Kristin Byrd, Ph.D.

Landscape Ecology, Remote Sensing, and Decision Support for Natural Resources Management


Current Position

Research Physical Scientist
Western Geographic Science Center, Menlo Park, CA

In my research I study landscape scale patterns of wetland vegetation properties to assess habitat quality dynamics and carbon stocks, and to forecast wetland resilience to climate change. I also apply integrated scenarios of land use, climate and hydrological change to assess potential impacts to ecosystem services in California rangelands, and to identify opportunities for rangeland conservation, increased carbon sequestration and drought resilience. These projects involve a combination of remote sensing, field methods, geospatial analysis, and modeling.  All projects include an outreach component to land managers and land owners; partners include U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserves, Solano Land Trust, the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative, Resource Conservation Districts, and The Nature Conservancy.

Google Scholar Profile:

Current Projects

Co-PI: "Integrating Remote-Sensing and Ecological Forecasting into Decision-Support for Wetland Wildlife Management and Ecosystem Services in the Central Valley of California: Optimizing Across Multiple Benefits." NASA ROSES A.46: Earth Science Applications: Ecological Forecasting. 2017 - 2020. PI: Matt Reiter, Point Blue Conservation Science.

Co-PI: “Linking Satellite and Soil Data to Validate Coastal Wetland ‘Blue Carbon’ Inventories: Upscaled Support for Developing MRV and REDD+ Protocols.” NASA ROSES A.7: Carbon Monitoring Systems. 2014 - 2017. PI: Lisamarie Windham-Myers, USGS.

Co-I: “Increasing Soil Organic Carbon to Mitigate Greenhouse Gases and Increase Climate Resiliency for California.” California Fourth Climate Change Assessment Non-Energy Projects. 2016 - 2017. PI: Lorraine Flint, USGS.

Co-PI: "From Foodwebs to Marshes: Assessing Carbon Sources and Benefits within the Nisqually River Delta." USGS LandCarbon Program and USFWS. 2015 - 2017. PI: Isa Woo, USGS.

PI: “Forecasting Coastal Habitat Distributions through Fusion of Earth Observations, Process Models and Citizen Science: A Climate Change Adaptation Tool for the NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserve System.” NASA ROSES A.36: Ecological Forecasting for Conservation and Natural Resource Management. 2014 - 2016. 

PI: "Mapping and Forecasting Wetland Ecosystem Services." USGS Land Change Science Program. 2014 - 2018.


Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2005
Environmental Science, Policy, and Management

M.A., San Francisco State University, 1998
Ecology and Systematics

B.S., Cornell University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, 1993
Environmental Science


Byrd, K.B., C. Mcowen, L. Weatherdon, J. Holmquist, and S. Crooks. 2019. Status of Tidal Marsh Mapping for Blue Carbon Inventories. In L. Windham-Myers, S. Crooks, & T. Troxler (Eds.), A Blue Carbon Primer: The State of Coastal Wetland Carbon Science, Practice, and Policy, CRC Press: Boca Raton, London. 

Holmquist, J. R., L. Windham-Myers, B. Bernal, K. B. Byrd, S. Crooks, M. E. Gonneea, N. Herold, S. H. Knox, K. D. Kroeger, J. McCombs, J. P. Megonigal, M. Lu, J. T. Morris, A. E. Sutton-Grier, T. G. Troxler, and D. E. Weller. 2018. Uncertainty in United States coastal wetland greenhouse gas inventorying. Environmental Research Letters 13:115005.

Flint, L., Flint, A., Stern, M., Mayer, A., Vergara, S., Silver, W., Casey, F., Franco, F., Byrd, K., Sleeter, B., Alvarez, P., Creque, J., Estrada, T., Cameron, D. (U.S. Geological Survey). 2018. Increasing Soil Organic Carbon to Mitigate Greenhouse Gases and Increase Climate Resiliency for California. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, California Natural Resources Agency. Publication number: CCCA4-CNRA-2018-006.

