Scientists & Staff

Stephanie Snyder

Acting Project Leader /Operations Research Analyst
1992 Folwell Ave
St. Paul, MN, 55108
Phone: 651-649-5294

Contact Stephanie Snyder

Current Research

One of my current broad areas of research focuses on invasive species. I have several studies with colleagues examining different aspects of how invasive species impact users and owners of forested ecosystems.   Specifically, I am studying the behaviors, intentions, attitudes and assistance needs of private forest landowners in Illinois and Indiana with regard to invasive forest plant species.  I'm also studying behaviors, intentions, awareness, and information needs of private landowners with regard to invasive insects in the forests of New England.  Finally, I'm examining how invasive forest beetles may impact visitor site choice and recreation satisfaction in the Midwest.  Drawing from these studies, I am also starting research with loggers, seeking to better understanding the impacts, information and assistance needs, and potential business opportunities that are presented by invasive forest plants.  I also am studying adaptation planning strategies by maple syrup producers in the Northwoods of Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. I also have an active line of research that utilizes data from the National Woodland Owner Survey, a long-term data collection effort for private forest landowners in the U.S. by FIA.   My current research with these data is exploring how gender, being an agricultural land owner, or multi-owner ownership arrangements may influence the types of activities that occur on private forest lands.   Finally, I am continuing my research to develop optimization decision models to support the agency in awarding contracts for fire-fighting helicopters.

Research Interests

My research has two foci. The first focuses on the development of optimization decision models that provide information useful to land managers in understanding alternatives, consequences, and tradeoffs associated with a range of land management decisions. The goal of my research is helping to facilitate more effective decision-making about how best to balance the host of environmental, social, and economic issues associated with natural resource planning, management, and decision-making. I have developed models to support planning and decision-making for selecting habitat reserve sites, open space land acquisition, scheduling timber harvests, awarding contracts for wildlife fighting equipment, and locating ATV trail corridors. My second research area focuses on private forest landowners, and seeks to understand their values, behaviors, attitudes and responsiveness to assistance, incentive and policy programs. My private forest landowner research has focused on adoption of stewardship practices, carbon market participation, enrollment in assistance programs, and most recently, implementation of invasive forest plant management activities.   I also am interested in understanding factors associated with private forest parcelization, or the division of forestland into smaller ownership holdings.

Why This Research is Important

My research improves our understanding of private forest landowners and what they do and think about their forestland.  My research can be used to better develop and deliver assistance and incentive programs to help these landowners meet their personal ownership goals, and to help private forestlands deliver important societal forest-based goods and services.  My research also helps managers determine efficient strategies, informs them about the consequences of their choices, and identifies the trade-offs inherent in complex land use and management decision-making. With this information, managers can make more effective decisions about how best to balance a host of competing objectives, priorities and goals inherent in land management.


  • Johns Hopkins University, Ph.D. Systems Analysis for Public and Environmental Decision-Making, 1996
  • Johns Hopkins University, M.A. Systems Analysis for Public and Environmental Decision-Making, 1992
  • Boston University, B.A. Physical Geography, 1990

Professional Organizations

  • Society of American Foresters (SAF)
  • Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS)

Featured Publications & Products

Publications & Products

Research Datasets

  • Hewes, Jaketon H.; Butler, Brett J.; Liknes, Greg C.; Nelson, Mark D.; Snyder, Stephanie A. 2014. Public and private forest ownership in the conterminous United States: distribution of six ownership types - geospatial dataset. Fort Collins, CO: Forest Service Research Data Archive.

National Research Highlights

at a Women’s Chainsaw Safety Class

Study Finds Differences in How Men and Women Manage Family Forests

Year: 2018

Although women are the primary decision-makers for more than 44 million acres of forest land in the United States and influence the land management decisions on many more acres, little is known about whether or how their management attitudes, behaviors, and intentions may differ from those of their male counterparts. Recognizing differences between male and female forest landowners is important for understanding constraints and barriers and should be considered in the design of forestry programs and outreach.

