Harte's efforts fall under two broad categories: environmental science and public policy/outreach. In the area of environmental studies, he pursued two significant research projects. First, he initiated an experimental approach to studying the ecological consequences of climate warming while at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. The research required a manipulation of the downward infrared irradiation over a large area of a montane meadow ecosystem. It has revealed numerous consequential impacts of climate warming including a number of positive feedback processes that portend actual warming that will greatly exceed temperature increases predicted from the abiotic general circulation models.
He also began a study of the influence of pineapple farming on soil erosion and quality of reef habitat in French Polynesia. The results indicate a profound influence of tillage on erosion and sediment loss as well as on coastal water turbidity.
Harte's public policy and outreach efforts included a study of the value of native ecosystems to society.
John Harte investigates ecosystem responses to climate change, how those responses will cause further climate changes and how ecosystem degradation impacts economic well-being. In addition, he is investigating patterns and mechanisms in the distribution and abundance of species across spatial scales.
Harte recently wrote a book for the lay public, authored with Deborah Jensen and Margaret Torn, called The Green Fuse: An Ecological Odyssey, which explores the nature of global ecological interconnectedness. He has also co-authored a book on strategies to protect biodiversity in California.
Harte developed and taught environmental science courses and co-taught interdisciplinary seminars at Yale and, in 1973, he helped create the Energy and Environment Division at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and the Energy and Resources Group (ERG), where he is now a faculty member.
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin
1965: Physics, Wisconsin, USA
Bachelor of Arts, Harvard University
1961: Physics, Massachusetts, USA
KEY LEADERSHIP POSITIONS
Point Reyes Bird Observatory
1992-1997: Board of Directors
Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory
1988-1990: President, Board of Trustees
California Air Resources Board
1984-1989: Scientific Advisory Committee
National Council of the Federation of American Scientists
1984-1988: Elected Member
KEY AWARDS & HONORS
1990: Pew Fellows Program in Conservation and the Environment
California Academy of Sciences
American Physics Society