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

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.

Land Use - Remote Sensing - Conservation
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.

Land Use - Remote Sensing
Jan 2013

Park-people relationships: are we using a glass half empty approach?

Protected area conservation is dependent to some extent on the goodwill of communities living around them. This is especially true in a developing country context, where people can pose a threat because they rely on these areas for their day to day needs, such as fuelwood and food. Teri Allendorf is working to understanding how local residents value the protected areas they live near.

Conservation - Land Use
Jan 2013

Monitoring forest disturbance and re-growth from dense time series of satellite imagery stacks in the Carpathians

The availability of multitemporal, dense time series of Landsat imagery opens new possibilities for tracking forest dynamics in areas of complex landcover in Europe

Biodiversity - Land Use
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.

Land Use - Remote Sensing
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.

Birds - Remote Sensing - Conservation - Biodiversity
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.

Land Use - Remote Sensing - Conservation
Jan 2013

Necessity spawns plasticity: Siberian Cranes abandon specialist foraging behaviors after an extreme flood event

James Burnham builds on his research at Poyang Lake following a 4-month stint in the field. During the winter of 2010/2011, he saw birds he has been studying for years in unexpected places and behaviors never before documented.

Biodiversity - Birds - Conservation
Aug 2011

Why and where do fires start (in the Huron National Forest)?

Can we stop fires before they start? Researchers are working to predict fire ignitions.

Fire - Houses and WUI
Aug 2011

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.

Land Use - Remote Sensing - Statistics
Aug 2011


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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