Tian is an expert in the areas of global biogeochemical cycles, climate change, ecosystem and earth system modeling.

Tian's primary interest is in the understanding of coupled biogeochemical cycles in the Earth’s ecosystems and dynamics of coupled natural and human systems by using a systems approach and merging new technology (GIS, GPS, RS and Computer Simulation). His research fields have covered a range of topics, including studies of carbon, nitrogen and water cycles in a range of ecosystems across the globe including boreal and temperate forests in North America and East Asia, tropical forests in the Amazon Basin and Southeast Asia, savannas in Africa, grasslands in United States and Mongolia, and croplands in China and United States.

His primary research focuses on understanding and quantifying biosphere's roles in global biogeochemical and hydrological cycles and the climate system, and how human activities have affected Earth's ecosystem ability in providing people with goods and services including food, energy and water, and providing a scientific basis for solutions to the major environmental challenges facing humanity and the society. His research has covered a range of topics including studies of human and natural impacts on the structure and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems across the globe including tropical forests in the Amazon Basin, Southeast Asia and Africa, boreal and temperate forests in North America and East Asia, grasslands in United States, Central Asia and Africa, croplands in China and United States; Carbon and nutrient (N, P, Si) dynamics at the land-ocean interfaces; and Energy, water and carbon exchanges between land ecosystems and the atmosphere. His research on the global carbon cycle and greenhouse gas emissions is at the leading edge of the field. 

Keywords: Global Ecology, Biogeochemistry, Ecohydrology, Climate Change, Ecosystem Modeling.

Subject areas:

  • Climate
  • Geospatial and Environmental Informatics
  • Natural Resources Management
PhD, State University of New York, Syracuse, Systems Ecology, 1995
MS, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, China, Agronomy and Soil, 1986
BS, Zhejiang University, China, Agronomy, 1982
forestry and woodlands