Laura P. Leites, Ph.D.

Laura P. Leites, Ph.D.

  • Associate Research Professor of Quantitative Forest Ecology
312 Forest Resources Bldg.
University Park, PA 16802


  • Ph.D., University of Idaho (2009)
  • M.S., University of Idaho (2001)
  • B.S., Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay (1997)

Academic Interests

  • Modeling forest ecosystem responses to climatic change.
  • Quantification and modeling of forest ecosystem attributes and processes.
  • Development of decision support tools for adaptive forest management and conservation.

Courses Taught

  • FOR 350 - Forest Ecosystem Monitoring and Data Analysis
  • FOR 597A - Quantitative Forest Ecosystem Modeling

 Recent Research/Educational Projects

  • Forest tree species and populations growth responses to changes in climate
  • Downscaling forest communities and tree species habitat suitability models
  • Modeling and mapping forest attributes at landscape and regional scales
  • Modeling natural regeneration in Northeastern forests

Selected Publications

Chen, X., L. Leites. 2020. The importance of land-use legacies for modeling present-day species distributions. Landscape Ecology. 35:2759–2775.

Pike, C., K. Potter, P. Berrang, B. Crane, J. Baggs, L. Leites, T. Luther. 2020. New seed collection zones for the eastern US: the Eastern Seed Zone Forum. Journal of Forestry. 118(4): 444–451.

Bagella, S., M. C. Caria, G. Seddaiu, L. Leites, P. P. Roggero. 2020. Patchy landscapes support more plant diversity and ecosystem services than wood grasslands in Mediterranean silvopastoral agroforestry systems. Agricultural Systems, 185[102945].

Leites, L; G. Rehfeldt, K. Steiner. 2019. Adaptation to climate in five eastern North America broadleaf deciduous species: Growth clines and evidence of the growth-cold tolerance trade-off. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. 37:64-72.

Rehfeldt, G., L. Leites, D. Joyce, and A. Weiskittel. 2018. Role of population genetics in guiding ecological responses to climate. Global Change Biology. 24(2):858-868. First published Sept 2017. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13883

Lister, A., L. Leites. 2018. Modeling and simulation of tree spatial patterns in an oak-hickory forest with a novel, modular, and hierarchical spatial point process framework. Ecological Modelling. 378:37-45.

Rittenhouse, J., L. Leites, K. Derham, S. Miller. 2018. Insights on the use of decision support tools to sustain forest ecosystems from a case study in Pennsylvania, USA. Journal of Forestry. 116(4):391-395.

Butler-Leopold, P.R.; Iverson, L.R.; Thompson, F.R., III; Brandt, L.A.; Handler, S.D.; Janowiak, M.K.; Shannon, P. D.; Swanston, C.W.; Bearer, S.; Bryan, A.M.; Clark, K.L.; Czarnecki, G; DeSenze, P.; Dijak, W.D.; Fraser, JS.; Gugger, P.F.; Hille, A.; Hynicka, J.; Jantz, C.A.; Kelly, M.C.; Krause, K.M.; La Puma, I.P.; Landau, D.; Lathrop, R.G.; Leites, L.P.; Madlinger, E.; Matthews, S.N.; Ozbay, G.; Peters, M.P.; Prasad, A.; Schmit, D.A.; Shephard, C.; Shirer, R.; Skowronski, N.S.; Steele, Al; Stout, S.; Thomas-Van Gundy, M.; Thompson, J.; Turcotte, R.M.; Weinstein, D.A.; Yáñez, A. 2018. Mid-Atlantic forest ecosystem vulnerability assessment and synthesis: a report from the Mid-Atlantic Climate Change Response Framework project. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-181. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 294 p.

Campbell, A., K. Steiner, J Finley, and L. Leites. 2015. Limitations on regeneration potential after even-aged harvests in mixed-oak stands. Forest Science. 61(5): 874-881.

Brubaker, K., S. Johnson, J. Brinks* and L. Leites. 2014. Estimating canopy height of deciduous forests at a regional scale with leaf-off, low point density LiDAR. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing. 40(2):123-134.

Rehfeldt, G.E., B.C. Jaquish, J. López-Uptonc, C. Sáenz-Romerod, J.B. St Claire, L. Leites, and D.G. Joyce. 2014. Comparative Genetic Responses to Climate for the Varieties of Pinus ponderosa and Pseudotsuga menziesii: Realized Climate Niches. Forest Ecology and Management. 324: 126-137.

Rehfeldt, G.E, L. Leites, J. B. St Clair, B.C. Jaquish, C. Saenz-Romero, J. Lopez-Upton, D.G. Joyce. 2014. Comparative Genetic Responses to Climate in the Varieties of Pinus ponderosa and Pseudotsuga menziesii: Clines in Growth Potential. Forest Ecology and Management. 324: 138-146.

Rehfeldt, G.E., B.C. Jaquish, C. Saenz-Romero, D.G. Joyce, L. Leites, J.B. St Clair, J. Lopez-Upton. 2014. Comparative genetic responses to climate in the varieties of Pinus ponderosa and Pseudotsuga menziesii: reforestation. Forest Ecology and Management. 324: 147-157.

Brubaker, K., S. Johnson, J. Brinks, and L. Leites. 2014. Estimating canopy height of deciduous forests at a regional scale with leaf-off, low point density LiDAR. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing. 40(2):123-134.

Leites, L., A. Zubizarreta-Gerendiain, A. Robinson. 2013. Modeling the mensurational relationships of plantation-grown loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) in Uruguay. Forest Ecology and Management. 289:455-462.

Leites, L., G. Rehfeldt, A. Robinson, N. Crookston, B. Jaquish. 2012. Possibilities and limitations of using historic provenance tests to infer forest species growth responses to climate change. Natural Resource Modeling. 25(3): 409-433.

Leites, L., A. Robinson, G. Rehfeldt, J. Marshall, N. Crookston. 2012. Height-growth response to climatic changes differ among populations of Douglas-fir: a novel analysis of historic data. Ecological Applications. 22(1): 154-165.

Rollinson, C., M. Kaye, and L. Leites. 2012. Community assembly and plant cover responses to experimental warming and increased precipitation of an early successional forest. Ecosphere. 3(12): Art122.

Leites, L., A. Robinson, N. Crookston. 2009. Accuracy and equivalence testing of crown ratio models and assessment of their impact on diameter growth and basal area increment predictions of two variants of the Forest Vegetation Simulator. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 39:655-665.

Leites, L., A. Robinson. 2004. Improving taper equations of loblolly pine with crown dimensions in a mixed-effects modeling framework. Forest Science. 50(2):204-212.