Research Projects in SFRC Geomatics
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems for Natural Resource Assessment
Governance, Land Use and Resource Rights in Southern Africa: Paths toward Grassroots Democratization
Southern Africa is at the leading edge of the devolution of wildlife resource rights to private and communal landholders. We study the linkages between resource rights and democratization on the one hand, and with economics, land use change and environmental sustainability on the other. We seek to identify the conditions under which devolution of governance leads to genuine democratization. We address this through the lens of land use and resource rights. We contend that devolution of land use and resource rights will encourage democratization and economic freedoms, contributing simultaneously to poverty alleviation, improved governance and environmental sustainability?
Detection of potential seepage zones along levees on Lake Okeechobee’s southern shore using an Unmanned Autonomous Airplane and a Thermal Infrared Camera
Franklin Percival and Adam Watts (USGS Wildlife Cooperative), Peter Ifu (Aeronautical Engineering), Bon Dewitt, Scot Smith, Ahmed Mohamed, Amr Abd-Elrahman.
Rapid Assessment of Urban Forest Following a Hurricane: Damage and Debris
The project will develop a preliminary assessment model for urban forest damage and debris estimates based on the severity of different windstorm events, remote sensing, and urban forest structure data. The methods and model will provide city, county, and regional authorities, preliminary pre-disaster debris planning tools and post-disaster debris estimates. Utilization of hurricane and urban forest management wood waste will be explored.
Infrastructure Change, Human Agency, and Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems
New roads bring complex changes to regions, including ecological degradation, social conflict, and economic development. We focus on human agency as it relates to livelihood decisions and resource use. We examine how these factors not only respond to new infrastructure, but also lead to ecological and institutional changes that in turn generate feedback effects that impact human well-being. Using an interdisciplinary complex systems framework we focus on social-ecological systems as integrated wholes via the interface of infrastructure and land tenure. We draw on the concept of resilience, a property of complex systems, and reformulate it in terms of system components, relationships, innovations and continuity. This gives us a means of observing system properties relevant to the retention or loss of system identity. The research focuses on a global biodiversity hotspot in the southwestern Amazon where Brazil, Bolivia and Peru meet.
Fire in the Juniper Prairie Wilderness: Is it a viable tool for ecosystem management?
Leda Kobziar (PI), Janaki Alavalapati, Shibu Jose, Alan Long, Francis Putz, Kathryn Sieving, Scot Smith, Taylor Stein, Melvin Sunquist, George Tanner
Inside the Polygon: The Efficacy of Community Tenure in the Western Property Paradigm.
In this project we examine the historical evolution of communal land tenure in western legal systems, and its development into a formal tool to address contemporary development, conservation and human rights interests. At the same time, we contrast this against indigenous and/or traditional community-based land tenure systems. In focusing on the nexus of these two property traditions we are able to better understand the dynamics of these complex social-ecological systems through a focus on land and resource tenure. Through several case studies in Latin America we analyze the extent to which communities are embracing or adapting property law and technological innovation to their own needs, and developing the means and capacity to record increasingly complex information. From this we draw conclusions concerning the adaptability and resilience of community tenure arrangements within the dominant western property paradigm. Ultimately, our goal is to expand current property and tenure theory to embrace a more nuanced understanding of community property arrangements in light of technology and other external drivers.
Development of Rapid, Affordable Property Surveying Methods using GPS in Developing Countries
Beginning in the early 1990s development banks like the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) began to make more funding available for large property formalization projects in LAC and elsewhere. This funding, and the corresponding demand for property formalization, led to a huge demand for boundary surveying as almost every project included a component for adjudicating and surveying large numbers of parcels in rural areas. These countries were therefore faced with a sudden need to survey massive numbers of parcels within a relatively short period of time, typically 4 to 5 years. Conventional surveying approaches for rural parcels would not meet the time and cost constraints posed by these projects. In addition, since these projects were often aimed at poorer rural land holders, who were mostly occupying low value land, the cost of a conventional survey could actually exceed the value of the parcel in rural areas. There was therefore a huge demand for an alternative methodology that was less costly and more efficient.
In this research we have used sub-meter accuracy GPS as the basis for developing a rapid and cost-effective methodology for cadastral surveying in developing countries. We have tested and demonstrated this methodology in Albania, Peru, Belize, Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago and Bolivia.
Other Recent Studies
Maintenance and Sustainability of Property Formalization and Land Administration Systems.
Partial funding through Land Tenure Center (St. Lucia) (2003- ). Barnes, Griffith-Charles
Modeling Feasibility and Impacts of Water Transfer in Florida using Linear Programming and GIS.
Funded by SNRE (2003-2004). Barnes, Hildebrand, Jones, Fraisse, Tripathi