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Maxwell School
Maxwell / Department of Geography

Environmental Science and Landscape Dynamics

Physical geographers at Syracuse University focus on spatial and temporal aspects of environmental science, with the aim of clarifying the dynamic processes that shape the earth’s landscapes. Faculty conduct research in three broad areas: human and natural disturbance impacts on riparian habitats and forest ecosystems; development of field and analytic techniques for examining recent and Pleistocene environmental change; and climate – land-surface interactions. Recent research projects include paleoenvironmental reconstruction of New York State periglacial conditions; development of methods for identifying periglacial slope processes; analysis of the spatial distribution of western wildfire frequency; investigation of the impacts of wildfire on riparian vegetation; applications of satellite remote sensing to studies of tropical forest structure, demography, and certified forestry; and investigation of spatial image-processing methods for classifying tropical land-cover. Field areas for research include Costa Rica, Brazil, California, Alaska and New York State. The department also houses a state-of-the-art GIS analysis laboratory, and a recently constructed soils, geomorphology and biogeography laboratory.


Jake Bendix (Biogeography, geomorphology, human impacts on vegetation and land forms, media and environmental issues)
Peng Gao (Sediment transport, fluvial geomorphology)
Susan Millar (Physical geography, periglacial geomorphology, microclimatology, Arctic environmental science)
Jane Read (Geographic information systems, remote sensing, tropical environments, land use and land cover change, Latin America)

Related Courses

GEO 215 Global Environmental Change 
GEO 314 Hazardous Geographic Environments 
GEO 316 River Environments 
GEO 317 Mountain Environments 
GEO 318 Tropical Environments 
GEO 319 Cold Environments 
GEO 326 Weather and Climate
GEO 327 Coastal Environments 
GEO 400 Geography of the Anthropocene 
GEO 455 Biogeography 

GEO 583 Environmental GIS 

GEO 750 Seminar in physical geography