My research program is motivated by the need to understand, conserve and manage forests, with the goal of maintaining biodiversity, enhancing ecosystem services and understanding how forests will respond to climate change. My research program has both basic and applied elements, and uses remote sensing to address large spatial scales with a focus on tropical forests. I am particularly interested in landscape level patterns, which has led me to use remote sensing data extensively. Because I am interested in tying remote sensing interpretation to field observations, I often use high resolution remote sensing as a bridge between field data and coarse scale satellite data. My work has focused primarily on tropical forests, which has critical gaps in knowledge about carbon uptake and response to climate change. My research is structured around three questions that are critical for understanding forested landscapes and their responses to climate change:
- What are the biotic and abiotic controls of spatial distributions of key landscape elements, such as species, functional groups, individual trees, and canopy gaps?
- What are the mechanistic relationships between these key landscape elements and ecosystem processes, such as carbon uptake? How can these be incorporated into models of ecosystem dynamics at a landscape level?
- How have humans affected these landscape scale patterns and relationships, and how can we influence the landscape in positive ways for the environment and people?
Some specific research areas include:
- Tropical forest phenology
- Contributions of trees to biodiversity and biomass of tropical agricultural landscapes
- Social-environmental impacts of hydroelectric dams, specifically impacts of dams on riparian and terrestrial environments
- Remote sensing of tree growth and forest dynamics, including incorporation in to forest dynamics models
- Hyperspectral remote sensing of forest biodiversity, structure and function
- Multi-scale analysis using National Ecological Observatory Network data