University of Kentucky College of Agriculture


Professor of Forest Ecology

Chair, Natural Resources and Environmental Science (NRES) Steering Committee

Co-Director, Greenhouse Living Learning Community

Co-Lead, Urban Forest Initiative Working Group, TFISE 2014 to present

Mary ArthurContact me:
209 T.P. Cooper Building (office 103)
Lexington, KY 40546-0073 
Tel: 859-257-2852 
Fax: 859-323-1031 
Curriculum Vita

Ph.D. 1990, Cornell University
M.F.S. 1983, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
B.A. 1979, Colby College

Courses taught:
Forest Ecology (FOR 340)
Senior Capstone for NRES (NRE 471)
Pathways and Barriers to Environmental Sustainability (UK 100)
Real-world sustainability: Stepping Into the community (UK 100)

Professional affiliations:
Memberships:  Ecological Society of America, Society of American Forests, Soil Science Society of America

Students and Staff working in the Forest Ecology Lab Group:
Senior Laboratory Technician: Millie Hamilton
Urban Forest Initiative technician and MS student:  Nic Williamson
Forest Research Ecologist:  Beth Blankenship
MS Students: Devin Black, Zach Poynter
PhD Students: Todd Rounsaville, Zhijie Yang

Current projects
Fire in the southern Appalachians:
Our research spanning two decades examines the effects of repeated prescribed fire and wildfire on fuel loading, stand structure, and forest regeneration in upland oak ecosystems on the Cumberland Plateau in eastern Kentucky. Conducted in sites in the Daniel Boone National Forest, our work relies on ground-based experimentation and sampling as well as the use of Landsat and LiDAR to detect changes in forest structure through time.

Urban forestry:
Urban forests are increasingly recognized as a critical resource for addressing issues of sustainability, both through the ways they help to modulate human energy use, air pollution, and stormwater runoff, but also because they serve as a nexus for human interactions with nature and the environment. The Forest Ecology lab group is a key contributor to the Urban Forest Initiative. See our website at:

Invasive species and the alteration of ecosystem dynamics:
Invasive species are an increasing threat to forest community and species diversity, and have the potential to alter forest ecosystem dynamics in profound ways. Our research in this area addresses questions regarding the spatial distribution and spread of invasive plants species, including examination of the ecophysiological attributes that enhance success of invasive plants, potential for chemically enhanced suppression of native species, and alteration to ecosystem function.

Role of forest change and species composition in ecosystem processes:
Research conducted in northern and Appalachian hardwood forests addresses questions regarding the role of individual tree species in forest ecosystem processes, including nitrogen and carbon cycling.  Elements of forest change examined in my research group include the impacts of shifts in tree species composition on forest ecosystem function, such as alterations to decomposition and soil microbial communities and tree-specific effects on forest hydrology.

Selected publications (2010-present)
Lovett, G.M., M.A. Arthur, and K.F. Crowley.  2015. Effects of calcium on the rate and extent of litter decomposition in a northern hardwood forest. Ecosystems. DOI: 10.1007/s10021-015-9919-0.

Mattingly**, K.Z., R.W. McEwan, R.D. Paratley, S.R. Bray, J.R. Lempke, and M.A. Arthur. Recovery of forest floor diversity after removal of the non-native invasive plant Euonymus fortunei. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society.  In press.

Arthur, M.A., B.A. Blankenship, A. Schorgendorfer, D.L. Loftis, and H.D. Alexander. 2015. Changes in stand structure and tree vigor with repeated prescribed fire in an Appalachian hardwood forest.  Forest Ecology and Management.

Alexander, H.D. and M.A. Arthur. 2014. Influence of increasing red maple leaf litter on decomposition rates and nitrogen cycling in historically oak-dominated forests of the eastern US. Forest Ecology and Management. DOI: 10.1007/s10021-014-9802-4

Rodriguez, A., G.M. Lovett, K.C. Weathers, M.A. Arthur, P.H. Templer, C.L. Goodale, and L.M. Christenson. 2014. Lability of C in temperate forest soils: assessing the role of nitrogen addition and tree species composition. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 77:129-140.

Kim, D., and M. A. Arthur. 2014. Changes in community structure and species-landform relationship after repeated fire disturbance in an oak-dominated temperate forest. Ecological Research 29: 661-671.

Littlefield*, T., C. Barton, M. Arthur, and M.Coyne.   2013.  Factors controlling carbon distribution on reforested minelands and regenerating clearcuts in Appalachia, USA.  Science of the Total Environment 465: 240-247.

Lovett, G.M., M.A. Arthur, K.C. Weathers, R.D. Fitzhugh, P.H. Templer.  2013. Nitrogen addition increases carbon storage in soils, but not in trees, in an eastern deciduous forest. Ecosystems 16:980-1001.

