Ze'ev Gedalof

Ze'ev Gedalof

PhD, University of Washington, 2003
Associate Professor

Office: Hutt 356; Tel:519-824-4120
ext. 58083
Research Group: Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics Research Laboratory (CEDaR)


Physical geography, paleoecology, biogeography, dendrochronology.

Research Interests and Areas of Expertise

My research addresses a range of problems related to forest ecosystem dynamics, climatic variability, and natural resources management. My research approach incorporates a broad spectrum of tools and techniques, but most of my ongoing projects involve the analysis of tree-rings in order to reconstruct past patterns of stand development, disturbance, and climate. I am especially interested in understanding the processes that have caused recent changes in the position of mid-latitude treelines – both in mountain environments, and in temperate savannahs.

Ongoing Projects

Ecology of Garry oak savannahs in southwestern British Columbia
A range of proxy records (tree-rings, historical documents and photographs, pollen, and sediment accumulation) are being collected to characterize the environmental history of Garry oak meadows in southwestern British Columbia. This information will be used to guide management and ecological restoration within the newly established Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. Key questions I am researching include:
  • Why is Garry oak failing to reproduce at most sites?
  • How have introduced grasses influenced competitive interactions in Garry oak ecosystems?
  • What is the historical fire regime of Garry oak savannahs and woodlands?
  • What is the role of fire in Garry oak associated ecosystems with strong edaphic controls?
  • Why are Garry oak savannahs being encroached by conifers?
This research is being undertaken in collaboration with Marlow Pellatt (Parks Canada), and Dan Smith (University of Victoria Tree-RingLaboratory).
Interactions between defoliating insects, wildfire, and climatic variability in forests of the British Columbia central interior.
Tree-ring techniques are being used to reconstruct stand histories throughout the interior Douglas-fir zone of British Columbia. Age structure and fire scars are being used to reconstruct stand history. Patterns of annual radial growth within and between stands and species are being used to reconstruct histories of drought and disturbance. Downscaled output from a regional climate model will be used to incorporate these results into spatially explicit models of climate-disturbance-species interactions for the purpose of assessing impacts of future climate scenarios on stand development processes. This research is being undertaken in collaboration with Dan Smith (University of Victoria Tree-Ring Laboratory) and André Arsenault (Interior Forest Region, British Columbia Ministry of Forests).
Coarse Woody Debris Dynamics in Southwestern Ontario
Riparian Ecosystems Woody debris plays an essential role in riparian systems, influencing stream hydrology, geomorphology, and ecology. Yet surprisingly little is known about the long-term dynamics of woody debris cycling, or how land-use change may have affected woody debris dynamics. Unresolved questions include:
  • What are the functions of woody debris in Southwestern Ontario river systems?
  • What was the structure and composition of riparian forests at the time of European contact?
  • How has the structure and composition of woody debris changed since European contact?
  • What are the characteristic residence times of woody debris in Southwestern Ontario rivers?


Please contact me regarding potential graduate student opportunities (zgedalof@uoguelph.ca). I encourage applications from not only biogeographers, but also individuals with backgrounds in ecology, botany, climatology, forestry, statistics, or other related disciplines.

Selected Recent Publications

Bauder, H., B. Belina, D. Butz, Z. Gedalof, A. Lagendijk, P. Mudu, A. Paasi, N. Schuurman and D. Wilson (2009). Critical Practice of Grant Application and Administration: An Intervention. ACME. 9: 102-112.

Falk, D.A., E.K. Heyerdahl, P.M. Brown, T.W. Swetnam, E.K. Sutherland, Z. Gedalof, L. Yocom and T.J. Brown (2010). Fire and climate variation in western North America from fire-scar and tree-ring networks. PAGES. 18: 70-72.

Gedalof, Z. (2011). Climate and Spatial Patterns of Wildfire. The Landscape Ecology of Fire. D. McKenzie, D. Falk and C. Miller, Eds., Springer: 89-116.

Gedalof, Z. and A.A. Berg (2010). Tree ring evidence for a limited direct CO2 fertilization effect. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 24: GB3027, doi:10.1029/2009GB003699.

Newman, J.A., M. Anand, H.A.L. Henry, S. Hunt and Z. Gedalof (2011). Climate Change Biology. Cambridge, CABI.

Prichard, S.J., Z. Gedalof, W.W. Oswald and D.L. Peterson (2009). Holocene fire and vegetation dynamics in a montane forest, North Cascade Range, Washington, USA. Quaternary Research. 72: 57-67.

Wettstein, J.J., J.S. Littell, J.M. Wallace and Z. Gedalof (2011). Coherent region-, species-, and frequency-dependent local climate signals in Northern Hemisphere tree-ring widths. Journal of Climate. 24: 5998-6012.

Graduate Students Supervised (since 2010)
Program Year Student Title
Masters Benakoun, Laura The relationship of tree growth and visible symptoms of decline in Ontario's sugar maple population.
Masters Dihn, Thersa Wildfire History Reconstruction in Jasper National Park, Alberta: a Dendroecological Approach
Doctoral Stretch, Vanessa Spatial variability and landscape controls of fire in Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario.
Masters Brown, Rob 2013 Alpine Treeline Dynamics and Climatic Change
Masters Schutten, Kerry 2011 Sensitivity of Sugar Maple to Climatic Change
Masters Stretch, Vanessa 2011 CO² fertilization: Differences between Pseudotsuga menziesii and Pinus ponderosa in their growth responses to elevated CO².
Masters Mather, Vesta 2011 Pre-instrumental climatic variability in the Kootenay Mountains, BC.
Masters DaSilva, Eric 2010 Historic Controls of Wildfire in The Joseph-Gold Creek Watershed, British Columbia: Implications of Climate Change and Fire Suppression.
Masters Clark, Matthew Graham 2009 Reconstruction of southern Ontario's past climate, at an annual resolution, from 2000 years of tree ring proxy.
Masters Davy, Lesley 2008 Soil moisture dynamics in invaded Garry oak savannas.
Masters Maertens, Thomas Brian 2008 Climate controls on the growth and distribution of Garry Oak (Quercus Garryana).
Masters Franks, Jennifer A 2007 Inter- and intraspecific competition in mixed Garry oak and Douglas-fir stands: modelling stand dynamics based on tree ring analysis.
Masters Smith, Shyanne 2007 Garry oak savannah dynamics in the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve: pattern and process of forest encroachment .