Ph.D. 2014 Ecosystem Science and Management Texas A&M University
M.S. 2010 Rangeland Ecology and Management Texas A&M University
J.D. 2008 Land Use and Environmental Policy Suffolk Law School
B.S. 2003 University of Massachusetts, Amherst Wildlife Conservation and Management
I am a plant ecologist focused on developing ecologically-based restoration strategies that improve invasion resistance of native plant communities. My current research includes restoration of woody-encroached and weed-invaded rangeland plant communities in the Great Plains, assessing the utility of plant functional traits for understanding rangeland response to invasion and disturbance, and determining how land-use change and disturbance influence plant community invasion resistance. My main studies currently include:
- A multi-scaled (greenhouse, plot, and landscape), trait-based, empirical and modeling study to identify traits and groups of traits that confer resistance to invasion on restored pipelines
- Studies exploring the potential for extreme conditions (wildfire and drought) to provide restoration pathways for woody-encroached rangelands (focusing on creeping juniper in the Northern Plains and Mesquite in the Southern Plains)
- A study using invasive species distribution models within a traits-based framework to understand dynamics of insipient invasions
Prior to joining the Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in April 2020, I was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. During my postdoc, I studied the mechanisms of woody plant persistence in encroached rangelands, the potential of extreme fire and drought for large-scale rangeland restoration, and social-ecological barriers to prescribed burning. My graduate work at Texas A&M University investigated the influence of disturbance, soils, and socio-economic constraints on restoration of invaded rangelands.
- Clark, M.D., C.L. Wonkka, U.P. Kreuter, W.E. Rogers. 2020. Interactive effects of prescribed fire and livestock grazing on Seriphium plumosum in South African sour bushveld. In press: African Journal of Range and Forage Science.
- Donovan, V.M., C.L. Wonkka, D. Wedin, D. Twidwell. 2020. Land-use type as a driver of large wildfire occurrence in the Great Plains. Remote Sensing. 12:1869. doi.org/10.3390/rs12111869
- Donovan, V.M., C.P. Roberts, C.L. Wonkka, J.L. Beck, J.N. Popp, C.R. Allen, D. Twidwell. 2020. Range-wide monitoring of translocation outcomes for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. Biological Conservation. doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2020.108639
- Kreuter, U.P, D.A. Stroman, A.A. Abney, C.L. Wonkka, J.R. Weir. 2019. Landowner Perceptions of Legal Liability for Using Prescribed Fire to Counter Woody Plant Expansion in the Southern Great Plains. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 72(6):959-967. doi.org/10.1016/j.rama.2019.08.004
- Arterburn, J.R., D. Twidwell, W.H. Schacht, C.L. Wonkka, D.A. Wedin. 2019. Restoring Fire-Grazer Interactions to Pursue Heterogeneity in Sandhills Prairie. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 7:365
- Angeler, D.G., H. Fried-Petersen, C.R. Allen, A. Garmestani, D.Twidwell, W. Chuang, V.M. Donovan, T. Eason, C.P. Roberts, S.M. Sundstrom, and C.L. Wonkka. 2019. Adaptive capacity in ecosystems. Advances in Ecological Research. Volume 60.
