US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Deahn Donner

Project Leader and Research Ecologist
5985 Highway K
Rhinelander, WI 54501-9128
Phone: 715-362-1146
Contact Deahn Donner

Current Research

Current research focuses on (1) understanding the impacts of removing harvest residues (i.e., woody biomass) from native forests will have on biodiversity, soil nutrient levels, and other ecological services these forests provide, (2) applying metapopulation, island biogeography, and gradient theoretical frameworks to examine how spatial and temporal habitat loss and fragmentation from changing land-use patterns affect biodiversity, and (3) examining how forest management affects large-scale wildlife dispersal, habitat use, and conservation for multiple species groups to better link and integrate empirical evidence with theory.  Specifically, I am investigating the impact of fine woody debris (FWD;

Research Interests

Conservation and restoration of open lands and early succession habitats and the species that rely on these systems; applying metapopulation, island biogeography, and fragmentation theory to answer critical questions associated with impacts of large-scale land use and cover changes from forest management and human development; using a landscape genetics approach to investigate influence of landscape pattern on population processes

Why This Research is Important

Information gained from the bioenergy studies will provide land managers and policy makers with scientific information they need to evaluate the trade-offs of harvesting woody biomass for energy use or converting lands to hybrid poplars against other ecological services. Advances in metapopulation and biogeogrpahy theory within a habitat fragmentation and landscape resistance context (i.e., landscape genetics) will inform local to international decisions on population conservation and habitat resotration programs.  Using long-term monitoring data will be applied to cumulative effects models that evaluate forest managment, and also help assess best management practices.  The Kirtland's Warbler research will link expected habitat changes as a result in changing climate to short- and long-term population viability assessments that are required to aid conservation efforts of this endangered population.  Results will also be applicable to the expanding topic of 'migratory connectivity'.


  • University of Wisconsin - Gaylord Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies - Madison, WI, Ph.D. Environmental Studies, 2007
  • University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, M.S. Wildlife Ecology, 1997
  • University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, B.S. Wildlife Ecology, 1988

Professional Organizations

  • The Wildlife Society, Member (2006 - Current)
  • Us-Iale (Landscape Ecology), Member (2005 - Current)

Awards & Recognition

  • NRS Early Career Scientist Award, 2011
    For pioneering the application of spatial ecology to bio-energy and endangered species research

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

Research Highlights


Effect of Woody Biomass Removal on Forest Biodiversity and Nutrient Cycling

Findings represent short-term effects and give a baseline for long-term study


How Large-scale Forest Conditions Influence Northern Goshawk Nesting

Efforts to better understand nesting habitat requirements of the northern goshawk, a forest-sensitive species in northern Wisconsin, were enhanc ...


Scientists Discover Earlier Shift in Peak Salamander Numbers at Woodland Ponds

Forest Service scientists analyzed salamander monitoring data taken at breeding woodland ponds in the early 1990s to mid-2000s and found that th ...


Last updated on : 09/05/2013