Janet Silbernagel

Photograph of Janet Silbernagel

Janet Silbernagel

Landscape Architecture
BS Landscape Architecture, University of Wisconsin–Madison, MS and PhD in Cultural Ecology, Michigan Technological University
Campus Affiliations
Chair of the Environmental Conservation Program Committee and Professional Programs Director at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
Research Interests
landscape ecology
geographic information systems (GIS)
115b Science Hall, M25M Agricultural Hall

Trained as a landscape ecologist and landscape architect, I work on regional conservation strategies using geospatial analysis and cultural insights. Primary research includes support from The Nature Conservancy to build scenarios of forest conservation effectiveness in a changing climate. Through projects with MN & WI Sea Grant we developed innovative spatial literacy tools for Great Lakes coastal communities. Meanwhile, I collaborate with the International Crane Foundation to expand spatial studies for crane conservation both here and in China (see landscape conservation lab page).

More widely, I am the President-elect of the US Chapter of the International Association for Landscape Ecology, and co-editor of the Springer Landscape Series

I also designed and direct (2014-present) the Professional graduate programs in Environmental Conservation and Environmental Observation and Informatics within the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, training conservation leaders through professional experiences. For those programs I teach several GIS modules on campus and online, am writing a Conservation GIS e-book, and am active in the Geodesign Community. 

Previously I served on the faculty of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture at Washington State University (1995-1999), and was employed by the U.S. Forest Service in Pennsylvania and Upper Michigan as a landscape architect (1987-1993), and as a landscape ecologist (1993-1995). I have a BS in landscape architecture from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and an MS and PhD from Michigan Technological University, with emphases on cultural ecology, landscape history, and landscape ecology.

Recently I returned from a fall sabbatical in Switzerland as a fellow hosted by the Landscape Dynamics Unit at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, & Landscape Research (WSL). I am fortunate to continue collaborating on integrated landscape research with colleagues at WSL around 3 areas: 1. Citizen mapping of ecosystem services; 2. Landscape connectivity modeling; and 3. Instructional design. 

Bolliger, J., V.Pfeiffer, and J.Silbernagel. in prep. How functionally informed are connectivity assessments? Landscape Ecology. 

Pfeiffer,V., J.Silbernagel, C.Guedot, and J.Zalapa. in prep. Floral richness boosts bumble bee colony density during resource pulse in cranberry landscapes. Landscape Ecology. 

Eanes, F., J.Silbernagel, et al. 2018. Participatory mobile- and web-based tools for eliciting landscape knowledge and perspectives: introducing and evaluating the Wisconsin Geotools Project. J.Coastal Conservation. doi.org/10.1007/s11852-017-0589-2

Eanes, F. P.Robinson, J.Silbernagel. accepted. Effects of scale and the biophysical environment on sense of place in northeastern Wisconsin's bioregions. Human Ecology Review. 

Eanes, F., J.Silbernagel, et al. in revision. Interactive Deep Maps and Spatial Narratives for Landscape Conservation and Public Engagement. Landscape Journal. 

Gocmen, A., J.Silbernagel, D.Drake, N.Balster, A.Thompson, A.Wells, K.Nixon. in revision. Are All Conservation Subdivision the Same? A Comparative Assessment of Conservation Subdivision Landscape Structures. Landscape & Urban Planning. 

Senner, P., J.Barzen, J.Silbernagel. in review. Changes in Avian Community Composition at a Restored Floodplain Grassland in the Mekong Delta. Waterbirds. 

Sullender, B., J.Barzen, and J.Silbernagel. in review. Effects of Seasonal Hydrological Connectivity on Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) Foraging Ecology. Avian Research 

Sullender, B., J.Barzen, and J.Silbernagel. 2016. Foraging Success and Habitat Selection of the Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) at Poyang Lake, China. Waterbirds 39(4):356-364 doi:10.1675/063.039.0405

Price, J., Silbernagel, J. Nixon, K., Swearingen, A., Swaty, R. and N.Miller. 2015. Collaborative scenario modeling reveals potential advantages of blending strategies to achieve conservation goals in a working forest landscape. Landscape Ecology doi:10.1007/s10980-015-0321-2 

Swearingen, A.,Price, J., Silbernagel, J., Swaty, R., and N. Miller. 2015. State-and-transition simulation modeling to compare outcomes of alternative management scenarios under two natural disturbance regimes in a forested landscape in northeastern Wisconsin, USA. AIMS Environmental Science, 2(3): 737-763. doi: 10.3934/environsci.2015.3.737

Silbernagel, J., Host, G., Hagley, C., Fortner, R., Axler, R., Danz, N. Hart, D., Axler, M., and A.Drewes. 2015. Linking place-based science to people through spatial narratives of coastal stewardship. Journal of Coastal Conservation, April. doi:10.1007/s11852-015-0380-1

Burgi, M., Silbernagel, J., Wu, J., Keinast, F. 2014. Linking ecosystem services with landscape history. Landscape Ecology, 30(1):11-20. doi:10.1007/s10980-014-0102-3

