Agriculture is the dominant driver of terrestrial ecological change, and its impacts will continue to grow in the next few decades as our demands for food, fuel, and fiber increase. Given that, achieving environmental and socioeconomic sustainability (however one chooses to define the term) depends heavily on understanding and managing agricultural impacts and dynamics. I focus my research on three inter-related aspects of this problem:
Finding tradeoffs between meeting our increasing agricultural demands while minimizing their socioeconomic and environmental costs.
Understanding how changing socioeconomic (e.g. subsidy policies) and environmental factors (e.g. climate change) might complicate or facilitate finding these tradeoffs.
Developing improved datasets and methods for observing and modeling agro-ecosystems. This focus area supports the first two, and is necessary because many of the areas in the world that will experience the largest agricultural change, particularly Africa, are also the hardest to observe and are badly lacking in data.
I study these issues across multiple scales of time and space, ranging from continental perspectives down to the level of individual rare species. I use a combination of field observations, remote sensing, and empirical and mechanistic models, and work closely with experts in agent-based modeling, hydro-metereology, climatology, and image pattern recognition who provide additional necessary methods.