Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder

Chris Guiterman

Research Interests

My research investigates the interactions among fire, climate, vegetation, and people. My specialty is in dendrochronology, the science of using tree rings to reconstruct past environmental processes. As a dendroecologist, I tend to focus on the drivers of changing forest dynamics, including climate change, human land-use, and altered disturbance processes. I use tree rings to reconstruct historical fire activity at local to landscape scales to better understand why wildland fire has become such a problem in many areas, and what forest and fire managers can do to ease the strain that climate change poses to our forests. 

Prior to joining CIRES and NCEI in 2022, I was an Assistant Research Professor at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona, where I also completed my doctorate. My research focused on the vulnerabilities of southwestern forests to climate change, and included an ongoing science-manager partnership with the Navajo Nation Forestry Department and assessments of forest conversion to shrublands following historical and modern high-severity fires.

At CIRES, I work with the NOAA-NCEI Paleoclimate team to operate the World Data Service for Paleoclimatology. We house more than 20 types of paleoclimate and paleoenvironmental data used by researchers worldwide. We are currently working to develop new ways for researchers and the public to explore and access the repositories via Open Access software and tools.

Current Research



View Publications

  • Guiterman CH; Gregg RM; Marshall LAE; Beckmann JJ; van Mantgem PJ; Falk DA; Keeley JE; Caprio AC; Coop JD; Fornwalt PJ. (Dec 2022). Vegetation type conversion in the US Southwest: frontline observations and management responses. Fire Ecology , 18(1). 10.1186/s42408-022-00131-w
  • Falk DA; van Mantgem PJ; Keeley JE; Gregg RM; Guiterman CH; Tepley AJ; JN Young D; Marshall LA. (May 2022). Mechanisms of forest resilience. Forest Ecology and Management , 512, 120129-120129. 10.1016/j.foreco.2022.120129
  • Bigio ER; Swetnam T; Baisan CH; Guiterman CH; Kisilyakhov YK; Andreev SG; Batotsyrenov EA; Ayurzhanaev AA. (Apr 2022). The influence of land-use activities and regional drought on historical fire regimes of Buryatia, Siberia. Environmental Research Letters. 10.1088/1748-9326/ac6964
  • Roos C; Guiterman CH. (Mar 2021). Dating the origins of persistent oak shrubfields in northern New Mexico using soil charcoal and dendrochronology. The Holocene: a major interdisciplinary journal focusing on recent environmental change , 31(7), 1212-1220. 10.1177/09596836211003255
  • Brice B; Guiterman CH; Woodhouse C; McClellan C; Sheppard P. (Mar 2021). Comparing tree-ring based reconstructions of snowpack variability at different scales for the Navajo Nation. Climate Services , 22. 10.1016/j.cliser.2021.100213
  • Roos CI; Swetnam TW; Ferguson TJ; Liebmann MJ; Loehman RA; Welch JR; Margolis EQ; Guiterman CH; Hockaday WC; Aiuvalasit MJ. (Jan 2021). Native American fire management at an ancient wildland–urban interface in the Southwest United States. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA , 118(4). 10.1073/pnas.2018733118
  • Rother MT; Huffman JM; Guiterman CH; Robertson KM; Jones N. (Nov 2020). A history of recurrent, low-severity fire without fire exclusion in southeastern pine savannas, USA. Forest Ecology and Management , 475. 10.1016/j.foreco.2020.118406
