Faculty & Staff


Howard E. Epstein

Professor · Ph.D. Colorado State University, 1997.

Contact Information

My current research efforts are in the arctic tundra of North America and Russia, and the temperate forests of the U.S. Mid-Atlantic.  In the Arctic, we are examining the recent dynamics of arctic tundra vegetation in response to changing climate and disturbances, and the effects that these vegetation changes have on other arctic ecosystem properties.  In the U.S. Mid-Atlantic we are examining carbon cycling along successional gradients from old-field to old-growth, as well as carbon-water interactions in topographically complex watersheds.

Recent Publications

Frost, G.V., H.E. Epstein, and D.A. Walker. 2014. Regional and landscape-scale variability of Landsat-observed vegetation dynamics in northern Siberian tundra. Environmental Research Letters in press.

Epstein, H.E., I Myers-Smith, and D.A. Walker. 2013. Recent dynamics of arctic and sub-arctic vegetation: Introduction to special issue. Environmental Research Letters 8 015040.

Alcaraz-Segura, D., J.M. Paruelo, H.E. Epstein, and J. Cabello. 2013. Environmental and human controls of ecosystem functional diversity in temperate South America. Remote Sensing 5:127-154.

Bhatt, U.S., D.A. Walker, M.K. Raynolds, P.A. Bieniek, H.E. Epstein, J.C. Comiso, J.E. Pinzon, C.J. Tucker, and I.V. Polyakov. 2013. Diverging arctic tundra greening and warming trends in Eurasia and North America. Remote Sensing in press.

Buchhorn, M. D.A. Walker, B. Heim, M.K. Raynolds, H.E. Epstein, and M. Schwieder. 2013. Hyperspectral characterization of Alaska tundra vegetation along environmental gradients. Remote Sensing in press.

Frost, G.V. and H.E. Epstein. 2013. Tall shrub and tree expansion in Siberian tundra ecotones since the 1960s. Global Change Biology in press.

Frost, G.V., H.E. Epstein, D.A. Walker, G. Matyshak, and K. Ermokhina. 2013. Patterned-ground facilitates shrub expansion in Low Arctic tundra. Environmental Research Letters 8 015035.

Wang, J., H. Epstein, and L. Wang. 2013. Estimating carbon source-sink transition during secondary succession in a Virginia valley. Plant and Soil 362:135-147.

Epstein, H. 2012. Soil mediation in grasslands. 2012. Nature Climate Change 2:711-712.

Epstein, H.E., M.K. Raynolds, D.A. Walker, U.S. Bhatt, C.J. Tucker, and J.E. Pinzon. 2012. Dynamics of aboveground phytomass of the circumpolar arctic tundra over the past three decades. Environmental Research Letters 7 015506.

Alvarez, L.J., H.E. Epstein, J. Li, and G.S. Okin. Interactions between wind erosion and vegetation changes in an arid grassland ecosystem. Ecology and Evolution doi: 10.1002/ece3.205.

Emanuel, R.E., D.A. Riveros-Iregui, B.L. McGlynn, and H.E. Epstein. On the spatial heterogeneity of net ecosystem productivity in complex landscapes. Ecosphere 2(7) doi:10.1890/ES11-00074.1.

Fensholt, R., T. Langanke, K. Rasmussen, A. Reenberg, S. Prince, R. Scholes, C. Tucker, Q. Bao Le, A. Bondeau, R. Eastman, H. Epstein, A. Gaughan. U. Hellden, C. Mbow, L. Olsson, J. Paruelo, C. Schweitzer, J. Seaquist, K. Wessels. Global dryland vegetation trends 1981-2007 – an Earth Observation based exploration. Remote Sensing of the Environment 121: 144-158.

Kelley, A.M, H.E. Epstein, C.L. Ping, and D.A. Walker. 2012. Soil nitrogen transformations associated with small patterned-ground features along the North America Arctic Transect. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes 23:196-206.

Raynolds, M.K., D.A. Walker, H.E. Epstein, J.E. Pinzon, C.J. Tucker. 2012. A new estimate of tundra-biome phytomass from trans-Arctic field data and AVHRR NDVI. Remote Sensing Letters 3:403-411.

Riveros-Irequi, D.A., B.L. McGlynn, R.E. Emanuel, and H.E. Epstein. 2012. Complex terrain imparts bi-directional responses of soil respiration to inter-annual water availability. Global Change Biology 18:749-756.

