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Steven Handel

Professor I
Director, Center for Urban Restoration Ecology (CURE)

Address: Center for Urban Resotration Ecology
102 Blake Hall, 93 Lipman Drive
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8524
Phone: (848) 932-4516    FAX: (732) 932-4517


B.A.  Columbia College,  Major in Biological Sciences, 1969.
M.S.  Cornell University, Field of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, 1974.
Ph.D. Cornell University, Field of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, 1976.

Institutional Affilitations:

1996 - present

Professor of Ecology, and Director, Center for Urban Restoration Ecology.  Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.

2006 - present

Adjunct Professor of Ecology, University of California, Irvine 

1985 - 1996 

Associate Professor of Biology, Rutgers University. 


Associate Professor of Biology, Yale University. Director, Yale University Botanical Garden.


Assistant Professor of Biology, University of South Carolina 

Additional Academic Positions:


Visiting Professor of Landscape Architecture, Harvard University, Graduate School of Design 


Visiting Professor of Ecology, Stockholm University, Sweden. 

1989; 1993 

Visiting Research Scholar, School of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia 


Summer Faculty, Mountain Lake Biological Station, University of Virginia, Blacksburg, VA.  Course:  Plant-Animal Interactions.


Summer Faculty, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, Crested Butte, CO.  Course:  Plant-Animal Interactions

Additional Appointments:


Fulbright Specialist Roster, Council for International Exchange of Scholars  (U.S. Department of State) 

1983 -- present 

Certified Senior Ecologist, Ecological Society of America 

2000 – present 

“Distinguished Advisor,” Board of Trustees, Brooklyn Botanic Garden 

2010 – present 


2004 – 2010

Member, State of New Jersey Invasive Species Council. 

2001 – 2008 

Instructor, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ecological Restoration Principles, annual meetings of Natl. Assoc. of Remedial Project Managers (RPM’s), and of the On-Site Coordinators (OSC’s)

2002 - 2006 


1992 - 2004 

Associate editor, RESTORATION ECOLOGY 

1997 - 2001 

Elected member, Board of Directors, Society for Ecological Restoration. 

1987 - 1990 

Associate Editor, EVOLUTION. 

Professional Organizations:

Society for Ecological Restoration International (Board of Directors, 1997-2000)

Ecological Society of America (Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow; Chair, Plant Population Section, 1986)

British Ecological Society

Botanical Society of America (Chair, Genetics Section, 1984)

Torrey Botanical Society (President, 1995)

Society for Conservation Biology

Natural Areas Association

American Association for the Advancement of Science (Fellow)

Australian Institute of Biology (Fellow)

American Society of Landscape Architects (Honorary Member)

Research Grants (Representative):

Grantee, National Science Foundation, Restoration and Conservation Biology Competition. For studies on the ecology of woodland restoration on landfills. 1993-2003. 

Duke Farms Foundation. Restoration ecology and environmental stewardship planning for the Duke Farms property. 2006-2012

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “Terrestrial studies: vegetation dynamics on coal strip mines in West Virginia.”  1999-2001.

U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service. "Structure of herb communities in the Morristown National Historical Park habitat." 1995-1999.


Society for Ecological Restoration, Board of Directors Service Award, 2000.

Ecological Society of America, Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, 2001.

American Society of Landscape Architects, National Award of Honor for Planning and Analysis, (Orange County Great Park Master Plan). 2008.

American Society of Landscape Architects, National Award of Honor for Research, (Ecological restoration processes to advance landscape design), 2009.

American Planning Association (APA). National Planning Excellence Award, for
Innovation in Regional Planning, (Comprehensive Master Plan of the Orange County Great Park), 2009.

American Institute of Architects (AIA), International Institute Honor Award
for Regional and Urban Design, (Orange County Great Park), 2009.
American Society for Landscape Architects, National Award of Honor for
Analysis and Planning, (Brooklyn Bridge Park design team), 2009.
Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, Research
Excellence Award for Sustained Research and Impact, 2010.

American Society for Landscape Architects, National Award of Honor for
Communication, (Safari 7 website team), 2010.

Society for Ecological Restoration International, Theodore Sperry Award (for significant advancements to the science or techniques used in restoration practices), 2011.

