peter weisberg

Peter Weisberg

Professor, Landscape Ecology


The mission of Weisberg lab is to improve our understanding of landscape dynamics and to apply this understanding in support of sound natural resource management. We are interested in the causes and consequences of landscape change, including climate shifts, natural and anthropogenic disturbance, fire-climate-vegetation interactions, treeline dynamics, forest mortality and ecosystem resilience, response of vegetation to fire and to altered fire regimes, grazing effects, and invasive species. Of particular interest are the controlling influences on the distribution of trees in arid landscapes, in which context we study spatial pattern and causal mechanism underlying recent and historical expansions and contractions of semi-arid woodlands. With our collaborators we explore animal use of heterogeneous landscapes through spatial modeling of habitat quality, habitat change and landscape connectivity. Our research is highly interdisciplinary and employs a broad methodological toolkit, including field studies, dendrochronology, greenhouse experiments, GIS, remote sensing, geospatial analysis and ecological modeling. Although we often work internationally, the special geographical focus of the Lab is on landscapes of the Great Basin and eastern Sierras.


B.S., 1992, SUNY College of Env. Science and Forestry (Forest Biology)
M.S., 1994, University of Wyoming (Biogeography)
PhD, 1998 Oregon State University (Forest Ecology)


Publications are listed below.


Plant community response to tamarisk invasion and hydrologic regime in the Cataract Canyon, Canyonlands National Park.


Canyonlands National Park.

Mortenson, S. G., Weisberg, P. J.

Monitoring vegetation of desert springs: a literature review


Death Valley National Park, USDI National Park Service.(pp. 36 p.)

Weisberg, P. J., Dilts, T.



Do denser forests have greater risk of tree mortality: A remote sensing analysis of density-dependent forest mortality.


Forest Ecology and Management, 359, 19-32.

Van Gunst, K. J., Weisberg, P. J., Yang, J., Fan, Y.

Impacts of climate change and renewable energy development on habitat of an endemic squirrel Xerospermophilus mohavensis in the Mojave Desert, USA.


Biological Conservation, 200, 112-121

Inman, R., Esque, T., Nussear, K., Matocq, M., Leitner, P., Weisberg, P., Dilts, T.

Multi-scale connectivity and graph theory highlight critical areas for conservation under climate change.


Ecological Applications, 26, 1223-1237

Dilts, T., Weisberg, P., Leitner, P., Matocq, M., Inman, R., Nussear, K., Esque, T.

Fire modulates climate change response of simulated aspen distribution across topoclimatic gradients in a semi-arid montane landscape.


Landscape Ecology, 30(6), 1055 - 1073.

Yang, J., Weisberg, P. J., Shinneman, D. J., Dilts, T., Earnst, S. L., Scheller, R. M. (2015).

Functionally relevant climate variables for arid lands: using climatic water deficit modeling to predict distribution of desert shrub vegetation.


Journal of Biogeography, 42(10), 1986 - 1997.

Dilts, T., Weisberg, P. J., Dencker, C. M., Chambers, J. C.

Geomorphic predictors of riparian vegetation in small mountain watersheds.


Journal of Plant Ecology, 8, 593 - 604.

Engelhardt, B. M., Chambers, J. C., Weisberg, P. J.

Predicting wildfire occurrence distribution with spatial point process models and its uncertainty assessment: a case study in the Lake Tahoe Basin, USA.


International Journal of Wildland Fire, 24, 380 - 390.

Yang, J., Weisberg, P. J., Dilts, T., Loudermilk, L., Scheller, R., Stanton, A., Skinner, C.

Sex-related spatial segregation along environmental gradients in the dioecious conifer, Taxus baccata.


Forest Ecology and Management, 358, 122 - 129.

Garbarino, M., Weisberg, P. J., Bagnara, L., Urbinati, C.

Synergistic effects of spring temperatures and land cover on nest survival of urban birds.


Condor, 117, 18 - 30.

Becker, M. E., Weisberg, P. J.

