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

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.

Birds - Land Use - Remote Sensing
Mar 2010

Urban Sprawl Supports Rapid Invasions By Non-Native Plant Species


Plant invasions often occur near human settlements, but how can we quantify them? Gregorio Gavier Pizarro mapped the expansion of Glossy privet, an invasive tree, over a period of 23 years in central Argentina. He found that this species has been spreading rapidly, and urban sprawl has a major role in this process.

Conservation - Invasives
Feb 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..

Biodiversity - Land Use - Remote Sensing
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.

Remote Sensing
Jan 2010

Can Wisconsin's Wood Warblers Cope With the Loss of Oaks?


The woodlands of the upper Midwest are undergoing a major transformation as oak forests and savannas are being replaced by maples. How will this transformation affect Wisconsin wildlife, such as our colorful migrant wood warblers? A field team led by SILVIS researcher and graduate student Eric Wood is trying to find out.

Biodiversity - Birds - Conservation
Jan 2010

The Legacy of Past Housing Patterns is Important to Explain Today's Plant Invasions


How important is the past to understand present plant invasions? Gregorio Gavier Pizarro recently found that plant invasions may depend more on historic housing and road patterns than on today's urban sprawl. To the contrary, contemporary forest fragmentation explained invasions better than fragmentation legacies.

Conservation - Houses and WUI - Invasives - Land Use
Jan 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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