- Twidwell, D., C.L. Wonkka, H.H. Wang, W.E. Grant, C.R. Allen, S.D. Fuhlendorf, A.S. Garmestani, D.A. Angeler, C.A. Taylor, U.P. Kreuter, W.E. Rogers. 2019. Coerced resilience in fire management. Journal of Environmental Management. 240:368-373. doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.02.073
- Wonkka, C.L., D. Twidwell, B.W. Allred, C.H. Bielski, V.M. Donovan, C.P. Roberts S.D. Fuhlendorf. 2019. Rangeland vulnerability to state transition under global climate change. Climatic Change. 153:59-78. doi-org.libproxy.unl.edu/10.1007/s10584-018-02365-7
- Weir, J.R., C.L. Wonkka, D. Twidwell, D.A. Stroman, M. Russell, U.P. Kreuter, C.A. Taylor. 2019. Liability and prescribed fire: Perception and reality. Rangeland Ecology and Management 72(3):533-538; doi: 10.1016/j.rama.2018.11.010
- Donovan, V.M., C.P. Roberts, C.L. Wonkka, D.A. Wedin, D. Twidwell. 2019. Ponderosa pine regeneration, wildland fuels management, and habitat conservation: Identifying trade-offs following wildfire. Forests. 10(3):286. doi.org/10.3390/f10030286
- Roberts, C.R., V.M. Donovan, C.L. Wonkka, L. Powell, C.R. Allen, D.G. Angeler, D.A. Wedin, D. Twidwell. 2019. Fire legacies in eastern ponderosa pine forests. Ecology and Evolution. 9(4):1869-1879. doi:10.1002/ece3.4879
- Wang, H.H.*, C.L. Wonkka*, M.L. Treglia, W.E. Grant, F.E. Smeins, W.E. Rogers. 2019. Incorporating local-scale variables into distribution models enhances predictability for rare plant species with biological dependencies. Biodiversity and Conservation. 28(1):171-182. doi:10.1007/s10531-018-1645-4 (*indicates co-authorship)
- Keele, E.C., V.M. Donovan, C.P. Roberts, S.M. Nodskov, C.L. Wonkka, C.R. Allen, L. Powell, D.A. Wedin, D.G. Angeler, D. Twidwell. 2019. Relationships between a burn severity gradient, cavity-dwelling birds, and habitat in Ponderosa Pine forest. American Midland Naturalist. 181(1):1-18.
- McGranahan, D.A., C.L. Wonkka. 2018. Wildland fire science literacy: Education, creation, and application. Fire. 1(3):52. doi:10.3390/fire1030052
- Raynor, E.J., C.P. Griffith, D. Twidwell, W.H. Schacht, C.L. Wonkka, C.P. Roberts; C.H. Bielski, D.M. Debinski, J.R. Miller. 2018. The emergence of heterogeneity in invasive-dominated grassland: a matter of the scale of detection. Landscape Ecology. 33(12):2103–2119. doi:10.1007/s10980-018-0725-x
- Roberts, C.R., J.L. Burnett, V.M. Donovan, C.L. Wonkka, C.H. Bielski, C.R. Allen, A. Garmestani, D.G. Angeler, T. Eason, S. Sundstrom, H.E. Birge, D. Twidwell. 2018. Early warnings for state transitions. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 71(6):651-670. doi:10.1016/j.rama.2018.04.012
- Twidwell, D., C.L. Wonkka, C.H. Bielski, C.R. Allen, D.G. Angeler, J. Drozda, A.S. Garmestani, J. Johnson, L.A. Powell, C.P. Roberts. 2018. A perpetual state of emergency that sacrifices protected areas in a changing climate. Biological Conservation. 32(4):902-915. doi:10.1111/cobi.13099
- Bielski, C.H., D. Twidwell, S.D. Fuhlendorf, C.L. Wonkka, B.W. Allred, T. Ochsner, E.S. Krueger, J.D. Carlson, D.M. Engle. 2018. Pyric herbivory, scales of heterogeneity, and drought. Functional Ecology. 32(6):1599-1608.
- Arterburn, J.R., D. Twidwell, W.H. Schacht, C.L. Wonkka, D.A. Wedin. 2018. Resilience of sandhills grassland to wildfire. 2018. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 71:53-57. doi:10.1016/j.rama.2017.07.010
- Wonkka, C.L., D. Twidwell, C.H. Bielski, C.R. Allen, M.C. Stambaugh. 2018. Regeneration and invasion of cottonwood riparian forest following wildfire. Restoration Ecology. 26(3):456-465. doi: 10.1111/rec.12577
- Donovan, V.M., D. Twidwell, C.L. Wonkka. 2017. Surging wildfire activity in a grassland biome. Geophysical Research Letters. 44:5986-5993. doi:10.1002/2017GL072901
- Wonkka, C.L., J.B. West, D. Twidwell, W.E. Rogers. 2017. Grass mortality and turnover following core rangeland restoration practices. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 70:290-30. doi:10.1016/j.rama.2016.10.011
