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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Tonya Lister

Research Forester
11 Campus Blvd., Suite 200
Newtown Square
United States

Phone: 610-557-4033
Contact Tonya Lister

Current Research

My current research is focused in three main areas:

1) Land use/land cover change -- Research includes the analysis of fine and coarse-scale land use/land cover change dynamics using remotely-sensed and field-based data, including Landsat imagery, National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) imagery, and forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data. The goal is to develop predictive models of land use/land cover change based on change matrices and auxiliary data including demographic and biophysical data.

2) Spatial distribution of forest land and forest fragmentation -- Research focuses on exploring new methods of assessing forest fragmentation, including patch-based and landscape-based metrics. The goal is to determine the most meaningful indicators and analyze their relationship with other forest-related variables including invasive species, forest structure, species diversity, etc. Future research will focus on the dynamic nature of fragmentation and characterizing the process of fragmentation from spatial and temporal perspectives.

3) Urban forest land dynamics and urbanization -- Research focuses on exploring new approaches to classifying and analyzing the urban forest resource. The goal is to develop reliable and consistent methodologies that crosswalk FIA methodology and provide data for assessing the value of the urban forest resource. Research includes analyses of temporal and spatial trends in urban forest extent as well as urbanization effects on forest structure, composition, and health.

As an FIA analyst I am also responsible for analyses and forest resource reports for the states of Maryland and Delaware. For these states in particular, human impacts on forest composition, structure, and condition have been identified as critical reporting needs.

Why This Research is Important

Because the well-being of the populace is so closely tied to the forest, the need to continually inventory and monitor the region's forests has long been recognized. With growing concerns about the loss of forest land and the implications for global processes and carbon budgets, there is a great need for detailed and reliable land use change data. Many changes in forest condition and extent are human-induced. It is important to understand the impacts of population growth on forest spatial distribution, composition, and health, including forest land conversion, forest fragmentation, and urbanization.


  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA, M.S. Forest BiologyThesis topic: Sustaining the Productivity and Function of Intensively Managed Forests 1999
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, B.S. Environmental Systems Technology 1992

Professional Experience

  • Research Forester, US Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis, Newtown Square, PA
    2001 - Current
  • Forester, US Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis, Newtown Square, PA
    1999 - 2001
  • Graduate Research Assistant, Forest Biology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
    1996 - 1999
  • Field Botany Research Assistant, Fort Stewart, GA
    1995 - 1996
  • Environmental Educator, US Peace Corps, Panama
    1993 - 1995
  • Laboratory Technician, Ciba Corporation, Greensboro, NC
    1989 - 1993

Professional Organizations

  • International Association for Landscape Ecology, Member (2000 - 2001)
  • Soil Science Society of America, Member (1996 - 2000)

Awards & Recognition

  • Spot Award, 2004
    Award recipient for accelerated data compilation and analysis of eastwide American chestnut resource.
  • Research Award, 1999
    Sigma Xi (Scientific Research Society) Masters Research Award Recipient

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Last updated on : 10/14/2016