  • Guiterman CH; Lynch AM; Axelson JN. (Oct 2020). dfoliatR: An R package for detection and analysis of insect defoliation signals in tree rings. Dendrochronologia , 63, 125750-125750. 10.1016/j.dendro.2020.125750
  • Klesse S; DeRose RJ; Babst F; Black BA; Anderegg LDL; Axelson J; Ettinger A; Griesbauer H; Guiterman CH; Harley G. (Sep 2020). Continental?scale tree?ring?based projection of Douglas?fir growth: Testing the limits of space?for?time substitution. Global Change Biology , 26(9), 5146-5163. 10.1111/gcb.15170
  • Guiterman CH; Baisan CH; English NB; Quade J; Dean JS; Swetnam TW. (Apr 2020). Convergence of Evidence Supports a Chuska Mountains Origin for the Plaza Tree of Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon. American Antiquity , 85(2), 331-346. 10.1017/aaq.2020.6
  • Guiterman CH; Margolis EQ; Baisan CH; Falk DA; Allen CD; Swetnam TW. (Nov 2019). Spatiotemporal variability of human-fire interactions on the Navajo Nation. Ecosphere , 10(11). 10.1002/ecs2.2932
  • Klesse S; DeRose RJ; Guiterman CH; Lynch AM; O'Connor CD; Shaw JD; Evans MEK. (Dec 2018). Sampling bias overestimates climate change impacts on forest growth in the southwestern United States. Nature Communications , 9. 10.1038/s41467-018-07800-y
  • Guiterman CH; Margolis EQ; Allen CD; Falk DA; Swetnam TW. (Aug 2018). Long-Term Persistence and Fire Resilience of Oak Shrubfields in Dry Conifer Forests of Northern New Mexico. Ecosystems , 21(5), 943-959. 10.1007/s10021-017-0192-2
  • Malevich SB; Guiterman CH; Margolis EQ. (Jun 2018). burnr: Fire history analysis and graphics in R. Dendrochronologia , 49, 9-15. 10.1016/j.dendro.2018.02.005
  • Evans MEK; Gugger PF; Lynch AM; Guiterman CH; Fowler JC; Klesse S; Riordan EC. (Apr 2018). Dendroecology meets genomics in the common garden: new insights into climate adaptation. New Phytologist , 218(2), 401-403. 10.1111/nph.15094
  • Betancourt JL; Guiterman CH. (Dec 2016). Revisiting human-environment interactions in Chaco Canyon and the American Southwest. , 24(2), 64-65. 10.22498/pages.24.2.64
  • Brewer PW; Guiterman CH. (Jun 2016). A new digital field data collection system for dendrochronology. Dendrochronologia , 38, 131-135. 10.1016/j.dendro.2016.04.005
  • Guiterman CH; Swetnam TW; Dean JS. (Feb 2016). Eleventh-century shift in timber procurement areas for the great houses of Chaco Canyon. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA , 113(5), 1186-1190. 10.1073/pnas.1514272112
  • Guiterman CH; Margolis EQ; Swetnam TW. (Jul 2015). DENDROECOLOGICAL METHODS FOR RECONSTRUCTING HIGH-SEVERITY FIRE IN PINE-OAK FORESTS. Tree-ring research , 71(2), 67-77. 10.3959/1536-1098-71.2.67
  • Creasman PP; Baisan C; Guiterman C. (Jan 2015). Dendrochronological evaluation of ship timber from Charlestown Navy Yard (Boston, MA). Dendrochronologia , 33, 8-15. 10.1016/j.dendro.2014.10.001
  • Brice B; Lorion KK; Griffin D; Macalady AK; Guiterman CH; Speer JH; Benakoun LR; Cutter A; Hart ME; Murray MP. (Jan 2013). SIGNAL STRENGTH IN SUB-ANNUAL TREE-RING CHRONOLOGIES FROM PINUS PONDEROSA IN NORTHERN NEW MEXICO. Tree-ring research , 69(2), 81-86. 10.3959/1536-1098-69.2.81
  • Guiterman CH; Seymour RS; Weiskittel AR. (Feb 2012). Long-Term Thinning Effects on the Leaf Area of Pinus strobus L. as Estimated from Litterfall and Individual-Tree Allometric Models. Forest Science , 58(1), 85-93. 10.5849/forsci.10-002
  • Guiterman CH; Weiskittel AR; Seymour RS. (Sep 2011). Influences of Conventional and Low-Density Thinning on the Lower Bole Taper and Volume Growth of Eastern White Pine. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry , 28(3), 123-128. 10.1093/njaf/28.3.123