Scientists & Staff

Stephen Matthews

359 Main Road
Delaware, OH, 46015
Phone: 740-368-0156

Contact Stephen Matthews

Current Research

My research focuses on understanding the response of ecological systems to changing and altered landscapes. I work at a variety of scales and use a multitude of quantitative tools to address questions of climate change impacts and avian migration.

Climate Change research: our efforts have focused specifically on modeling the response of 147 bird species' habitats and 134 tree species' habitats to climate change across the Eastern United States. As our modeling efforts continue, we are striving to create decision support tools to integrate and synthesize this work for the public and land managers.

Avian Migration: I am exploring questions on the habitat requirements and behavioral decisions of migrant birds during migratory stopover within rapidly urbanizing metropolitan areas.

Research Interests

I plan to continue my current research, and I would like to expand the breadth of my focus to include other taxa. In addition, I hope to contribute to new research areas where I can apply my interest of quantitative ecology to gain further perspective of how landscape changes may influence ecological communities.

Why This Research is Important

With greater awareness that global climate change is becoming reality and that urbanization is increasing worldwide, both of these research avenues represent areas of increased importance within the field of landscape ecology.


  • Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, Ph.D. Natural Resources, 2008
  • University of Maine, Orono, Maine, M.S. Wildlife Ecology, 2003
  • Frostburg State University, Frostburg, Maryland, B.S. Wildlife Biology, 1997

Professional Organizations

  • International Association for Landscape Ecology
  • Ecological Society of America

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.

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.

Maple syrup from sugar maple trees provides many important economic and cultural services and understand how sugar maple’s habitat may respond to climate change provides important insights to future management considerations.

Managing for a delicious ecosystem service under climate change

Year: 2017

Maple syrup is a highly valued resource produced primarily from the sap of the sugar maple. Understanding how this resource may be impacted by climate change and other threats is essential to continue management for maple syrup into the future.

Diverse eastern forest stand Moorman's River near Sugar Hollow Reservoir, White Hall, VA. Stephen Matthews, USDA Forest Service

Indexing Climate Change and Ecosystem Services Across Eastern Forests

Year: 2014

The diverse forests of the eastern United States provide a multitude of benefits that enhance human well-being. Climate change has the potential to disrupt the very tree species and forest communities that provide these ecosystem services. Developing a framework that considers how projected changes in species habitats may respond to climate change is essential to exploring relative changes in some of the ecosystem services that forests provide.

Climate change risk matrix capturing the likelihood and consequence of potential habitat change for sugar maple in northern Wisconsin. Forest Service

Assessing Climate Change Risk to Eastern Forests Using Climate Change Tree Atlas Data

Year: 2012

New tool makes for better informed forest management decisions

Last modified: Saturday, February 4, 2023