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Erin Bunting researching southwestern droughts

Recent doctoral graduate Erin Bunting has just taken up a position with the USGS in collaboration with the National Park Service, and Bureau of Land Management. She will be using her skills as a remote sensing ecologist to develop a drought vulnerability assessment for the National Parks of the southwest; a study area that covers all of the Colorado Plateau and Sonoran Desert. She will be working across spatial scales to link plot level vegetation data with remotely sensed imagery, specifically Landsat and MODIS, with a specific interest in the impact of climate variability and change on vegetation structural types and specific vegetation species using the climate pivot point approach. Essentially this approach identifies the critical climatic conditions at which plant species shift from increasing to decreasing in abundance. Much of the project involves o! utreach in the National Parks. The overall goal is to make the public aware of potentially vulnerable landscapes and mitigation approaches.