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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Sonja Oswalt, Forester, USDA FS

Sonja Oswalt

Forest Resource Analyst
4700 Old Kingston Pike
United States

Phone: 865-862-2058
Contact Sonja Oswalt

Current Research

  • National-level analysis of forest resources for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
  • National-level analysis of forest resources for the Montreal Process global Sustainability Report
  • Forest Resources of Mississippi and Louisiana
  • Changes in forest conditions in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley
  • Invasive plants in forest communities
Smith, W. Brad; Cuenca Lara, Rubí Angélica; Delgado Caballero, Carina Edith; Godínez Valdivia, Carlos Isaías; Kapron, Joseph S.; Leyva Reyes, Juan Carlos; Meneses Tovar, Carmen Lourdes; Miles, Patrick D.; Oswalt, Sonja N.; Ramírez Salgado, Mayra; Song, Xilong Alex; Stinson, Graham; Villela Gaytán, Sergio Armando. 2018. The North American Forest Database: going beyond national-level forest resource assessment statistics. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. 190(6): 635-.

Research Interests

I am interested in landscape level analyses, particularly in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley. I enjoy wildlife-habitat dynamics as well as investigating the impacts of invasive plants in forest communities.

Oswalt, S.N. 2017. Forests of Louisiana, 2014. Resource Update FS–117. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 4 p. Padley, Eunice A.; Oswalt, Sonja N. 2016. Overview of forest conditions in coastal counties. In: Stringer, Christina E.; Krauss, Ken W.; Latimer, James S., eds. 2016.  In: Stringer, Christina E.; Krauss, Ken W.; Latimer, James S., eds. 2016. Headwaters to estuaries: advances in watershed science and management -Proceedings of the Fifth Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds. March 2-5, 2015, North Charleston, South Carolina. e-General Technical  Report  SRS-211. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 1 p.

Past Research

My past research includes changing songbird populations in the U.S. Virgin Islands, impacts of sedimentation and "valley plugs" on forest communities in West Tennessee, Invasive plant impacts in forest communities, and various national analyses.

Schulz, Bethany; Oswalt, Sonja; Moser, W. Keith. 2008. Vegetation Inventory Data: How Much is Enough?. In: McWilliams, Will; Moisen, Gretchen; Czaplewski, Ray; comps. 2008. 2008 Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Symposium; October 21-23, 2008; Park City, UT. Proc. RMRS-P-56CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 1 CD. Oswalt, Sonja N.;Brandeis, Thomas J.; Dimick, Britta P. 2006. Phytosociology of Vascular Plants on an International Biosphere Reserve: Virgin Islands National Park, St. John, US Virgin Islands. Caribbean Journal of Science, Vol. 42, No. 1, :53-66, Oswalt, Sonja N.; Oswalt, Christopher M. 2008. Relationships between common forest metrics and realized impacts of Hurricane Katrina on forest resources in Mississippi. Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 255: 1692-1700


  • University of Tennessee, M.S. Wildlife and Fisheries Science with Minor in Statistics 2003
  • University of Tennessee, B.S. Botany 1998

Professional Experience

  • Forester, USDA Forest Service SRS-FIA
    2004 - Current
    Forest resource analysis for Mississippi, Louisiana, and national and global reporting processes.
  • Research Associate, University of Tennessee
    2003 - 2004
    Pilot test and evaluate Phase 3 understory vegetation protocol for USFS-SRS Forest Inventory and Analysis
  • Graduate Assistant, University of Tennessee
    2001 - 2003
    Researched the effects of coarse sedimentation on floodplain vegetation in the southeastern coastal plain, subsequent effects on wildlife populations, and restoration options.
  • Associate Scientist, Breedlove, Dennis, and Young Environmental Consultants
    2000 - 2001
    Rare plant surveys, wetland mitigation, GIS Mapping, environmental assessments, education programs for high schools

Professional Organizations

  • Society of American Foresters (SAF), Member (2014 - Current)
  • Civil Rights Committee, Local Representative (2012 - Current)
    Local representative on the outreach and cultural engagement team; newsletter co-editor
  • United Nations, Food And Agriculture Organization, North American Forestry Commission, Alternate Correspondent (2005 - Current)
    Alternate Correspondent for the United States, as appointed by the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service
  • University of Tennessee, Invited Lecturer (2004 - Current)
    Invited lecturer to Forestry fall and spring camp for wetland ecology and/or invasive plants

Awards & Recognition

  • Performance award, 2014
    Superior performance
  • Appreciation award, 2014
    Contribution to station Civil Rights Committee
  • Performance award, 2011
    Superior performance
  • Spot Award, 2008
    Acting supervisor
  • Directors Award, 2005
    Contributions to integration of phase 3 with phase 2 in FIA

Featured Publications & Products


Research Highlights


Forest Resources of the United States, 2017

Forest Resources of the United States, 2017, is part of a series of General Technical Reports that provide information to the Resources Planning ...


Potential to Increase Carbon Sequestration with Tree Planting

Almost one-third of Earth’s total land area is comprised of forest, which is also the largest terrestrial carbon sink. A Northern Research Sta ...


Last updated on : 06/14/2021