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Departments & Programs



Current research activities associated with the Spatial Analysis Center are primarily related to land use issues, particularly changes in forest cover, agriculture, and drylands in various regions of the world. We combine remote sensing data from optical sensors at high to coarse spatial resolutions with data from other sources.

Causes and patterns of land-use transitions
What is causing a shift from net deforestation or land degradation to net reforestation or ecosystem restoration at the national scale? What are the ecological impacts of such land use transitions?

Identifying constraints to regional crop yields
How can remote sensing, particularly from many sequential years, be used to
understand the underlying factors that reduce yields in farmers fields?

Contribution of remote sensing to spatial epidemiology
How to combine spatial data with field measurements to understand the impact of land change on the emergence of infectious diseases?

Forest-cover change in mountain areas
How to detect subtle patterns of forest cover changes in mountainous regions, where topographical effects impact illumination conditions and shadowing?

Detecting human-induced dryland degradation
How to separate the influence of land use from the effect of interannual variability in climate conditions on land cover changes in drylands? How to assess land degradation?

Environmental consequences of food and biofuel production
What are the effects of cropland conversions and agriculultural land use changes on the local and global environment? How do satellite observations add uniquely to our understanding of these effects?