Western Geographic Science Center

Our Science Links

Fact Sheets:

Future Scenarios of Impacts to Ecosystem Services on California Rangelands 2013-3003

What is the Economic Value of Satellite Imagery? 2014-3019

Decision-Support Systems for Natural-Hazards and Land-Management Issues 2012-3001

Climatic Changes and the Effect on Wild Sheep Habitat 2012-3060

Mapping Perennial Vegetation Cover in the Mojave Desert 2011-3077

WGSC Overview - Understanding Risk and Resilience to Natural Hazards 2011-3008

USGS Geographic Science for Public and Tribal Lands 2011-3059

Regional Planning for Nearshore Ecosystem Services 2011-3067

Using Terrestrial Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) Technology for Land-Surface Analysis in the Southwest 2011-3017

Future of Land Change Research at the U.S. Geological Survey 2011-3080

The Border Environmental Health Initiative: Investigation of the Transboundary Santa Cruz Watershed" 2010-3097


The Western Geographic Science Center conducts research to help communities make decisions about the interaction between people and their environment. We conduct geographic research on the environmental and societal consequences of a changing landscape.

Our projects analyze human / environmental interactions spatially and temporally. Our work is collaborative, involving many partners and linking many different natural science and social science disciplines. Our work is concentrated in the 9 states of the USGS Western Region and is conducted on local and regional scales.

Find out more about our science by following the links on the left.

A Mendenhall Opportunity!!

Prasad's Book

16-31. Remote Sensing of Rangelands to Support Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

At 308 million hectares, rangelands represent 31 percent of the total land area of the United States (Havstad et al., 2007 ). In California, rangelands are the largest land cover by area, covering over one half of the state. Given the scale and diversity of ecosystems that these rangelands encompass, they have a substantial capacity to support biodiversity and provide ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, soil protection, water quality and quantity (Byrd et al., 2015; Havstad et al., 2007 ). Annual precipitation and fresh water supply on California rangelands is unpredictable, given their Mediterranean climate. According to climate change projections, the uncertainty in timing and quantity of precipitation in California is likely to increase (Shaw et al., 2011 ). Despite this uncertainty, rangelands can serve an important role in supplying water. In addition, given the vast land area of rangelands, their soils represent a substantial carbon pool (Byrd et al., 2015 ).

We seek a Mendenhall Fellow to develop algorithms linking remotely sensed data to California rangeland GHG dynamics, water balance, and ecosystem state and transitions. Promising avenues of research include opportunities to develop algorithms to map trends and variation in rangeland vegetation characteristics such as evapotranspiration (ET), biomass, residual dry matter, fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation, percent vegetation cover, plant community composition, leaf nitrogen concentration (N) and chlorophyll.

Read the full post.


In the News
USGS researcher receives award for hazards thesis at geography conference:

Field Photo Map

Kevin Henry, a student contractor at the Western Geographic Science Center, received the prestigious Gilbert F. White award on March 31st at the American Association of  Geographers (AAG) annual conference in San Francisco, CA. The award was given by the AAG Hazards, Risks, and Disasters specialty group based on his recently completed masters thesis titled “Development of a comprehensive network-based hazard evacuation model—a case study of Balboa Island, California.” 

Contact Kevin khenry@usgs.gov


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