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.

Tom Rudel conducts research on land use change. He has researched the driving forces behind tropical deforestation both through case studies in the Ecuadorian Amazon and through quantitative analyses at the global scale. The latter set of studies has included work on 'the forest transition'. He has also done research on the forces that have driven suburban sprawl, primarily through field studies in the northeastern United States. He currently He has just finished a book, entitled 'Defensive Environmentalists and the Paths to Global Environmental Reform', to be published by Cambridge University Press.
Dr. Amy Lerner - Post-doctoral research fellow

Post Doctoral Research Assistant working with Laura Schneider and Tom Rudel. Research interests: Food security, urban ecology, human dimensions of environmental change, political/cultural ecology, sustainable livelihoods, mixed methods, Latin America

Irene Zager- PhD Candidate


I am broadly interested in drawing from human-environment geography, landscape ecology, remote sensing and geographic information science in order to answer questions related to current patterns of land use and land cover change in the tropics, and their socio-ecological impacts.

My doctoral dissertation research aims to characterize forest fragmentation in the Calakmul - Sian Ka’an Biological Corridor, Mexico, over the last four decades, and understand how it relates to forest damage and initial recovery from the impact of hurricane Dean (2007). My methods include a detailed temporal analysis of available land cover products, socio economic data, and plot-level field sampling data. Improving our understanding of the synergistic effects of fragmentation and hurricanes on forest dynamics in the Mexican Yucatán is particularly relevant in light of current predictions of increased hurricane intensity associated to global environmental change in the future.

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.

Joshua Randall - MS Student

I am a second year MS (Geography) student whose research interest lie in resource management, sustainability, and political geography. I am particularly interested in the use of  GIS, remote sensing and spatial statistics in the study of these topics, especially water and forest resources and their political implications.  My thesis will be a spatial and statistical analysis of water demand characteristics in the Phoenix, AZ metro area. My work with the EDGY project involves EVI damage analysis of forested areas in the Yucatan.