Research Overview

The overarching goal of our research is to understand the interactions among people, land, and biodiversity. Research projects focus on housing growth and its ecological effects, land cover and land use change analysis, and the assessment of wildlife habitat and biodiversity patterns. We conduct our research at broad spatial scales. Remote sensing, GIS, and statistical modeling are our most commonly used research tools.

All projects are conducted in close collaboration with land managers and scientists in organizations such as the U.S. Forest Service, the Nature Conservancy, both the Polish and the Russian Academy of Science, and the WWF. Via these collaborations, we hope to contribute towards the goal of a sustainable future.

Current Research

Using Land Use Change Projections to Estimate Threats to Freshwater Ecoystems

Freshwater ecosystems are essential for humans and biodiversity, yet they threatened by human activities. Sebastian Martinuzzi's study assessed the consequences of future land use change on freshwater ecosystems in the US.

Land Use - Conservation - Biodiversity
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.

Remote Sensing - Statistics
Jan 2014

Sacred Forests in northwest Yunnan, China: a conservation priority?

Tibetans in Yunnan, China, protect small forest areas near to their villages. While these areas may contribute to biodiversity conservation across the landscape, should they be incorporated into conservation planning?

Jan 2014

The role of ecosystem services in park-people relationships: The case of Gaoligongshan Nature Reserve in southwest China

Understanding the factors influencing people's perceptions of a protected area is a win-win solution for biodiversity conservation and sustainable local people livelihoods.

Biodiversity - Conservation
Jan 2014

The importance of riparian forests to conservation and landscape connectivity in temperate Chile

Land use change and forest fragmentation are a worldwide problem. Isabel Rojas-Viada is employing a novel solution by focusing on riparian forest corridors in Chile.

Land Use - Conservation - Biodiversity
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.

Biodiversity - Conservation - Land Use - Remote Sensing
Jan 2014

People's attitudes toward protected areas matter - but at what scale?

Attitudes of people living in close proximity to protected areas can reflect on the effectiveness of management strategies within their borders, and understanding the spatial scale at which these perceptions occur may help to focus conservation efforts.

Conservation - Statistics
Jan 2014

Birds that Love Insects that Love Lakes: How Insect Populations and Lake Characteristics Impact Avian Aerial Insectivores in Northern Wisconsin

Paul Schilke, MS candidate in the SILVIS Lab, is conducting research in northern Wisconsin to investigate how insects that live around lakes affect the birds that feed on those insects.

Birds - Land Use - Biodiversity
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.

Birds - Remote Sensing - Conservation - Statistics
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.

Land Use - Remote Sensing
Jan 2014