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The Center for Agroforestry

Meet the Associated Faculty and Staff

Charles Nilon

Charles Nilon, PhD

School of Natural Resources

Graduate Emphasis Area Coordinator
School of Natural Resources

Undergraduate Degree Program Coordinator
School of Natural Resources

302 Anheuser-Busch Natural Resources Building
Columbia, MO 65211
(573) 882-3738


  • PhD, 1986, SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry


  • Urban Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, Human Dimensions in Wildlife Management.

Research Summary

  • Nilon's research considers the impact of urbanization on wildlife habitats, populations and communities. Since 1997, Nilon has been a co-principal investigator on the Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES), one of two urban ecosystems included in the National Science Foundation's Long-Term Ecological Research program. His work with the BES focuses on understanding how ecological and socioeconomic factors influence bird species composition and abundance. Because urban areas are homes for people as well as wildlife, Nilon's research also considers the role of nature as part of an individual's day-to-day environment, and environmental justice issues associated with access to nature. Nilon and his students have worked on projects in Kansas City and St. Louis that seek to understand how people perceive open spaces in their neighborhood. Recently he has collaborated with colleagues from the MU School of Medicine on a project studying the kinds of open spaces where children are active. Since 2010 Nilon has been a principal investigator on three different synthesis projects that are compiling data from more than 150 of the world's cities. The projects seek to understand global patterns of biodiversity in cities, the filters that shape species composition in cities, and the social and ecological factors that shape patterns of abundance in cities, and apply that information to management, conservation and planning programs.

Selected Publications

  • Aronson, M.F.J, F.A. La Sorte, C.H. Nilon, M.Katti, M.A. Goddard, C.A. Lepczyk, P.S. Warren, N.S.G. Williams, S. Cilliers, B. Clarkson, C. Dobbs, R. Dolan, M. Hedblom, S. Klotz, J. Louwe Kooijmans, I. Kuhn, I. MacGregor-Fors, M. McDonnell, U. Mortberg, P. Pysek, S. Siebert, J. Sushinsky, P. Werner, and M. Winter. 2014. A global analysis of the impacts of urbanization on bird and plant diversity reveals key anthropogenic drivers. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. DOI 10.1098/rspb.2013.3330
  • Parker, T.S., S.K. Gonzales, and C.H. Nilon. 2014. Seasonal comparisons of daily activity budgets of gray squirrels Sciurus carolinensis) in urban areas. Urban Ecosystems DOI 10.1007/s11252-014-371-2
  • Müller, N., M. Iganatieva, C.H. Nilon, P. Werner, and W.C. Zipperer. 2013. Patterns and trends in urban biodiversity and landscape design. Pages 123-174 in, T. Elmqvist et al., eds. Urbanization, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Challenges and Opportunities. Springer Netherlands, Amsterdam.
  • Pickett, S.T.A., G.S. Brush, A.J. Felson, B.P. McGrath, J.M. Grove, C.H. Nilon, K. Szlavecz, C. Swan, P.S. Warren. 2012. The Baltimore Ecosystem Study: Understanding and working with urban biodiversity. CityGreen 4.
  • Parker, T.S. and C.H. Nilon. 2012. Urban landscape characteristics correlated with the synurbization of wildlife. Landscape and Urban Planning 106:316-325.
  • Nilon, C.H. 2011. Urban biodiversity and the importance of management and conservation. Landscape and Ecological Engineering 7:45-52.
  • J.W. LeMaster, T. Matisziw, J. McElroy, C. Nilon, S.P. Sayers, and S.W. Stanis. 2011. Playgrounds without borders: Methods for a playground environmental intervention among U.S. schoolchildren. The Internet Journal of Epidemiology 10(1).
  • Pickett, S.T.A., M.L. Cadenasso, J. M. Grove, C.G. Boone, P.M. Groffman, E. Irwin, S.S. Kaushal, V. Marshall, B.P. McGrath, C.H. Nilon, R.V. Pouyat, K. Szlavecz, A. Troy, P. Warren. Urban ecological systems: Scientific foundations and a decade of progress. Journal of Environmental Management 92: 331-362 2011
  • Shochat, E., S. B. Lerman, J. M Anderies, P. S. Warren, S. H. Faeth, and C. H. Nilon. 2010. Invasion, competition and biodiversity loss in urban ecosystems. BioScience 60:199-208.
  • Broun, C.N., C.H. Nilon, R.A. Pierce II. 2009. An evaluation of the Missouri Master Naturalist Program and implications for program expansion. Journal of Extension 47(3)
  • Nilon, C.H. 2009. Comparative studies of terrestrial vertebrates in urban areas, p. 177-184. In M.J. McDonnell, A. Hahs and J. Breuste, eds. Ecology of Cities and Towns: A comparative approach. Cambridge University Press.
  • Nilon, C.H., P.S. Warren, and J. Wolf. 2009. Baltimore Birdscape Study: Identifying habitat and land-cover variables for an urban bird-monitoring project. Urban Habitats 6
  • Van Velsor, S.M. and C.H. Nilon. 2008. A qualitative investigation of the urban African-American and Latino adolescent experience with wildlife. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 11:359-370.
  • Middendorf, G. and C. Nilon. 2005. A cross-town walk to assess environmental changes along an urban socioeconomic gradient. Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology 3: Experiment 3.
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