Jon Evans studies the dynamics of plant populations and the processes that determine the composition and structure of plant communities over time and across landscapes.   He is specifically interested in the role of clonal growth as a mechanism for population persistence in plant communities.  As a conservation biologist, he studies the consequences of land-use history, global climate change, and exotic species introductions on long-term change in ecological communities.  He is an advocate for the use of science to better inform management and public policy decision-making so as to sustain biodiversity across the globe. He and his students use Sewanee's 13,000 acres as an outdoor laboratory to study a wide range of topics in plant ecology and conservation biology:


  • oak population dynamics (chestnut oak, overcup oak)
  • clonal plant population biology (dune pennywort Appalachian hill cane‌)
  • long-term forest change (Cumberland Plateau, barrier islands)
  • impact of invasive species (dogwood blight, red bay wilt‌)
  • ecological consequences of hardwood conversion to pine
  • role of agricultural legacies in forest succession
  • ecological consequences of deer overbrowse
  • planning for biodiversity conservation at the landscape level