College of Science

Department of Applied Environmental Science

AES Lecturer Recognized by Bureau of Land Management

Native bunchgrass in Fort Ord National Monument
Native bunchgrass expansion resulting from focused grazing on the Fort Ord National Monument.
Dr. Burton conducting a survey

Dr. Robert Burton, AES lecturer, was recently recognized at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) National Public Land's Day for his work in Fort Ord National Monument (FONM). Rob teaches Projects in Natural Resource Management and during the past four spring semesters, he and students have worked closely with BLM biologists on management of the expansive grasslands.

Students involved in this collaboration are encouraged to bring their own skills and interests to the development of new approaches to managing natural resources. Over the past four years they have developed some important tools for conducting quantitative analyses that now play an important role in BLM management strategies.

Geospatial model (Kriging) of the FONM grassland experiment area
Geospatial model (Kriging) of the Fort Ord National Monument grassland experiment area. The blues indicate open ground and bunchgrass, the reds indicate dense non-native grasses, and the lighter yellow and orange indicate a transition zone.

Students have conducted extensive statistical and geospatial analyses of shifts in vegetation. They are conducting a large-scale ongoing experiment to quantify shifts from non-native grassland species to native dominated grasslands, as a result of systematic grazing. Students are also working on developing remote sensing capabilities that would enable BLM to identify and monitor shifts in vegetation over time and over a very large area.

This recent work with BLM is just the latest in a long collaboration initiated by AES Faculty member Dr. Suzanne Worcester and others at CSUMB. This collaboration presents students with an incredible opportunity to experience real-world application of their classroom obtained skills and knowledge, through coursework, as interns, and even as employees following graduation. Dr. Burton sees this recognition as acknowledgement of the contribution that the AES community brings to the success of the Fort Ord National Monument.

Thank you for all that you do for CSUMB students and the surrounding community, Dr. Burton!