Landscape Ecology & Regional Analysis

The Landscape Ecology and Regional Analysis Team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) views ecological interactions from the perspective of the spatial patterns and processes on the Earth’s surface. These patterns and processes are affected by human activities, natural disturbances, and changing climate conditions associated, in part, with increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. The use of fossil energy is one of the key drivers behind increasing emissions. Hence, alternative energy sources are being explored as a way to reduce relative greenhouse gas emission rates and to foster other environmental, social, and economic services. Yet, energy production and use of alterative energy options also affects land and water environments. Furthermore, scenarios involving alternative energy uses can have various interactions with climate because climate impacts biomass crop productivity, hydroelectric options, cooling water availability, etc., and the use of energy can impact surface cover, albedo, and climate. Thus climate change, land-use change, and energy use are all linked.

The Team undertakes analyses in order to consider major research needs within the land use-climate change –energy nexus that need to be addressed from the point of view of landscape ecology. Their focus is often at the regional scale because of its crucial interest to policy makers, but sometimes local, national or global analyses are required for key issues. Team members have expertise in environmental science, geography, mathematical modeling, risk assessment, environmental toxicology, geographic information systems and analysis, and statistics. 


Recent projects:

For more information, contact:
Virginia Dale (, 865-576-8043)