Extend the scientific basis for ecosystem management in a manner that maintains the character (structure and processes) of ecosystems while providing for human benefits derived from ecosystem services. My current research is focused in four broad areas:1. Improve the analysis of wildlife population and community response to spatial and temporal changes in climate, land use, and land cover within multiple-use landscapes.2. Develop and test cartographic-based approaches to biodiversity assessments.3. Extend conservation scientists' ability to design landscapes in a spatially explicit and perhaps optimal way.4. Document trends in wildlife resources for land use policy.
My research is focused generally on understanding wildlife population and community response to changing landscape patterns driven by climate change, land use, natural disturbance, and land management activities. There is growing evidence that the distribution and abundance of species may exhibit critical thresholds in their response to reduced habitat amounts, degradation in habitat quality, and increases in habitat fragmentation. My future work will test for the existence of these thresholds and explore their use in setting important conservation targets for how natural resources are managed.
Many factors affect the pattern of biodiversity we observe across broad geographic areas. Some of those factors stem from natural disturbance events, others originate from the manner that humans occupy, manage, and modify the environments that also support a diverse array of species. The results from my research are expected to provide policy- and decision-makers with scientific information and predictions about how wildlife species may respond to natural and human-caused disturbances to landscapes. In particular, my research helps focus land management planning on those geographic areas requiring restoration efforts, and on those species that are vulnerable to habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and climate change.