Lovett, G.M., M.A. Arthur, K.C. Weathers, J.C. Griffin.  2013.  Effects of introduced insects and diseases on forest ecosystem in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1298:66-77

Wilson*, H.N., M.A. Arthur, A. Schorgendorfer, R.D. Paratley, B.D. Lee, and R.W. McEwan. 2013.Site characteristics as predictors of Lonicera maackii and other invasive plants in second growth forests of central Kentucky, USA.  Natural Areas Journal 33: 189-198.

Yanai, R.D., M.A. Vadeboncoeur, S.P. Hamburg, M.A. Arthur, C.B. Fuss, P.M. Groffman, T.G. Siccama, and C.T. Driscoll.  2013. Environmental Science and Technology 47: 11440-11448.

Arthur, M.A., H.D. Alexander, D.C. Dey, C.J. Schweitzer, and D.L. Loftis.  2012. Refining the oak-fire hypothesis for management of oak-dominated forests of the eastern United States.  J. Forestry 110: 257-266.

Arthur, M.A., Bray, S.R., C. Kuchle**, and R.W. McEwan.  2012.  The influence of the invasive shrub, Lonicera maackii, on leaf decomposition and microbial community dynamics.  Plant Ecology 213: 1571-1582. doi: 10.1007/s11258-012-0112-7

Blum, J.D., S.P. Hamburg, R.D. Yanai, and M.A. Arthur.  2012.  Determination of foliar Ca/Sr discrimination factors for six tree species and implications for Ca sources in northern hardwood forests.  Plant and Soil 356: 303-314.

Crowley, K.F., B.E. McNeil, G.M. Lovett, C.D. Canham, C.T. Driscoll, L.E. Rustad, E. Denny, R.A. Hallett, M.A. Arthur, J.L. Boggs, C.L. Goodale, J.S. Kahl, S.G. McNulty, S.V. Ollinger, L.H. Pardo, P.G. Schaberg, J.L. Stoddard, M.P. Weand, and K.C. Weathers.  2012.  Do nutrient limitation patterns shift from nitrogen toward phosphorus with increasing nitrogen deposition across the northeastern United States?  Ecosystems 15:940-957. doi:10.1007/s10021-012-9550-2

McEwan, R.W., M.A. Arthur, S.E. Alverson.  2012.  Throughfall chemistry and soil nutrient effects of the invasive shrub Lonicera maackii in deciduous forests.  Am. Midl. Nat. 168: 43-55.

Yanai, R.D., M.A. Arthur, M. Acker, C.R. Levine, and B.B. Park. 2012.  Variation in mass and nutrient concentration of leaf litter across years and sites in a northern hardwood forest.  Canadian Journal of Forest Research 42: 1597-1610.

Poulette*, MM. and M.A. Arthur.  2012.  The impact of the invasive shrub Lonicera maackii on the decomposition dynamics of a native plant community.  Ecological Applications 22:412-424.

Srinivasan,M.P., S.K. Gleeson, and M.A. Arthur.  2012. Short-term impacts of nitrogen fertilization on a montane grassland ecosystem in a South Asian biodiversity hotspot.  Plant Ecology and Diversity 5:289-299.

Fatemi, F.R., R.D. Yanai, S.P. Hamburg, M.A. Vadeboncoeur, M.A. Arthur, R.D. Briggs, and C.R. Levine.  2011. Allometric equations for young northern hardwoods:  the importance of age-specific equations for estimating aboveground biomass.  Canadian Journal of Forest Research 41:881-891.

Alexander*, H.D. and M.A. Arthur.  2010.  Implications of a predicted shift from upland oaks to red maple on forest hydrology and nutrient availability.  Canadian Journal of Forest Research:  40:  716-726.

Green*, S.R. and M.A. Arthur.  2010.  Oak and red maple seedling survival and growth following periodic prescribed fire on xeric ridgetops on the Cumberland Plateau.  Forest Ecology and Management 259:  2256-2266.

Lovett, G.M., M.A. Arthur, K.C. Weathers and J.M. Griffin.  2010.  Long-term changes in forest carbon and nitrogen cycling caused by an introduced pest/pathogen complex.  Ecosystems 13:  1188-1200.

McEwan*, R.W., L.G. Arthur-Paratley, L.K. Rieske and M.A. Arthur.  2010.  A multi-assay comparison of seed germination inhibition by Lonicera maackii and co-occurring native shrubs.  Flora 205:475-483.

Royse*, J., M.A. Arthur, A. Schorgendorfer, and D.L. Loftis.  2010.  Establishment and growth of oak (Quercus alba, Quercus prinus) seedlings in burned and fire-excluded upland forests on the Cumberland Plateau. Forest Ecology and Management 260: 502-510. Doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2010.05.005.

Weand*, M.P., M.A. Arthur, G.M. Lovett, K.C. Weathers, R.L. McCulley.  2010.  Effects of tree species and nitrogen addition on forest floor microbial communities and extracellular enzymes. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 42:  2161-2173.

Weand*, M.P., M.A. Arthur, G.M. Lovett, F. Sikora and K.C. Weathers.  2010.  The phosphorus status of northern hardwoods differs by species but is unaffected by nitrogen fertilization.  Biogeochemistry 97:2-3.