My research interests and expertise include: climate change adaptation and mitigation for managed and natural ecosystems; plant stress physiology; soil ecology; and nitrogen and water management for farms and gardens. I am a Faculty Fellow with the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future (ACSF) and chair the ACSF Climate Change Focus Group. Science communication efforts include: news media interviews; policy-briefings; formal Extension programs for farmers and the general public; and writing for the popular press, such as my soil ecology book for general audiences—Tales From the Underground: A Natural History of Subterranean Life.
The potential impact of carbon dioxide and climate change on natural and managed ecosystems has been an important part of my research program since the early 1990s. Soil health, and nitrogen and water management are other major areas of research. My activities range from basic plant and soil research, to development of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies for land managers, to conservation agriculture projects in developing countries. I often collaborate with colleagues in other disciplines such as soil microbiology, biogeochemistry, and resource economics. Current research projects include: (1) new low-cost approaches for soil carbon assessment; (2) new tools and incentives for greenhouse gas accounting and management in agroecosystems; (3) new decision tools for farmers for strategic adaptation to climate change; (4) new biological indicators of soil health.
Outreach and Extension Focus
I co-chair the Cornell Soil Health Program Work Team, and the Cornell Climate Change Program Work Team. My outreach efforts include training and development of educational materials for Extension staff, as well as direct outreach to farmers, policy-makers and the general public regarding climate change adaptation and mitigation, and soil and water management. I am a Faculty Fellow with the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future (ACSF) and chair the ACSF Climate Change Focus Group. I have co-authored several regional and national climate impact assessments, such as the 2011 New York State "ClimAID report and the 2014 U.S. National Climate Assessment.
In addition to graduate student training and guest lectures, I teach Nature Writing (HORT 1160, a First-Year Writing Seminar) and Climate Change and the Future of Food (HORT 3600).
- Hatfield, J. L., Boote, K. J., Kimball, B. A., Izaurralde, R. C., Ort, D., Thomson, A., & Wolfe, D. W. (2011). Climate impacts on agriculture: implications for crop production. Agronomy Journal. 103:351-370.
- Dietzel, R., Wolfe, D. W., & Thies, J. E. (2011). The influence of winter soil cover on spring nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 43:1989-1991.
- Wolfe, D. W., Ziska, L., Petzoldt, C. H., Seaman, A. J., Chase, L. E., & Hayhoe, k. (2008). Projected change in climate thresholds in the Northeastern US:implications for crops, pests, livestock, and farmers. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change. 13:555-557.
- Idowu, O., van Es, H. M., Abawi, G. S., Wolfe, D. W., Ball, J. I., Gugino, B. K., Moebius, B. N., Schindelbeck, R. R., & Bilgili, A. V. (2008). Farmer-oriented assessment of soil quality using field, laboratory, and VNIR spectroscopy methods. Plant and Soil. 307:243 - 253.
- Hayhoe, K., Wake, C., Huntington, T. G., Luo, L., Schwartz, M. D., Sheffield, J., Wood, E., Anderson, B., Bradbury, J., DeGaetano, A. T., Troy, T. J., & Wolfe, D. W. (2006). Past and Future Changes in Climate and Hydrological Indicators in the U.S. Northeast. Climate Dynamics. 28:381-407.
- Wolfe, D. W., Schwartz, M. D., Lakso, A. N., Otsuki, Y., Pool , R. M., & Shaulis, N. J. (2005). Climate change and shifts in spring phenology of three horticultural woody perennials in the northeastern United States. International Journal of Biometeorology. 49:303-309.
- Melkonian, J. J., Owens, T. G., & Wolfe, D. W. (2004). Gas exchange and co-regulation of photochemical and nonphotochemical quenching in bean during chilling at ambient and elevated carbon dioxide. Photosynthesis Research. 79:71-82.
- Wolfe, D. W. (2013). Contributions to Climate Change Solutions from the Agronomy Perspective. Handbook of Climate Change and Agroecosystems: Global and Regional Aspects and Implications.. Hillel D, C Rosenzweig (ed.), Imperial College Press (World Scientific Pub distributor), London
- Wolfe, D. W., Comstock, J., Menninger, H., Weinstein, D. A., Sullivan, K. L., Kraft, C. E., Chabot, B. F., Curtis, P. D., Leichenko, R., & Vancura, P. (2011). Chapter 6: Ecosystems. p. 163-216 Responding to Climate Change in New York State: The ClimAID Integrated Assessment for Effective Climate Change Adaptation. Rosenzweig C, W Solecki, A DeGaetano, M O’Grady, S Hassol, P Grabhorn (ed.), NYSERDA, Albany, NY
- Wolfe, D. W. (2011). Gardening sustainably with a changing climate. p. 125-140 The New American Landscape. Christopher T (ed.), Timber Press, Portland, OR