Scientists & Staff

Paul Schaberg recreating on summit of Mount Hood, OR - photo by Robert Henke

Paul Schaberg

Research Plant Physiologist
The University of Vermont Aiken Center
81 Carrigan Drive, Room 208B
Burlington, VT, 05405
Phone: 802-656-1715

Contact Paul Schaberg

Current Research

  • I currently coordinate a diverse collaborative group of scientists from the USDA Forest Service, The University of Vermont and other institutions that evaluate the influence of human-associated stress (e.g., pollution additions, climate change, etc.) on forest health and productivity.
  • This research concentrates on the impacts of anthropogenic stress on aspects of tree physiology, including tissue cold tolerance, carbohydrate and nutrient relations, foliar pigments and antioxidant enzymes.
  • Current issues that I am working on include: red spruce winter injury and other aspects of conifer cold tolerance, sugar maple decline, the impacts of calcium depletion on tree health, the biological basis of red pigment expression in the fall, and cold tolerance as a limitation to American chestnut restoration in the north.

Research Interests

  • I want to explore the possibility that human-induced change is not only subjecting forests to many new, complex, and potentially interacting stresses, but may be also eroding the natural biological and ecological mechanisms that forests rely on to respond, adapt to, and survive stress.
  • I will examine the cause and consequences of emerging tree decline scenarios (e.g., yellow cedar and birch decline) that have no apparent biologic (insect or disease) basis, but seem to be occurring with increasing frequency.

Why This Research is Important

Forests provide valuable ecosystem services (e.g., wood products, bioenergy, carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling, gas exchange, food and medical products, etc.) upon which all life and human societies rely. My research focuses on understanding and preventing the real-world decline of forest tree species - thereby preserving the continued flow of ecosystem services that are an important foundation for sustainable human health and prosperity.


  • The University of Vermont (UVM), Burlington, VT, Ph.D. Botany, 1996
  • Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT, Teaching Certification , 1989
  • University of Vermont (UVM), Burlington VT, M.S. Forestry, 1985
  • The University of Vermont (UVM), Burlington, VT, B.S. Forestry Forestry, 1981

Professional Organizations

  • Ecological Society of America
  • American Institute of Biological Sciences
  • International Association for Ecology
  • Society for Conservation Biology
  • Society of American Foresters (SAF)
  • The American Chestnut Foundation
  • Xi Sigma Pi Forestry Honor Society

Publications & Products

National Research Highlights

Photo 1: Acid deposition predisposes red spruce to winter injury evident as reddish colored foliage that dries out and falls from trees in the spring.

Photo 2: Alexandra Kosiba collecting a wood increment core from a red spruce tree to assess growth.

Recovery of Red Spruce Linked to Decreased Acid Deposition and Higher Temperatures

Year: 2018

Red spruce was once a valued timber species but was threatened when high inputs of acid deposition reduced its growth and increased mortality for this sensitive species. A Northern Research Station (NRS) scientist and partners set out to establish whether red spruce is rebounding, 20 years after Clean Air Act mandates, and if so, why?

Fall leaf color research could make it possible to predict timing, intensity, and location of fall color

Year: 2017

What triggers fall red color expression in leaves? Forest Service scientists used a unique branch cooling system to verify that low temperatures cause sugars to build up in leaves and induce production of anthocyanin, a red pigment. Understanding the biology of anthocyanin production could help managers predict the timing, intensity, and location of fall color displays valued by the public.

American elm cuttings growing in the greenhouse. Kathleen Knight, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Elm Disease Resistance Research Gets a Boost

Year: 2016

Great news for disease-tolerant American elm! A grant from The Manton Foundation has provided the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station with an opportunity to accelerate American elm research in collaboration with Nature Conservancy.

Alexandra Kosiba collecting a woody increment core from a mature red spruce tree. Luke Ingram (University of Vermont Affiliate), University of Vermont.

Trees Vulnerable to Damage from Acid Deposition Located Using Critical Load Exceedance Maps

Year: 2016

A Forest Service scientist and his partners used a computer model to identify locations where inputs of acid deposition were expected to harm trees, and then tested those expectations using growth measures from red spruce trees at 35 stands in Vermont and New Hampshire. Model results indicated that trees in locations where acid deposition exceeded predicted tolerances had reduced growth over the last 60 years, suggesting that the model and associated maps could be valuable tools for locating vulnerable populations.

Last modified: Thursday, September 10, 2015