A 40-year record of tree establishment following chaining and prescribed fire in pinyon-juniper woodlands.


Rangeland Ecology and Management, 67, 389-396.

Bristow, N. A., Weisberg, P. J., Tausch, R. J.

Application of tree rings [dendrochemistry] for detecting historical trends in air Hg concentrations across multiple scales



Wright, G., Woodward, C., Peri, L., Weisberg, P., Gustin, M. S.

Influence of climate and environment on post-fire recovery of mountain big sagebrush.


International Journal of Wildland Fire, 23, 131-142.

Nelson, Z. J., Weisberg, P. J., Kitchen, S. G.

Spatial patterns provide support for the stress-gradient hypothesis over a range-wide aridity gradient.


Journal of Arid Environments, 102, 27-33.

Berger, J. Z., Weisberg, P. J., Cablk, M., Osem, Y.

Spatio-temporal analysis of remotely-sensed forest mortality associated with road de-icing salts.


Science of the Total Environment, 472, 929-938.

Fan, Y., Weisberg, P. J., Nowak, R. S.

Land-use legacy of historical tree harvesting for charcoal production in a semi-arid woodland


Forest Ecology and Management, 261(7), 1283-1292

Ko, D. W., Sparrow, A. D., Weisberg, P. J.

Global macroecology of bird assemblages in urbanized and semi-natural ecosystems


Global Ecology and Biogeography, no. doi: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2010.00616.x

Pautasso, M., Böhning-Gaese, K., Clergeau, P., Cueto, V. R., Dinetti, M., Fernández-Juricic, E., Kaisanlahti-Jokimäki, M.-L., Jokimäki, J., McKinney, M. L., Sodhi, N. S., Storch, D., Tomialojc, L., Weisberg, P. J., Woinarski, J., Fuller, R. A., Cantarello, E.

Application of a rule-based model to estimate mercury exchange for three background biomes in the continental United States.


Environmental Science and Technology, 43, 4989 - 4994.

Hartman, J., Weisberg, P. J., Pillai, R., Ericksen, J., Kuiken, T., Lindberg, S., Zhang, H., Rytuba, J., Gustin, M. S.

Canopy cover estimation in semi-arid woodlands: comparison of field-based and remote sensing methods..


Forest Science, 55, 132 - 141.

Ko, D., Bristow, N., Greenwood, D. L., Weisberg, P. J.

Fire history of a central Nevada pinyon-juniper woodland..


Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 39, 1589 - 1599.

Bauer, J. M., Weisberg, P. J.

GIS-based modeling of pinyon-juniper woodland structure in the Great Basin..


Forest Science, 55, 1 - 12.

Greenwood, D. L., Weisberg, P. J.

Historical fire frequency on contrasting slope facets along the McKenzie River, western Oregon Cascades..


Western North American Naturalist, 69, 206 - 214.

Weisberg, P. J.

Influence of climate, fire, and topography on contemporary age structures of Douglas-fir at 205 old forest sites in Western Oregon: A study in variability.


Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 39, 1518 - 1530.

Poage, N. J., Weisberg, P. J., Tappeiner, J. C., Impara, P. C., Sensenig, T. S.

Natural and anthropogenic disturbances: interactions and effects on the structure of European larch forests..


Forest Ecology and Management, 257, 1794 - 1802.

Garbarino, M., Weisberg, P. J., Motta, R.

Modeling fire and landform influences on the distribution of old-growth pinyon-juniper woodland.


Landscape Ecology, 23, 931-943.

Weisberg, P. J., Ko, D., Py, C., Bauer, J.


Professional Papers

Fire Patterns and Fire Effects on the Plant Community, Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.


Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.

Weisberg, P. J., Sunderman, S. O., Karam, S. L.

Long-term Vegetation Response to Chaining and Prescribed Fire in Eastern Nevada Pinyon-Juniper Woodlands.


Bureau of Land Management.

Bristow, N., Tausch, R., Weisberg, P. J.

Research Reports

Technical Publication