Research

Photo of tropical forest and oil palm

Predicting Novel Threats

In order to evaluate human impacts on biodiversity at the species and ecosystem scales, my research focuses on identifying and predicting the occurrence of emerging land uses/processes. I have been particularly interested by habitat loss for agricultural production, including predicting deforestation and biodiversity impacts of oil palm plantation expansion globally and in a subsequent regional study in the Peruvian Amazon.

I am also the developer of a course and code repository on remote sensing and spatial analysis for SES systems in Google Earth Engine: GEEforSynthesis.

More recently, I have begun developing dynamic, predictive models of fire risk (currently focused on the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso), using a combination of biotic, abiotic, and socio-economic predictors.

Photo of Danum Valley Conservation Area, Borneo

Protected Area Effectiveness

My work at SESYNC examined potential tradeoffs between conservation and food production through the lens of the global protected area network. I use regression and machine learning models to understand and predict cropland occurrence in protected areas using remotely sensed data and coincident socio-economic predictors, including determinants of food security (publications in press and forthcoming)

Cheetah crossing under fence
Photo Credit: Florian Weise

Land use impacts on species

I work to develop techniques for assessing species populations and distributions by incorporating remotely sensed data on land use, citizen science observations, and population modeling. One example of this is work I co-led to assess the distribution and population of cheetah in Southern Africa. I am currently working to understand how differences in habitat utilization influence vertebrate responses to land use conversions for agricultural production.