My mission statement

"To do good science, with friends." Paolo Cherubini

Please, feel free to browse through my CV and all my available papers.



1989: Degree in Forestry. Università di Firenze, Italy

1996: Dr. Phil. Nat. (Ph.D). Institute of Botany, Universität Basel, Switzerland

Scientific activities

I am working as a Senior Scientist with the Swiss federal institute for forest, snow and landscape research WSL based at Birmensdorf, in the surroundings of Zurich, Switzerland.

Senior scientist at the research unit Forest dynamics in the group Dendroecology.

I am Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia, Dept. of Forest and Conservation Sciences, Vancouver BC, Canada

I am Adjunct Research Scientist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of the Columbia University in the city of New York, U.S.A.

I am Adjunct Faculty at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, U.S.A.

Guest Professor, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)  Xian, China.

I am lecturing at the Universität Zürich. I am teaching the class "Ecological Tree-Ring Research" within the Master course at the Department of Geography

I am currently serving as Editor in Chief of the journal Dendrochronologia,

Associate Editor, Canadian Journal Forest Research,

Editor, Forest@, iForest,

Member Editorial Board of Geochronometria,

Member Editorial Board of Journal of Vegetation Science,

Associate Editor, Tree-Ring Research (2002-2011).

Research interests

My main research interest is looking beyond the tree rings, linking dendrochronology with ecophysiology to achieve a deeper knowledge of cambial activity. How does a tree grow? Only answering this intriguing question will be possible to develop new tools to assess tree health. I love browsing in these fields:

  • dendroecology, stand dynamics, disturbances, extreme climatic events, forest history, wood anatomy, palaeoclimate, proxy-data (charcoals), the use of stable isotopes in ecology
  • In particular, during the past five years I have been involved in reconstructing the stand history (anthropogenic and climatic influences) of the Swiss Long Term Forest Ecosystem Research, on German the Langfristige Waldökosystem-Forschung (LWF) plots

Little projects

I like little projects

Currently, I work with students on several different topics, for example:

Stable isotopes, wood anatomy and tree-ring growth analyses to identify drought-adaptation traits in Pinus sylvestris trees after a severe drought in Südtirol (Bozen, Italy) (Nicole Stary and Magdalena Nötzli, undergraduate students Universität Zürich)

  Tresholds for warming-induced growth decline at elevational tree line in the Yukon Territory, Canada (with Rosanne D'Arrigo, LDEO, Columbia University, Palisades NY)

Volcanic explosive eruptions of the Vesuvio decrease tree-ring growth but not photosynthesis rates in the surrounding forests (with Giovanna Battipaglia, Francesca Cotrufo, Sandro Strumia, Seconda Università di Napoli, Caserta, and Matthias Saurer, Rolf Siegwolf, WSL, formerly Paul Scherrer Institute)

  Using trees to date geomorphic and hydrologic events (with Dave Wilford, British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Smithers B.C.)

Reconstructing stand history using tree rings at Level II plots in Italy (with Giada Bertini and Gianfranco Fabbio, Istituto Sperimentale per la Selvicoltura ISSA, Arezzo) Are increasing CO2 concentrations affecting drought resistance of Pinus nigra in the Vienna basin, Eastern Alps (Austria) (with Sofia Leal, Michael Grabner, Rupert Wimmer, BOKU Vienna)

Detecting tree rings and cambial seasonal activity to assess carbon sequestration rates in Acacia seyal at Keyta, Niger (Western Africa) (with Federico De Nardo, Antonio Raschi,Vieri Tarchiani, and Giancarlo Pini, IBIMET/CNR, Firenze)

Reconstructions (A.D.1801-2000) of precipitation and temperature for northwestern Turkey (with Ünal Akkemik, Nebise Köse, Istanbul University, and Rosanne D'Arrigo, LDEO, Columbia University, Palisades NY)

Tree-ring response of Pinus eldreichii to climate and anthropogenic activity in the National Park of Pollino (Basilicata, Southern Italy). (with Gino Todaro, Antonio Saracino, Carmen D'Alessandro, Università della Basilicata, Potenza)

d15N natural abundance in tree rings and needles nearby a motorway in Switzerland as an indicator of the impact of air pollution on forests (with Rossella Guerrieri), Università della Basilicata, Potenza, and Matthias Saurer and Rolf Siegwolf, WSL, formerly Paul Scherrer Institute)

Tree-ring growth under elevated CO2 concentrations at natural springs in Toscana (with Roberto Tognetti, Università del Molise, Campobasso, and Matthias Saurer, WSL (formerly Paul Scherrer Institute)

  Tognetti et al. 2000 New Phytologist 146, 59-74
  Cherubini et al. 2003 Biological Reviews 78, 119-148
  Saurer et al 2003 Tree Physiology 23, 997-1004

Comparing eddy-covariance measurements, forest biogeochemical modeling, and remote sensing techniques with tree-ring stable isotopes to assess past stomatal activities and carbon uptake in Pinus pinaster coastal ecosystems in Toscana (Enrica Arlotta, undergraduate student Università di Firenze, with Marco Bindi, DISAT, Università di Firenze, and Fabio Maselli and Marta Chiesi, IBIMET/CNR, Firenze, Matthias Saurer, WSL, Giorgio Matteucci, JRC, Ispra, Rosanne D'Arrigo, LDEO, Columbia University, Palisades NY)

  Chiesi et al 2005 Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 135 (2005) 22–34

Wood-anatomical identification and 14C dating of soil charcoals for reconstructing the role of fire on soil development and carbon sequestration in Southern Switzerland (Nadia Schlumpf and Nicole Stary, undergraduate students Universität Zürich, with Frank Hagedorn and Werner Schoch, both WSL, Irka Hajdas, Georges Bonani, both ETH Zurich, and Michael Schmidt, Universität Zürich)

