urban heat

This collaborative project explores the impacts that existing urban forest patterns have on urban heat island (UHI) mitigation at the site and regional scale. Our aims are:

Aim 1 : To measure the impact of tree patch metrics on mitigating surface and air temperature.

Aim 2 : To provide guidelines for tree planting programs in urban areas.

Future research will explore the veracity of UHI simulation methods, design and policy barriers to healthy urban forests, and big data UHI predictions.

wildfire

The purpose of this research was to evaluate whether CWPPs and county governance wildfire risk reduction best practices meet minimum process and outcome criteria across the American West. The specific aims were:

Aim 1 : Create an index that defines the level of best practice integration of CWPP process (inputs).

Aim 2 : Create an index that defines the level of best practice integration of CWPP and county governance implementation (outputs).

Aim 3 : What social, economic, demographic and geographic factors predict the level of best practice integration of CWPP inputs and outputs?

Future research will explore the ability to leverage remote sensing, machine learning, and community science to better understand the degree to which fuel reduction treatments, defensible space, and fire code compliant building construction have been implemented.

Recreation Impacts

Impacts, caused by trampling and recreational activities, potentially have unintended consequences on shoreline and cliff resources, such as erosion and loss of rare plant species and communities. This study proposes to evaluate the impacts of recreational activities (e.g., fishing, hiking, rock climbing, and general visitation) on the shoreline, cliff-face, and cliff-top environments throughout the Maryland Heights portion of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (HAFE), Harpers Ferry, WV.

Aim 1 : Further our understanding of recreational impacts on HAFE cliff resources.

Aim 2 : Facilitate the creation of a resource management plan.

Aim 3 : Create educational/interpretative signage.

Aim 4 : Suggest professional design, construction, and maintenance best practices for recreational sites and trails.

Future research will explore methodological innovations to gather more timely and detailed data for longitudinal analyses.

Pollinators

This interdisciplinary research effort proposed a novel landscape planting design and decision-making computing tool. Our aims were:  

Aim 1 : Assess the regional scale pollinator habitat capacity and ecological health (e.g., connectivity, redundancy, and diversity)  

Aim 2 : Predict the resiliency of existing and proposed site-scale planting designs in light of extreme weather events, climate change, and changing USDA plant hardiness zones.  

Future research will explore the creation of a more scientifically comprehensive plant database and application integration into designer’s preexisting workflows.