Nancy Falxa Sonti
Baltimore Field Station
5523 Research Park Drive
Contact Nancy Falxa Sonti
My current research spans the social and biological sciences in asking many questions about urban social-ecological systems.URBAN TREE ECOPHYSIOLOGY. Every tree in an urban forest is expected to provide a multitude of benefits to the city. Because of this, municipalities invest tremendous resources in their urban trees, making the trees' growth and success even more important. The ability to quantify urban tree health and physiological function will provide added value to urban forest managers, allowing them to make proactive management decisions and plan for stress mitigation. My research includes development and application of urban tree health metrics, as well as measurements of urban tree growth, photosynthesis, respiration, sap flow, and associated physiological traits in response to urban environmental conditions.
URBAN FOREST INVENTORY & ANALYSIS. Long-term plot data associated with the Baltimore Ecosystem Study and the Urban FIA programs allow us to examine urban forest dynamics over time, including changes in species composition and net primary productivity. My work with the Urban FIA program includes integration of field data collection with the Urban National Landowner Survey, which examines the social dimensions of the urban forest, including the perspectives of private landowners who manage urban green space. Information about changes in the condition, health and growth of urban trees across public and private lands can help all urban land managers ensure sustainability of urban forests under changing environmental conditions.
USE AND MEANING OF URBAN NATURAL AREAS. Urban natural areas have the potential to provide restorative benefits to local residents and may foster feelings of environmental identity and attachment to place. However, wild urban forests can elicit positive and negative emotions, both at a community level and within an individual. These ambivalent feelings may influence the types of benefits derived from these urban green spaces, as well as local residents’ desires for their future structure and function as social-ecological spaces. My research examines the ways that urban residents use and value urban natural areas, including public parkland and vacant undeveloped land, in New York City and Baltimore. The results provide context for urban natural resource managers and community organizations, as they seek to enhance access to safe and inspiring nature experiences for all urban residents.
My research projects have integrated the social, biological, and physical sciences in the study of urban ecosystems. I am interested in many aspects of urban ecology, including plant physiological ecology, forest health, and dynamics of urban afforestation. I am also interested in the social and psychological impacts of human interactions with urban nature across different site types and communities.
Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Svendsen, Erika S. 2018. Why Garden? Personal and Abiding Motivations for Community Gardening in New York City. Society & Natural Resources. 31(10): 1189-1205. https://doi.org/10.1080/08941920.2018.1484971.
Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Campbell, Lindsay K.; Johnson, Michelle L.; Daftary-Steel, Sarita. 2016. Long-term outcomes of an urban farming internship program. Journal of Experiential Education. 39(3): 269–287. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1053825916655444
Falxa-Raymond, Nancy; Svendsen, Erika; Campbell, Lindsay K. 2013. From job training to green jobs: a case study for a young adult employment program centered on environmental restoration in New York City, USA. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening. 12: 287-295.
Why This Research is Important
Given the level of investment in urban green infrastructure, it is important to make quality scientific knowledge available to the environmental stewards who care for our urban natural areas, from municipalities to local community groups. A greater understanding of plant physiological ecology in urban ecosystems will help future restoration efforts ensure the integrity of ecological processes and the preservation of biodiversity. An understanding of how plants perform in urban environments will help us plan for the future of these critical open spaces, which make cities more liveable and provide people with a much needed connection to the natural world.
- University of Maryland - College Park, Ph.D. Plant Science 2019
- Columbia University, M.A. Conservation Biology 2011
- Stanford University, B.A. History and Biology 2007
Featured Publications & Products
- Sonti, Nancy F.; Hallett, Richard A.; Griffin, Kevin L.; Sullivan, Joe H. 2019. White oak and red maple tree ring analysis reveals enhanced productivity in urban forest patches.
- Ogden, Laura A.; Aoki, Carissa ; Grove, J. Morgan; Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Hall, William ; Locke, Dexter ; Pickett, Steward T. A.; Avins, Miriam ; Lautar, Katie ; Lagrosa, John . 2019. Forest ethnography: An approach to study the environmental history and political ecology of urban forests.
- Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Svendsen, Erika S. 2018. Why Garden Personal and Abiding Motivations for Community Gardening in New York City.
- Maxwell, K. , Julius.; Grambsch, A. ; Kosmal, A. ; Larson, L. ; Sonti, N. . 2018. Built Environment, Urban Systems, and Cities.
- Pregitzer, Clara C.; Sonti, Nancy F.; Hallett, Richard A. 2016. Variability in urban soils influences the health and growth of native tree seedlings.
- Campbell, Lindsay K.; Svendsen, Erika S.; Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Johnson, Michelle L. 2016. A social assessment of urban parkland: Analyzing park use and meaning to inform management and resilience planning.
- Simmons, Brady L.; Hallett, Richard A.; Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Auyeung, D. S. N.; Lu, Jacqueline W. T. 2016. Long-term outcomes of forest restoration in an urban park.
