes in three adjoining catchments: effects on soil carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus pools and fluxes. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 31:803-813.

Scott, N.A., R. Parfitt, D. Ross, and G. Salt. 1998. Carbon and nitrogen transformations in New Zealand plantation forest soils from sites with different N status. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 28:967-976.

Scott, N.A. 1998. Soil aggregation and organic matter mineralization in forests and grasslands: plant species effects. Soil Science Society of America Journal 62:1081-1089.

Arneth, A., F.M. Kelliher, S.T. Gower, N.A. Scott, J.N. Byers, and T.M. McSeveny. 1998. Physical variables regulating soil carbon dioxide efflux following clear-cutting of a Pinus radiata D.Don plantation. Journal of Geophysical Research 103:5695-5705.

Parfitt, R., L. Hill, and N. A. Scott. 1998. Does contact of Pinus radiata slash with soil influence post-harvest nutrient losses? New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science 27:174-187.

Scott, N.A., and D. Binkley. 1997. Foliage litter quality and annual net N mineralization: comparison across North American forest sites. Oecologia 111:151-159.

McIntosh, P.D., R.B. Allen, and N.A. Scott. 1997. Effects of exclosure and management on biomass and soil nutrient pools in seasonally dry high country, New Zealand. Journal of Environmental Management 51:169-186.

Scott, N.A., C.V. Cole, E.T. Elliott, and S.A. Huffman. 1996. Soil textural control on decomposition and soil organic matter dynamics. Soil Science Society of America Journal 60:1102-1109.

Huffman, S.A., C.V. Cole, and N.A. Scott. 1996. Soil texture and residue addition effects on soil phosphorus transformations. Soil Science Society of America Journal 60:1095-1101.

Motavalli, P., S.D. Frey, and N.A. Scott. 1995. Effects of filter type and extraction efficiency on nitrogen mineralization measurements using the aerobic leaching soil incubation method. Biology and Fertility of Soils 20:197-204.