STEPHEN J. WALSH (email@example.com) – Lyle V. Jones Distinguished Professor; Professor of Geography; Director, Center for Galapagos Studies; Co-Director, Galapagos Science Center, San Cristobal Island, Galapagos Archipelago, Ecuador; Member, Curriculum for the Environment & Ecology; Research Fellow, Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Adjunct Professor, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador.
Developed and leads the Galapagos Initiative at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in association with the Universidad San Francisco de Quito; Dedicated (May 2011) the Galapagos Science Center, San Cristobal Island, Galapagos Archipelago, Ecuador – a facility for research, education, and community outreach and engagement programs in the Galapagos Islands; Galapagos Science Center is approximately 20,000 square feet in size and contains a Microbiology Lab, Terrestrial Ecology Lab, Marine Ecology Lab, and a Spatial Analysis & Modeling Lab, in addition to faculty, staff, and student offices, conference room, community classroom, and equipment storage and outside terrace space for field experiments and teaching opportunities. Fulbright Scholar (2011-2015), Specialists Program – Accepted an invitation to the University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia (2012), lectures presented at University of the Sunshine Coast, Griffith University, and Queensland University of Technology; Participated in “Workshop on Climate Change, Social-Ecological Dynamics, and Tourism in Iconic Protected Areas.”
Invited Project Scientist, Chinese Academy of Science, Institute for Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR) (2012-2013); Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2006); Named the Amos H. Hawley Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1993-96); Awarded National Research Honors for Distinguished Scholarship, Association of American Geographers (2001); Awarded Research Honors, Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers (1999); Awarded Outstanding Contributions Award and Medal from the Remote Sensing Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers (1997); Director, Spatial Analysis Unit, Carolina Population Center (1992-97), and faculty advisor to the Spatial Analysis Unit (2000-present); President (2003-2005), Vice-President (2000-2002), and Secretary (1992-1994), Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers (SEDAAG); Chair of the Geographic Information Systems (1998-2000) and Remote Sensing (1994-1996) Specialty Groups of the Association of American Geographers (AAG).
Editorial Board Member, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, and recently on the Editorial Broads of Plant Ecology, GeoCarto International, Journal of Geography, The Professional Geographer, Southeastern Geographer; Served on the Dissertation Improvement Panel for the Geography and Regional Science Division of the National Science Foundation (1997-1999); Member of Review Panels, National Institutes of Health (2001, 2005); Member, Committee of Visitors, National Science Foundation (2003).
Co-Editor of a Book Series on the Galapagos Islands, “Social and Ecological Interactions in the Galapagos Islands,” with Springer Science and Business Media (SJ Walsh & CF Mena - 2011), launched the Book Series as Co-Editor, “Science and Conservation in the Galapagos Islands: Frameworks and Perspectives” (SJ Walsh & CF Mena, Editors - 2013); Co-Editor of special issues in the Journal of Vegetation Science (1994), Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing (2002, 2008), Geomorphology (2003, 2011), GeoForum (2008), Journal of Land Use Science (2008); Co-Edited a series of books for Kluwer Academic Publishers – GIS and Remote Sensing Applications in Biogeography and Ecology (2001); Linking People, Place, and Policy: A GIScience Approach (2002); People and the Environment: Approaches for Linking Household and Community Surveys to Remote Sensing and GIS (2003); Co-Editor for Elsevier, Mountain Geomorphology – Integrated Earth Systems (2003), The Changing Alpine Treeline (2009), Geospatial Technologies and Geomorphological Mapping (2012). Generated as PI, CO-PI, and Investigator, over $24M (USD) in research funds; and has served as Research Supervisor to 48 PhD & MA/MS graduate students.
(1)General Areas of Research: Geographic information systems, remote sensing, spatial analysis, physical geography, and population-environment interactions.
(2)Spatial Pattern at the Alpine Treeline Ecotone: Interrelationships between scale, pattern, and process are explored in the examination of the alpine environment including questions associated with alpine treeline, disturbance regimes, climate change implications, and biogeographic and geomorphic processes affecting landscape composition and spatial pattern.
