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Distinguished Emeritus Professor & Research Professor of Geography, UNC
Emeritus Founding Director, UNC Center for Galapagos Studies & Galapagos Science Center, San Cristobal Island, Galapagos, Ecuador

Dr. Walsh’s research explores questions about social and ecological vulnerability, resilience, and sustainability in diverse settings. His research focuses on three main areas:

  1. Human-Environment Interactions – relationships between environment and population with particular emphasis on the linkages between deforestation, agro-forestry systems, urbanization, tourism, population demographics and socio-economic patterns, household livelihoods, land use/land cover change, social-ecological vulnerability, and island sustainability
  2.  Coupled Human-Natural Systems – the integration of people, place, and environment considered through the lens of Complexity Theory in which nonlinear relationships, feedback mechanisms, emergent behavior, and complex adaptive systems are examined using multi-agent based models and spatial and statistical analyses. The goal is to understand pattern-process relations within the context of a dynamic environment, evolving characteristics of multiple agents, interaction mechanisms, rules of behavior, and scenarios of change
  3. Geographic Methods – remote sensing, GIS & spatial analysis, and modeling approaches within the context of landscape characterization and representation of social and biophysical systems with particular emphasis on the use of spatial models for landscape characterization and simulation of the drivers of land use/land cover change.

Research Projects