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Mark D. Nelson

Mark D. Nelson
Research Forester
Forest Inventory & Analysis
1992 Folwell Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108-1034
United States
Phone
651-649-5104
Current Research

I conduct research to support the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program. FIA is responsible for the inventory of United States forest land across all ownership categories. Within the Northern Research Station, FIA conducts inventories for 24 states of the Northeast, Midwest, and Upper Great Plains. My current research involves the use of forest inventory data, geospatial data, satellite imagery, and biodiversity population and distributino data for assessing and mapping forest land cover, land use, land change, canopy cover, fish and wildlife habitat, biodiversity, and water quality and quantity.

Research Interest
  • Forest biodiversity.
  • Wildlife habitat.
  • Forest-associated freshwater fish.
  • Land cover, land use, and change.
Why This Research Is Important
People increasingly are asking not only what forest resources are present, but where are they located and how are they arranged within the forest landscape. By integrating field inventory data with satellite remote sensing imagery and other geospatial datasets, we can improve our understanding of the spatial distribution and variability of forest resources. Geospatial information derived from this data integration provides for improved assessments of wildlife and fish habitat for species that are dependent upon both vegetation structure and spatial pattern of forest patches.
Education
  • University of Minnesota, Ph.D., Natural Resources Science and Management, 2005
  • University of Minnesota, M.S., Wildlife Conservation, 1992
  • Winona State University, B.A., Biology, 1982
Professional Experience
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor,  University of Minnesota,  2017 - Current
  • Research Forester,  USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station,  2005 - Current
Professional Organizations
  • Journal Referee,  Remote Sensing,  2019 - Current
  • Journal Referee,  Forests,  2018 - Current
  • Journal Referee,  Journal of Forestry,  2012 - Current
  • Member,  International Association for Landscape Ecology (U.S. Chapter),  2011 - Current
  • Journal Referee,  International Journal of Remote Sensing,  2008 - Current
  • Journal Referee,  Landscape Ecology,  2008 - Current
  • Member,  The Wildlife Society,  2006 - Current
  • Journal Referee,  Remote Sensing of Environment,  2005 - Current
  • Member,  American Society for Photogrammetry & Remote Sensing,  2001 - Current
  • Associate Editor,  Forest Science,  2013 - 2016
  • Associate Editor,  Northern Journal of Applied Forestry (GIS and Remote Sensing),  2010 - 2013
Awards & Recognition
  • Partners In Flight: Investigations Award., 2017
    Group award for "Long-term forest bird monitoring in the Western Great Lakes region, USA: twenty years of National Forest monitoring, trends, and conservation recommendations."
  • Wings Across the Americas Conservation Award: Habitat Conservation Partnership Award., 2017
    Group award for “Analysis of long-term forest bird monitoring data from National Forests of the western Great Lakes Region.”
  • Keepsake award, Acting Director, Northern Research Station, and FIA Program Manager., 2016
    Team award in recognition for contributions to “Future Forests of the Northern United States”.
  • National Research Highlight, USDA Forest Service., 2014
    Team award: Forest Ownership Map of the Conterminous United States.
  • National Research Highlight, USDA Forest Service., 2013
    Team award: Can Tree Species Rapidly Adapt to Climate Change by Migrating?
  • Keepsake award. Northern Research Station Executive Team, USDA Forest Service., 2011
    Team award (Nelson was team leader) in recognition for 2011 Research Highlight: Using Landsat Time Series Stacks for modeling and mapping early successional habitats.
  • National Research Highlight, USDA Forest Service., 2011
    Team award: Forest Land Estimates Improved by Novel Automated Mapping Technique Using Winter Satellite Imagery
  • Certificate of Appreciation. Deputy Chief, State and Private Forestry, USDA Forest Service., 2010
    Certificate of Appreciation. 2010. Deputy Chief, State and Private Forestry, USDA Forest Service. For developing the forest ownership data used in the Private Forests, Public Benefits report and for valuable advice and assistance with many other aspects
  • Wings Across the Americas Award. Chief, USDA Forest Service., 2008
    Group award for significant contribution to mapping landbirds across Bird Conservation Regions: decision support for Joint Ventures.
  • Secretary of Agriculture Group Honor Award for Excellence. Secretary, USDA., 2008
    Open Space Conservation Team - for significant contributions in protecting and enhancing open space and natural resources that provide vital ecosystems services and benefi
  • Certificate of Appreciation. Chief, USDA Forest Service., 2005
    Forests on the Edge Project. For hard work and dedication in assembling a map accurately depicting national forest cover and ownership, and for providing key professional advice.
  • Station Technology Transfer Award. Director, North Central Research Station, USDA Forest Service., 2001
    Group award for advancement of the Forest Inventory and Analysis annual inventory; and Forest Inventory and Analysis/Forest Health integration, through conception, development, implementation, distribution, and support of a national hexagon grid sampling
Featured Publications
Other Publications
Research Highlights

“Long live the wood turtles!” is both a cheer and a fact

Year: 2017
Forest Service researchers and their collaborators revisited a 25-year-old study and found that old turtles can deliver new knowledge about the past, present, and future. Discoveries include: wood turtle longevity, population trends, and monitoring techniques.

Mapping Young Forest Habitats across the Great Lakes Region

Year: 2010
NRS research scientists from the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program used current FIA data to estimate trends in abundance of young forest habitats that were associated with corresponding trends in American woodcock surveys over the past four decades.

Forest Land Estimates Improved by Novel Automated Mapping Technique Using Winter Satellite Imagery

Year: 2011
Most automated satellite-based approaches for mapping forest lands rely on summer satellite imagery and are usually inconsistent with FIA plot-based estimates. Incorporating winter imagery in the mapping approach helps reduce the abundant false positives for forest and forest disturbance that freque...
https://www.fs.usda.gov/research/about/people/Nelson