Ecophysiological significance of intra-annual density fluctuations in Pinus pinaster tree rings from coastal forests in Tuscany (Italy) (with Veronica De Micco and Giovanna Aronne, Università di Napoli "Federico II")

Detecting the effect of elevated tropospheric ozone exposure on tree-ring growth and wood structure in broadleaf species grown in Open-Top Chambers in Canton Ticino (Kristopher Novak, PhD student Universität Bern and WSL, with Marcus Schaub, WSL)

Sap-flow rates and wood anatomical characteristics of oaks in central Toscana (Silvia Baronti, with Antonio Raschi, IBIMET/CNR, Firenze, Jan Cermak, Mendel University, Brno, and Roberto Tognetti, Università del Molise, Campobasso)

Mediterranean tree rings (with Barb Lachenbruch, Oregon State University, Corvallis OR, Roberto Tognetti, Università del Molise, Campobasso, Otto Ueli Bräker and Werner Schoch, both WSL, and John Innes, University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC)

  Cherubini et al. 2003 Biological Reviews 78, 119-148

Tree-ring patterns induced by larch bud moth (Zeiraphera diniana Gn) outbreaks in Celerina, Engadina (with Werner Baltensweiler† and Matthias Dobbertin†, WSL)

Studies of the effect of different fungal pathogens on tree-ring growth at the Swiss National Park in Engadina (Giovanni Fontana, Università di Padova, Daniel Rigling, Matthias Dobbertin†, Peter Brang†, all WSL, and John Innes, University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC)

  Cherubini et al. 2002 Journal of Ecology 90, 839-850 ; 
  Fontana et al. 2003 Monti & Boschi 54, 6, 34-39

Tree-ring growth prior to death of Pinus mugo trees infected by Armillaria sp. and Heterobasidion annosum (Muriel Bendel, PhD student, ETH Zürich, with Daniel Rigling, Felix Kienast, both WSL, and Harald Bugmann, ETH Zürich)

Triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) reduction as a test to assess cambial activity and tree vitality (with Ivano Brunner and Andreas Rigling, WSL) Using tree rings as indicators of whole tree biomass in studies of the effect of soil and air pollution on trees in controlled environment (with Madeleine Günthardt-Goerg, WSL)

Climatological significance of tree-ring stable isotopes (with Martine Rebetez, WSL, Lausanne, and Matthias Saurer, WSL)

  Rebetez et al. 2003 Climatic Change 61, 237-248

Post-fire regeneration and stand development in Mediterranean macchia ecosystems (Emilia Allevato, Università di Napoli "Federico II", with Stefano Mazzoleni, Sandro Strumia, and Gaetano Di Pasquale) Detecting past snow avalanche dynamics using tree rings (Marco Bezzi, Università di Trento, with Maria Giulia Cantiani and Marco Ciolli, and with Rosanne D'Arrigo, LDEO, Columbia University, Palisades NY)

Tree rings from a European beech forest chronosequence for detecting growth trends and carbon sequestration (Marco Bascietto, PhD student Università della Tuscia, Viterbo, with Giuseppe Scarascia-Mugnozza)

  Bascietto et al. 2004 Canadian Journal Forest Research 34, 481-492

Reading tree rings to assess the life history of trees in urban environment: a case study from Prato, Italy (Daniele Leporatti, Università di Firenze, with Fabio Salbitano) Impact of coastal erosion on pine forests in Toscana reconstructed by tree rings (with Sabrina Raddi, Università di Firenze, and Federico Magnani, Università di Bologna)

Stand dynamics and competition processes in abandoned chestnut coppices in Southern Switzerland (Patrick Fonti, Post-Doc, with Gregory Biging, University of California, Berkeley, and Marco Conedera, Matthias Dobbertin†, and Andreas Rigling, WSL)

  Fonti, P.; Cherubini, P.;, Rigling, A.; Weber, P.; Biging, G., 2006: Tree rings show competition dynamics in abandoned Castanea sativa coppices after land-use changes. Journal of Vegetation Science 17: 103-112.

Nitrogen stable isotopes in tree rings as tools for understanding the impact of NOx on forest ecosystems (Bruno De Cinti, PhD student Università della Tuscia, Viterbo, with Matthias Saurer, WSL, and Giuseppe Scarascia-Mugnozza, Università della Tuscia)

  Saurer et al. 2004 Atmospheric Environmet 38, 2779-2787

Using stable isotopes in assessing the effect of silvicultural treatments of coppice oak stands in Southern Toscana (Giovanni Di Matteo, PhD student Università della Tuscia, Viterbo, with Paolo De Angelis)


  1. Tree rings as records of past environmental history
  2. Isotopic ratio (O18/16 and C13/12) in tree rings
  3. Mediterranean tree rings
  4. Tree-ring growth under elevated CO2 concentrations at natural CO2 springs in Tuscany
  5. Ozone damages on natural forest vegetation in Ticino
  6. Pinus pinea and pine seed production in Pisa
  7. Stand dynamics in the Swiss Long-term Forest Ecosystem Research
  8. Tree mortality and the use of tree rings as indicators of disease history prior to death
  9. Lecture on dendrochronology: history, methods, aims
  10. Long Term Forest Ecosystem Research in Switzerland



Where is Paolo right now?


Paolo is either working hard in his office in Birmensdorf, Switzerland.... Italian

pastasciutta for

friends during the cold foggy evenings in Zurich........


........or enjoying solar family life during the weekends in Pisa, Italy...

...... or most likely ..... the train between Zurich and Pisa, working on papers and listening to his favourite music!