- Falxa-Raymond, Nancy; Palmer, Matthew I.; McPhearson, Timon; Griffin, Kevin L. 2014. Foliar nitrogen characteristics of four tree species planted in New York City forest restoration sites.
- Falxa-Raymond, Nancy; Svendsen, Erika; Campbell, Lindsay K. 2013. From job training to green jobs: a case study for a young adult employment program centered on environmental restoration in New York City, USA.
- Lu, Jacqueline W.T.; Svendsen, Erika S.; Campbell, Lindsay K.; Greenfeld, Jennifer; Braden, Jessie; King, Kristen; Falxa-Raymond, Nancy. 2010. Biological, social, and urban design factors affecting young street tree mortality in New York City.
- Hines, Sarah J.; Campbell, Lindsay K.; Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Svendsen, Erika ; Maddox, David . 2019. Background.
- Hines, Sarah J.; Campbell, Lindsay K.; Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Svendsen, Erika ; Maddox, David . 2019. Epilogue: Tracing the lines between storytelling, science, and recovery outcomes.
- Campbell, Lindsay K.; Svendsen, Erika ; Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Hines, Sarah J.; Maddox, David , eds. 2019. Green Readiness, Response, and Recovery: A Collaborative Synthesis.
- Johnson, Michelle L.; Novem Auyeung, D.S. ; Sonti, Nancy F.; Pregitzer, Clara C.; McMillen, Heather L.; Hallett, Richard ; Campbell, Lindsay K.; Forgione, Helen M.; Kim, Mina ; Charlop-Powers, Sarah ; Svendsen, Erika S. 2019. Social-ecological research in urban natural areas: an emergent process for integration.
- Hallett, Richard; Johnson, Michelle L.; Sonti, Nancy F. 2018. Assessing the tree health impacts of salt water flooding in coastal cities: A case study in New York City.
- Nowak, David J.; Bodine, Allison R.; Hoehn, Robert E.; Ellis, Alexis ; Hirabayashi, Satoshi ; Coville, Robert ; Auyeung, D.S. Novem; Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Hallett, Richard A.; Johnson, Michelle L.; Stephan, Emily ; Taggart, Tom ; Endreny, Ted . 2018. The urban forest of New York City.
- Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Campbell, Lindsay; Johnson, Michelle; Daftary-Steel, S. 2016. Long-term outcomes of an urban farming internship program.
- Auyeung, D.S. Novem; Campbell, Lindsay K.; Johnson, Michelle; Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Svendsen, Erika. 2016. Reading the landscape: citywide social assessment of New York City parks and natural areas in 2013-2014.
- Svendsen, Erika S.; Campbell, Lindsay K.; Fisher, Dana R.; Connolly, James J.T.; Johnson, Michelle L.; Sonti, Nancy Falxa; Locke, Dexter H.; Westphal, Lynne M.; Fisher, Cherie LeBlanc; Grove, Morgan; Romolini, Michele; Blahna, Dale J.; Wolf, Kathleen L. 2016. Stewardship mapping and assessment project: a framework for understanding community-based environmental stewardship.
- Oldfield, Emily E.; Felson, Alexander J.; Auyeung, D. S. Novem; Crowther, Thomas W.; Sonti, Nancy F.; Harada, Yoshiki; Maynard, Daniel S.; Sokol, Noah W.; Ashton, Mark S.; Warren, Robert J.; Hallett, Richard A.; Bradford, Mark A. 2015. Growing the urban forest: tree performance in response to biotic and abiotic land management.
- Lerman, Susannah B.; Sonti, Nancy F. 2015. U.S. Forest Service and partners deliver urban wildlife research in support of conservation and management.
- Svendsen, Erika S.; Campbell, Lindsay K.; Sonti, Nancy F.; Baine, Gillian. 2015. Urban stewardship as a catalyst for recovery and change.
- Campbell, Lindsay K.; Monaco, Morgan; Falxa-Raymond, Nancy; Lu, Jacqueline; Newman, Andrew; Rae, Ruth A.; Svendsen, Erika S. 2014. Million TreesNYC: the integration of research and practice.
- Zalesny, Ronald S., Jr..; Hallett, Richard A.; Falxa-Raymond, Nancy; Wiese, Adam H.; Birr, Bruce A. 2014. Propagating native Salicaceae for afforestation and restoration in New York City's five boroughs.
- Campbell, Lindsay; Svendsen, Erika; Falxa-Raymond, Nancy; Baine, Gillian. 2014. Reading the landscape, a reflection on method.
- Falxa-Raymond, Nancy. 2013. Book Review: Greening in the Red Zone.
- Svendsen, Erika S.; Campbell, Lindsay K.; Falxa-Raymond, Nancy ; Northridge, Jessica ; Stone, Edie ; Mees, Caroln . 2012. Introducing a longitudinal study of community gardeners and gardens in New York City.
|Forest Service Program Mentors New York City Students in Environmental Science|
An innovative research mentorship with a Forest Service scientist gets New York City teens out into the urban woods, learning how to measure for ...