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

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.

Land Use - Remote Sensing - Conservation
Feb 2013

Hot moments for biodiversity conservation - Social and political transitions as opportunities for conservation

When it comes to creating protected areas for conservation, ecologists tend to focus on the where. However, to establish new protected areas, the question of when may be just as important.

Conservation - Land Use
Jan 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.

Birds - Conservation - Remote Sensing - Statistics
Jan 2013

It's all a game - Land Use and Conservation in everyone's hands

What if someone told you that you could be of great help to science in general and conservation in particular and have fun at the same time? Forward Trails is a Massive Multiplayer Online Game that allows you to do just that!

Land Use - Conservation - Statistics
Jan 2013

Assessing landscape suitability for reintroduction of American marten (Martes americana) using an agent-based model

Identifying potential sites for the successful reintroduction of a species is difficult. Post-doc Steve Wangen applies an agent-based method to the reintroduction of the American marten into northern Wisconsin.

Conservation - Land Use
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.

Fire - Houses and WUI - Remote Sensing
Jan 2013

Massaging the U.S. Census to look at the WUI and at housing growth trends

Dave Helmers sits down with me and gives the skinny on how he turns U.S. Census data into ecologically relevant products for answering some of the most pressing questions in land-change conservation science.

Birds - Conservation - Fire - Houses and WUI - Land Use
Jan 2013

Housing development is eroding the value of protected lands

Locations in and around natural areas are especially appealing for housing development. Unfortunately, this development may have undesirable consequences.

Biodiversity - Birds - Conservation - Houses and WUI - Land Use
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?

Birds - Remote Sensing - Conservation - Biodiversity
Jan 2013

The extinction of the Caucasian bison to the creation of a new subspecies

The Caucasian subspecies of the European bison almost went extinct. Today a few herds roam again in the Caucasus Mountains, Russia, and we are collaborating with German and Russian scientists who are modeling habitat for future reintroductions.

Conservation - Biodiversity
Jan 2013


Contact Us

Forest and Wildlife Ecology
Russell Laboratories (map)
1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI, 53706, USA
phone: +1/608 890 3160
fax: +1/608 262 9922
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