Matt Madsen

Research Scientist

 U.S. Department of Agriculture, ARS


Dr. Madsen is a Research Scientist with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service in Burns, OR.  He received his BS (2004) in Watershed and Earth Systems and his MS (2006) in Soil Science from Utah State University. His PhD (2009) was from Brigham Young University in Wildlife and Wildland Conservation. He joined the research group at the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center in May 2010.

His current research is focused on understanding the limiting factors to rangeland reseeding success, and in the use of seed coating technology for developing innovative reseeding approaches for overcoming these limitations.


Examples of Current Research Projects:

  • Restoration of soil hydrology and functional plant communities in burned semi-arid rangelands through: 1) determining the physical and temporal controls influencing the extent and severity of soil water repellency; 2) understanding how soil water repellency influences revegetation success; and 3) developing innovative seed coating technologies using soil wetting agents for enhancing restoration efforts in areas constrained by water repellent soil.
  • Improving seedling emergence and survival within degraded rangeland soil with the development of a new seed coating technique that agglomerates multiple seeds together within the same pellet. Research is being conducted to determine if this type of technology will improve seedling emergence by having multiple seedlings within the same location collectively generating sufficient force to emerge through the soil surface; and for increasing plant survival, due an expectation that the benefits associated with communal growth of seedlings will outweigh limitations associated with competition effects. 
  • Optimizing the timing of seed germination by using hydrophobic seed coating treatments designed to: 1) delay germination of fall planted seeds until conditions are more favorable for growth in the spring; and 2) increase the probability of seedling survival by having cohorts of the same seeding germinate at different times.
  • Decreasing pathogen loss through the use of various commercially available fungicide seed coating treatments.
  • Improving rangeland aerial reseeding success through the development of a multifunctional seed pellet designed to enhance seed soil contact, optimize germination timing, improve moisture and nutrient availability, and provide pathogen protection.

Published Research


Davies, K.W., J.D. Bates, M.D. Madsen, and A.M. Nafus.  2014.  Restoration of Mountain Big Sagebrush steppe following prescribed burning to control western juniper.  Environmental Management 53:1015-1022.

Madsen, M.D., K.W. Davies, D.L. Mummey, and T.J. Svejcar. 2014. Improving Restoration of Exotic Annual Grass-Invaded Rangelands Through Activated Carbon Seed Enhancement Technologies. Rangeland Ecology & Management: 67: 61-67.

Madsen, M.D., E.G. Coronel, and B.G. Hopkins. 2013. Soil Surfactant Products for Improving Hydrologic Function in Post-fire Water Repellent Soil. Soil Science Society of America Journal 77: 1825–1830

Davies, K.W., A.M. Nafus, and M.D. Madsen.  2013.  Medusahead Invasion Along Unimproved Roads, Animal Trails, and Random Transects. Western North American Nauralist 73:54-59.

Madsen, M. D., S. J. Kostka, A. Hulet, B. E. Mackey, M. A. Harrison, and M. F. McMillan.  2013.  Surfactant Seed Coating – A Strategy to Improve Turfgrass Establishment on Water Repellent Soils.  International Symposium on Adjuvants for Agrochemicals, Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil - April 22-26, 2013.

Madsen, M.D., S.L. Petersen, K.J. Fernelius, B.A. Roundy, A.G. Taylor and B.G. Hopkins.  2012.  Influence of Soil Water Repellency on Seedling Emergence and Plant Survival in a Burned Semi-Arid Woodland.  Arid Land Research and Management, 26:3, 236-249.

Madsen, M.D., K.W. Davies, C.J. Williams, and T.J. Svejcar.  2012.  Agglomerating Seeds to Enhance Native Seedling Emergence and Growth.  Journal of Applied Ecology, 49:431-438.

Madsen, M.D., S.J. Kostka, A.L. Inouye, and D.L. Zvirzdin.  2012.  Postfire Restoration of Soil Hydrology and Wildland Vegetation Using Surfactant Seed Coating Technology.  Society of Range Management, Rangeland Ecology & Mgmt, 65(3):253-259.

 Madsen, M.D., S.L. Petersen, B.A. Roundy, B.G. Hopkins, and A.G. Taylor.  2012.  Comparison of Postfire Soil Water Repellency Amelioration Strategies on Bluebunch Wheatgrass and Cheatgrass Survival.  Society of Range Management, Rangeland Ecology & Management, 65(2):182-188.

Madsen, M.D., D.L. Zvirzdin, S.L. Petersen, B.G. Hopkins, B.A. Roundy and D.G. Chandler.  2011.  Soil Water Repellency within a Burned Pinon-Juniper Woodland: Sparial Distribution, Severity, and Ecohydrologic Implications.  Soil Science Soc Amer Journal 75:1543-1553 July-August 2011.

Madsen, M.D., D.L. Zvirzdin, B.D. Davis, S.L. Petersen and B.A. Roundy. 2011. Feature extraction techniques for measuring pinon and juniper tree cover and density, and comparison with field-based management surveys.  Environmental Management 47:766-776 

Davies, K.W., S.L. Petersen, D.D. Johnson, D.B. Davis, M.D. Madsen, D.L. Zvirzdin, and J.D Bates. 2010. Estimating juniper cover from NAIP imagery and evaluating relationships between potential cover and environmental variables. Rangeland Ecology & Management. 63:630–637. DOI: 10.2111/REM-D-09-00129.1.

Madsen, M.D., D.G. Chandler, and J. Belnap. 2008. Spatial Gradients in Ecohydrologic Properties within a Pinyon-Juniper Ecosystem. Ecohydrology 1: 349-360. DOI: 10.1002/eco.29.

Madsen, M.D., and D.G. Chandler. 2007. Automation and use of Mini Disk Infiltrometers. Soil Science Society of America Journal 71:1469-1472. doi:10.2136/sssaj2007.0009N.

Madsen, M.D., D.G. Chandler, and W.D. Reynolds. 2007. Influence of experimental bias and boundary conditions on saturated core hydraulic conductivity. Soil Science Society of America Journal 72:750-757. doi: 10.2136/sssaj2007.0254.

Lebron, I., M.D. Madsen, D.G. Chandler, D.A. Robinson, O. Wendroth, and J. Belnap. 2007. Ecohydrological controls on soil moisture and hydraulic conductivity within a pinyon-juniper woodland. Water Resources Research 43 (8): W08422, doi:10.1029/2006WR005398.


Peer-Reviewed Conference Proceedings

Madsen, M.D., K.W. Davies, C.S. Boyd, J.D. Kerby, D.L. Carter, and T.J. Svejcar.  2013.  Restoring North America’s Sagebrush Steppe Ecosystem Using Seed Enhancement Technologies. Proceedings of the International Grassland Congress, Sydney, Australia – September 15-19, 2013.



Madsen, M.D., S.L. Petersen, and A.G. Taylor. 2010. Seed coating compositions and methods for applying soil surfactants to water-repellent soil. Pub. No. WO/2010/111309. International Application No. PCT/US2010/28371.


For more information phone or email Dr. Madsen at:

(541) 573-8915 or

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