Environmental monitoring and soil ecosystem restoration
Unprecedented rates of ecosystem change have occured as a result of human activities, with 43% of the Earth’s land surface experiencing some form of human induced degradation. Consequently, there is a critical need to develop tools and techniques to assess and monitor landscape change. In my current research with the USDA-ARS I am examining the application of remote sensing technologies for natural resource monitoring. I am investigating the use of ground, airborne, and satellite sensors to estimate biotic, hydrologic and soil ecosystem indicators, in an effort to monitor and assess rangeland ecosystem status and trend both spatially and temporally. I am also investigating the use of low-cost Vis/NIR sensors for ground-based sensing of soil and vegetation parameters and assisting in the development of web-based remote sensing applications for use by land managers and other stakeholders. My research has also examined the use of infrared spectroscopy to develop a rapid, repeatable, and quantitative “fingerprint” of soil ecosystem function and its application to assess ecosystem disturbance and recovery.