Remote Sensing Research

Should I stay or should I go? Patterns of building and re-building after wildfires.

Across the United States, the number and cost of wildfires are rising. While rebuilding lost homes is common, Patricia Alexandre finds some unexpected patterns as communities recover from these infernos.
Jan 2016
landscape scene

Satellite classification of tree species

How to map trees which crowns are less than 30 m with 30 m resolution? Ask Konrad Turlej!
Jan 2016
Study area map

Forest change in Caucasus in 1980-2010

In the Western Caucasus in 1985-2010, the deforestation rate was surprisingly low compared to other Russian regions. The biggest hotspot of forest disturbance was construction for Olympic Games – 2014 that happened within Sochi National Park.
Jan 2016
Research team members meeting with refuge managers

Working with managers – sharing research results, and getting feedback on research on extreme climate events

Climate change has managers concerned about the future of their refuges. The extreme weather events project members have been meeting with refuge managers to help them understand what will happen.
Jan 2016

Forest Changes in the Altay

In central Siberia, old growth forests are threatened by illegal logging. Finding these sites by foot is an overwhelming task, and researchers turn to the skies, using satellites, in their conservation efforts.
Jan 2015

The dynamic habitat index and biodiversity in Thailand

Biodiversity is being lost at an alarming rate, often due to habitat degradation and loss. To help optimize conservation planning and monitoring, Naparat Suttidate has developing and testing an easy method to predict biodiversity in Thailand based on remote sensing data.
Mar 2014

Change in alpine wetlands of Southwest China and its implications for wintering Black-necked Cranes

After a period of increase, Black-necked Cranes have been in decline at Napahai wetland since 2000. These patterns appear linked to the growth of the nearby city of Shangri-La.
Mar 2014

Pay attention to the man behind the curtain: David Helmers and the servers that keep SILVIS going!

SILVIS depends on the ability to store, manipulate and analyze large datasets. David Helmers is the wizard in charge of the servers and digital infrastructure that make it all possible.
Jan 2014

Forest degradation in Mexico and spectral mixture analysis

Forests of Mexico are under threat due to development, both for urban and agricultural purposes. However, it is not clear the spatial and temporal extent to which this is happening. SILVIS PhD candidate, Carlos Ramirez Reyes is exploring this using remote sensing data, and a novel method, spectral mixture analysis.
Jan 2014

The potential effects of extreme weather events on bird reproductive output

Extreme weather events are expected to increase in the future. Extreme weather could result in population declines if these strike during the breeding season for North American passerines.
Jan 2014

The power of maps and the beauty of old ones

Historical maps are pretty AND useful. Catalina is using them to determine the effects of past land use on subsequent land cover change in the Carpathian Region of Europe.
Jan 2014

It is getting weirder - extreme events in satellite records

Extreme weather events are becoming both more frequent and intense. These events could be shifting bird numbers and their normal distributions in the United States. Ultimately, these weather events could lead to the extinction of highly-sensitive species.
Jan 2014

If you can't stand when it gets dry, fly north: Dickcissels reliably track extreme weather events in the Midwestern United States

What happens when it gets too dry? Brooke Bateman discovers how migratory birds like Dickcissels respond to extreme drought events in the Midwestern United States and looks at what that means for future management and conservation efforts.
Jan 2014

Vegetation structure and bird populations across the US

Can you predict biodiversity abundance without fieldwork, sitting at your desk? Patrick Culbert can. Using satellite images and data from Breeding Bird Survey, Patrick estimates abundance of bird species across United States.
Feb 2013

Always on the bright side of life: removing clouds and their shadows in satellite imagery

Satellite imagery provides invaluable information regarding land cover features over time. However, since many satellite-based image sensors cannot see through clouds, imagery researchers need to screen cloudy pixels from cloud-free pixels in order to analyze land change through time.
Feb 2013

Oases along the flyway: Identifying stopover sites for migratory birds in the southeastern U.S.

How do you find stopover habitat of migrants moving under the cover of night? David La Puma uses weather radar to see in the dark and identify sites across the southeastern U.S.
Jan 2013

Where do fires destroy homes in the United States?

Rural housing development and fires: Understanding trends of housing loss to wildfires and rebuilding efforts throughout the United States.
Jan 2013

How are birds breeding in New England affected by the weather?

Do we know how climate change and extreme weather conditions affect wildlife in particular bird populations?
Jan 2013

Monitoring of deforestation and forest degradation in Mexico

Carlos Ramirez Reyes develops a way to monitor deforestation in Mexico using satellite images from 1990 to present.
Jan 2013

Small-versus large-scale farming in Eastern Europe

Using powerful remote sensing technologies, Patrick Culbert seeks to map the size of agricultural fields with an unprecedented degree of detail, over large areas.
Jan 2013

When a tree falls in the woods, can a satellite image tell you why?

All disturbances are not created equal. Matthias Baumann has been developing image-processing algorithms that distinguish between anthropogenic and natural disturbances in the temperate forest region of European Russia.
Jan 2013

Forest Songbirds and Extreme Weather: How do Drought, Heat Waves, and Cold Snaps Affect Birds?

Global climate change is increasing the incidence of extreme weather events. Jessica Gorzo, PhD candidate, is studying how these extreme events are affecting the abundance, geographical distribution, and breeding habits of forest songbirds.
Jan 2013

Understanding where we've been: implications of land-use legacies in the Carpathians for future conservation and planning initiatives

Not knowing how land has been used in the past makes it difficult to understand how it is being used now and even more difficult to predict how it will be used in the future, especially in regions with multiple socio-economic shocks, such aslike the Carpathian Basin. Our team is working on that.
Jan 2013

Why and where did farmers abandon their fields in the Ukraine?

