Alan Taylor is a professor of geography and director of the Penn State vegetation dynamics lab. Taylor has broad research interests in ecological biogeography and vegetation dynamics, particularly the role of natural and human disturbance and climate variation on forest dynamics. Much of his recent work has focused on identifying the influence of changes and interactions of land use history and climate on fire disturbance and forest conditions in the western United States.
He addresses both theoretical and applied questions in his research and uses a wide range of methodological approaches, including tree ring analysis, spatial analysis and statistical modeling, simulation modeling, and historical ecology. Taylor has conducted research on the dynamics of subalpine bamboo forests with giant pandas in southwest China and on highland bamboo forests in the mountain gorilla habitat in the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda.
Taylor’s areas of expertise are: landscape ecology, fire ecology, disturbance and climate effects on vegetation, biogeography, biological conservation, environmental management and paleoecology.
from The Washington Post June 17, 2019
"'We’ve gotten really good at putting out fires under all circumstances, except for extreme weather conditions,” said Alan Taylor, a Pennsylvania State University professor of geology and ecology who has found that the historical link between wet winters followed by mild fire seasons no longer exists. “And that is how they are burning in California now.'"
from The Sacramento Bee March 4, 2019
"'Fire not being influenced by moisture anymore? That is surprising,' said study co-author Alan Taylor, a Pennsylvania State University geography professor. 'It’s going to be a problem for people, for firefighters, for society'.”