Nixon, K. J.Silbernagel, J.Price, N.Miller, and R.Swaty. 2014. Habitat availability for multiple avian species under modeled alternative conservation strategies for the Two Hearted River Watershed in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, USA. Journal of Nature Conservation, 22(4) August:302-317 doi:10.1016/j.jnc.2014.02.005

Thostenson, K. 2014. Stakeholder experiences in collaborative learning (Unpublished white paper). University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin. pdf

Smith, V., R.B. Greene, and J. Silbernagel. 2013. The social and spatial dynamics of community food production: a landscape approach to policy and program development. Landscape Ecology. doi:10.1007/s10980-013-9891-z. pdf

Drewes, A. and J. Silbernagel. 2012. Defining the spatial dynamics of wild rice landscape for community-based conservation. In Ecological Modelling. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2011.09.015. PDF

Price, Jessica, Janet Silbernagel, N.Miller, R.Swaty, M.White, K.Nixon. 2012. Eliciting expert knowledge to inform landscape modeling of conservation scenarios. Ecological Modelling. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2011.09.010. PDF

Silbernagel, J., J. Price, R. Swaty, and N. Miller. 2011. The Next Frontier: Assessing Forest Conservation Strategy Effectiveness. In: Landscape ecology and Forest Management: Challenges and Solutions in a Changing Globe, (ed.s Chao Li, R. Lafortezza, & J. Chen), Springer.  PDF

Natori,Y., J.Silbernagel and M.S.Adams 2011. Biodiversity Conservation Planning in Rural Landscapes in Japan: Integration of Ecological and Visual Perspectives. In: Research in Biodiversity - Models and Applications, (Ed. Igor Ya.Pavlinov), ISBN: 978-953-307-794-9, InTech, Available from: http://www.intechopen.com/books/research-in-biodiversity-models-and-applications/biodiversity-conservation-planning-in-rural-landscapes-in-japan-integration-of-ecological-and-visual

Silbernagel, J., J.Chen, B.Song, and A.Noormets. 2006. Conducting sound ecological studies at the Landscape Scale: Research Challenges. In Ecology of Hierarchical Landscapes: From Theory to Application, New York, Nova Science Publishers Inc., 333pp. ISBN=1-60021-047-3. PDF

Silbernagel, J.  2005.  Bio-regional patterns and spatial narratives for integrated landscape research and design.  In:  Tress, B., Tress, G., Fry, G., Opdam, P. (eds.). From Landscape Research to Landscape Planning: Aspects of Integration, Education, and Application. Wageningen UR Frontis Series, Volume 12. Springer: Dordrecht, Berlin, Heidelberg. approx. 440 pp. PDF

Drewes, A. and J. Silbernagel.  2005.  Setting up an integrative research approach for sustaining wild rice (Zizania palustris) in the Upper Great Lakes Region of North America. In: Tress, B., Tress, G., Fry, G., Opdam, P. (eds.). From Landscape Research to Landscape Planning: Aspects of Integration, Education, and Application. Wageningen UR Frontis Series, Volume 12. Springer: Dordrecht, Berlin, Heidelberg. approx. 440 pp.

Silbernagel, J. and W.G. Hendrix. 2004. Sunburn on the vineyard: Terroir and the sustainability of juice grapes in an arid climate. International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability 1(2):89-94. PDF

Silbernagel, J. 2003. Spatial theory in early conservation design: Examples from Aldo Leopold’s work. Landscape Ecology. Landscape Ecology 18:635-646. PDF

Thomas, M.M. and J.M. Silbernagel. 2003. The Evolution of a Maple Sugaring Landscape on Lake Superior ‘s Grand Island. Michigan Academician 35(2):135-158. PDF

Silbernagel, B. and J. Silbernagel. 2003. Tracking Aldo Leopold through Riley’s farmland. Wisconsin Magazine of History . (Summer). PDF

Johnson, B., R. Coulson, E. Fife, K. Hay, M. Hostetler, M.C. Rossiter-Hunter, A. Mills, F. Ndubisi, P.S. Richardson, & J. Silbernagel. 2001. The Nature of Dialogue and the Dialogue of Nature: Designers and Ecologists in Collaboration in Ecology and Design: Frameworks for Learning. Island Press

Selected projects:

Silbernagel, J., L. Yang, W. Xu. 2009. Strategies for landscape recovery and Giant Panda conservation in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake region, PR China. Paper for Society for Conservation Biology meeting, Beijing, July.

Green Wallscape. 2005-06. A transdisciplinary project for an urban site in downtown Madison in collaboration with UW Artist/Sculptor Gail Simpson and the Madison Environmental Group.

The Landscape Tapestry of Cultivation in Wisconsin ’s Lake Superior Region. 2002-05 – An exhibit for the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center, Ashland, WI . Funded by the Wisconsin Humanities Council.

Broken Hardscape: Site-integrated Sculptural Rain Gardens for Valencia Lofts, Middleton. 2002-03. A collaborative design and installation with UW Artist/Sculptor Gail Simpson.

LA 695: Applications of GIS