Gabriela Shirkey

Gabriela  Shirkey
  • Graduate Student
  • Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences


I am an interdisciplinary scientist that collaborates with remote sensing specialists, ecologists, modelers and urban planners. My research requires diverse methodology to answer questions on human-nature interactions. Using the Kalamazoo watershed as my study area, I aim to estimate how historical land use change collectively influences the carbon cycle. This can be addressed through incorporating land change modeling into a customized Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), a framework initially made to determine environmental impact during product creation and termination. In collaboration with colleagues at KBS, GLBRC and MSU’s Kellogg Forest, I will develop a preliminary, spatially-intuitive LCA built upon engineering, geography, agriculture and soil science and other disciplines.

This may provide answers to how historical landscape changes have impacted the carbon balance in our environment and whether or not we can reverse it. Results will indicate where in the decision-making process and land transition we see the largest units of carbon released as well as units of water and energy consumed. This new technology is urgently needed in areas that are considering drastic agricultural expansion at the cost of land use conversion.