Norman L. Christensen, Professor Emeritus in the Division of Environmental Sciences & Policy  

Norman L. Christensen

Christensen's research focuses on the effects of disturbance on structure and function of populations, communities and ecosystems. On going studies include an analysis of patterns of forest development following cropland abandonment as these are affected by environment, stand history and plant demographic patterns. He and his students are pursuing comparative studies of ecosystem responses to varying fire regimes across temperate North America. He is conducting research on the utilization of remote sensing systems such as synthetic aperture radar to evaluate long-term changes in forest ecosystems. In addition to these interests in basic ecological science, Christensen has written widely on the importance of natural disturbance in the management of forests, shrublands, and wetlands. He is interested in the application of basic ecological theory and models to management, and has collaborated with others in the development of the concept of ecosystem management.

Ph.D., University of California at Santa Barbara, 1973
PhD, Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1973
M.A., California State University at Fresno, 1970
MS, Biology, California State University, Fresno, 1970
B.A., California State University at Fresno, 1968
AB, Biology, California State University, Fresno, 1968

Office Location: A316 LSRC, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone: (919) 613-8052
Email Address:
Web Page:

conservation biology
environmental policy
forest fires and fire ecology
forest management and silviculture
global change ecology
terrestrial ecosystems

Recent Publications   (More Publications)   (search)

  1. Adeney, JM; Christensen, NL; Vicentini, A; Cohn-Haft, M, White-sand Ecosystems in Amazonia, edited by Fine, P, Biotropica, vol. 48 no. 1 (January, 2016), pp. 7-23, WILEY [doi]  [abs].
  2. Mitchell, S; Palmquist, K; Cohen, S; Christensen, NL, Patterns of vegetation composition and diversity in pine-dominated ecosystems of the Outer Coastal Plain of North Carolina: Implications for ecosystem restoration, Forest Ecology and Management, vol. 356 (November, 2015), pp. 64-73, Elsevier BV [doi]  [abs].
  3. Stambaugh, MC; Varner, JM; Noss, RF; Dey, DC; Christensen, NL; Baldwin, RF; Guyette, RP; Hanberry, BB; Harper, CA; Lindblom, SG; Waldrop, TA, Clarifying the role of fire in the deciduous forests of eastern North America: reply to Matlack., Conservation Biology : the Journal of the Society for Conservation Biology, vol. 29 no. 3 (June, 2015), pp. 942-946 [doi] .
  4. Christensen, NL, An historical perspective on forest succession and its relevance to ecosystem restoration and conservation practice in North America, Forest Ecology and Management, vol. 330 (October, 2014), pp. 312-322, Elsevier BV [doi]  [abs].
  5. Peet, RK; Christensen, NL; Gilliam, FS, Temporal Patterns in Herbaceous Layer Communities of the North Carolina Piedmont, in The Herbaceous Layer in Forests of Eastern North America (April, 2014), pp. 277-293, Oxford University Press [doi]  [abs].

Curriculum Vitae