Media Publications (Representative):

Planning Magazine, April, 2009 issue, page 34. “A Truly Great Park in Orange County,” by Marya Morris, AICP.

Christian Science Monitor Online, June 17, 2009 issue, Environment Section. “When nature gets a second chance,” by Elizabeth Ginsburg.  (

Landscape Architecture, August 2009 issue, page 103.  “Restoration ecology processes to advance natural landscape design,” by S. Stubbs.

Economist Magazine, January 3, 2008. “American pastoral.”

Plant and Gardens News, Fall/Winter, 2005. “Urban Outfitters” by Niall Dunne

Sierra Club Magazine, Nov./Dec. 2005. “Let a billion flowers bloom” by Heather Millar

The New York Times, November 10, 2002. “A Well-Traveled Ecologist” by Elisabeth Ginsburg

The Economist magazine, August 10, 2002. “Science and Technology: Restoration Drama” p.65-66.

The Wall Street Journal, January 23, 2002. “Where Trash Reigned, Trees Sprout” by Jim Carlton

Scientific Papers (Representative):

Robinson, G.R., and S.N. Handel. 1993.  Forest restoration on a closed landfill: rapid addition of new species by bird dispersal.  Conservation Biology 7:271-278.

Robinson, G.R., M.E. Yurlina, and S.N. Handel. 1994.  A century of change in the Staten Island flora: patterns of species loss and additions.  Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 121:119-129.

Handel, S.N., G.R. Robinson, and A.J. Beattie. 1994. Biodiversity resources for restoration ecology.  Restoration Ecology 2:230-241.

Montalvo, A.M., S.L. Williams, K.J. Rice, S.L. Buchmann, C. Cory, S.N. Handel, G.P. Nabhan, R. Primack, and R.H. Robichaux. 1997.  Restoration biology: a population biology perspective. Restoration Ecology 5:277-290.

Handel, S. N. 1997. The role of plant-animal mutualisms in the design and restoration of natural communities.  Pages 111-132 in:  Restoration Ecology and Sustainable Development.  K. M. Urbanska, N. R. Webb, and P. J. Edwards, editors.  Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Robinson, G.R., and S. N. Handel. 2000. Directing spatial patterns of recruitment during an experimental urban woodland reclamation.  Ecological Applications 10: 174-188.
Clemants, S. E., and S. N. Handel. 2005. Restoring urban ecology: the New York – New Jersey metropolitan area experience. Pages 127-140 in: The humane metropolis: people and nature in the 21st century city.  R. H. Platt, Editor.  University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst.

Aronson, M. F. J., S. N. Handel, and S. E. Clemants. 2007. Fruit type, life form and origin determine the success of woody plant invaders in an urban landscape.  Biological Invasions 9:465-475.

Galbraith-Kent, S. L., and S. N. Handel. 2007. Lessons from an urban lakeshore restoration in New York City.  Ecological Restoration 25: 123-128.

Galbraith-Kent, S. L., and S. N. Handel. 2008. Invasive Acer platanoides inhibits native sapling growth in forest understorey communities.  Journal of Ecology 96:293-302.
Maslo, B., S. N. Handel, and T. Pover. 2011. Restoring beaches for Atlantic Coast piping plovers (Charadrius melodus): a classification and regression tree analysis of nest-site selection.  Restoration Ecology 19:194-203.

Karpati, A. S., S. N. Handel, J. Dighton, and T. R. Horton. 2011. Quercus rubra-associated ectomycorrhizal fungal communities of disturbed urban sites and mature forests.  Mycorrhiza  21:537-547.

Aronson, M. F. J., and S. N. Handel. 2011. Deer and invasive plant species suppress forest herbaceous communities and canopy tree regeneration. 
Natural Areas Journal  31:400-407.

Handel, S. N. 2012. Ecological restoration foundations to designing habitats in urban areas.  In: Designing Wildlife Habitats.  J. Beardsley, ed., Garden and Landscape Studies, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, Washington, D.C.  (in press).


Over 200 presentations at universities, science, and design conferences throughout the world, addressing modern aspects of restoration ecology and urban ecology.