Scientists & Staff

Matthew Peters

359 Main Road
Delaware, OH, 43015
Phone: 740-368-0063

Contact Matthew Peters

Current Research

  • Modeling potential suitable habitat for tree and bird species under climate change
  • Exploring interactions between changes in tree suitable habitats and projections of future drought conditions
  • Development of a wildfire hazard model among the Wildland-Urban Interface in New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania
  • Assessing Forest Site Quality in Ohio from Forest Inventory & Analysis data and an Integrated Moisture Index (IMI)

Research Interests

I plan to continue my current work, but would like to incorporate aspects of water resource management into future projects. I want to use my experience of GIS technologies to explore the possible relationship between climate change and resource management.

Past Research

  • Modeling possible distributions of Ailanthus (Tree of Heaven) in Ohio and Hemlock Wooly Adelgid in Pennsylvania
  • Modeling the spread of emerald ash borer (EAB) in Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio

Why This Research is Important

As climatic patterns become more variable each year it is important to understand how this will affect plant and animal species. By modeling tree and birds species responses to altered climates we can begin to see how climate influences the landscape.

As the invasive pests like Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and Hemlock Wooly Adelgid continues to spread across the eastern United States infesting host trees, it is important to determine areas that are at a greater risk of infestation. A GIS model has allowed us to identify the potential spread of EAB in Ohio.


  • Arizona State University, M.S. Applied Biological Sciences, 2011
  • Ohio University, B.S. GIS Analyst, 2005

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

Research Datasets

  • Peters, Matthew P.; Iverson, Louis R.; Prasad, Anantha M.; Matthews, Stephen N. 2019. DISTRIB-II: habitat suitability of eastern United States trees. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive.
  • Matthews, Stephen N.; Iverson, Louis R.; Peters, Matthew P.; Prasad, Anantha M. 2019. Climate change pressures for the conterminous United States: plant hardiness zones, heat zones, growing degree days, and cumulative drought severity. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive.
  • Peters, Matthew P.; Iverson, Louis R. 2017. Eastern United States wildfire hazard model: 2000-2009. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive.

National Research Highlights

Figure legend: These maps depict change in an index of drought severity for the period 2070-2099 under multiple climate scenarios. The maps show a large variationin potential drought throughout much of the conterminous US, mostly because of high uncertainty in future precipitation. Based on data from the RPA 2020 Assessment, the ‘warm wet’ figure represents a scenario with increased precipitation and less warming resulting from a relatively rapid reduction of greenhouse gases so that emissions peak ~2040. The ‘hot-wet’ scenario, also with rapid reduction of greenhouse gases, is wet but hot. The ‘hot-slightly dry’ scenario assumes continued current emissions levels for much of this century and is hot with slightly less precipitation, while the ‘hot-dry’ scenario is both dry and hot, resulting in the most severe drought conditions.

Mapping U.S. Drought Projections Helps Foresters Plan for Sustainability

Year: 2018

Droughts are natural disturbances that can cause negative effects on natural ecosystems and also have important social and economic consequences. Researchers are helping land managers prepare for changing climate conditions by developing projections of how drought may change in the future.

Landtypes (with both formal and colloquial names) derived from the landscape model for a portion of the Athens District of the Wayne National Forest (Bailey’s project area). Maps were generated for the entire 17-county region of SE Ohio.

The hunt for good oak regeneration sites

Year: 2017

Landscape modeling and field sampling may identify the best locations for restoring oak forests. Managers at the Wayne National Forest are using a methodology created by Forest Service scientists to help determine “zones of investment” for maximum value with limited resources.

Drought conditions under future climate change projections from three general circulation models and two representative concentration pathways. Matthew Peters, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Examining Potential Drought Conditions Under Projected Climate Change

Year: 2016

Using future climate projections, 54 years of potential drought conditions were evaluated against recent conditions. Assessing how drought conditions might differ in the future and how habitat availability of tree species may change can provide insight into the resiliency of forests to cope with droughts.

Testing the effects of species source on combustion properties of Ohio Hills fuel beds at the Forest Product Laboratory. Matthew B. Dickinson, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Shift Toward Mesophytic Species in Oak Forests May Limit Fire Reintroduction

Year: 2016

Exclusion of fire from eastern mixed-oak forests is widely understood to be an important explanation for difficulty in regenerating oaks. Forest Service scientists studied whether the change in species composition of forest floor litter, as species composition shifts to more mesophytic and less fire tolerant species over time, could be a barrier to successful use of fire to restore oak ecosystems.

Mapped distribution of drought tolerance based on forest composition of (A) dominant tolerance classes among species with suitable habitat, and (B) all species (mixed not used). DIT_x = drought intolerance class level, with 3 being the most intolerant; DT_x = drought tolerance level, with 3 being the most tolerant. USDA Forest Service

Drought and Forest Composition

Year: 2015

Forest Service researchers used the cumulative drought severity index to examine the long-term influence of drought frequency and intensity during the periods of 1960-1986 and 1987-2013. Analysis of drought conditions and forest composition indicate that eastern U.S. forests are relatively balanced among drought-tolerant and -intolerant species.

Last modified: Monday, April 26, 2021