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Research & Programs

Geography Department faculty at Portland State University are engaged in research in a variety of areas, including Physical Geography, Human Geography, Geography Information Science, and other special topics. Annual external funding of research totals in excess of $1 million. More information on faculty research interests may be found on their home pages.

Faculty research interests in Physical and Environmental Geography include:  effects of climate change on regional water resources; spatial patterns of urban development and water quality; assessment of ecosystem services in rapidly urbanizing areas; integrated water resources management; hydrogeomorphic impacts of land change on stream channels; ecogeomorphology of dam removal and dike removal; plant biogeography; disturbance ecology and vegetation dynamics; climate-fire-human relationships. 

Faculty research interests in Cultural and Human Geography include:  the role of culture in giving character to places in urban, rural, and overseas locations; how human actions (agriculture, urbanization, resource use) have modified landscapes; analysis of place and landscape; culture history; cultural and political ecology; rural landscapes; urban form; urban natural areas; environmental history and policy; wildland resource management.

Faculty research interests in Geographic Information Science include: design and automation of GIS databases; thematic data extraction from remotely sensed data, spatial and statistical analysis of geographic data; cartographic design and visualization of spatial information; and the development of spatial decision support systems in applications that include emergency response, natural resources management, hydrological modeling, land use and land-cover change, and geographic education.