Saskia van de Gevel


Associate Professor

Rankin Science West 367


Ph.D., Geography, The University of Tennessee, 2008

M.S., Forest Ecology, Southern Illinois University, 2002

B.S., Forest Science, Pennsylvania State University, 2000





 Endangered Mountain Forest Ecosystems, Dendrochronology, Biogeography, and Climate Change

My research interests are focused on endangered mountain forest ecosystems in eastern U.S. forests and high-elevation mountain ecosystems in the northern Rocky Mountains. I have three major research foci including: (1) quantifying the influence of native and exotic insects/diseases in eastern and western U.S. forest communities, (2) reconstructing disturbance and land-use history patterns in the eastern deciduous forest on varying spatial scales, and (3) examining long-term climate and forest disturbance trends in endangered whitebark pine ecosystems.

 I conduct my research in the Department of Geography and Planning’s Appalachian Tree Ring Lab. I am currently sharing the lab with Dr. Pete Soule, Dr. Mark Spond, and undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing tree-ring and biogeographical research.



My teaching philosophy emphasizes student learning through hands-on experience in the classroom and in the field, relating the excitement of scientific discovery, and encouraging students to engage in internships, study abroad programs, and experiencing other cultures. I teach the following courses:

  • GHY 1012 (Global Change of the Biosphere):  A study of spatial and temporal patterns within the biosphere (e.g., global biodiversity patterns), the interrelated processes that create such patterns (e.g., climate zonation, seasonality), and examination of how biotic patterns and processes have changed through time due to both natural and anthropogenic forcing mechanisms (e.g., past climate variability, current global warming, habitat loss, invasive species).
  • GHY 3110 (Vegetation, Soils, and Landforms): Advanced-level physical geography course. A comprehensive study of our physical earth, emphasizing the distributional patterns and interrelations of natural vegetation, soils, and landforms. Throughout the course we will focus on the global impact of humans on the natural environment.
  • GHY/PLN 4830 (Senior Seminar): Provides a ‘capstone’ experience for graduating Geography majors, with a balance between academic and practical experiences. Topics generally covered include: resume design and cover letter writing, portfolio development, preparation for job interviews, internship experiences, and graduate school opportunities.
  • Graduate Seminar: Grant Writing in Natural Resources



Saskia L. van de Gevel, Evan Larson, Henri D. Grissino-Mayer. 2017. Separating trends in whitebark pine radial growth related to climate and mountain pine beetle outbreaks in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Forests 8: 195. PDF

Maegen Rochner, Saskia L. van de Gevel, Mark D. Spond, and Henri D. Grissino-Mayer. 2016. Using dendrochronology to investigate the historical and educational value of two log structures, Bear Paw State Natural Area, North Carolina, U.S.A. Tree-Ring Research 73 (2): 136-148. PDF

David Austin, Saskia L. van de Gevel, and Peter T. Soulé.
2016. Forest dynamics and climate sensitivity of an endangered Carolina hemlock community in the southern Appalachian Mountains, U.S.A. Botany 94: 301-309. PDF

Mark D. Spond, Saskia L. van de Gevel, and Henri D. Grissino-Mayer. 2014. Climate-growth relationships for Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum Sarg.) on the volcanic badlands of western New Mexico, U.S.A. Dendrochronologia 32: 137–143. PDF

Philip B. White, Peter T. Soulé, and Saskia L. van de Gevel. 2014. Impacts of human disturbance on the temporal stability of climate-growth relationships in a red spruce forest, Southern Appalachian Mountains, U.S.A. Dendrochronologia 32: 71-77. PDF

Nicholas Fuhrman, Chris Morgan, Carolyn Copenheaver, John Peterson, Milton Newberry, Sara DeLoach, and Saskia L. van de Gevel. 2014. Repeated monitoring of forest plots: Evaluating the accuracy of student scientist data.  NACTA Journal 58(2): 95-101. PDF

Saskia L. van de Gevel, Justin L. Hart, Mark D. Spond, Philip B. White, Megan N. Sutton, and Henri Grissino-Mayer. 2012. American chestnut to northern red oak: a forest dynamics study in the Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, U.S.A. Botany 90: 1263-1275. PDF

