John Harrington

Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture (Chair 2011-2016); UW Affiliations: Agroecology, Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, Gaylord Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies, RLA

Interests: I teach and conduct research in conservation planning, ecological restoration and management, and urban ecology. My research targets Midwest prairie and savanna systems as well as changing vegetation patterns in urbanizing regions. My most recent efforts have focused on the use of browsers in the management of shrubs in oak savanna systems understanding fire’s role and the spatial distribution of prairie remnants.    Within urban landscapes I have been studying the changes in tree canopy composition and means for enhancing green infrastructure, including greenroofs and food production.

Current Research Activities

Co-PI-Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savanna Fire Science Consortium.

Integrated Livestock Grazing and Conservation: Managed goat grazing and interseeding in oak savanna and woodlands.

Selected Articles and Other Publications

On-going.  Spatial patterns and the changes in underlying heterogeneity of remnant prairies in Southern Wisconsin.

Howell, Evelyn A., John A. Harrington, and Stephen B. Glass. 2012. Introduction to Restoration Ecology. Island Press.

2013 – 2016.  McIntire-Stennis.  Managed Silvopasture in Wisconsin Farm Woodlots. Steve Ventura (PI) and John Harrington (Co-PI).

2001 – 2014.  Opportunities for Livestock Production and Conservation: Managed Goat and Cattle Grazing in Open Oak Systems.

2011-present. Joint Fire Science Program, USA.Gov. Eastern Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savanna Fire Science Consortium. Co-PI. with Paul Zedler, Hannah Spaul, Paul Charland.

Sutton, R., J. Harrington, L. Skabelund, P. MacDonagh, R. Coffman and G. Koch. 2012. Prairie-based green roofs: literature, templates and analogs. Journal of Green Building 7:143-172. Doi:

Harrington, John A. and Emily Kathol. 2009. Responses of Shrub Midstory and Herbaceous Layers to Managed Grazing and Fire in a North American Savanna (Oak Woodland) and Prairie Landscape. Restoration Ecology. Vol. 17, No. 2, pp. 234–244.

Harrington, John. 2008. Vegetation Patterns and Land Cover Change for the Cross Plains Ice Age National Scientific Reserve, 1937-2007. Ice Age National Scenic Trail Office, National Park Service. March 2008. 78 pp.

Wells, Ana, Nick Balster, Stephanie Ban Wychen and John Harrington. 2008. Differences in belowground heterogeneity between anthropogenic sediments and native soils inform restoration of a dewatered reservoir in southwestern Wisconsin. Restoration Ecology 16: 678-688.

2006-2007.  Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Mapping and Spatial Analysis of Prairie Remnants and Development of a GIS Model for Predicting Remnant Locations in Southwest Wisconsin. with Sarah Carter and Richard Henderson.

Egan, Dave and John Harrington, editors. 2006. The Conservation Legacy Lives On…Proceedings of the 19th North American Prairie Conference. Madison.

Harrington, John and Aaron Stephenson. 2005. Vegetation Survey and Analysis of the Wilkie/McNutt Properties, Ice Age National Scientific Reserve. National Park Service, Ice Age Trail Office, Madison, WI.

Present Students

Kao, Emily. Success and succession: vegetation response after the Condit Dam removal. M.S. Landscape Architecture

Nolden, Cherrie. Integrated goat production and conservation: ecological, economic, and social opportunities for farmers and land managers in Upper Midwest open oak systems; MS Agroecology

Weissgerber, Andrea. Factors in the Distribution and population change of White lady slipper (Cypripedium candidum) in Wisconsin, MS Landscape Architecture

Research Studies by Graduate Students

Faust, Marie. 2015. Pilot study: the pollination potential of wild growing Cypripedium candidum. Undergraduate research.

Kokkinos, Jason. 2014. The effects of initial seeding rate on the persistence of biodiversity and community composition in dry-mesic prairies over a 12-year period. MS Landscape Architecture

Baumann, Katherine. 2013.  Rotational goat browsing as a restoration tool for reducing midstory shrub density in oak savanna. MS Landscape Architecture

Slocum, Evan. 2012. Changing planting trends and species composition of the Madison area urban forest. MS Landscape Architecture

Ela, Julia. 2012. Opportunities for livestock grazing and conservation: managed goat browsing in midwestern oak openings. MS Landscape Architecture.