Templar, P.H., M. Mack, F. Chapin, L. Christenson, J. Compton, H. Crook, C. Curtis, B. Dail, C. D’Antonio, B. Emmett, H. Epstein, C. Goodale, P. Gunderson, S. Hobbie, K. Holland, D. Hooper, B. Hungate, I. Kappel-Schmidt, S. Lamontagne, K. Nadelhoffer, C. Osenberg, S. Perakis, P. Schleppi, J. Schimel, M. Sommerkorn, J. Spoelstra, A. Tietema, W. Wessel, and D. Zak. 2012. Fate of nitrogen inputs in terrestrial ecosystems: A meta-analysis of enriched 15N field tracer studies. Ecology 93:1816-1829.

Walker, D.A, U.S. Bhatt, H.E. Epstein, P. Bieniek, J.C. Comiso, G.V. Frost, J.E. Pinzon, M.K. Raynolds, and C.J. Tucker. 2012. The Arctic – Changing arctic tundra vegetation biomass and greenness. In, State of the Climate in 2011. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 93(7), S1-+.

Walker, D.A., H.E. Epstein, M.K. Raynolds, P. Kuss, M.A. Kopecky, G.V. Frost, F.J.A. Daniëls, M.O. Leibman, N.G. Moskalenko, G.V. Matyshak, O.V. Khitun, A.V. Khomutov, B.C. Forbes, U.S. Bhatt, A.N. Kade, C.M. Vonlanthen. 2012. Environment, vegetation and greenness (NDVI) along the North America and Eurasia Arctic transects. Environmental Research Letters 7 015504.

Alvarez, L.J., H.E. Epstein, J. Li, and G.S. Okin. 2011. Spatial patterns of grasses and shrubs in an arid grassland environment. Ecosphere 2(9):103.

Myers-Smith, I., B.C. Forbes, M. Wilmking, M. Hallinger, K.D. Tape, D. Blok, U.S. Klaassen, T. Lantz, E. Lévesque, S. Boudreau, P. Ropars, L. Hermanutz, A. Trant, L.S. Collier, S. Weijers, J. Rozema, S.A. Rayback, N.M. Schmidt, G. Schaepman-Strub, L. Andreu, S. Venn, C. Ménard, S. Goetz, H.E. Epstein, J. Welker, D. Hik. 2011. Causes and implications of the increasing dominance of shrubs in tundra ecosystems. Environmental Research Letters 6 045509.

Pacific, V.J., D.A. Riveros, B.L. McGlynn, D. Welsch, and H. Epstein. 2011. Landscape structure, groundwater dynamics, and soil water content influence soil respiration across riparian-hillslope transitions in the Tenderfoot Creek Experimental Forest, Montana. Hydrological Processes 25:811-827.

Priest, A.C., and H.E. Epstein. 2011. Native grass restoration in Virginia old fields. Castanea 76:149-156.

Riveros-Iregui, D.A., B.L. McGlynn, L. Marshall, D.L. Welsch, R.E. Emanuel, and H.E. Epstein. 2011. A watershed-scale assessment of a process soil CO2 production and efflux model. Water Resources Research doi:10.1029/2010WR009941.

Walker, D.A, U.S. Bhatt, T.V. Callaghan, J.C. Comiso, H.E. Epstein, B.C. Forbes, M. Gill, W.A. Gould, G.H.R. Henry, G.J. Jia, S.V. Kokelj, T.C. Lantz, S.F. Oberbauer, J.E. Pinzon, M.K. Raynolds, G.R. Shaver, C.J. Tucker, C.E. Tweedie, and P.J. Webber. 2011. The Arctic - Vegetation. In, State of the Climate in 2010, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 92(6), S150-S152.

Walker, D.A., P. Kuss, H.E. Epstein, A. Kade, C.M. Vonlanthen,  M.K. Raynolds, F.J.A. Daniels. 2011. Vegetation of zonal patterned-ground ecosystems along the North American Arctic Transect. Applied Vegetation Science 14:440-463.

Yu, Q., H.E. Epstein, D.A. Walker, G.V. Frost, and B.C. Forbes. Modeling dynamics of tundra plant communities on the Yamal Peninsula, Russia, in response to climate change and grazing pressure. 2011. Environmental Research Letters 6 045505.

Zeng, H, G. Jia, and H. Epstein. Most recent changes in phenology over the high-latitude region detected from multi-satellite data. 2011. Environmental Research Letters 6 045508.