Janet Silbernagel

Position title: Professor Emeritus

Phone: (608) 262.8609

Landscape Conservation Lab

BS Landscape Architecture, University of Wisconsin–Madison, MS in Forest & Cultural Ecology, PhD in Forest Science / Landscape Ecology, Michigan Technological University

Campus Affiliations
Design strategist for Continuing Studies Geospatial Education, Division of Continuing Studies

Research Interests

Building tools for community engagement, spatial literacy, scenario design and evaluation for landscape conservation.


Trained as a landscape ecologist and landscape architect, I work on regional conservation strategies using geospatial analysis and cultural insights. 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 of the North American Chapter of the International Association for Landscape Ecology, and co-editor of the Springer Landscape Series. With support from The Nature Conservancy we built 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.

I also designed and directed (2014-2018) 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. I teach GIS and GeoDesign courses on campus and online, and wrote a Conservation GIS e-book, As Design Strategist for DCS, and coordinate and connect geospatial curriculum across campus, identifying new opportunities for spatial learning across discipline and profession.

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.

In 2017 I took a sabbatical in Switzerland as a fellow hosted by the Landscape Dynamics Unit at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, & Landscape Research (WSL). I 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.


To view Janet Silbernagel’s Publications, please visit the Landscape Conservation Lab Page.