Meredith Cornett

Meredith Cornett has directed The Nature Conservancy’s science program in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota since August 2003. She oversees conservation planning, research, and ecological monitoring activities, often in collaboration with universities, land management agencies, and other non-governmental organizations.

In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member in Forest Resources and the Conservation Biology Program at the University of Minnesota. Her previous positions include Conservation Ecologist for the Conservancy’s Northeast Minnesota Program, Forest Ecologist for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and Community Forestry Extensionist with the Peace Corps in the Republic of Panama. 

Dr. Cornett received a Ph.D. (2000) and M.S. (1996) in Forestry from the University of Minnesota’s College of Natural Resources in St. Paul and holds a B.A. in Biology from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. Her dissertation work examined restoration and conservation strategies of upland northern white cedar forests on the North Shore of Lake Superior. The focus of her recent work is on whole systems restoration and climate change adaptation.



White, M.A., Cornett, M.W. & Wolter, P.T. (2017). Two scales are better than one: monitoring multiple-use northern temperate forests. Forest Ecology and Management, 384, 44–53.

Cornett, M. & White, M. (2013). Forest restoration in a changing world: complexity and adaptation examples from the Great Lakes region of North America. In: Managing forests as complex adaptive systems: building resilience to the challenge of global change. Routledge, p. 113.

Shinneman, D.J., Palik, B.J. & Cornett, M.W. (2012). Can landscape-level ecological restoration influence fire risk? A spatially-explicit assessment of a northern temperate-southern boreal forest landscape. Forest Ecology and Management, 274, 126–135.

Shinneman, D.J., Cornett, M.W. & Palik, B.J. (2010). Simulating restoration strategies for a southern boreal forest landscape with complex land ownership patterns. Forest Ecology and Management, 259, 446–458.

Burton, J.I., Zenner, E.K., Frelich, L.E. & Cornett, M.W. (2009). Patterns of plant community structure within and among primary and second-growth northern hardwood forest stands. Forest Ecology and Management, 258, 2556–2568.

Lytle, D.E., Cornett, M.W. & Harkness, M.S. (2006). Transferring landscape ecological knowledge in a multipartner landscape: the border lakes region of Minnesota and Ontario. In: Forest landscape ecology (eds. Perera, A.H., Buse, L.J. & Crow, T.R.). Springer New York, pp. 97–128.

Frelich, L.E., Cornett, M.W. & White, M.A. (2005). Controls and reference conditions in forestry: the role of old-growth and retrospective studies. Journal of Forestry, 103, 339–344.

Sarr, D., Puettmann, K., Pabst, R., Cornett, M. & Arguello, L. (2004). Restoration ecology: new perspectives and opportunities for forestry. Journal of Forestry, 102, 20–24.

Anderson, C.E., Chapman, K.A., White, M.A. & Cornett, M.W. (2002). Effects of browsing control on establishment and recruitment of Eastern White Pine at Cathedral Grove, Lake Superior highlands, Minnesota, USA. Natural Areas Journal, 22, 202–210.

Cornett, M.W., Puettmann, K.J., Frelich, L.E. & Reich, P.B. (2001). Comparing the importance of seedbed and canopy type in the restoration of upland Thuja occidentalis forests of northeastern Minnesota. Restoration Ecology, 9, 386–396.

Cornett, M.W., Frelich, L.E., Puettmann, K.J. & Reich, P.B. (2000). Conservation implications of browsing by Odocoileus virginianus in remnant upland Thuja occidentalis forests. Biological Conservation, 93, 359–369.

Cornett, M.W., Reich, P.B., Puettmann, K.J. & Frelich, L.E. (2000). Seedbed and moisture availability determine safe sites for early Thuja occidentalis (Cupressaceae) regeneration. American Journal of Botany, 87, 1807–1814.

Cornett, M. & Evenson, C. (1999). Direct seeding: a successful hardwood forest restoration strategy (Minnesota). Ecological Restoration, 17, 230–231.

Cornett, M.W., Puettmann, K.J. & Reich, P.B. (1998). Canopy type, forest floor, predation, and competition influence conifer seedling emergence and early survival in two Minnesota conifer-deciduous forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 28, 196–205.

Cornett, M.W., Reich, P.B. & Puettmann, K.J. (1997). Canopy feedbacks and microtopography regulate conifer seedling distribution in two Minnesota conifer-deciduous forests. Ecoscience, 4, 353–364.


Meissen, J.C., Galatowitsch, S.M. & Cornett, M.W. (2017). Meeting seed demand for landscape-scale restoration sustainably: the influence of seed harvest intensity and site management. Écoscience, 24, 145–155.

Meissen, J.C., Galatowitsch, S.M. & Cornett, M.W. (2017). Assessing long-term risks of prairie seed harvest: what is the role of life-history? Botany, 95, 1081–1092.

Meissen, J.C., Galatowitsch, S.M. & Cornett, M.W. (2015). Risks of overharvesting seed from native tallgrass prairies. Restoration Ecology, 23, 882–891.

Gerla, P.J., Cornett, M.W., Ekstein, J.D. & Ahlering, M.A. (2012). Talking big: lessons learned from a 9000 hectare restoration in the northern tallgrass prairie. Sustainability, 4, 3066–3087.

Cornett, M.W., Bauman, P.J. & Breyfogle, D.D. (2006). Can we control leafy spurge? Adaptive management and the recovery of native vegetation. Ecological Restoration, 24, 145–150.

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