Travis W Nauman, Ph.D.



Travis is a soil scientist with the US Geological Survey Southwest Biological Science Center in Moab, Utah. His work generally encompasses the role of soils in ecosystem responses to different drivers of change.  He has pioneered new methods to improve soil surveys using remote sensing and spatial modeling to meet needs of land management decision support systems. He has also worked in development and interpretation of natural resources inventory and monitoring programs with a wide variety of public, private, non-profit, and academic entities to help integrate data-driven research into land management frameworks emphasizing soil processes, ecological potential frameworks, and erosion mitigation. Travis has worked across the southwestern United States, Appalachian Mountains, and in parts of China to integrate field and remotely sensed assessments of soil and vegetation into agricultural, rangeland, and forest management plans. 

Google Scholar Profile

Current Interests and Projects

Ecological Potential: Assessing and monitoring ecological health requires some kind of reference relative to the potential composition and productivity of biotic communities of a given site. Potential generally relates to soils, climate and topographic controls, which can be approximated spatially by various spatial datasets. We have developed an Automated Reference Toolset (ART) to approximate regional scale variation in ecological potential to assist with monitoring and assessing management and disturbance regimes. ART was initially developed to help address the recent increase in oil and gas development to understand patterns in soil and vegetation recovery from surface disturbance at  well-pads, and we are excited to use ART for a wide variety of other applications (e.g. grazing exlosures).

Dust Emissions on the Colorado Plateau: I am currently working with long term passive dust collection networks to determin relative contributions of rangeland areas and dirt roads to regional dust emissions. Dust affects local recreation, human health, and regional water balance (dust on snow), and has become a priority management concern for local land management agencies (NPS, BLM, USFS).

LandPKS: I have been an active collaborator in the LandPKS mobile application development. This app is designed to help a wide variety of users to make sound land management decisions while also collecting crowdsourced data on soils, crops, and rangeland health. My role has been mainly in helping develop a dynamic interface with international soil data sources to support background modeling. The interface takes user observations and location and integrates them with the best estimate and important soil properties needed to make decisions on land use to maximize land productivity, ecological health, and minimize erosion.

SoilGrids: SoilGrids is a new global soil map developed at the International Soil Reference and Information Centre. I have been helping with integrating US soils data into SoilGrids into new innovative and interpretable soil mapping themes.

Professional Experience

06/2016 - present      Post-doctoral soil scientist, US Geological Survey, Southwest Biological Science Center, Moab, UT
08/2011 – 05/2015    Pathways Soil Scientist, USDA-NRCS, Geospatial Research Unit, Morgantown, WV
10/2010 – 08/2011    Natural Resource Specialist, USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service, Holbrook, AZ
02/2009 – 08/2011    CEO, Natural Resource, Soil, and GIS Specialist, Nauman Geospatial, Tucson and Flagstaff, Arizona
06/2006 – 05/2009    Research Assistant, Sonoran Institute, NPS Inventory and Monitoring Program Partnership, Tucson, AZ
05/2005 – 08/2005    Apacheria Research Fellow, Audubon Society Appleton-Whittel Research Ranch , Elgin, AZ


Ph.D.      2015       Plant and Soil Science                                West Virginia University

M.S.        2009      Soil and Water Science, GIS certification     University of Arizona

B.S.         2006      Environmental Science                               University of Arizona


2014 Thompson, J.A., and T.W. Nauman. Mapping Forest Restoration Potential Using Ecological Sites. West Virginia Restoration Venture. US Department of Agriculture—Natural Resources Conservation Service. One year (2014-2015). $50,000.
2013 2nd Place Poster, Pedology Division, Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) Annual Meetings, Tampa, FL. $100
2013 Best Oral Presentation Paper - “Developing and assessing prediction intervals for soil property maps derived from legacy databases.” GlobalSoilMap Conference 2013. Orleans, France. Author on paper – did not present.
2007 Institute for the Study of Planet Earth Travel Grant for SSSA meetings 2007, New Orleans, LA. $400.
2005-2006 Apacheria Research Fellowship for: Soil Properties in Sacaton (Sporobolus wrightii) Restoration. Awarded both Fall 2005 and Spring 2006. $2000.
2005 3rd Place at U.S. National Collegiate Soil Judging Competition.