Peter Z. Fulé, PhD

Peter Fule
Professor of Forestry





Subject-matter expertise

  • ecological restoration
  • forest ecosystems
  • fire ecology
  • wildfires and climate change


During his 14-year tenure at Northern Arizona University, Dr. Fule has examined the threats to sustainable forest ecosystems caused by the overuse of natural resources, alteration of natural fire regimes, and other human-caused forms of environmental damage.

His past and current research focuses on:

  • the determinants of when forest fires will occur
  • why some forests burn more than others
  • how climatic factors influence forest fires
  • whether climate events or a forest’s local characteristics such as fuel, topography, and ignition events have greater effects on fire occurrence

According to Dr. Fule’s research, uncharacteristically severe wildfires, pathogen outbreaks, and exotic species invasions are signs of ecological damage in frequent-fire-adapted forests of Western North America and similar areas worldwide.

Working with his colleagues at the School of Forestry and Ecological Restoration Institute, Fule’s current research, some of which is funded by the National Science Foundation, focuses on four specific areas:

  • measuring damage to forests, including changes in forest structure, plant communities, fire behavior, and habitat components
  • studying relict sites (remnants of forests that are still in their natural state) where recent human degradation is minimal, such as remote plateaus in Grand Canyon National Park and isolated sites in northern Mexico
  • testing methods of restoring natural structure, function and process to western long-needled pine forests
  • modeling of the effects of climate change on vegetation and fire behavior and effects on forests


  • Huffman, David W., Crouse, Joseph E., Chancellor, W Walker, Fule, Peter Z. “Influence of time since fire on pinyon-juniper woodland structure.” Forest Ecology and Management 274 (2012): 29-37. 
  • Korb, Julie E., Fule, Peter Z., Stoddard, Michael T. “Forest restoration in a surface fire-dependent ecosystem: An example from a mixedconifer forest, southwestern Colorado, USA.” Forest Ecology and Management 269 (2012): 10-18.
  •  Fulé, Peter Z., Crouse, Joseph E., Roccaforte, John Paul, Kalies, Elizabeth L. “Do thinning and/or burning treatments in western USA ponderosa or Jeffrey pine-dominated forests help restore natural fire behavior?Forest Ecology and Management 269 (2012): 68-81.
  • Roccaforte, John P., Fulé, Peter Z., Chancellor, W. Walker, Laughlin, Daniel C. “Woody debris and tree regeneration dynamics following severe wildfires in Arizona ponderosa pine forests.Canadian Journal of Forest Research 43, no. 3 (2012): 593-604.
  •  Villanueva-Diaz, J., Cerano-Paredes, J., Stahle,  D.W., Luckman, B.H., Therrell, M.D., Cleaveland, M.K., Fulé, P. “La dendrocronologia y reconstrucciones paleoclimaticas en el norte-centro de Mexico.” Escenarios de cambio climático: Registros del Cuaternario en America Latina I (2011):47-72.
  •  Fulé, P.Z. “Wildfire Ecology and Management at Grand Canyon, USA: Tree-ring applications in forest fire history and modeling.” Tree-Ring Reconstructions in Natural Hazards Research (2010): 365-381.
  •  Kaufmann, M.R., Ryan, K, Fulé, P.Z., and Romme, W.R. “Restoration of ponderosa pine forests in the interior western United States after logging, grazing, and fire suppression.” Restoration of Boreal and Temperate Forests (2004): 481-500.
  •  Fulé, Peter. “Monitoring.” Ecological Restoration of Southwestern Ponderosa Pine Forests: A Sourcebook for Research and Application. 2003.
  •  Fulé, P.Z. “Why Forests Need to Burn.” Science Year Special Report (2002): 42-55.
  •  Stahle, D.W., Villanueva, J., Cleaveland, M.K., Therrell, M.D., Paull, G.J., Burns, B.T.,  Salinas, W,  Suzan, H., and Fulé, P.Z. “Recent Tree-Ring Research in Mexico.” Dendrocronologia en America Latina. 2000. 

Full list of Dr. Fulé’s research.

Awards, recognitions, and grants

  • National Park Service: Comparing modern and historical high-elevation fire regimes at Grand Canyon, 2012-2014.
  • National Science Foundation: Interaction of Fire, Climate, and Forest Structure in Northern Mexico, 2007-2012.
  • U.S. State Department: Summer Institute for European Student Leaders, 2011.
  • Fulbright grant: Senior Scholar, Spain, 2005-2006.
  • Northern Arizona University Teaching Scholar Award, 2005.

Special groups and committees

  • Society of American Foresters
  • Association for Fire Ecology
  • Society for Ecological Restoration International


BA, Vassar College, 1986
MS, Northern Arizona University, 1990
PhD, Northern Arizona University, 1996