Research

Research Interests                                                      

  • Ecohydrology• Soil & Water Resources • Soil erosion  • Land Degradation   • Water – Energy – Food Nexus

I am a broadly trained environmental scientist interested in understanding the impacts of land use change and disturbances on  terrestrial ecosystems, in the context of ecosystem degradation. My research addresses the challenge of managing scarce soil and water resources in the context of multiple demands and multiple constraints associated with land use change and disturbances, the core challenge facing the future of world’s food security and environmental quality. I use a variety of research tools to address my research questions including manipulative field experiments, field observations, laboratory/greenhouse experiments, life cycle studies, data analysis and modeling.

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Impacts of renewable energy development : I am investigating the environmental impacts of large solar energy infrastructures. The goal is to facilitate low-impact renewable energy designs by exploring the feasibility of agricultural/range co-location opportunities at multiple test sites. This research will develop a new approach to co-locating large energy systems and agriculture/range, by adding optimization of water use and environmental impacts to the site criteria. Study areas include Southwestern United States, Indonesia, and northwestern India.

I am interested also, in the opportunities to incorporate micro-scale renewable (solar) energy into existing cropping systems in the developing world, where crop-energy colocation may provide several co-benefits (rural electrification, employment generation, energy for processing agricultural commodities locally).

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Pathways of land degradation: Pathways of ecosystem degradation in croplands and rangelands, involving changes in connected pathways (for sediment transport, fire) in the landscape, and the role of shrub encroachment and exotic grass invasions in inducing grassland/rangeland  degradation by altering these pathways.

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Soil erosion and ecosystems: Effects of hydro-climatic variables (e.g. air humidity, soil moisture), vegetation and management practices (e.g. fire, grazing, tillage) on wind erosion and dust emissions, using a combination of wind tunnel experiments, field monitoring and modeling. This investigation will provide important information for the estimation and modeling of dust emissions. 

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Hydrological and aeolian controls on vegetation patterns: I am interested in understanding the hydrological and aeolian controls on vegetation patterns and how vegetation patterns, in turn, affect these processes.