Stephen Matthews is currently a Research Assistant Professor in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University and Landscape Ecologist with the Northern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service. His research focuses on understanding the responses of ecological systems in a changing world. In addition to field studies in wildlife ecology, the majority of his research centers on modeling the habitat dynamics of tree and bird species distributions to climate change across the Eastern United States.

Featured Resources

Lessons learned while integrating habitat, dispersal, disturbance, and life-history traits into species habitat models under climate change.

LR Iverson, AM Prasad, SN Matthews, MP Peters.
Ecosystems, published online.(2011).

This paper combines three different ways of modeling habitat changes under certain conditions to create projections of potential climate change impacts over the next century for 134 tree species and 147 bird species. The research represents 16 years of combined research efforts by the authors, providing a guide for future experiments, potential new models that allow for greater input of interspecies relationships and local knowledge, and management efforts in light of climate change and its influence on species habitats.

Download this resource.

Modifying climate change habitat models using tree species-specific assessments of model uncertainty and life history-factors.

SN Matthews, LR Iverson, AM Prasad, MP Peters, PG Rodewald.
Forest Ecology & Management, 262, pp. 1460-1472. (2011)

The effects of climate change require the formation of adaptation and management strategies, but government agencies and other involved parties first have to be able to predict how climate change will affect plant and animal life. A number of statistical models have been created to predict these effects; this paper assesses two commonly used models and introduces modification factors (ModFacs) that allow for improved interpretation and use of the models’ output. ModFacs include the biology of the study area, disturbances present, emissions variability based on carbon dioxide models, novel climate scenarios due to climate change, and consideration of species expansion or move beyond current habitats. In addition, the model allows for the inclusion of local knowledge and land use to inform management decisions. A sample analysis including 134 tree species in North America is used to illustrate the model.

Download this resource.

Changes in potential habitat of 147 North American breeding bird species in response to redistribution of trees and climate following predicted climate change.

SN Matthews, LR Iverson, AM Prasad, MP Peters.
Ecography, Early view publication, pp. 1-13. (2011)

Statistical models are a good way of predicting environmental changes and informing management decisions to adapt to climate change, but models that do not take into account the interrelation between, for example, trees and bird species are unlikely to provide accurate predictions of the effects of climate change on habitats. This paper shows that omitting changes in tree species when modeling the redistribution of bird species in North America leads to a significant reduction in a model’s predictive power, supporting the need for further research into statistical modeling that does consider species’ relationships in addition to the effects of a changing climate.

Download this resource.

Climate change impacts on terrestrial ecosystems in metropolitan Chicago and its surrounding, multi-state region.

JJ Hellman, KJ Nadelhoffer, LR Iverson, LH Ziska, SN Matthews, P Myers, AM Prasad, MP Peters.
Journal of Great Lakes Research , 124, pp.1-12. (2010)

This paper describes the potential impacts of climate change on plants, wildlife, invasive species, pests, and agricultural ecosystems across a multi-state region around Chicago, Illinois, including much of Lake Michigan. Data on native species as well as those projected to move into the area is compiled from a number of sources, leading to the conclusion that a complex challenge awaits the natural ecosystem of the area under climate change projections.

Download this resource.

Meet Steve Matthews

Research Assistant Professor
School of Environment & Natural Resources
The Ohio State University
Tel: 614.247.1889
Website: Profile Page

Related Links

From The Archives