Sarah Johnson

Professor of Natural Resources
Affiliated Faculty, Burke Center

Sarah Johnson faculty Stockton
Office:Center for Science and the Environment 108
Email:Send a message...


Earned and Honorary Degrees

PhD Botany, University of Wisconsin-Madison
MS Biology, East Carolina University
BS Biology, Northland College

Why Northland?

I am proud of Northland College’s liberal arts mission and emphasis on the environment. I am thankful that Northland continues to include a variety of natural history and field courses in its curriculum, and that experiential learning is happening all around me.


BIO128 - Natural History and Conservation in the Lake Superior Watershed
BIO222 - Woodland Plants of Northern Wisconsin (Spring Flora)
BIO328 - Vegetative Communities of Northern Wisconsin
NRS358 - Wetlands
BIO235 - Biology of Organisms (Plant Biology 1/2 of the course)


My research program incorporates studies of plant communities, plant populations, and ecological monitoring to address natural resource conservation issues. Benefiting from historical data sets and contemporary re-sampling efforts, I largely focus on dynamics and the context of vegetation change across space and time.

Much of my research focuses on systems with prominent natural disturbance regimes such as floodplain forests, coastal beaches/dunes, and coastal wetlands. The inherent dynamism in these habitats poses interesting challenges in discerning among the roles of multiple interacting drivers of ecosystem change, including changes in: natural disturbance regimes, succession, habitat fragmentation, invasions by pests and pathogens, and climate change.

Working in an applied capacity, I collaborate closely with agency partners, most frequently with the National Park Service. To learn more about my lab's research projects and to view my publications, please visit my webpage.

Student Involvement

One of my major goals as faculty at Northland is to provide students with research experiences via participation in my research, student-initiated projects, or projects initiated by local and regional agencies. I encourage hard-working undergraduate students to inquire about capstone research opportunities in my lab. Check out my webpage for updates on what’s going on in my research lab group.


Being a botanist, I love to 'botanize' while walking my dogs, hiking, and paddling. I dabble in gardening with native plants and stewarding my small woodlot property.