Jennifer Kwasny Costanza

Jennifer Costanza

Landscape Ecologist
Research Assistant Professor
Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources
North Carolina State University

Contact me

About Me

I am a landscape ecologist with research interests in the ecological effects of global change, land change modeling and landscape conservation. I received my Ph.D. in ecology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and am currently Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University.

Much of my current research is funded by the USDA Forest Service, and involves investigating future forest dynamics across the U.S. in response to changes in climate, disturbances, land use and land management. Colleagues and I are producing future projections of forest conditions for the Forest Service’s Resources Planning Act (RPA) Assessment.

My other ongoing research spans landscape ecology and conservation biology, including: modeling wildlife habitat connectivity in the southeastern U.S., simulating landscape dynamics under scenarios of bioenergy production in North Carolina, and mapping threats to ecosystems in the North American Coastal Plain – the world’s newest (and coolest!) global biodiversity hotspot. My previous research has focused on prescribed fire management in the longleaf pine ecosystem.

Please take a look at my publications and feel free to contact me.


September 16, 2015
Global forests are being significantly degraded by fragmentation. My new coauthored paper is now online in a special issue of Landscape Ecology on macrosystems ecology.
Online early version here
European Commission press release

June 1, 2015
Our paper on simulating land change under bioenergy scenarios is now online in a special issue of AIMS Environmental Science on state-and-transition simulation models.
Find it here

April 15, 2015
My publication about the longleaf pine ecosystem and conservation in the face of global change just came out.
Check it out


These are my major experience and publications. Contact me for my full CV.

Ph.D., Ecology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010
Master of Environmental Management, Duke University, 2001
B.S., Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 1999

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, NC State University, Raleigh NC, 2014-present
Research Associate, Landscape Ecology and Modeling, Department of Applied Ecology, NC State University, Raleigh NC, 2012-2014
Postdoctoral Associate, Landscape Ecology, Department of Biology (later became Applied Ecology), NC State University, Raleigh, NC, 2010-2012
Conservation Associate, The Nature Conservancy, Durham, NC , 2005-2010
GIS Director, Tipton County Government, Covington, TN , 2001-2004
Watershed Planner, Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation, Syracuse, IN , 2001


  • Riitters, K., Wickham, J., Costanza, J.K., Vogt, P. A global evaluation of forest interior area dynamics using tree cover data from 2000 to 2012. Landscape Ecology (special issue: Macrosystems ecology: Novel methods and new understanding of multi-scale patterns and processes). In press. doi: 10.1007/s10980-015-0270-9 Online early
  • Terando, A.J., B. Reich, B., Pacifici, K., Costanza, J.K., McKerrow, A.J., and Collazo, J.A. 2015. Uncertainty quantification and propagation for projections of extremes in monthly area burned under climate change: A case study in the coastal plain of Georgia, USA. Invited chapter for P. Webley, K. Riley, M. Thompson, A. Patra, and M. Bursik, Eds. AGU Monograph Series: Characterizing Uncertainties in Natural Hazard Modeling. Hoboken, NJ, John Wiley & Sons. In press.
  • Costanza, J.K., Abt, R.C., McKerrow, A.J., Collazo, J.A. 2015. Linking state-and-transition simulation and timber supply models for forest biomass production scenarios. AIMS Environmental Science 2(2):180-202. doi:10.3934/environsci.2015.2.180 Available here
  • Costanza, J.K., Terando, A.J., McKerrow, A. J., Collazo, J. A. 2015. Modeling climate change, urbanization, and fire effects on Pinus palustris ecosystems of the southeastern U.S. Journal of Environmental Management 151:185-199. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2014.12.032 pdf
  • Noss, R., Platt, W., Sorrie, B., Weakley, A.S., Means, B., Costanza, J.K., Peet, R.K. 2015. How global biodiversity hotspots may go unrecognized: lessons from the North American Coastal Plain. Diversity and Distributions 21:236-244. doi: 10.1111/ddi.12278 pdf
  • Terando, A.J., Costanza, J.K., Belyea, C., Dunn, R.R., McKerrow, A.J., Collazo, J. 2014. The southern megalopolis: using the past to predict the future of urban sprawl in the Southeast U.S. PLOS ONE 9(7): e102261. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102261 Available here
  • Costanza, J.K., Weiss, J., Moody, A. 2013. Examining the knowing-doing gap in conservation of a fire-dependent ecosystem. Biological Conservation 158:107-115. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2012.08.025 pdf
  • Costanza, J.K., Hulcr, J., Koch, F.H., Earnhardt, T., McKerrow, A.J., Dunn, R.R., Collazo, J.A. 2012. Simulating the effects of the southern pine beetle on regional dynamics 60 years into the future. Ecological Modelling 244:93-103. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2012.06.037 pdf
  • Costanza, J.K., Moody, A., Peet, R.K. 2011. Multi-scale habitat heterogeneity as a predictor of plant species richness. Landscape Ecology 26(6):851-864. doi: 10.1007/s10980-011-9613-3 pdf
  • Costanza, J.K. and Moody, A. 2011. Deciding where to burn: stakeholder priorities for prescribed burning of a fire-dependent ecosystem. Ecology and Society 16(1): 14. [online] URL: pdf
  • Costanza, J.K., Marcinko, S., Goewert A., Mitchell, C. 2008. Potential geographic distribution of atmospheric nitrogen deposition from intensive livestock production in North Carolina, USA. Science of the Total Environment 398:76-86. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.02.024 pdf
  • Hayes, M., Moody, A., White, P.S., Costanza, J.K. 2007. The influence of logging and topography on the distribution of spruce-fir forests near their southern limits in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA. Plant Ecology 189:59-70. pdf


  • Wilson, T., Costanza, J.K., Smith, J., Morisette, J. 2015. Second State-and-Transition Simulation Modeling Conference. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 96(1):174-175. doi: 10.1890/0012-9623-96.1.174 pdf
  • Costanza, J.K. and Moody, A. 2011. Stakeholder priorities for deciding where to burn. Southern Fire Exchange Research Highlight 2011-1. Available here
  • Costanza, J.K., Earnhardt, T., Terando, A., McKerrow, A. 2010. Modeling vegetation dynamics and habitat availability in the southeastern U.S. using GAP data. In Maxwell, J., Gergely, K., and Aycrigg, J.L. editors. Gap Analysis Bulletin No. 18. USGS/BRD/Gap Analysis Program, Moscow, ID, USA. pdf
  • Costanza, J.K., Oberneufemann, K., Bucher, M. 2009. Assessment of LANDFIRE data in the Onslow Bight landscape, North Carolina. Report for The Nature Conservancy. Available here
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    Contact me

    Jen Costanza
    Research Assistant Professor
    Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources
    North Carolina State University
    3041 Cornwallis Road
    Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
    Office: 919-549-4055