Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center

Landscape Change

Landscape change is a key driver of environmental change and has important implications related to climate variability and change, biodiversity, natural resources, and ecosystem services. GECSC scientists conduct theme-focused research on the causes, mechanisms, and consequences of natural and anthropogenic landscape changes. Our scientists also conduct broad-scale assessments of historical and ongoing land cover and land use change and their impacts on people, environment, economy, and resources.

Filter Total Items: 18
Date published: May 31, 2019
Status: Active

Remote Sensing of Ecosystem Condition and Resilience

Ecosystem condition tends to be highly dynamic in response to natural variability in climate, extreme climate events, disturbance events, and human land use activities. Satellite imagery provides a powerful tool to enhance our understanding of ecosystem change at a landscape scale. This research integrates diverse sources of satellite imagery with ancillary datasets to explore how ecosystems...

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Burned Area Essential Climate Variable

Essential Climate Variables (ECVs) track critical attributes of the atmosphere, oceanic, and terrestrial systems over time-scales appropriate for analyzing their relationships with climate change. As part of a larger Climate Data Record (CDR) and ECV project, scientists at GECSC are leading the development and validation of the Burned Area ECV algorithm. This algorithm automatically extracts...

Contacts: Todd Hawbaker
Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Completed

Cenozoic Landscape Evolution of the Southern Rocky Mountains

The Cenozoic Landscape Evolution of the Southern Rocky Mountains Project is a multi-year investigation funded by the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program. This project utilizes a combination of geologic mapping, geophysical surveys, basin modeling, and structural, neotectonic, geomorphic, volcanic, stratigraphic, and geochronologic studies to...

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Ecosystem Services Assessment and Valuation

Ecosystem services are the benefits that nature provides to human well-being: clean air and water, protection from natural disasters, fisheries, crop pollination and control of pests and disease, and outdoor places for recreation, solitude, and renewal. Ecosystem services underlie the functioning of our entire economy. They are neither worthless nor priceless, and by integrating the physical...

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Effects of Energy Development Strategies

Energy is a cornerstone issue for humanity, nations, and individuals. How we create and use energy impacts the consequences it embodies. The critical issue facing humanity involves meeting our massive and growing energy needs, without undermining human and natural capital. Facing the challenge of long-term, sustainable energy for the nation and world requires understanding the consequences of...

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Exploring Future Flora, Environments, and Climates Through Simulations (EFFECTS)

Climate changes can significantly affect species and ecosystems. Historical and paleoenvironmental data record species and ecosystem responses to past climate changes, but these records become sparse as one goes further back in time. Model simulations can be used fill the spatial and temporal gaps in observed records to improve our understanding of the potential magnitude, rate, and spatial...

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Completed

Geologic Mapping Studies at Buffalo National River, Northern Arkansas

Detailed geologic mapping is being conducted by the USGS in and adjacent to the Buffalo National River, a park administered by the National Park Service, to better understand and characterize the natural resources and associated ecosystems of this area within the Ozark Plateau region. General-purpose geologic maps are created to provide a framework for a host of natural resource, natural...

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Geologic Records of High Sea Levels

This project studies past high sea levels on coastlines that preserve fossil coral reefs or marine terraces. We ascertain the magnitudes of sea-level high stands by field mapping, stratigraphic measurements, and precise elevation measurements. Geochronology is accomplished by radiocarbon dating of mollusks (for Holocene-to-last-glacial deposits), uranium-series dating of corals (for high-sea...

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Global Ecosystems

The Earth contains an astonishing variety of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems, which provide biological resources and services that are essential to our survival. A high resolution, data-derived, global ecosystems map will improve our ability to manage, conserve, and restore ecosystems that are increasingly threatened by fragmentation, alteration, loss, invasive species, fire,...

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Completed

Greater Platte River Basins and Northern Plains Geologic Framework Studies

Primary objectives of the project are to conduct surficial geologic mapping studies in the central and northern Great Plains in support of ecosystem and climate change research. Major goals are to obtain a better understanding of (1) past climate information recorded in the geologic record, and (2) geomorphic or climatic thresholds that may have triggered major changes in the ecosystems in the...

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Denver Radiogenic Isotope Lab

Radiogenic isotopes are daughter nuclides derived from natural decay of radioactive parent nuclides. They are useful for determining radiometric ages of rocks, minerals, and soils, and can be used as natural tracers of lithologic, hydrologic, and biologic materials.  GEC scientists are currently focused on radiometric dating by U-Pb, U-Th, Sm-Nd, and Rb-Sr, as well as tracer studies using...

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Active

Mountain Pine Beetle Impacts on Carbon Cycling

In the Southern Rocky Mountains, an epidemic outbreak of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae; MPB) has caused forest mortality on a scale unprecedented in recorded history. The impacts of insect-induced mortality have only recently received attention, although other disturbances such as fires and land-use change have a strong influence on carbon sequestration and can result in a net...

Contacts: Todd Hawbaker