Public lecture on effects of climate change on national parks

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Public lecture on effects of climate change on national parks

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Published on 16 February 2012

16 February 2012

An expert in how climate change is affecting the national parks of the United States will present a public lecture at the University of the Sunshine Coast tomorrow (Friday 17 February) at 1pm.

Visiting Fulbright Senior Specialist Professor Stephen Walsh will discuss the topic
“climate change in US national parks and the use of Geographic Information Systems
(GIS) and Remote Sensing to measure change”.

The public is welcome to attend the lecture at USC’s Lecture Theatre 6 (Building K) from 1-2.30pm.

Professor Walsh, who has spent the past week inspecting environmentally sensitive areas at Fraser Island and on the Great Barrier Reef, is a Professor of Geography at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill.

He is also the Director of UNC’s Center for Galapagos Studies in Ecuador.

Professor Walsh’s research interests include:

  • Human dimensions of land use/cover change and the consequences of these changes in the Northern Ecuadorian Amazon, the Galapagos Islands and in the Nang Rong District in Thailand;
  • Ecological, biogeographic and geomorphic factors that affect landscape patterns at a host of space-time scales, particularly in the alpine and sub-alpine environments of Glacier National Park, Montana, and the Northern Rocky Mountains; and
  • Landscape characterisation through statistical and spatial analysis approaches.

Professor Walsh’s three-week visit to the University of the Sunshine Coast has been organised by the prestigious Australian-American Fulbright Commission.

A primary objective of his visit is to meet with experts from Australia, Ecuador, South Africa and the United States to form a collaborative research team that will investigate the impacts of climate change on tourism in internationally protected areas.

The planned research team will consider the biophysical and social impacts of climate change on study sites on Fraser Island, the Great Barrier Reef, the Greater Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks (United States), Golden Gate and Kruger National Park (South Africa) and the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador).

— Terry Walsh

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