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Publications in VIVO

Balch, Jennifer K.

Associate Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • My research aims to understand the patterns and processes that underlie disturbance and ecosystem recovery, particularly how shifting fire regimes are reconfiguring tropical forests, encouraging non-native grass invasion, and affecting the global climate. My current and future research addresses the following major unsolved questions: 1) What is fire’s role in the Earth system? More specifically, how does fire contribute to global trends of climate warming and how does climate warming promote fire? 2) How are fire regimes altered by invasive species? Particularly, how is an invasive grass-fire cycle established and perpetuated? 3) How is the recent, unprecedented increase in human-initiated fires altering tropical-forest dynamics, and how has this increase in fire frequency changed carbon cycles and the recovery trajectory?


  • ecosystem science, biogeography, fire ecology, tropical biology


selected publications


courses taught

  • GEOG 1001 - Environmental Systems: Climate and Vegetation
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018
    Lect. and lab. Introduces the atmospheric environment of the Earth: elements and controls of climate and their implications for hydrology, vegetation, and soils. Emphasizes distribution of physical features across the Earth's surface and interactions between humans and their environment, especially those leading to global change on the decade to century time scale.
  • GEOG 5100 - Special Topics: Geography
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2020
    Covers various topics outside of the normal curriculum; offered intermittently depending on student demand and availability of faculty. May be repeated up to 9 total credit hours.
  • GEOG 5241 - Topics in Physical Geography
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018
    Presents recent research topics that vary from year to year. Consult the online Schedule Planner for specific topics. May be repeated up to 6 total credit hours.
  • GEOG 6950 - Master's Thesis
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019 / Spring 2020 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2021 / Spring 2024
    Instructor consent required.


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