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Matthew Fagan

faganPh.D., Columbia University, 2014
Assistant Professor
211-J Sondheim Hall
410-455-3149 | @Matthew_Fagan


Research Interests

Landscape Ecology, Remote Sensing, Conservation Biology, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Sustainable Agriculture

Research Focus

My research investigates the causes and consequences of the fragmentation of natural habitat, and how we can best conserve and reconnect managed landscapes.

Recent projects
  • Riparian forest degradation: Assessing forest characteristics using multi-temporal high-resolution imagery.
  • Green Phoenix? Long-term assessment of landscape conservation policies in Costa Rica
  • Landscape ecology of southeastern industrial forests: Quantifying the extent and regional impact of pine plantations using remote sensing and ecological data.
  • The changing matrix: Assessing reforestation and functional connectivity in a Costa Rican habitat corridor.

Fagan, M.E., R.S. DeFries, S.E. Sesnie, J.P. Arroyo, and R.L. Chazdon (2016). Targeted reforestation could combat declines in connectivity for understory birds in a tropical habitat corridor. Ecological Applications.

Fagan, M.E., R.S. DeFries, S.E. Sesnie, J.P. Arroyo, C. Soto, A. Singh, P. Townsend, and R.L. Chazdon (2015). Mapping Species Composition of Forests and Tree Plantations in Northeastern Costa Rica with an Integration of Hyperspectral and Multitemporal Landsat Imagery. Remote Sensing 7(5), 5660-5696.

Shaver, I., A. Chain-Guadarrama, K. Cleary, A. Sanfiorenzo, R.J. Santiago-García, B. Finegan, L. Hormel, N. Sibelet, L.A. Vierling, N. Bosque-Pérez, F. DeClerck, M.E. Fagan, and L. Waits, (2015). Coupled social, economic and ecological outcomes of agricultural intensification in Costa Rica and the future of biodiversity conservation in tropical agricultural regions. Global Environmental Change, 32: 74-86.

Nowakowski, A.J., DeWoody, J.A., Fagan, M.E., Willoughby, J.R. and Donnelly, M.A. (2015), Mechanistic insights into landscape genetic structure of two tropical amphibians using field-derived resistance surfaces. Molecular Ecology, 24: 580–595. doi: 10.1111/mec.13052

Cisneros, L.M., Fagan, M.E., Willig, M.R. (2015), Season-specific and guild-specific effects of anthropogenic landscape modification on metacommunity structure of tropical bats. Journal of Animal Ecology, 84: 373–385. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12299

Cisneros, L.M.., Fagan, M.E., Willig, M.R. (2014), Effects of human-modified landscapes on taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic dimensions of bat biodiversity. Diversity and Distributions. doi: 10.1111/ddi.12277

Meyfroidt, P., K.M. Carlson, M.E. Fagan, V.H. Gutiérrez-Vélez, M.M. Macedo, L.M. Curran, R.S. DeFries, G.A. Dyer, H.K. Gibbs, E.F. Lambin, D.C. Morton, V. Robiglio. 2014. Multiple pathways of expansion of commodity crops in tropical forest landscapes.  Environmental Research Letters 9(7): 074012.

Fagan, M.E., R.S. DeFries, S.E. Sesnie, J.P. Arroyo, W. Walker, C. Soto, R.L. Chazdon, and A. Sanchun. 2013. Land cover dynamics following a deforestation ban in northern Costa Rica. Environmental Research Letters 8(3): 034017.

Yackulic, C.B.*, M. Fagan*, M. Jain*, A. Jina, Y. Lim, M. Marlier, R. Muscarella, P. Adame, R. DeFries, and M. Uriarte. 2011. Biophysical and socioeconomic factors associated with forest transitions at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Ecology and Society 16(3): 15.                 *Shared first authorship

Fagan, M.E. and R.S. DeFries. 2009. “Measurement and Monitoring of the World’s Forests: A Review and Summary of Remote Sensing Technical Capability, 2009-2015” in The World’s Forests: Design and Implementation of Effective Measurement and Monitoring. Published by Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C. 70 pp.

Fagan, M. E., and D. R. Peart. 2004. Impact of the invasive shrub glossy buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula L.) on juvenile recruitment by canopy trees. Forest Ecology and Management 194: 95-107.

Selected Recent Presentations

Complete list

2015 Union of Concerned Scientists, Washington, D.C. “Managing the matrix: assessing conservation in human-dominated landscapes.”2015 Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. “Mapping pine tree plantations in the southeastern US using structural, spectral, and temporal remote sensing data.”2015 American Museum of Natural History, Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners Workshop. New York, New York. “Social and ecological tradeoffs in tropical reforestation.”

2015 Ecological Society of America annual meeting, “Assessing forest edge effects in the southeastern U.S. using NASA’s G-LiHT Airborne Imager.”

2015 International Congress of Conservation Biology. “Targeted reforestation to combat declines in connectivity for understory birds in a tropical habitat corridor.”

2015 NASA Joint Science Workshop. “Estimating the contribution from tree plantations to the US forest carbon sink.” Poster.

2015 NASA Biospheric Sciences Brown Bag Seminar Series. “Managing the matrix: assessing conservation in human-dominated landscapes.”

2014 Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Washington, DC. “Have forest protection and reforestation policies increased connectivity for understory birds in a Costa Rican habitat corridor?”

2014 ForestSat, “Leaf to image scalability based on spectral libraries: a case study using forest plantations in Northern Costa Rica” *Contributing author.

2014 ForestSat conference. “Estimating tree plantation area and height across the southeastern US using G-LiHT LiDAR and Landsat.”

2014 ForestSat conference. “Integrating hyperspectral and multitemporal Landsat imagery to monitor tree plantation expansion in northeastern Costa Rica.”

2013 International Congress for Conservation Biology. “Protecting forests outside parks: Land sparing after a deforestation ban in northeastern Costa Rica.”

2013 Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation. “Protecting forests outside parks: Land cover dynamics in the San Juan-La Selva biological corridor region following a deforestation ban.”

2012 ForestSAT Conference. “Tracking deforestation and tree plantation expansion in a Costa Rican biological corridor using a Landsat time series.”

2012 Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Workshop in Sustainable Development. “Assessing forest protection and PES policies in a deforested landscape in northern Costa Rica.”

2011 CATIE PCP Workshop, Turrialba, Costa Rica. “Distinguishing tree plantation species and secondary forests using Landsat and Hymap.”

Courses Taught

GES 302: Selective Topics in Geography

GES 307: Conservation Biology

GES 381: Remote Sensing

GES 386/686: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

GES 481: Digital Image Processing for Environmental Applications

GES 488/688: Spatial Data Analysis and GIS Applications