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Contact Information

Northern Research Station
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726
(608) 231-9318
(608) 231-9544 TTY/TDD

NYC UFS People

Novem Auyeung

Title: Senior Scientist
Unit: New York City Urban Field Station
Address: New York City Urban Field Station
431 Walter Reed Road
Fort Totten Cluster #2, Box #12
Bayside, Queens, NY 11359
Phone: 718-225-3061 x 312, 212-360-1465

E-mail: Novem Auyeung


  • Ph.D. Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, 2012
  • B.S. Environmental Science, Brown University, 2005

Civic & Professional Affiliations

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Geophysical Union
  • Ecological Society of America

Current Research

I am broadly interested in the plants, soils, and people in urban ecosystems and using this information to manage and conserve urban green space.  I am currently working on the following projects:

  • Database of NYC urban soil characteristics: NYC Parks Natural Resources Group (NRG) regularly tests soil from various projects in different ecosystems around NYC, and I’m working on a database that pools together data from 2011 to the present and contains spatial information as well.
  • NYC i-Tree: As an update to the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station’s UFORE (Urban Forest Effects) Model study done in 1996, we collected data in 2013 to determine the ecosystem services provided by urban trees in NYC using the i-Tree method.
  • Green Infrastructure Plant and Soils Project: Together with Rich Hallett and Michelle Johnson from the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, I am investigating the effects of land use, storm water volume and green infrastructure design on tree health and soil properties.  This study uses the urban tree health method developed by Rich Hallett.
  • Reading the Landscape: Together with Lindsay Campbell, Erika Svendsen, and Michelle Johnson from the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station and staff from Natural Areas Conservancy and NYC Parks, we are investigating visitors’ uses and values of parks and natural areas in NYC.  I am also working on a typology analysis to characterize NYC Parks using results from this study.

Past Research

Climate Change Effects on Nutrient Cycling & Microbial Communities: My dissertation work was on the responses of nitrogen mineralization rates, nitrification rates, and ammonia oxidizer communities to warming and altered precipitation at the Boston Area Climate Experiment (BACE).  I found that although warming did not consistently increase nitrogen mineralization or nitrification rates, warming and drought actually decreased the temperature sensitivity of net nitrogen mineralization and net nitrification rates.  Because some ecosystem models assume that warming will increase nitrogen mineralization, which would result in increased nitrogen availability and plant productivity, these models may be overestimating the increase in plant productivity in some ecosystems, and this can affect the magnitude of climate change feedbacks.  I also found that nitrification kinetics and ammonia oxidizers responded to warming and altered precipitation but these responses were relatively small compared to temporal variations in nitrification kinetics and ammonia oxidizer composition and abundance.  This highlights the importance of accounting for temporal changes when examining climate change effects on nitrogen cycling and microbial communities.

Pelham Bay Forest Restoration: Creating, restoring and sustaining forests in urban areas are complicated by habitat fragmentation, invasive species, and degraded soils. Although there is some research on the outcomes of urban reforestation plantings during the first five years, there is little research on longer term outcomes. This study compares the successional trajectories of restored and non-restored forest sites 20 years after initiating restoration. The sites are located within the Rodman’s Neck area of Pelham Bay Park, in the northeast corner of the Bronx in New York City. Three restoration strategies (cleared; cleared and planted; cleared, planted and maintained) were assessed along with an un-restored control. Compared to un-restored sites, we saw improvements in species diversity, greater forest structure complexity, and evidence of the regeneration and retention of native tree species in restored sites. 

Publications & Products

Auyeung, D.S. Novem; Campbell, Lindsay K.; Johnson, Michelle; Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Svendsen, Erika. 2016. Reading the landscape: citywide social assessment of New York City parks and natural areas in 2013-2014. Social Assessment White Paper No. 2. New York, NY: New York Department of Parks and Recreation. 69 p.

Simmons, Brady L.; Hallett, Richard A.; Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Auyeung, D.S.N.; Lu, Jacqueline W.T. 2016. Long-term outcomes of forest restoration in an urban park. Restoration Ecology. 24(1): 109-118.

Oldfield, Emily; Felson, Alexander J.; Auyeung, D.S. Novem; Crowther, Thomas W.; Sonti, Nancy F.; Harada, Yoshiki; Maynard, Daniel S.; Sokol, Noah W.; Warren II, Robert J.; Hallett, Richard A.; Bradford, Mark A. 2015. Growing the urban forest: tree performance in response to biotic and abiotic land management. Restoration Ecology 23 (5): 707-718.

Auyeung, D.S. Novem; Martiny, Jennifer B.H.; Dukes, Jeffrey S. 2015. Nitrification kinetics and ammonia-oxidizing community respond to warming and altered precipitation. Ecosphere 6: art83.

Auyeung, D.S. Novem; Suseela, Vidya; Dukes, Jeffrey S. 2013. Warming and drought reduce temperature sensitivity of nitrogen transformations. Global Change Biology 19: 662-676.

Last Modified: 05/02/2016