Thomas D. Sisk

Olajos-Goslow Professor of Environmental Science and Policy

Thomas Sisk 230px


Ph.D. Stanford University, 1992
B.A. Colorado College, 1983


Office:  Physical Sciences (bldg #19), room 118
Phone: 928-523-7183
Twitter: tdsisk

Landscape Conservation Initiative Web Site
Lab Web Site

Research Interests

Current conservation challenges typically involve multiple species whose fates are influenced by multiple factors playing out at the landscape level. My work addresses these challenges through basic research in ecology, policy development, and the synthesis and application of research results to land and resource management. I work with a diverse team in the Lab of Landscape Ecology and Conservation Biology, the Landscape Conservation Initiative, and Conservation Science Partners, a non-profit fledged from our group that remains closely tied to NAU. Our research is linked to applications in environmental management, for which we develop and test novel approaches for integrating rigorous science into planning and management practices, particularly as they relate to the conservation of biological diversity and the restoration and sustainable management of our public lands. 

The nature and number of projects in my research group shifts over time, but we consistently focus on four themes: the restoration of ecological integrity in western forests, grasslands and deserts; wildlife ecology and conservation; habitat fragmentation and edge effects; and broad scale conservation planning. These projects draw on intensive field research and innovative techniques leveraging remote sensing, geographic information systems, and advanced spatial and statistical modeling. We also are involved in developing new models of participatory science and collaborative solutions to complex conservation issues across North America.

All facets of this work involved students, teaching, and experiential learning, from the classrooms of NAU, to the nearby San Francisco Peaks, to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. 

Selected Publications

Singh, G.G., J. Tam, T.D. Sisk, S.C. Klain, M.E. Mach, R.G. Martone, and K.M.A. Chan. 2014. A more social science: Barriers and incentives for scientists engaging in policy. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12:161–166.

Palen, W.J., T.D. Sisk, M.E. Ryan, J.L. Arvai, M. Jaccard, A.K. Salomon, T. Homer-Dixon, and K.P. Lertzman. 2014. Consider the global impacts of oil-sands development. Nature 510:465-466.

Sisk, T.D. 2011. Seeding sustainability in the West. Journal of Land, Resources and Environmental Law 31:79-100.

Battin, J. and T.D. Sisk. 2011. One-sided edge responses in forest birds following restoration treatments. Condor 113:501-510.

Sisk, T.D., E.N. Aumack, H.M. Hampton, J. Prather, and Y. Xu. 2006. Landscape analysis to link science and policy: Ecological restoration of ponderosa pine forests in arid North AmericaLandscape and Urban Planning 78:300-310.

Loeser, M.E., T.E. Crews, and T.D. Sisk. 2007. Impact of grazing intensity during drought in an Arizona grassland. Conservation Biology 21:87-97.

Ries, L., R.J. Fletcher Jr., J. Battin, and T.D. Sisk. 2004. Ecological responses to habitat edges: Mechanisms, models and variability explainedAnnual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 35:491-522.

Sisk, T.D., N. Haddad, and P.R. Ehrlich. 1997. Bird assemblages in patchy woodlands: Modeling the effects of edge and matrix habitats. Ecological Applications 7:1170-1180.


For a complete list of publications and additional information, please download Thomas Sisk's CV.