Eric K. Zenner, Ph.D.

Eric K. Zenner, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor of Silviculture
305 Forest Resources Building
University Park, PA 16802

Areas of Expertise

  • Forestry
  • Silviculture
  • Forest ecology
  • Disturbance ecology


  • Ph.D., Quantitative Forest Ecology, Oregon State University (1998)
  • M.S., Applied Statistics, Oregon State University (1998)
  • M.S., Forest Science, Oregon State University (1995)
  • B.S., Forest Management, Fachhochschule für Forstwirtschaft, Rottenburg (1990)

Academic Interests

Forest structure, old-growth forests, uneven-aged management, natural regeneration, vascular community ecology, forest-wildlife interactions.

I am interested in integrating the ecological and utilitarian values of forests.  My primary research interest lies in linking forest structure to understory and overstory dynamics and biodiversity, such as with respect to:

  • partial disturbances and post-disturbance establishment dynamics

  • uneven-aged management and regeneration

  • wildlife habitat

  • mimicking late successional forest structural components through partial cuts to create multi-cohort, mixed species stands capable of both natural regeneration and resilience to natural disturbance

  • describing and quantifying forest structure to enable comparisons among different forest ecosystems

  • developing and testing hypotheses about ecological processes related to forest structure in order to develop forest management practices to meet societal goals

I am on the graduate faculty of the Forestry program at Penn State.

Courses Taught

FOR 421 Applied Forest Ecology: Silviculture (fall)

FOR 410 Forest Ecosystem Management (spring)

FOR 521 Advanced Silviculture (periodically)

Selected (Annual) Publications

Zenner, E.K. & J.E. Peck.  2021.  Quantifying the vertical diversification development stage of old-growth Douglas-fir to derive stage-specific targets for restoration silviculture. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, in press.

Mafi-Gholami, D., E.K. Zenner, A. Jaafari.  2020.  Mangrove regional feedback to sea level rise and drought intensity at the end of the 21st century. Ecological Indicators, 110:105972, 15 pp.

Zenner, E.K., J.E. Peck, J.E. and K. Sagheb-Talebi.  2019.  Patchiness in old-growth oriental beech forests across development stages at multiple neighborhood scales.  European Journal of Forest Research 138:739-752.

Zenner, E.K. and J.E. Peck.  2018.  Floating neighborhoods reveal contribution of individual trees to high sub-stand scale heterogeneity.  Forest Ecology and Management 412:29–40.

Pretzsch, H. and E.K. Zenner.  2017.  Toward managing mixed-species stands: from parametrization to prescription.  Forest Ecosystems 4:1–17.

Zenner, E.K.  2016.  Differential growth response to increasing growing stock and structural complexity in even- and uneven-sized mixed Picea abies stands in southern Finland.  Canadian Journal for Forest Research 46:1195-1204.

Zenner, E.K., K. Sagheb-Talebi, R. Akhavan, and J.E. Peck.  2015.  Integration of small-scale canopy dynamics smoothes live-tree structural complexity across development stages in old-growth Oriental beech (Fagus orientalis Lipsky) forests at the multi-gap scale.  Forest Ecology and Management 335:26-36.

Peck, J.E., E.K. Zenner, P. Brang, and A. Zingg.  2014.  Tree size distribution and abundance explain structural complexity differentially within stands of even- and uneven-aged structure types.  European Journal of Forest Research 133:335-346.

Zenner, E.K., Y.L. Dickinson, and J.E. Peck.  2013.  Recovery of forest structure and composition to harvesting in different strata of mixed even-aged central Appalachian hardwoods. Annals of Forest Science 70:151-159.

Zenner, E.K., D.J. Heggenstaller, P.H. Brose, J.E. Peck, and K.C. Steiner.  2012.  Reconstructing the competitive dynamics of mixed-oak neighborhoods.  Canadian Journal of Forest Research 42:1714-1723.

Zenner, E.K., E. Lähde, and O. Laiho.  2011.  Contrasting the structural dynamics of stand structure in even- and uneven-sized Picea abies dominated stands.  Canadian Journal of Forest Research 41:289-299.

Zenner, E.K., J.E. Peck, K. Brubaker, B. Gamble, C. Gilbert, D. Heggenstaller, J. Hickey, K. Sitch, and R. Withington.  2010.  Combining ecological classification systems and conservation filters could facilitate the integration of wildlife and forest management.  Journal of Forestry 108:296-300.

Zenner, E.K. and J.E. Peck.  2009.  Characterizing structural conditions in mature managed red pine:  Spatial dependency of metrics and adequacy of plot size.  Forest Ecology and Management 257:311-320.

Kabrick, J.M., E.K. Zenner, D.C. Dey, D. Gwaze, and R.G. Jensen.  2008.  Using ecological land types to examine landscape-scale oak regeneration dynamics.  Forest Ecology and Management 255:3051-3062.

Zenner, E.K., J. T. Fauskee, A.L. Berger, and K.J. Puettmann.  2007.  Impacts of skidding traffic intensity on soil disturbance, soil recovery, and aspen regeneration in north-central Minnesota.  Northern Journal of Applied Forestry 24:177-183.

Zenner, E.K., J.M. Kabrick, R.G. Jensen, J.E. Peck, and J.K. Grabner.  2006.  Responses of ground flora to a gradient of harvest intensity in the Missouri Ozarks.  Forest Ecology and Management 222:326-334.

Zenner, E.K.  2005.  Development of tree size distributions in Douglas-fir forests under differing disturbance regimes.  Ecological Applications 15:701-714.

Zenner, E.K.  2004.  Does old-growth condition imply high live-tree structural complexity?  Forest Ecology and Management 195:243-258.

Zenner, E.K.  2000.  Do residual trees increase structural heterogeneity in Pacific Northwest coniferous forests?  Ecological Applications 10:800-810.