A hallmark of the Department of Geography & Environmental Systems is its broadly integrative nature, drawing on the expertise of faculty with diverse backgrounds but with a common mission. Research interests among current regular departmental faculty span a broad range of topics in earth systems science, ecosystem science, human geography and urban geography, and human dimensions of global change, with application of geospatial technology to research questions across all areas of interest. Despite the diversity of research and teaching interests, there is a common focus on the importance of coupled natural and human systems and on landscape pattern in relation to human activities and their environmental consequences, and we see this as a broad programmatic thrust for our graduate degree offerings. Research based in the Department of Geography and Environmental Systems involves interdisciplinary collaborative work of local, regional and international scope.

Recent Submissions

  • Development Encounters in International Development Volunteerism in Guatemala: Quiet Encroachments in Global Street Politics 

    Riddering, Laura (Sage Journals, 2020-03-05)
    Neoliberal policies alter development funding, practice, and actors. One effect of this is an increase in untrained individuals from the Global North who travel to the Global South to take action against perceived needs. ...
  • A community-engaged approach to transdisciplinary doctoral training in urban ecosystem services 

    Chang, Heejun; Granek, Elise F.; Ervin, David; Yeakley, Alan; Dujon, Veronica; Shandas, Vivek (Springer Nature Switzerland AG., 2020-02-27)
    Community-based projects with inclusive stakeholder engagement are increasingly important to achieve robust outcomes in the science and management of ‘wicked’ urban ecosystem service challenges. We summarize lessons learned ...
  • Microsites and Climate Zones: Seedling Regeneration in the Alpine Treeline Ecotone Worldwide 

    Johnson, Adelaide C.; Yeakley, J. Alan (MDPI, 2019-10-03)
    Microsites, local features having the potential to alter the environment for seedling regeneration, may help to define likely trends in high-elevation forest regeneration pattern. Although multiple microsites may exist in ...
  • Hydrochorous seed dispersal in riparian forests altered by urbanization 

    Behren, Christa von; Yeakley, J. Alan (Wiley Online Library, 2020-03-01)
    While riparian habitat alterations from urban stream syndrome are known to affect vegetation establishment and survival, the degree to which riparian seed delivery by hydrochory is affected by urbanization is unclear. We ...
  • Theoretical Perspectives of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study: Conceptual Evolution in a Social–Ecological Research Project 

    Pickett, Steward T A; Cadenasso, Mary L; Baker, Matthew E; Band, Lawrence E; Boone, Christopher G; Buckley, Geoffrey L; Groffman, Peter M; Grove, J Morgan; Irwin, Elena G; Kaushal, Sujay S; LaDeau, Shannon L; Miller, Andrew J; Nilon, Charles H; Romolini, Michele; Rosi, Emma J; Swan, Christopher M; Szlavecz, Katalin (Oxford University Press, 2020-02-26)
    The Earth's population will become more than 80% urban during this century. This threshold is often regarded as sufficient justification for pursuing urban ecology. However, pursuit has primarily focused on building empirical ...
  • The impact of paying for forest conservation on perceived tenure security in Ecuador 

    Jones, Kelly W; Etchart, Nicolle; Holland, Margaret; Naughton-Treves, Lisa; Arriagada, Rodrigo (Wiley Online Library, 2020-02-17)
    We study the impact of Ecuador's national forest conservation incentives program on reported land conflicts. Data come from a survey of >900 households located within 49 indigenous and Afro‐Ecuadorian communities holding ...
  • How do practitioners characterize land tenure security? 

    Masuda, Yuta J.; Kelly, Allison C.; Robinson, Brian E.; Holland, Margaret B.; Bedford, Charles; Childress, Malcolm; Game, Edward T.; Ginsburg, Chloe; Hilhorst, Thea; Lawry, Steven W.; Miteva, Daniela A.; Musengezi, Jessica; Naughton-Treves, Lisa; Sunderlin, William D.; Veit, Peter (Wiley Online Library, 2020-02-10)
    Improving land tenure security (LTS) is a significant challenge for sustainable development. The Sustainable Development Goals and other recent global initiatives have renewed and increased the need to improve LTS to address ...
  • How feasible are global forest restoration commitments? 

    Fagan, Matthew E.; Reid, J. Leighton; Holland, Margaret B.; Drew, Justin G.; Zahawi, Rakan A. (Wiley, 2020-01-16)
    Numerous countries have made voluntary commitments to conduct forest landscape restoration over millions of hectares of degraded land in the coming decade. We consider the relative likelihood these countries will achieve ...
  • Reproducing spatial inequality? The sustainability fix and barriers to urban mobility in Portland, Oregon 

    Mahmoudi, Dillon; Lubitow, Amy; Christensen, MacKenzie A. (Urban Geography, 2020)
    We explore how the language of “just sustainability” may become subsumed into a sustainability fix strategy, depoliticizing the utility of concepts such as justice and/or equity. Building from critical GIS insights, we ...
  • Why do females sing?—pair communication and other song functions in eastern bluebirds 