Byrd, K.B., L.R. Ballanti, N. Thomas, D. Nguyen, J. Holmquist, M. Simard, and L. Windham-Myers. 2018.  A remote sensing-based model of tidal marsh aboveground carbon stocks for the conterminous United States. ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 139, 255-271.

Ballanti, L.; Byrd, K.B.; Woo, I.; Ellings, C. 2017. Remote Sensing for Wetland Mapping and Historical Change Detection at the Nisqually River Delta. Sustainability Special Issue: Wetland Ecology, Conservation and Sustainability: Applications of Geospatial Techniques. 9(11), 1919;

Brown, J., Alvarez, P., Byrd, K.B., Deswood, H., Elias, E., & Spiegal, S. 2017. Coping With Historic Drought in California Rangelands: Developing a More Effective Institutional Response. Rangelands 39:73-78.

Byrd, K. B., L. Windham-Myers, T. Leeuw, B. Downing, J. T. Morris, and M. C. Ferner. 2016. Forecasting tidal marsh elevation and habitat change through fusion of Earth observations and a process model. Ecosphere 7(11): e01582. 10.1002/ecs2.1582

Turpie, K., V.V. Klemas, K.B. Byrd, M. Kelly, and J. Heon-Young. 2015. Prospective HyspIRI Global Observations of Coastal Wetlands. Remote Sensing of Environment 167:206-217. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2015.05.008 [Link]

O’Connell, J.L., K.B. Byrd, and M. Kelly. 2015. A hybrid model for mapping relative differences in belowground biomass and root:shoot ratios using spectral reflectance, foliar N and plant biophysical data within coastal marsh. Remote Sensing 7(12),16480-16503.doi:10.3390/rs71215837. [Link]

Byrd, K.B., L. Flint, P. Alvarez, C.F. Casey, B.M. Sleeter, C.E. Soulard, A. Flint and T. Sohl. 2015. Integrated climate and land use change scenarios for California rangeland ecosystem services: wildlife habitat, soil carbon and water supply. Landscape Ecology 30(4):729-750. doi: 10.1007/s10980-015-0159-7. [Link]

Chornesky, E.A., D.D. Ackerly, P. Beier, F.W. Davis, L.E. Flint, J.J. Lawler, P.B. Moyle, M.A. Moritz, M. Scoonover, P. Alvarez, K.B. Byrd, N. Heller, L. Micheli, and S. Weiss. 2015. Adapting California’s Ecosystems to a Changing Climate. Bioscience 65(3):247-262. doi: 10.1093/biosci/biu233. [Link]

Byrd, K.B., J.L. O’Connell, S. Di Tommaso, and M. Kelly. 2014. Evaluation of sensor types and environmental controls on mapping biomass of coastal marsh emergent vegetation. Remote Sensing of Environment. 149:166-180. doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2014.04.003. [Link]

Byrd, Kristin; Alvarez, Pelayo; Flint, Lorraine; Flint, Alan, 2014. Future scenarios of impacts to ecosystem services on California rangelands. U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2014-3019, 2 p. [Link]

O’Connell J.L., K.B. Byrd, and M. Kelly. 2014. Remotely-sensed indicators of N-related biomass allocation in Schoenoplectus acutus. PLoS ONE 9(3): e90870. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090870 [Link]

Byrd, K.B., B. Sleeter, L. Flint, C. Soulard, P. Alvarez, F. Casey and T. Sohl. 2014. Integrated scenarios and outreach for habitat threat assessments on California Rangelands. Chapter 3.7 in: Erika L. Rowland, Molly S. Cross, and Holly Hartmann (eds.). Considering Multiple Futures: Scenario Planning To Address Uncertainty in Natural Resource Conservation. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 162 pp. Available at [Link]

Schile, Lisa M., Kristin B. Byrd, Lisamarie Windham-Myers and Maggi Kelly. 2013. Accounting for non-photosynthetic vegetation in remote-sensing-based estimates of carbon flux in wetlands. Remote Sensing Letters 4(6):542-551. [Link]

