Department of Geography and the Environment

Thomas Christiansen Wins Graduate Dean's Prestigious Fellowship Supplement to Support Kalahari Research

Thu, August 8, 2013

The Department of Geography and the Environment is pleased to congratulate Thomas Christiansen for being awarded the Graduate Dean's Prestigious Fellowship Supplement for 2013-2014. The award is given to students who hold competitive, external, prestigious fellowships that recognize the student's academic achievements. Consideration for the award is based upon nomination by the graduate adviser.

The fellowship will support Christiansen’s Doctoral dissertation research: Impact of climate, land management, and fire on vegetation structure, composition, and diversity within the Botswana Kalahari. The main land management types of Botswana are unmanaged (open access) livestock grazing areas, managed game (wildlife) farms, and protected wilderness areas (with no livestock). These land management types differ in annual precipitation and in pressures from various factors, including human disturbance and resource extraction, impact of livestock, impact of large herbivores, and fire. Areas of different combinations of these factors will therefore be selected for field work. MODIS and Landsat imagery will be used to reconstruct the past fire history of the Botswana Kalahari. Field work will include measurement and identification of vegetation within 10 x 20 meter plots, fuel load assessment, and soil analysis. 27 field sites are currently planned within three precipitation regions, between the three main land management types, and areas of different fire history within each.

For more information about Thomas Christensen’s related research on Remote Sensing of Vegetation in the Botswana Kalahari, you can view his award winning paper here.

 Fire within the Kalahari

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