The broad goals of my research are to understand how interacting global changes affect pastoral and mountain ecosystems and livelihoods; to detect the patterns and underlying mechanisms driving these responses and feedbacks; and to identify actions and pathways to increase adaptation opportunities and contribute to sustainable futures.

My work spans multiple systems and scales, including the eastern and central alpine grasslands of the Tibetan Plateau; the shortgrass steppe and alpine region of Colorado; and global syntheses of grassland, arctic/alpine and mountain systems worldwide. I employ a suite of study approaches that combine experimental manipulations, landscape analysis, local ecological knowledge and modeling. My work – which typically entails international, interdisciplinary research teams – contributes to the fields of ecosystem science and sustainability science.

Highlighted Projects

Mountain Sentinels Collaborative Network

Mountains are globally ubiquitous, locally unique, iconic coupled social-ecological systems (SES) that provide ecosystems services to over half of the world’s population.  A grand challenge for mountains, and the goal of this network, is to understand system dynamics across scales and explore alternative future trajectories in the different contexts of mountain systems worldwide.  Mountain Sentinels is composed of transdisciplinary, globally-representative teams of mountain scientists and stakeholders, who are using an innovative global-framework approach and are engaged in knowledge co-creation and coordinated practice.  Click here for the Mountain Sentinels Website

Ecosystem and Herder Vulnerability to Extreme Weather Events, Warming & Policy on the Tibetan Plateau

On the Tibetan Plateau, extreme spring snowstorms are reportedly becoming more frequent and severe, while climate warming in Tibet is several times greater than the global average. At the same time, grazing policies that include land tenure changes and grazing restrictions are also affecting the pastoralists and environment on the Tibetan Plateau. The overall goal of this project is to investigate the social and ecological implications of climate warming, snowstorms, and grazing policies, and more broadly, pastoralists’ changing vulnerability to global change.