Develop new approaches to measure, evaluate and predict landscape and forest spatial patterns and their implications for resource management. Current research focuses on multi-scale approaches from image processing, mathematical morphology, and graph theory. Conduct regional-to-global scale assessments of landscape patterns including forest fragmentation in support of United States commitments to national and international environmental reporting. Current research supports the United States Resource Planning Act (RPA), the international Montreal Process (MPCI), and various other governmental and non-governmental assessment processes. Develop approaches to harmonize landscape pattern assessment and management across disciplinary, legal, and scale boundaries. Current research focuses on national and international harmonization of status and trends indicators for forest, range, agriculture, and urban systems estimated from satellite imagery and land-cover maps.
The assessments produced by this research satisfy legislated and agency requirements for national and international monitoring and reporting of the status and trends of forest conditions nationwide. The tools and techniques developed by this research permit satisfying the above goal in a timely and efficient manner. The basic research in quantitative landscape ecology develops insights to prioritize particular tools and techniques for development.
Kurt Riitters is a research ecologist and the team leader of Eastern Threat Center staff located in Research Triangle Park, NC, as well as Adjunct Professor of Forestry at North Carolina State University. He joined the USDA Forest Service Forest Health Monitoring Program in 2000 after fifteen years of research in quantitative forest ecology, monitoring, and assessment with three Federal Agencies and in forest industry. He has authored more than 75 peer-reviewed journal articles and has received awards for pioneering research in landscape ecology. His current research focus is on national- to global-scale assessments of landscape patterns from remotely sensed land-cover maps, and his work has appeared in many environmental reports including the Millennium Assessment, the Official Atlas of the United States, and the State of the Nation’s Ecosystems. He is the USDA Forest Service national leader of landscape pattern and forest fragmentation research for the Resource Planning Act (RPA) and Montreal Process assessments. He serves on the editorial board of the journal Landscape Ecology and is co-director of the Center for Landscape Pattern Analysis. He is past President of the United States Chapter of the International Association for Landscape Ecology, and currently Deputy Chairman for North America for the Landscape Ecology Working Group of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations.