Lauren F. Howard

Associate Professor, Biology

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About Me

Dr. Lauren F. Howard is a plant community ecologist who studies the effects of disturbance, particularly fire, on forest change and species diversity in the central Appalachian Mountains.

Dr. Howard earned his B.S. in Biology from Norwich University. He earned his M. S. and his Ph.D. in Plant Biology at the University of New Hampshire, studying the role of disturbance history and environmental factors on composition, succession and biodiversity in New Hampshire forests. His postdoctoral position for the National Commission on Science for Sustainable Forestry explored the historic roles of disturbance in northeastern US forests and how they could inform current forest management practices.

He currently teaches Ecology, Conservation Biology, and General Biology at Arcadia University in the greater Philadelphia area. He mentors undergraduate students in forest ecology and dendrochronology and involves undergraduate research assistants in field and laboratory projects.

Research Interests:

Dr. Howard's research explores the history of fire in high elevation pine forests in West Virginia using dendrochronology (forensic analysis of tree rings). This research explores connections between fire history and present day forest composition and diversity. He also studies controlled burning strategies in oak forests and barrens on State Game Lands in Pennsylvania, and collaborated with the PA Game Commission in designing their burn monitoring protocols. 

To accomplish his research and provide results to natural resource managers and practitioners, Dr. Howard partners with The Nature Conservancy, US Forest Service, and state agencies such as the WV Division of Natural Resources and the PA Game Commission. He is a community representative for the North Atlantic Fire Science Exchange, a Joint Fire Science Program-funded organization designed to facilitate communication among, and access to resources for, both scientists and managers. He is a member of the PA Prescribed Fire Council, the Central Appalachian Fire Learning Network, the Ecological Society of America, and the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society.

Recent Publications: 

Howard, L.F., P. Lupo, B. Stone, and S. Bearer. 2013. Interim Report for Preburn Monitoring Project, Dec 31, 2013. Report to the Nature Conservancy, Pennsylvania Chapter, and the PA Game Commission. December 31, 2013.

Silver, E.J., J.H. Speer, M. Kaye, N.J. Reo, L.F. Howard, A.K. Anning, S.W. Wood and H.M. Wilbur. 2013. Fire history and age structure of an oak-pine forest on Price Mountain, Virginia. Natural Areas Journal 33 (4): 440–446. 

Howard, L.F. 2012.  Status of the high-elevation pitch pine community on Panther Knob, Pendleton County, West Virginia.  Report to the Nature Conservancy, WV Chapter, Elkins. 

Howard, L.F. and M.A. Stelacio. 2011. Fire and the development of high-elevation pitch pine communities in northeastern West Virginia. The Bulletin of the NJ Academy of Sciences. 56:19-22. 

Howard, L.F., T.D. Lee, and R.T. Eckert. 2011.  Forest community composition and dynamics of the Ossipee Pine Barrens, New Hampshire.  Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 138: 434-452. 


Read about Dr. Howard's scholarship and campus activities in the Bulletin.


Education History

University of New Hampshire 2003

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D), Major in Plant Biology

University of New Hampshire 1999

Master of Science (M.S.), Major in Plant Biology

Norwich University 1997

Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Major in Biology