Smith, Vincent. 2011. Growing our own: the socioeconomic value of community food production. PhD, Environment and Resources, NIES.

Wegner, Mark. 2010. Relating urban forest canopy development to municipal expansion. MS Landscape Architecture.

Wells, Alexandra. 2009. A predictive model for tallgrass prairie remnant distribution in the SW Grassland Area of Wisconsin, USA. MS Landscape Architecture.

Read, Carrie. 2008. Spatial patterns and the underlying heterogeneity of remnant prairies in southern Wisconsin. MS Landscape Architecture.

Kearley, Ruth. 2007. A comparison of leafhopper, butterfly, and skipper species richness on prairie restorations and remnants in south central Wisconsin. MS Land Resources, NIES.

Craig, Jill. 2006. The composition of tallgrass prairie plant communities of the Upper Midwest, USA. MS Landscape Architecture.

Martin, Amy. 2006. The ecological implications of seeding density in dry mesic prairies. MS Land Resources, NIES.

White, Annie Seeger. 2005. Favorability and avoidance of spatial landscape components in wolf den site selection. MS Landscape Architecture.

Cromer, Carolyn. 2003. The effects of Microstegium vimineum on species diversity and its interaction with light and plants. MS Land Resources.

Gettig, Roger. 2003.  Response of linear prairie remnants to seven years of annual spring burning. MS Landscape Architecture.

Kathol, Emily. 2003. The effectiveness of managed grazing and prescribed burning in restoring the structure and composition of a degraded Wisconsin oak savanna. MS Land Resources.

Stackpole, Sarah. 2003. The effects of prescribed burning and thinning on groundlayer vegetation in a dry-mesic and dry oak forest is southern Wisconsin. MS Land Resources.

Little, Amanda. 2002. Resource quality and beaver spatiotemporal dynamics. MS Landscape Architecture.

Baum, Jill. 2001.  Determining wetland management alternatives: the natural history of Picnic Point Marsh. MS Land Resources.

Beifuss, Katherine. 2001. Habitat use and movement of the adult regal fritillary butterfly in southwestern Wisconsin. MS Land Resources.

Blue, Jacob. 2000. The results of subcanopy reduction in an oak-hickory woodland on soil properties and regeneration of groundlayer flora. MS Landscape Architecture.

McDaniel, Amy D. 2000. Mowing, burning and interseeding as management strategies for roadside prairie plantings. MS Landscape Architecture.

Ostrander, Madeline. 2000. A case study of the Flandreau Santee Sioux tribe and the Big Sioux River, South Dakota. MS Land Resources

Baggot, Erin. 1999. The effect of municipal and paper mill sludge amendments on the establishment and productivity of prairie species in iron mine tailings: a case study of the Jackson County Iron Company Mine in Wisconsin. MS Landscape Architecture

Linder, Scott. 1999. Attitudes and behaviors of homeowners living on a prairie and the implications of edges on prairie species composition. MS Landscape Architecture.

West, Paul G. 1996. Impacts of summer fire on vegetation in a Wisconsin prairie remnant and pasture.

Leach, Mark K. 1990. Persistence and change in southern Wisconsin prairie remnants. MS Landscape Architecture.

Kearns, Susan K. 1989. Salvaging prairie forbs and grasses: an evaluation of transplanting methods including root-pruning, top-pruning, and sod transplant. MS Landscape Architecture.

Courses Taught

  • Plants and Ecology in Design
  • Urban Ecology Design Seminar
  • Restoration Ecology
  • Vegetation Management of Natural Systems
  • Field Course: Wisconsin’s Native Plant Communities
  • Restoration Ecology Seminar (Fire Ecology of the Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Ecosystems; Ecology of the Tallgrass Prairie and Oak Savanna)
  • Cloud Forest Studio (Monteverde, Costa Rica)