- Wonkka, C.L., D. Twidwell, T.E. Franz, C.A. Taylor, W.E. Rogers. 2016. Persistence of a severe drought increases desertification but not woody dieback in semiarid savanna. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 69:491-498. doi:10.1016/j.rama.2016.07.005
- Breshears, D.D., A.K. Knapp, D.J. Law, M.D. Smith, D. Twidwell, C.L. Wonkka. 2016. Rangeland responses to predicted increases in drought extremity. Rangelands. 38:191-196. doi:10.1016/j.rala.2016.06.009
- Wonkka, C.L., D. Twidwell., J.B. West, W.E. Rogers. 2016. Shrubland resilience varies across soil types: implications for operationalizing resilience in ecological restoration. Ecological Applications. 26(1):128-145. doi:10.1890/15-0066
- Weir, J.H., D. Twidwell, C.L. Wonkka. 2016. From grassroots to national alliance: the emerging trajectory for landowner prescribed burn associations. Rangelands. 38:113-119. doi:10.1016/j.rala.2016.02.005
- Twidwell, D., W.E. Rogers, C. Wonkka, C.A. Taylor, Jr., U.P. 2016 Kreuter. 2016. Extreme prescribed fire during drought reduces survival and density of woody resprouters. Journal of Applied Ecology. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12674
- Wang, H.H.*, C.L. Wonkka*, W.E. Grant, and W.E. Rogers. 2016. Range expansion of invasive shrubs: implication for crown fire risk in forestlands of the southern United States. AoB PLANTS. 8:plw012 doi:10.1093/aobpla/plw012. (*indicates co-authorship)
- Twidwell, D. C.L. Wonkka, M.T. Sindelar, J.R. Weir. 2015. First approximations of prescribed fire risks relative to other management techniques used on private lands. PLoS ONE. 10(10):e0140410. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0140410
- Wonkka, C.L., W.E. Rogers, U.P. Kreuter. 2015. Legal barriers to effective ecosystem management: Exploring linkages between liability, regulations, and prescribed fire application. Ecological Applications. 25:2382-2393. doi: 10.1890/14-1791.1
- Wang, H.H.*, C.L. Wonkka*, M.L. Treglia, W.E. Grant, F.E. Smeins, W.E. Rogers. 2015. Species distribution modeling for conservation of an endangered endemic orchid, Spiranthes parksii (Correll). AoB Plants. plv039, doi:10.1093/aobpla/plv039 (*indicates co-authorship)
- Twidwell, D., C.L. Wonkka, C.A. Taylor Jr., C.B. Zou, J. J. Twidwell, W.E. Rogers. 2014. Drought-induced woody plant mortality in an encroached semi-arid savanna depends on topoedaphic factors and land management. Applied Vegetation Science. 17:42-52.
- Wonkka, C. L., W.E. Rogers, F. E. Smeins, J. R. Hammons, S.J. Haller, M. Ariza. 2013. The ecology and conservation of Navasota Ladies’ Tresses (Spiranthes parksii Correll), an endangered terrestrial orchid located in east-central Texas. Native Plants Journal. 13:236-243.
- Wonkka, C.L., C.W. Lafon, C.M. Hutton, A.J. Joslin. 2013. A CSR Classification of Tree Life History Strategies and Implications for Ice Storm Damage. Oikos. 122:209-222.
- Twidwell, D., W.E.Rogers, S.D. Fuhlendorf, C.L. Wonkka, D.M. Engle, J.R. Weir, U.P. Kreuter, C.A. Taylor, Jr. 2013. The rising Great Plains fire campaign: citizenry response to woody plant encroachment. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 11:e64-e71. doi:10.1890/130015
- Wang, H.H., C.L. Wonkka, W.E. Grant, W.E. Rogers. 2012. Potential range expansion of Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica Thunb.) in Southern U.S. forestlands. Forests. 3:573-590.
2019- 2024 Updating Species Reviews for the Fire Effects Information System; Joint Venture Agreement with USFS: Contract # 19-JV-11221637-177. C.L. Wonkka (PI), D. Twidwell (Co-PI)
2017-2020 Pyrogenic controls on grass-shrub persistence in the Great Plains; Joint Fire Science Program: Contract # 17-1-04-7. W.E. Rogers (PI), M.B. Dickinson (Co-PI), K.L. Kavanagh (Co-PI), A.G. Lodge (Co-PI), M.L. Treadwell (Co-PI), D. Twidwell (Co-PI), C.L. Wonkka (Co-PI)
2016-2019 Fighting wildfire with prescribed burning; Joint Fire Science Program: Contract # 16-1-02-10. U.P Kreuter (PI), F. Fleischman (Co-PI), M.L. Treadwell (Co-PI), R.P. Bixxler (Co-PI), D.L. Doan-Crider (Co-PI), C.L. Wonkka (Collaborator/contributor)