Kreitler, J., M. Papenfus, K.B Byrd, and W. Labiosa. 2013. Interacting coastal based ecosystem services: recreation and water quality in Puget Sound, WA. PLoS ONE 8(2): e56670. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056670. [Link]

Byrd, K., J. Ratliff, N. Bliss, A. Wein, B. Sleeter, T. Sohl, and Z. Li. 2013. Quantifying climate change mitigation potential in the United States Great Plains wetlands for three greenhouse gas emission scenarios. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change:1-27. 10.1007/s11027-013-9500-0. [Link]

Dinitz, Laura; Forney, William; Byrd, Kristin, 2012. Decision-support systems for natural-hazards and land-management issues. U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2012-3001, 2 p. [Link]

Byrd, Kristin, 2011. Land-use planning for nearshore ecosystem services—the Puget Sound Ecosystem Portfolio Model. U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2011-3067, 2 p. [Link]

Byrd, Kristin B.; Kreitler, Jason R.; Labiosa, William B., 2011. Tools and methods for evaluating and refining alternative futures for coastal ecosystem management—the Puget Sound Ecosystem Portfolio Model. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1279, vii, 47 p. [Link]

Byrd, K. B., A. R. Rissman, and A. M. Merenlender. 2009. Impacts of conservation easements for threat abatement and fire management in a rural oak woodland landscape. Landscape and Urban Planning 92(2):106-116. [Link]

Byrd, K. B. 2009. Remote sensing and spatial analysis of watershed and estuarine processes for conservation planning in Elkhorn Slough, Monterey County, California, pp. 495-520 In X. Yang (ed.). Remote Sensing and Geospatial Technologies for Coastal Ecosystem Assessment and Management. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. [Link]

Byrd, K. B., N. M. Kelly and A. M. Merenlender. 2007. Temporal and spatial relationships between watershed land use and salt marsh disturbance in a Pacific estuary. Environmental Management 39(1):98-112. [Link]

Byrd, K. B. and N. M. Kelly. 2006. Salt marsh vegetation response to edaphic and topographical changes from upland sedimentation in a Pacific estuary. Wetlands 26(3):813-829. [Link]

Byrd, K. B. 2005. Temporal and Spatial Linkages Between Watershed Land Use and Wetland Vegetation Response in the Elkhorn Slough Watershed, Monterey, County, California. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley. 173 pp.

Byrd, K. B., N. M. Kelly, and E. Van Dyke. 2004. Decadal changes in a Pacific estuary: a multi-source remote sensing approach for historical ecology. GIScience and Remote Sensing 41(4):347-370. [Link]

Byrd, K. B., V. T. Parker, D. R. Vogler, and K. W. Cullings. 2000. The influence of clear-cutting on ectomycorrhizal fungus diversity in a lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) stand, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, and Gallatin National Forest, Montana. Canadian Journal of Botany 78(2):149-156. [Link]

Byrd, K. B. 1998. The Influence of Clear-cutting on Ectomycorrhizal Fungus Diversity in a Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) Stand, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, and Gallatin National Forest, Montana. M.A. Thesis. San Francisco State University. 103 pp.

Current Professional Service

  • Science Advisory Team for the San Francisco Bay Wetland Regional Monitoring Program, 2018 - present
  • USGS Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Science Program Team, 2016 - present
  • Data Management Team for the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative Central Valley Landscape Conservation Project,  2015 – present
  • USGS LandCarbon Program Wetland Working Group, 2015 – present
  • NASA HyspIRI Aquatic Studies Working Group 2013 – present
  • South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project Technical Advisory Committee 2010 – present
  • Member, Ecological Society of America, American Geophysical Union, US-International Association for Landscape Ecology 
  • Reviewer for Remote Sensing of Environment, Remote Sensing, PLOS One, Wetlands, Environmental Management, Landscape and Urban Planning, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, Landscape Ecology, Wetlands Ecology and Management, Ecological Modelling, Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, Conservation Biology, Estuaries and Coasts, Estuarine, Coastal, and Shelf Science.