Cochrane, Mark

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Research Interests: 
Global Climate Change, Fire Ecology, Land Cover Change, Land Cover and Land Use Interactions, Dynamic Systems

Dr. Mark Cochrane conducts interdisciplinary work combining ecology , remote sensing, and other fields of study to provide a landscape perspective of the dynamic processes involved in land-cover change. He is an expert on wildfire, documenting the characteristics, behavior and severe effects of fire in tropical and temperate forests that are inherent to current systems of human land-use and management. His research focuses on understanding spatial patterns, interactions and synergisms between the multiple physical and biological factors that affect ecosystems. Recently published work has emphasized the climate change, human dimensions of land-cover change and the potential for sustainable development. In his ongoing research program, Dr. Cochrane continues to investigate the drivers and effects of disturbance regime changes resulting from various forms of forest degradation, including fire, fragmentation and logging as well as the mitigating effects of forest management. He is currently the principle investigator of over $3.7 million in externally funded research grants designed to quantify fire mitigation effectiveness of billions of dollars of fuel treatment activities across the United States (JFSP), examine climate change and land management effects over the last century on vegetation structure and shifting fire regimes for the United States, Australia and Brazil (NASA), and determine the combined effects of land use change, conservation efforts and forest degradation on biodiversity throughout the Brazilian Amazon (NASA).  He holds a Ph.D. in Ecology from Pennsylvania State University and a S.B. in Environmental Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.




Map of forests in the Brazilian Amazon which could be designated as National Forests (FLONAS) without conflict with existing conservation lands or human inhabitants

Spatial distribution of fire regimes. Black areas are previously deforested while other colors represent standing forests suffering different levels of fire impact. Forests in red are burning too frequently to persist as tropical evergreen forests and are transitioning to grassland and scrub. Graph shows both cumulative percentage of remaining forests and fire frequency (average return interval in years) as a function of distance from deforested edges in the eastern Amazon.



Last modified: 
Apr 08, 2016