Stephen Ventura


Stephen J. Ventura – Professor

Geographic information systems, public participation GIS, urban agriculture, bioenergy cropping, landscape process modeling, land and resource tenure, GIS and land use planning.

UW-Madison, Department of Soil Science
1525 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1299, USA
Office: 433 King Hall

Phone: 608.262.6416
Fax: 608.265.2595


Program Affiliations


  • BA Zoology, 1978, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • MS Environmental Monitoring, 1983, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • PhD Land Resources, 1989, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Awards and Honors

  • 2013 Nelson Distinguished Professorship
  • 2011 Spitze Land Grant Faculty Award for Excellence, University of Wisconsin-Madison CALS
  • 2005 Distinguished Service Award, Urban and Regional Information Systems Association
  • 2005 Hammer Award, National Partnership for Reinventing Government, “Shaping Dane’s Future” NSDI Community Demonstration Project

Teaching and Research Overview

In the fall, I teach Soils/Environmental Studies capstone – an applied problem-solving course typically centered on a problem of soil resource management. In the spring, I alternate between Assessment of Environmental Impact (even years) and Applications of GIS in Natural Resources (odd years). The former covers the environmental impact process, with emphasis on natural resources and agricultural systems. The latter provides a broad overview of GIS applications and techniques in a variety of environmental and resource management applications.

Current research includes:

  • evaluating innovations and promoting successes in community and regional food systems
  • mapping and evaluating opportunities and constraints in production of dedicated bioenergy crops on marginal land
  • development of tools for local land use planning

Selected Publications

Ventura, S.J., and M.K. Bailkey. 2016. Identifying innovations and promoting successes in community and regional food systems. Univ. of Iowa Press.

Johnson, S., D. Cardona, J. Davis, B. Gramling, C. Hamilton, R. Hoffman, S. Ruis, D. Soldat, S. Ventura, and K. Yan. 2016. Using community-based participatory research to explore soil lead concentrations in urban neighborhoods. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action. 10(1):9-17.

Eanes, F., and S.J. Ventura. 2015. Inventorying land availability and suitability for community gardens in Madison, Wisconsin.” Cities and the Environment, 8(2):Article 2

Olson, E., A. Treves, A. Wydeven, T. Van Deelen, S.J. Ventura, and D. MacFarland. 2015. Characterizing wolf-human conflict in Wisconsin, USA.” Wildlife Society Bulletin, DOI: 10.1002/wsb.606.

Olson, E., A. Treves, A. Wydeven, and S.J. Ventura. 2014. Landscape predictors of wolf attacks on bear-hunting dogs in Wisconsin, USA. Wildlife Res. 41(7):584-597.

Carrel, A.L, J.S. Sledge, S.J. Ventura, J.C. Eickhoff, and D.B. Allen. 2014. GPS suggests low physical activity in urban Hispanic school children:  A proof of concept study. Internatl. J. Pediatric Endocrinol. DOI: 10.1186/1687-9856-2014-25

Meehan T.D, C. Gratton, E. Diehl, N.D. Hunt, D.F. Mooney, S.J. Ventura, B.L. Barham, and R.D. Jackson. 2013. Ecosystem-service tradeoffs associated with switching from annual to perennial energy crops in riparian zones of the US Midwest.” PLoS ONE 8(11): e80093. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080093

Arrington, K.E., S.J. Ventura, and J.M. Norman.  2013. Predicting saturated hydraulic conductivity for estimating maximum soil infiltration rates. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 77(3):748-758

Olson, E., and S. Ventura.  2012. Geospatial methods to examine shoreline erosion in the Chippewa Flowage:  A case study.  Lake and Reservoir Management 28(2):170-175.

Ventura, S., S. Hull, R. Jackson, G. Radloff, D. Sample, S. Walling, and C. Williams. 2012. Guidelines for sustainable planting and harvest of nonforest biomass in Wisconsin.”  J. Soil Water Conserv. 67(1):17A-20A.