    Rose, Evangeline M.; Coss, Derek A.; Haines, Casey D.; Danquah, Sheridan A.; Studds, Colin E.; Omland, Kevin E. (Oxford University Press, 2019-08-03)
    Female bird song has been underappreciated and understudied, especially in temperate species. Birdsong was originally thought to be a trait used primarily by male songbirds for mate attraction and male/male contest. However, ...
  • Identifying Biases in Global Tree Cover Products: A Case Study in Costa Rica 

    Cunningham, Daniel; Cunningham, Paul; Fagan, Matthew E. (MDPI, 2019-09-30)
    Global tree cover products are widely used in analyses of deforestation, fragmentation, and connectivity, but are rarely critically assessed. Inaccuracies in these products could have consequences for future decision making, ...
  • Mothering in the Context of Poverty: Disciplining Peruvian Mothers through Children’s Rights 

    Aufseeser, Dena (lectito, 2019-09-10)
    This article explores discourses surrounding poverty and mothering in the context of Peru. It specifically suggests that claims in the name of children’s rights provide a more morally acceptable way to discipline economically ...
  • Inclusive practices for diverse student populations: Experimental Biology 2017 

    Johnson, Kathryn M. S.; Briggs, Amy; Hawn, Christine; Mantina, Namoonga; Woods, Brett C. (American Physiological Society, 2019-07-15)
    As student populations become more diverse, it is essential for educators, administrators, and institutions to implement practices that ensure the success of all students. This is particularly true in the sciences, as ...
  • Impacts of Expanding Impervious Surface on SpecificConductance in Urbanizing Streams 

    Baker, M. E.; Schley, M. L.; Sexton, J. O. (American Geophysical Union, 2019-08-05)
    Long‐term analysis indicates that progressive salinization of freshwaters is widespread. Although increases are often associated with urbanization, knowledge of chemical dynamics during urbanization is limited and typically ...
  • Silicon Forest and Server Farms: The (Urban) Nature of Digital Capitalism in the Pacific Northwest 

    Levenda, Anthony M; Mahmoudi, Dillon (2019-06)
    Access to inexpensive hydro-resources, such as hydro-electricity and water for cooling, cheap land, and proximity to undersea networks have created a spatial sweet spot for big tech companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, ...
  • Distinguishing local and global correlates of population change in migratory species 

    Dhanjal‐Adams, Kiran L.; Fuller, Richard A.; Murray, Nicholas J.; Studds, Colin E.; Wilson, Howard B.; Milton, David A.; Kendall, Bruce E. (John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2019-01-24)
    Aim Understanding the processes driving population declines in migratory species can be challenging. Not only are monitoring data spatially and temporally sparse, but conditions in one location can carry over to indirectly ...
  • The large-scale drivers of population declines in a long-distance migratory shorebird 

    Murray, Nicholas J.; Marra, Peter P.; Fuller, Richard A.; Clemens, Robert S.; Dhanjal-Adams, Kiran; Gosbell, Ken B.; Hassell, Chris J.; Iwamura, Takuya; Melville, David; Minton, Clive D. T.; Riegen, Adrian C.; Rogers, Danny I.; Woehler, Eric J.; Studds, Colin E. (Wiley Periodicals, 2017-09-02)
    Migratory species can travel tens of thousands of kilometers each year, spending different parts of their annual cycle in geographically distinct locations. Understanding the drivers of population change is vital for ...
  • Reflecting on Efforts to Design an Inclusive Citizen Science Project in West Baltimore 

    Sorensen, Amanda E.; Jordan, Rebecca C.; LaDeau, Shannon L.; Biehler, Dawn; Wilson, Sacoby; Pitas, John-Henry; Leisnham, Paul T. (Citizen Science Association, 2019-03-08)
    Citizen science (CS) has been an increasingly utilized means by which scientists leverage members of the public to increase the amount of data collected and analyzed. However, the underrepresentation of individuals from ...
  • Creating Landscape-Scale Site Index Maps for the Southeastern US Is Possible with Airborne LiDAR and Landsat Imagery 

    Gopalakrishnan, Ranjith; Kauffman, Jobriath S.; Fagan, Matthew E.; Coulston, John W.; Thomas, Valerie A.; Wynne, Randolph H.; Fox, Thomas R.; Quirino, Valquiria F. (MDPI, 2019-03-06)
    Sustainable forest management is hugely dependent on high-quality estimates of forest site productivity, but it is challenging to generate productivity maps over large areas. We present a method for generating site index ...
  • Effects of antimicrobial exposure on detrital biofilm metabolism in urban and rural stream environments 

    Jepsen, Rikke; He, Ke; Blaney, Lee; Swan, Christopher (Elsevier B.V., 2019-05-20)
    The occurrence of antimicrobials and other pharmaceuticals in streams is increasingly being reported, yet the impacts of these contaminants of emerging concern on aquatic ecosystems are relatively unknown. Bacteria and fungi ...

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