(3)Population-Environment Interactions: Relationships between environment and population in Thailand and Ecuador are examined with particular emphasis on the linkages between deforestation, agro-forestry systems, urbanization, population demographics and socio-economic patterns, land use/land cover change, land suitability, and pattern-process relationships.
(4)Coupled Human-Natural Systems: The integration of people, place, and environment are considered through the lens of Complexity Theory in which nonlinear relationships, feedback mechanism, emergent behavior, and complex adaptive systems are examined using cellular automata and multi-agent based models and spatial and statistical analyses. The general goal is to understand pattern-process relations within the context of a dynamic environment, evolving characteristics of multiple agents, interaction mechanisms and rules of behavior, and scenarios of land use/land cover dynamics.
(5)Scale Dependence and Information Scaling: Multi-level relationships within and between social, biophysical, and spatial domains are examined across the space-time continuum.
(6)Geographic Methods: Remote Sensing, GIS, spatial analysis, and data visualization approaches are examined within the context of landscape characterization and representation of social and biophysical systems with particular emphasis on the use of spatial models for landscape characterization and LULC change simulation.
My research examines coupled human-natural systems and land use/cover dynamics in the frontier environment of the Northern Ecuadorian Amazon, the Galapagos Islands, and in rural Nang Rong District, Northeastern Thailand. This research recognizes that at local, regional, and global scales land use changes is significantly altering land cover, perhaps at an accelerating pace. This transformation of the Earth¡¯s surface, particularly through deforestation, agricultural extensification, secondary forest succession, and urbanization, is linked to a variety of scientific and policy issues articulated by international organizations, such as, the International Human Dimensions Program and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program. In addition, program initiatives of the National Science Foundation (e.g., Biocomplexity and Human and Social Dynamics Programs), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (e.g., Land Cover/Land Use Change Program), and the National Institutes of Health (e.g., National Institutes for Child Health and Development Program and the Roadmap Initiatives) revolve around the human dimensions of land use/cover change and the proximate and distal causes and consequences of such changes.
My research also emphasizes pattern-process relationships at the alpine and sub-alpine environments of Glacier National Park, Montana, the Northern Rocky Mountains, and, more recently, the mountains of the US American West. With particular emphasis on the alpine treeline ecotone, the biotic and abiotic factors and disturbance regimes are examined, particularly, those that are mediated by local to global forcing functions, affect the loss of biodiversity, and represent ecological indicators of climate change. More broadly, my research seeks to understand ecological, biogeographic, and geomorphic factors affecting landscape patterns at a host of space and time scales.
Finally, my research focuses on landscape characterization through statistical and spatial modeling and spatial analysis approaches. Geospatial data and spatial digital technologies (e.g., geographic information systems, satellite remote sensing, and global positioning systems) and approaches are developed and applied to study ecological systems and linked ecological and social systems. Of particular interest are new developments in complexity theory that conceives the world as consisting of self-organized systems, either reproducing their state through negative feedbacks with their environment or moving along trajectories from one state to another as a result of positive feedbacks. The goal of complexity theory is to understand how simple, fundamental processes can be combined to produce complex holistic systems. My research in system dynamics is motivated by questions that seek understanding in broad areas of concern: How does a complex approach help explore the internal mechanisms of system dynamics and provide plausible explanations? How do results derived from applying complexity theory help in understanding decision-making across levels of social organization ranging from individual households to national governments? How do fundamental characteristics of complex dynamics of coupled human-natural systems and ecological systems limit their predictability, sustainability, and resilience? Agent based models and cellular automata models are used to explore the environment as well as scenarios of land use/cover dynamics by integrating the characteristics of agents (e.g., individuals and households), a changing environment, neighborhood associations, and interaction rules. The goal is to explore "what if scenarios" of land use/cover change through spatial simulations, links between theory and model outcomes, and trajectories of land change set by the pathways of human-environment interactions.