How declining size of private forest land holdings impacts public forest lands

Year: 2017

What happens to neighboring public forest lands when a piece of privately held forest land is split into multiple ownership pieces, a process that scientists call "parcelization"? Forest Service social scientist Stephanie Snyder, along with colleagues at the University of Minnesota, explored this question by gathering information from natural resource managers who work for public agencies in the Lake States of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Because the small white lady’s slipper tends to occur in isolated populations within a highly fragmented landscape, opportunities for dispersal to new sites and inter-population genetic exchange are minimal, which may limit its capacity to adapt to climate. Justin Meissen, University of Minnesota.

For the Rare Prairie Orchid, Science is Making Climate Change Local

Year: 2016

Forest Service researchers, along with their research partners from the University of Minnesota, are helping land managers answer key questions about how to apply large-scale climate change information to very precise habitat.

Kayakers at Freshkills Park site Photo provided by NYC Parks. New York City Parks.

Forest Service Research Evaluates Public Response to Transformed Landfill

Year: 2016

City parks are easy to love, but would you love, or visit, a park that used to be a landfill? As part of a team that included the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and university partners, Forest Service social scientists Lindsay Campbell and Stephanie Snyder explored public response to Freshkills Park, the largest landfill-to-park transformation ever undertaken in the United States.

Chart showing thedemand from family forest owners for carbon management and carbon market assistance during 2011.  USDA Forest Service?

Forest Carbon Markets and Private Forest Landowners: Perspectives from State Forestry Agencies

Year: 2015

Trees remove carbon from the planet’s atmosphere through photosynthesis and sequester carbon in their wood. Private landowners can manage their forests in ways that enhance carbon storage and even receive payment for specific management activities by participating in forest carbon markets. But given the complexity and expense in undertaking these activities, many forest landowners need technical assistance from professionals. Forest Service scientists and their colleagues at the University of Minnesota surveyed state agencies to determine what help they provide to private forest landowners who request assistance in managing their woods and selling carbon credits. They also collected information on current capacities of state governments to provide such assistance.

Afforestation is one means of increasing forest carbon storage. S.A. Snyder, USDA Forest Service

Study Assesses Private Forest Landowner Attitudes Towards Forest Carbon Management and Carbon Credit Trading

Year: 2014

Forest lands, if managed in certain ways, can store excess atmospheric carbon, a key contributor to global climate change. This accumulated carbon can be sold as carbon credits in a carbon market, provided a number of program requirements are met. However, little is known about private landowner interest in managing lands for carbon storage or participating in carbon markets. Forest Service research found that private forest landowners with favorable attitudes toward carbon management or carbon market participation may view these activities as the vehicle by which other forest goals can be met.

Afforestation is one means of increasing carbon storage on family forest lands. Stephanie Snyder, USDA Forest Service

Landowners Interested in Managing Family Forest Lands for Carbon

Year: 2013

The nation's family forest lands have the potential to be an important contributor to carbon sequestration efforts, but only if their owners are willing to manage to enhance carbon sequestration. Yet little is known about whether family forest owners are even interested in doing this or how they view programs that enable them to sell forest carbon credits. Forest Service scientists surveyed family forest owners in the Upper Midwest and found that many forest owners may be more interested in simply managing for carbon than meeting the conditions required to formally sell carbon credits.

Private forest land posted against unauthorized public access. Forest Service

Study Assesses Public Access to Private Land for Recreation Purposes

Year: 2012

Scientists review opportunities, constraints, and possibilities for relieving recreational pressure on public lands

Wildland firefighting helicopter.  Cibola National Forest

Decision Modeling Framework Improves Process for Awarding Firefighting Helicopter Contracts

Year: 2010

Aviation managers desired ways to add more rigor, reliability and transparency to the process. NRS researcher Stephanie Snyder was part of a team that created a suite of optimization decision models and a database system. These tools greatly enhanced the efficiency and credibility of the award process and allowed for explicit consideration of trade-offs between quality and cost of contract assignments.

Last modified: Thursday, November 2, 2017