Varsha Vijay, Ph.D.

Conservation and Spatial Ecology

Photo of Varsha Vijay

I am a postdoctoral research fellow at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), University of Tennessee and hold a joint appointment as a Solutions Engineer at terraPulse, a remote sensing startup. I was formerly a postdoctoral fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), University of Maryland.

My research focuses on global biodiversity and anthropogenic land use using a socio-ecological systems perspective. My work fuses landscape ecology, remote sensing, mathematical modeling, and participatory research methods to develop more effective and just conservation solutions.

My current work falls into three interrelated categories: identification and prediction of novel land use threats using remote sensing and spatial modeling, monitoring and evaluation of protected area effectiveness, and the impact of anthropogenic land use on species diversity.

Learn more about my research by clicking the photos below.

Photo of tropical forest and oilpalm

Predicting novel threats

Photo of Danum Valley Conservation Area, Borneo

Protected area effectiveness

Cheetah crossing under fence

Land use impacts on species

(Photo credit: Florian Weise)
Varsha holding oil palm fruit

Research Philosophy

From my background in community-based participatory research, I believe that representation and access are cornerstones of effective conservation. I champion open science, community engagement, and consideration of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ) in my research and teaching program.

I acknowledge with gratitude the contributions of my past and current collaborators in local and indigenous communities, NGOs, and academic institutions in the United States and internationally.