The breakdown of the Soviet Union in 1991 triggered rapid and widespread farmland abandonment across Eastern Europe. Using remote sensing and statistical models, Matthias Baumann mapped where abandonment occurred in Ukraine and explained why it happened where it did.
Aug 2011

Magic inspires science: documenting forest pattern change in Mexico's Sierra de Manantlan Biosphere Reserve and what it means for its biodiversity and its people

Dr. Oscar Cardenas is working to better understand patterns of forest change in the Sierra de Manantlan Biosphere Reserve to develop more effective management tools addressing a range of issues from biodiversity conservation to sustainable development programs and epidemiological applications.
Aug 2011

Going, going, going - gone! The loss of alpine meadows in Yunnan

Jodi Brandt studies mountain ecosystem succession in China. This loss of alpine pastures affects both people and biodiversity. Which factors are responsible for these changes?
Aug 2011

Predicting Broad-scale Patterns of Avian Biodiversity with Landsat Image Texture

There is not a map that predicts bird species biodiversity for the whole United States at scales that are relevant for a forester or a county planner. However, such a map is utterly needed to make realistic conservation plans.
Jul 2011

Change in and near Kavkaskzy Nature Reserve in the Caucasus Mountains

Eugenia Bragina has started an exciting new project to understand land cover changes in and around nature reserves in Russia, and how these changes affect wildlife populations.
Jul 2011

Deforestation patterns in Mexico, and the effectiveness of payments for ecosystem services programs

If poverty leads to deforestation in Mexico, can we prevent deforestation by paying landowners to sustainably manage forest? Carlos Ramirez Reyes is trying to answer this question using remotely sensed data.
Jul 2011

Conservation planning for two of Wisconsin's most treasured landscapes: the Baraboo Hills and the Northwest pine barrens

Sarah Carter has been working on Wisconsin conservation issues for more than 10 years. Her current project asks how we can identify conservation priorities in some of Wisconsin's most treasured landscapes, including the Baraboo Hills and the Northwest Wisconsin pine barrens.
Nov 2010

Land-cover change, people and jaguars - remote sensing or close sensing?

Oscar Cardenas, an invited scientist in the SILVIS Lab, is working on the zoning of a biosphere reserve in Mexico where he studying jaguar habitat in order to assure the species presence for the future. While doing so, he's faced with social issues that are intrinsically and deeply related with natural resources protection and preservation and raise some new research questions.
Sep 2010

Institutional change and logging in post-Soviet Russia

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, privatization of timber firms was expected to provide an efficient mechanism for the management of forest resources in Russia. Kelly Wendland analyzes how economic factors have impacted harvesting since transition and explores whether weak governance effected investment decisions in European Russia.
Aug 2010

Patterns and processes of agricultural abandonment in Eastern Europe

Alexander Prishchepov is looking at region in Eastern Europe that allows constructing and testing hypothesis about land use changes in a transition from command to market economy.
Aug 2010

The potential of image texture for measuring vertical vegetation structure

Vegetation structure is an important habitat attribute characterizing bird habitat. Measuring vegetation structure in the field is time consuming and thus inefficient across large scales. Eric Wood is exploring whether use of a metric called image texture derived from satellite and aerial images can potentially streamline the process of assessing vegetation structure and facilitate prediction of bird distribution across large areas.
Aug 2010

The Collapse of Socialism and the Rise of Fire in Kalmykia

Grassland fires in Kalmykia, Russia increased dramatically following the collapse of socialism. Socio-economic changes reduced livestock numbers and therefore grazing pressure on grasslands. Maxim Dubinin analyzed over 20 years of satellite images to quantify this change.
Aug 2010

Of lasers, forests, birds, and collaboration: using LiDAR to predict forest structure and songbird species richness

A 2005 news item in The Sauk Prairie Eagle prompted Adrian Lesak to dive right into the emerging field of laser remote sensing for forestry and biodiversity applications while forming an international research collaboration.
Jul 2010

Things aren't as they used to be: forest disturbance, birds, and the shifting baseline syndrome

Can a bumper sticker inspire innovative research? In the case of Chad Rittenhouse PhD, a chance sighting motivated an innovative line of research that questions how changes occur in the natural world and how we perceive and measure these changes.
Jul 2010

Patterns of logging in the last two decades in temperate forests of Russia

Social and economic changes occurring in post-socialist Russia have led to shifting patterns of selective logging in the understudied temperate forests of Russia, potentially leading to poor estimates of carbon stocks across this vast region. Matthias Baumann hopes to describe these patterns of forest cover change and refine methods for remotely sensing selective logging and determining it's impacts on carbon stock estimates for these forests.
Jul 2010

Studying Intertwined Networks of Human-Natural Relationships in Northwest Yunnan, China

Last fall, Jodi Brandt started a new, exciting project studying intertwined networks of human-natural relationships in NW Yunnan, China. Jodi will primarily use high-tech remote sensing and geographic information system approaches to uncover some of the mysteries of her study region.
Mar 2010

Post-USSR Land Cover Change in Eastern Europe - Socioeconomic Forcings, Effects on Biodiversity, and Future Scenarios

With an increasing human population and expanding impact on the environment, extinctions are happening at an unprecedented pace. So what would happen if people suddenly left the land and let it return to a natural state. Well, just such a scenario is playing out in Eastern Europe following the collapse of the former U.S.S.R..
Jan 2010

Mapping Large Areas: New Possibilities Opened by Chain Classification

Chain Classification is a new methodology to map landcover for large areas. The basic idea is to extrapolate the information obtained in one classified image (first) to classify an adjacent image (second). A third image can be classified based on the second and so on, resulting in a Chain classification.
Jan 2010