Senior Lecturer, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

My research is cross-disciplinary with the goal of scaling field observations and relationships to a landscape-scale using remote sensing and GIS (geographic information system) tools to inform the management of northeastern forests.  Often this involves working across scales (temporal and spatial), data sources (field, satellite, spatial) and integrating across disciplines. This linking of geospatial and natural science methodologies provides the landscape perspective necessary to mitigate the impacts of environmental stressors, with the information necessary to guide activities at local to regional scales. Ongoing projects range from the development of novel techniques to map forest structure, phenology, health and growth to the creation of an interactive, multi-criterion decision support tool to inform sustainable management of the region’s forests.

Much of this work is done in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service Northern Research StationUSDA Forest Service Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry and collaborators at the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and the Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative for which I am Principal Investigator.


Select Publications

  • Pontius, J. and A. McIntosh. 2020. Critical Skills for Environmental Professionals: Connecting science to action.  Springer, London, UK.  pp. 250.
  • McIntosh, A. and J. Pontius. 2016. Science and the Global Environment: Case Studies for Integrating Science and Global Environment, 1st Edition.  Elsevier, London UK.  pp. 515. ISBN: 9780128017128
Book Chapters
  • Pontius, J. 2020. Early, detailed and accurate detection of forest disturbance and decline for protection of biodiversity.  In: Remote Sensing of Plant Biodiversity Using spectral signals of plants to understand the biology and biodiversity of plants, plant communities, ecosystems and the tree of life.  Editors: Jeannine Cavender-Bares, John Gamon, Phil Townsend, Springer International Publishing.
  • Pontius, J. and J. Duncan. 2018. Linking Science and Management in a Geospatial, Multi- Criteria Decision Support Tool. In: New Perspectives in Forest Science. Editor: Helder Viana, IntechOpen.
Peer Reviewed Journal Articles
  • Adams, A., Pontius, J., Galford, G. and D. Guddex-Cross. 2019.  Forest fragmentation: Patterns, trends, and drivers across northeastern US forests. Landscape Ecology 34(10):2401-2419.
  • Pardo, L, Coombs, J., Pontius, J., Robin-Abbott, M. and A. D'Amato.  2019.  Tree species at risk from nitrogen deposition in the northeastern United States: A geospatial analysis of effects of multiple stressors using exceedance of critical loads.  Forest Ecology and Management 454:117528.     
  • Kosiba AM, Meigs G, Duncan J, Pontius J, Keeton W, Tait E. 2018. Spatiotemporal patterns of forest damage and disturbance in the Northeastern United States: 2000 - 2016. Forest Ecology and Management.
  • Oswald, E., Pontius, J., Rayback, S., Schaberg, P., Wilmot, S. and L.A. Dupigney-Giroux.  2018. The complex relationship between climate and sugar maple health: climate change implications for a key northern hardwood species. Forest Ecology and Management. 422: 303-312.
  • Adams, A. Pontius, J. Galford, G., D. Gudex-Cross and S. Merrill.  2018.  Modeling carbon storage across a heterogeneous mixed temperate forest: the influence of forest type specificity on regional-scale carbon storage estimates.  Landscape Ecology.  33: 641-658.
  • Pontius, J. Cook, B. Hanavan, R and R. Hallett.  2017. High spatial resolution spectral unmixing for mapping ash species across a complex urban environment.  Remote Sensing of Environment.  199:  360-369.
  • Pontius, J. Cook, B. Hanavan, R and R. Hallett.  (2017).  Early detection and mapping of urban forest stress and invasive spread using cutting edge remote sensing technologies.  Remote Sensing of Environment.  199:  360-369.
  • Guddex-Cross, D., Pontius, J. and Adams, A.  (2017). Enhanced forest cover mapping using spectral unmixing and object-based classification of multi-temporal Landsat imagery.  Remote Sensing of Environment 196: 193-204.   
  • Krebbs, J., Pontius, J. and P. Schaberg.  (2017). Modeling the Impacts of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid on Carbon stocks in Northern New England.  Canadian Journal of Forest Research 47: 727-734.
  • Livingston, W., Pontius, J., Costanza, K. and S. Trosper.  2017.  Spatially-explicit model for estimating locations of future hemlock growth declines associated with the hemlock woolly adelgid.  Biological Invasions 19(5), 1577-1595.  
Tool Development
  • Climate Connection (2019):  The FEMC Climate Connection is a simple portal to access key resources on climate change in our region and the impacts it will have on forested ecosystems, providing a comprehensive resource for policy makers, researchers, students and natural resource professionals to quickly find the tools they need to explore climate change and how it will impact forests in the Northeast. 
  • N-CLAS (2019):  The Nitrogen Critical Load Assessment by Site Tool is designed to calculate critical loads and exceedances for N deposition to forests in the northeastern US. It provides high resolution outputs (maps, graphs, and tables) for multiple areas and accounts for the influence of site, climate, and topographic conditions on 23 key tree species in the region. N-CLAS facilitates assessment of risk to forest ecosystems for resource managers and policy makers.
  • Northeastern Forest Health Atlas. Duncan, J.A., Meigs, G.W., Tait, E.R., Kosiba, A.M., Pontius, J.A., Keeton, W. 2018. Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative. (Aggregates 50+ years of aerial sketch mapping data across 6 states, with search and filter options by damage agent and damage type).
  • Vermont Forest Indicators Dashboard. Duncan, J., Pontius J., Kosiba, A. and Truong, J. 2018. This dynamic online tool aggregates and summarizes key ecosystem monitoring metrics into a relative score and trend to quantify and monitor the condition of Vermont’s forested ecosystems). 


Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Instructional programs: Environmental Sciences; Forestry; Natural Resources; Sustainability, Ecology and Policy
Research: Forest ecology & health, satellite remote sensing, GIS modeling, experimental design & statistical analyses


  • Ph.D. 2004 Earth and Ecosystem Science, University of New Hampshire
  • M.S. 1998 Natural Resources, University of New Hampshire
  • B.A. 1993 Environmental Science: Terrestrial Ecology, University of Virginia
  • B.A. 1993 Spanish, University of Virginia


  • o: 802-656-3091
  • c: 802-324-9041
Office Location:

220L Aiken Center, 81 Carrigan Dr

Courses Taught

Introduction to Environmental Sciences
Orientation to Environmental Sciences
Applied Environmental Statistics
Remote Sensing of Natural Resources