Philip B. White, Saskia L. van de Gevel, and Peter T. Soulé
2012. Succession and disturbance in an endangered red spruce-Fraser fir forest in the southern Appalachian Mountains, North Carolina, U.S.A. Endangered Species Research 18: 17–25. PDF

Philip B. White, Saskia L. van de Gevel, Henri D. Grissino-Mayer, and Lisa B. LaForest. 2011. Climatic response of oak species across an environmental gradient in the southern Appalachian Mountains, U.S.A. Tree-Ring Research 67(1): 27–37. PDF

Justin L. Hart, Saskia L. van de Gevel, John Sakulich, and Henri D. Grissino-Mayer.  2010. Influence of climate and disturbance on the growth of Tsuga canadensis at its southern limit. Trees 24: 621–633. PDF

Justin L. Hart, David A. Austin, and Saskia L. van de Gevel. 2010. Radial Growth responses of three co-occurring species to small canopy disturbances in a secondary hardwood forest on the Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee. Physical Geography 31(2): 1–22. PDF

Evan R. Larson, Saskia L. van de Gevel, and Henri D. Grissino-Mayer. 2009. Variability in fire regimes of high-elevation whitebark pine communities, western Montana, U.S.A. Ecoscience 16(3): 282–298. PDF

Henri D. Grissino-Mayer, Lisa B. LaForest, and Saskia L. van de Gevel. 2009. Construction history of the Rocky Mount Historic Site, Piney Flats, Tennessee from tree-ring and documentary evidence. Southeastern Archaeology 28(1): 64–77. 

Saskia L. van de Gevel, Justin L. Hart, Henri D. Grissino-Mayer, and Ken W. Robinson. 2009. Tree-ring dating of old-growth longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) logs from an exposed timber crib dam, Hope Mills, North Carolina, U.S.A. Tree-Ring Research 65(1): 69–80. PDF

Joseph P. Henderson, Henri D. Grissino-Mayer, Saskia L. van de Gevel, and Justin L. Hart.     2009. The historical dendroarchaeology of the Hoskins House, Tannenbaum Historic Park, Greensboro, North Carolina. Tree-Ring Research 65(1): 37–45. PDF

Sara A. Blankenship, Meta G. Pike, Saskia L. van de Gevel, and Henri D. Grissino-Mayer. 2009. The dendroarchaeology of Cagle Saltpetre Cave: A nineteenth century saltpeter mining site in Van Buren County, Tennessee. Tree-Ring Research 65(1): 11–22. PDF

Justin L. Hart, Saskia L. van de Gevel, and Henri D. Grissino-Mayer. 2008. Forest dynamics in a natural area of the southern Ridge and Valley, Tennessee. Natural  Areas Journal 28(3): 275–289. PDF

Justin L. Hart, Saskia L. van de Gevel, David F. Mann, and Wayne K. Clatterbuck. 2008. Legacy of charcoaling in a Western Highland Rim forest in Tennessee.  American Midland Naturalist 159: 238–250.

Henri D. Grissino-Mayer and Saskia L. van de Gevel. 2007. Tell-tale trees: the historical dendroarchaeology of log structures at Rocky Mount, Piney Flats, Tennessee. Historical Archaeology 41(4): 32–49. PDF

Saskia L. van de Gevel and Charles M. Ruffner. 2006. Land-use history and resulting forest succession in the Illinois Ozark Hills. In: David S. Buckley and Wayne K. Clatterbuck (Editors). Proceedings, 15th Central Hardwood Forest Conference, February 28–March 1, 2006, Knoxville, Tennessee. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report SRS-101: 719–726, Asheville, North Carolina.

Saskia L. van de Gevel, Henri D. Grissino-Mayer, and Evan R. Larson. 2005. Dendroecological applications for whitebark pine ecosystems. Nutcracker Notes 9:6–7.

Marc D. Abrams, Carolyn A. Copenheaver, Bryan A. Black, and Saskia L. van de Gevel. 2001.  Dendroecology and balsam fir decline in a relic, old-growth, bog forest in the central Ridge and Valley Province. Canadian Journal of Botany 79: 58–69. PDF

Marc D. Abrams, Saskia L. van de Gevel, Ryan C. Dodson, and Carolyn A. Copenheaver. 2000. The dendroecology and climate impacts for old-growth white pine and hemlock on the extreme slopes of the Berkshire Hills, Massachusetts. Canadian Journal of Botany 78: 851–861. PDF