Gund Fellow, Research Associate Professor, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources

Dr. Gillian L. Galford is a Research Associate Professor in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, as well as a Fellow of the Gund Institute for Environment at the University of Vermont. Gillian serves as Coordinator of the Geospatial Technologies Minor.

As an ecosystems ecologist and earth system scientist, Gillian studies land-cover and land-use change in the tropics and its impacts, particularly on greenhouse gas emissions and the water cycle.  Gillian works across scales, from plot level studies on farms to regional analyses through remote sensing and ecosystems modeling. Land cover changes of interest include deforestation in the Amazon and hurricane damage to Cuban mangroves—and associated impacts on the environment. In Brazilian agroecosystems, Gillian studies the bottom-up impacts of land use management on large commercial farms to inform sustainable practices. In smallholder farming settings like Malawi and Vermont, USA, her work focuses on resilience in the face of increased precipitation variability. Gillian leads the Vermont Climate Assessment and collaborates with state and national level sustained assessments.

Strong partnerships and collaborations are a hallmark of Gillian’s work. Her colleagues represent universities in the USA, Brazil and Cuba, NGOs (Imflora, Ceres, IFPRI), international research organizations (CCAFS, IPAM) and government institutions (USAID, Vermont agencies). Gillian maintains active research projects funded by NASA, NSF, USDA and private foundations.

Gillian holds a B.A. in Earth & Planetary Sciences with a double major in Environmental Studies (social science track) from Washington University in St. Louis. She holds a Ph.D. from Brown University where she studied ecosystems ecology and remote sensing through the Brown-MBL Joint Program with a focus on remote sensing and ecosystems ecology through the Brown-MBL Joint Program in Environmental Science and Biology. Previously, Gillian was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Earth Institute of Columbia University and the Woods Hole Research Center.

Gillian Galford in the News



  • K.J. Jankowski^, C. Neill, E.A. Davidson, M.N. Macedo, C. Costa Jr^, G.L. Galford, L. Maracahipes*, P. Lefebvre, D. Nunes, C.E.P. Cerri, R.M. McHorney, C. O’Connell*­, M.T. Coe (2018). Fate of nitrogen fertilizer in intensive soybean-maize tropical cropland in Mato Grosso, Brazil. Scientific Reports 8:13478 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-31175-1
  • U. Grewer, J. Nash^, N. Gurwick, L. Bockel, G.L. Galford, M. Richards, C. Costa Junior^, J. White, G. Pirolli, E.  Wollenberg (2018). Analyzing the greenhouse gas impact of smallholder development actions across a global food security program. Environmental Research Letters DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/aab0b0
  • A.B. Adams*, J. Pontius, G.L. Galford, S.C. Merrill, D. Gudex-Cross* (2018). Modeling carbon storage across a heterogeneous mixed temperate forest: the influence of forest type specificity on regional-scale carbon storage estimates. Landscape Ecology DOI: 10.1007/s10980-018-0625-0
  • G.L. Galford, M. Fernandez, J. Roman, I. Monasterolo, S. Ahamed*, G. Fiske, P. González, L. Kaufman (2018). Cuban land use and conservation, from rainforests to coral reefs. Bulletin of Marine Science 94(2): DOI: 10.5343/bms.2017.1026.
  • L.J. Sonter^, D. Herrera^, D.J. Barrett, G.L. Galford, C.J. Moran, B.S. Soares-Filho (2017). Mining drives extensive deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Nature Communications 8:1013. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00557-w
  • M. Jain*, P. Mondal^, G.L. Galford, G Fiske, R.S. DeFries (2017). An Automated Approach to Map Winter Cropped Area of Smallholder Farms across Large Scales Using MODIS Imagery. Remote Sensing 9(6): 566.
  • G. Galford, J. Nash*, A.K. Betts, S. Carlson*, A. Hoogenboom*, D. Markowitz, A. Nash, E. Palchak*, S. Pears*, K.L. Underwood* (2016). Bridging the climate information gap: A framework for engaging knowledge brokers and decision makers in state climate assessments. Climatic Change 138(3-4), 383-395.
  • A. Zia, A. Bomblies, A.W. Schroth, C. Koliba, P.D.F. Isles, Y. Tsai^, I.N. Mohammed, G. Bucini^, P.J. Clemins, S. Turnbull, M. Rodgers, A. Hamed, B. Beckage, J. Winter, C. Adair, G.L. Galford, D. Rizzo, J. Van Houten (2016). Coupled impacts of climate and land use change across a river-lake continuum: insights from an integrated assessment model of Lake Champlain’s Missisquoi Basin, 2000-2040. Environmental Research Letters 11(11).
  • K. Bryan*, T.H. Ricketts, G. Galford, S. Polasky, J. O’Niel-Dunne (2016). Avoided flood damages on the Otter Creek, VT: Impacts of intact wetland complexes. Ecological Economics 130, 16-24.
  • S. Spera*, G.L. Galford, M.T. Coe, M.N. Macedo, J.F. Mustard (2016). Land-use change affects water recycling in Brazil’s Last Agricultural Frontier. Global Change Biology 22(10), 3405-3413.
  • P. Mondal^, M. Jain*, M. Zukowski, G. Galford, R.S. DeFries (2016). Quantifying fluctuations in winter productive cropping area in the Central Indian Highlands. Regional Environmental Change 16(1), 69-82. DOI 10.1007/s10113-016-0946-y
  • G. Galford, B.S. Soares-Filho, N. Laporte, L. Sonter^ (2015). Will Passive Protection Save Congo Forests? PLoS ONE 10(6) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128473

NOTE: Mentoring and teaching collaborations are indicated with (*) for a graduate student and (^) for a postdoctoral researcher at the time of collaboration

Associations and Affiliations

  • Coordinator | Geospatial Technologies Minor, 2017-pres.
  •  Fellow | Gund Institute for Environment, 2017-pres.
  •  Faculty | Food Systems Graduate Program, 2018-pres.
  •  Sustainability Faculty Fellow, 2012-pres.
  •  Steering Committee | Food Systems Initiative, 2013-2017
  •  Fellow | Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, 2012-2017

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Environmental Sustainability, Ecosystems Ecology, Nitrogen and Carbon Cycling, Greenhouse Gases, Remote Sensing, Ecosystems Modeling, Land-cover and Land-use Change, Tropical Agriculture


  • PhD, Biological & Environmental Sciences, Brown University
  • BA, Earth & Planetary Sciences, Environmental Studies, Washington University


  • 802 656-2906
Office Location:

Farrell Hall, 210 Colchester Ave