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

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.

Biodiversity - Conservation - Land Use - Remote Sensing
Aug 2011

Do we help birds when we help butterflies? Effects of oak savanna restoration for Karner blue butterfly on savanna bird communities


The Karner blue butterfly, a federally endangered species, has suffered major population declines mainly due to habitat loss since European settlement. Eric Wood investigated if restoration of oak savannas, critical habitat for this species, also provides an opportunity to protect important avian communities that use sparse canopy oak savannas during the breeding season.

Biodiversity - Birds - Conservation
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?

Land Use - Remote Sensing - Conservation - Biodiversity
Aug 2011

Habitat connectivity of European Bison in the Carpathians- bringing together subpopulations of an almost extinct species in the wild


Landscape connectivity analysis could help to bring back the almost extinct population of European Bison in the Carpathians. Elzbieta Laszczak research on habitat connectivity indicates where to fill the gaps for successful connection of different bison herds thereby reducing inbreeding.

Land Use - Conservation
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.

Birds - Remote Sensing - Biodiversity - Statistics
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.

Land Use - Remote Sensing - Conservation - Biodiversity
Jul 2011

Housing Growth, Conservation Corridors, and the United States National Wildlife Refuge System


Across the US, hundreds of wildlife refuges conserve migratory birds, endangered species and their habitats. However, their relative pristine nature also attracts development and that may hamper the very conservation goals the refuges were designed to achieve.

Land Use - Conservation - Biodiversity
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.

Land Use - Remote Sensing - Conservation
Jul 2011

How are fires in western Mexico affecting hummingbirds?


Professor Sarahy Contreras has been studying hummingbirds in western Mexico for nearly 20 years. Her current project tackles the question of how different frequencies and intensities of post-fires affect hummingbird populations in the Sierra de Manantlan Biosphere Reserve.

Birds - Conservation - Biodiversity - Fire
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.

Land Use - Remote Sensing - Conservation - Biodiversity
Nov 2010

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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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