Western Geographic Science Center


The Western Geographic Science Center (WGSC) conducts geographic research on the environmental and societal consequences of a changing landscape.  Our tools and models help decision makers better use complex scientific information to understand their alternative options.  Our work links natural science and social science to analyze human/environmental interactions both spatially and temporally. 

Chris Soulard's map wins an ESRI award!

Chris Soulard

Christopher Soulard was named third place recipient of the 2019 ESRI Award for Best Scientific Paper in Geographic Information Systems for work on improving urban maps of the US spanning 1992-2011.

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Vegetation recovery science in the News!

Vegetation recovery science in the News!

 “Understanding the factors that encourage successful re-vegetation is critical for resource managers to make informed decisions about this region of economic and ecological importance.” Miguel Villarreal

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Date published: December 7, 2018

WGSC Scientists tour a restoration project

Laura Norman's Aridland Water Harvesting Study helps lead a tour of a restoration and monitoring project at the Boy Scouts of America, Heard Scout Pueblo (HSP) in Phoenix, Arizona.

Date published: November 21, 2018

The GFSAD30 project accomplished their goal!

The global croplands mapping project has succesfully mapped croplands across the entire planet in order to understand the security of food world wide. Below are many press anouncments and interviews with the project leader Prasad Thenkabail.

Date published: August 17, 2018

USGS Scientist Invited to Present for Society for Range Management

Laura Norman was asked to present her study of Watershed Restoration at the Arizona Section Summer Meeting for the Society for Range Management, "Managing for Resilient Rangelands in Southeast Arizona" by the Rangeland Program Manager at the Coronado National Forest.


Year Published: 2019

Assessing hazards and risks at the Department of the Interior—A workshop report

On February 27–28, 2018, the U.S. Geological Survey and Department of the Interior (DOI) Office of Emergency Management (OEM) hosted a workshop to gather input from DOI subject matter experts (SMEs), resource managers, facility managers, emergency managers, and law enforcement personnel. Workshop goals were to (1) determine how DOI Bureaus and...

Wood, Nathan; Pennaz, Alice; Ludwig, Kristin; Jones, Jeanne; Henry, Kevin; Sherba, Jason; Ng, Peter; Marineau, Jason; Juskie, John
Wood, N., Pennaz, A., Ludwig, K., Jones, J., Henry, K, Sherba, J., Ng, P., Marineau, J., and Juskie, J., 2019, Assessing hazards and risks at the Department of the Interior—A workshop report: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1453, 42 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1453.

Year Published: 2019

Distant neighbors: recent wildfire patterns of the Madrean Sky Islands of southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico

BackgroundInformation about contemporary fire regimes across the Sky Island mountain ranges of the Madrean Archipelago Ecoregion in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico can provide insight into how historical fire management and land use have influenced fire regimes, and can be used to guide fuels management, ecological restoration,...

Villarreal, Miguel L.; Haire, Sandra L.; Iniguez, Jose M.; Cortés Montaño, Citlali; Poitras, Travis B.

Year Published: 2019

Modeling riparian restoration impacts on the hydrologic cycle at the Babacomari Ranch, SE Arizona, USA

This paper describes coupling field experiments with surface and groundwater modeling to investigate rangelands of SE Arizona, USA using erosion-control structures to augment shallow and deep aquifer recharge. We collected field data to describe the physical and hydrological properties before and after gabions (caged riprap) were installed in an...

Norman, Laura M.; Callegary, James B.; Lacher, Laurel; Wilson, Natalie R.; Fandel, Chloé; Forbes, Brandon T.; Swetnam, Tyson