My research interests include the exploration of geospatial data to describe and characterize biophysical phenomena and the interactions with society.  One of my focus areas is biomass burning, specifically wildland fires, in a changing physical and social environment.  I explore methods to estimate biomass burning emissions and fuel consumption using satellite and in-situ estimates of fire energy.  The goal is to provide both localized and synoptic level information about how fire is changing in time and space. 

I am a Joint Polar Satellite System (NOAA and NASA) Suomi NPP science team member tasked with VIIRS Active Fire product calibration and evaluation.  I have been the Principle Investigator for NOAA's Proving Ground and Risk Reduction (PGRR) project focused on the VIIRS AF products.  The purpose of this project is to couple capacity building with the wildland fire research and operations communities while simultaneously conducting product evaluation.   

An additional component of my research is focused on investigating land-cover and land-use change as a result of globalized teleconnections of commodities trade and the phenomenon referred to as Large-Scale Land Acquisitions (LSLA). Funded by NASA, our project explores the pace and breadth of change and the impacts these changes may have on the landscape and people.

From exploring wildland fire disturbance in a changing climate to investigating the drivers of land cover change, my research is multidisciplinary and multi-scale and incorporates the latest geospatial science to examine timely topics that span the physical and human dimensions of geography.

Areas of Interest

  • Satellite based estimates of fire radiative energy and associated biomass burning emissions
  • Fire ecology and consequences of a changing climate
  • Land cover and land use change, in particular the interrelationships with climate and sustainability


  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Environmental Science, SUNY Albany
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Geography, SUNY Albany
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Geography, University of Maryland
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    GIS Graduate Certificate, University of Maryland
Teaching Philosophy
My teaching philosophy is one of humility. It is important to remember that even as a teacher I continue to learn, especially from my students. I constantly learn new facets of my subject matter (e.g. climate change or sustainability) from students engaging me in dialogue and taking an active role in their learning process. For example, last semester during my Climate, Land Use, and Sustainability course (GEOG 415) I encouraged students to stay abreast of emerging research and news, not just covering the class subject matter, but beyond to topics such as politics, natural disasters, and economic patterns. I suggested that they look for connections with these topics and what was being discussed in class and was pleasantly surprised as the semester continued to have students adding insight, material, and debate to the course topics.

I am interested in the application of geospatial technologies (e.g. remotely sensing, GIS, big data) to investigate the interactive and dynamic nature of landscape ecology and interactions with humans. Incorporating spatial analysis tools along with in situ measurements I am particularly interested in examining wildland fire. I also seek to understand how patterns of wildfire and land use may vary with climate change and anthropogenic influence.

  • Chair - College of Behavioral and Social Science (BSOS) Sustainability Committee (2016 - )
  • UMD Senator (2016 – 2019)
  • UMD Senate Executive Committee member (2016-2017)
  • Faculty advisor for the BSOS Sustainability Task Force (STF) in 2017-18
Evan Ellicott
4600 River Rd, Suite 313 (send mail to 2181 LeFrak)
Department of Geographical Sciences
ellicott [at]