Chris E. Johnson


Civil and Environmental Engineering

337 Link Hall



  • Ph.D. (Geology), University of Pennsylvania, 1989
  • M.A. (Statistics), University of Pennsylvania, 1988
  • B.S.E. (Civil and Urban Engineering), University of Pennsylvania, 1983

Lab/Center Affiliation(s):

  • Center for Environmental Systems Engineering (CESE)

Areas of Expertise:

  • Soil chemistry
  • Biogeochemical processes in terrestrial ecosystems
  • Chemistry of natural organic matter
  • Trace metals in the environment

Professor Johnson is involved in a number of research projects in the broad area of environmental chemistry. He has ongoing research interests in the fate of trace metals (Pb, Zn, Cu, Ni) in forest soils and landscapes; the effects of clear-cut logging on soils and drainage waters; and the changing acid-base chemistry of soils historically affected by acid rain. His principal research sites are located in the Catskills and Adirondack regions of New York, as well as the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Johnson is also actively involved in research on the chemistry of natural organic matter, which plays an important role in soil fertility, trace metal transport, and the acid-base status of soils and natural waters. He is particularly interested in the characterization of organic matter using advanced analytical tools such as nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, liquid chromatography, and capillary electrophoresis. He is an Adjunct Professor at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, where he conducts research on soil chemistry in plantation forests in Southeastern Queensland.

Honors and Awards:

  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Tau Beta Pi
  • Fulbright Scholar, Czech Republic, 1994
  • Excellence in Graduate Education, Faculty Excellence Award, 2012

Selected Publications:

Valipour, M., C.E. Johnson, J.J. Battles, J.T. Campbell, T. J. Fahey, H. Fakhraei, and C.T. Driscoll. 2021. Simulation of the effects of forest harvesting under changing climate to inform long-term sustainable forest management using a biogeochemical model. Science of the Total Environment. 767:144881.

Wieder, W.R., D. Pierson, S. Earl, and 27 others. 2021. SoDaH: the SOils DAta Harmonization database, an open-source synthesis of soil data from research networks, version 1.0. Earth System Science Data. 13:1843-1854.

Nieman, S.C. and C.E. Johnson. 2021. Net geochemical release of basic cations from 25 forested watersheds in the Catskills region of New York. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change. 4:667605.

Hamburg, S.P., M.A. Vadeboncoeur, C.E. Johnson, J. Atlee, and J. Sanderman. 2019. Losses of mineral soil carbon largely offset biomass accumulation 15 years after whole-tree harvest in a northern hardwood forest. Biogeochemistry. 144:1-14.

Gu, W., C.E. Johnson, C.T. Driscoll and S. Shao. 2017. Aluminum is more tightly bound in soil after wollastonite treatment to a forest watershed. Forest Ecology and Management. 397:57-66.

Clymans, W., D.J. Conley, J.J. Battles, P.J. Frings, M.M. Koppers, G.E. Likens, and C.E. Johnson. 2016. Silica uptake and release in live and decaying biomass in a northern hardwood forest. Ecology. 97:3044-3057.

Leys, B., G.E. Likens, C.E. Johnson, J.M. Craine, B. Lacroix, and K.K. McLauchlan. 2016. Natural and anthropogenic drivers of calcium depletion in a northern forest during the last millennium. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 113:6934-6938.

Shao, S., C.T. Driscoll, C.E. Johnson, T.J. Fahey, J.J. Battles, and J.D. Blum. 2016. Long-term responses in soil solution and streamwater chemistry at Hubbard Brook after experimental addition of wollastonite. Environmental Chemistry. 13:528-540.

Li, W. and C.E. Johnson. 2016. Relationships among pH, aluminum solubility and aluminum complexation with organic matter in acid forest soils of the northeastern United States. Geoderma. 271:234-242.

Gianfagna, C.C., C.E. Johnson, and D.G. Chandler. 2015. Watershed area ratio accurately predicts daily streamflow in nested catchments in the Catskills, New York. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies 4:583-594.

Balaria, A., C.E. Johnson, P.M. Groffman, and M.C. Fisk. 2015. Effects of calcium treatment on the composition of forest floor organic matter in a northern hardwood stand. Biogeochemistry. 122:313-326.

Johnson, C.E., T.G. Siccama, E.G. Denny, M.M. Koppers, and D.J. Vogt. 2014. In situ decomposition of northern hardwood boles: Decay rates and nutrient dynamics in wood and bark. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 44:1515-1524.

Johnson, C.E., C.T. Driscoll, J.D. Blum, T.J. Fahey, and J.J. Battles. 2014. Soil chemical dynamics after calcium silicate addition to a northern hardwood forest. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 78:1458-1468.

Dib, A.E., C.E. Johnson, C.T. Driscoll, T.J. Fahey, and K. Hayhoe. 2014. Simulating effects of changing climate and CO2 emissions on soil carbon pools at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. Global Change Biology. 20:1645-1656.

Johnson, C.E. 2013. Chemical properties of upland forest soils in the Catskills region. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1298:30-42.

Johnson, C.E., T.J. Blumfield, S. Boyd, and Z. Xu. 2013. A 13C NMR study of decomposing logging residues in an Australian hoop pine plantation. Journal of Soils and Sediments. 13:854-862.