Dr. Douglas Shoemaker is the new CAGIS Director of Research and Outreach. Dr. Shoemaker is an innovator in the field of land system science. Co-author of the FUTURES urban growth model, he has worked to establish an empirically-based understanding of how cities evolve using a fusion of ecology, remote sensing and demographics. As Coordinator of the Charlotte (NC) NSF urban long-term research area (ULTRA) pilot study, his team brought private woodland owners and researchers together and created a novel data-stacking approach that revealed motivations for forest persistence despite pressure to develop. In 2012 Douglas was awarded a prestigious IGERT fellowship at Portland State University to study ecosystem services in urbanizing areas. As a result of that experience he has targeted a key challenge facing society today: estimating the potential for landscapes to support expanding human activity and economic development yet sustain the provisioning of essential ecosystem services.
Dr. Shoemaker’s approach is collaborative and transdisciplinary, and his background in ecology, geospatial analysis, and social survey has enabled him to bridge key elements of social and natural science as evidenced by his publication history. Douglas’s strength in developing competitive proposals has arisen in part from his experience in both administration and project management, but also from his ability to synthesize theory from multiple disciplines into actionable research. In outreach and science-based communication he acts as an “honest broker” to inform decision making, and uses simulation, survey and other quantitative techniques to reveal trade-offs between competing values and objectives.