Dr. Laura Schneider

I am biogeographer specialized in land change science. My research focuses on human-environment relations affecting patterns and processes of land-use land-cover change. My specific research interests are monitoring and modeling land transformation, biophysical remote sensing and ecological dynamics of plant invasions.

We always like to hear from interested individuals! If you would like more information on how to be involved with the Land Change Science Research Group, or the Rutgers Geography, please contact me with your research interests and questions. 

Current Students

Diya Paul - PhD Candidate

Diya Paul is a second year PhD (Geography) student at Rutgers whose research interests lie at the intersection of  bio-geography, land change science and political ecology. For her dissertation she is working on wildlife conservation outside Protected Areas, specifically looking at community managed forests in southern India. This summer (2013) she is working on analyzing the socioeconomic data collected by the EDGY project.

Tabby Fenn - PhD Candidate

The selection, management, and fate of ecological communities within Protected Areas (nature reserves, parks, and preserved lands) are the focus of my research. My dissertation draws upon my interest in the interaction between human social processes and the ecological processes co-occurring within the landscapes where Protected Areas exist. New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the U.S., but land preservation efforts have brought a significant proportion of the forested land under some type of protected status. Although legal protection may keep a forest intact, the ecological communities within these forests are changing rapidly as a result of the past and present human land use within, and around them. Research over the last two decades has raised concerns that the deciduous upland forests of northern NJ are not regenerating their current ecological structure and composition. This is often attributed to the synergistic effects of native white-tailed deer and invasive understory plant species which limit native tree seeding growth Through the use of remote sensing tools, I will examine the structural differences among forest patches dominated by a regenerating native under-story, versus those with heavy deer browse and an abundance of invasive plants. These patches will be further analyzed within the context of the spatial arrangement of human land uses surrounding them. The goal of my research is to identify the structural nature and potential geographic extent of forest community change within Protected Areas. By understanding if these areas are deferentially susceptible to certain types of ecological change, we gain insight into future impacts upon human goals for biodiversity and ecosystem services within these protected lands.

Ramiro Puc Kauil - PhD Candidate

Andrea León Parra - PhD Candidate

Soy Candidata a Doctora en Estudios Ambientales y Rurales de la Universidad Javeriana en Bogotá, Colombia. Estoy interesada en analizar el cambio del paisaje en Colombia durante este siglo, desde la perspectiva de los procesos de transformación. Según este enfoque los cambios en cobertura y uso del suelo se agrupan en tendencias que correspondan a la satisfacción de demandas humanas específicas. Estos procesos son: expansión de la frontera agrícola, intensificación agrícola, urbanización, minería, abandono de tierras marginales y conservación de áreas naturales. Mi disertación consiste en saber dónde están localizados estos procesos, cuál es su relación con factores biofísicos y socioeconómicos y cómo se distribuirán en escenarios futuros. El estudio de estos procesos, a escala nacional y regional, contribuirá a entender los cambios y brindará herramientas para la gestión del territorio.

I’m a doctoral candidate in Environmental and Rural Studies at Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia. I’m interested in analyzing the processes of transformation of the landscape in Colombia in the recent century. The perspective of the transformation processes consists of grouping land use and land cover changes into trends that respond to the satisfaction of specific human demands. These categories are the expansion of the agricultural frontier, agricultural intensification, urbanization, mining, abandonment of marginal lands, and conservation of natural areas. My dissertation examines the spatial distribution of these processes, their relationship with the biophysical and socio-economic factors, and modeling the future land cover distribution in alternative scenarios. Studying these processes at a national and regional scale will contribute a better set of tools and understanding for landscape management.

Alana Rader - PhD Student
Twitter: @alanaradd

As a first year PhD student in Rutgers Geography, Alana is interested in how spatio-temporal arrangements of human-environment interaction inform resilience. Her dissertation will explore multiple case study communities in southern Mexico to understand how differences in tropical second growth forest management affects the rate of ecological regeneration, and further, the livelihoods and agencies of adjacent communities. In addition to her dissertation work, Alana is also a trainee in the Rutgers Coastal Climate Risk and Resiliency (C2R2) program. 

Gabriela Ulloa - MS Student

Previous Students

Irene Zager- PhD 

Joshua Randall - MS