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My interests center on understanding humans and their interactions with the environment.


Through studies of land change science, sustainability, and natural resource management, my research contributes to improved understanding of how the relationships between people and the environment change over time and across space.


I am particularly interested in the social and ecological impacts of land use decisions in spaces where agriculture and conservation overlap.


Much of my work is necessarily interdisciplinary, drawing from many fields of study, to analyze changes over multiple scales. I use geospatial technologies, remote sensing, and integrated mixed methodological approaches to develop understandings of people, place, and the environment.


My work has regional foci on southern Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Visiting positions at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory have contributed to the development of research endeavours with a geographic focus on the U.S. 

My research has been funded by NASA, SSRC, Fulbright Program, and National Geographic, and published in Remote Sensing and the Environment, Applied Geography, LAND, Ecological Applications and WIRES Climate Change.


In 2016, I received the UCCS College of Letters Arts & Sciences Research and Creative Work Award, and in 2018 I received the UCCS Campus Excellence in Research Award. In 2022, I was honoured to be selected as

CU - President's Teaching Scholar. The University of Colorado President's Teaching Scholars Program (CU-PTSP), starting in 1989, has selected members from the four CU campuses whose work demonstrates excellence in teaching and research.



*(Student Co-Author)

Biermann, C. and Gibbes, C. (accepted). Mixed methods in tension: lessons for and from the research process. In The Field Guide of Mixed Methods Research, Eds. Lave and Lane, Open Book, University of Cambridge.


Hopkins, A. L., Gibbes, C., Díaz, A. I., and Jimenez-Osornio, J. (accepted). Food Security and the Viability of Yucatec Maya Sustainable Traditional Subsistence Strategies. In Transformations of Global Food Systems, Eds. P. Gadhoke, CRC Press/Taylor & Francis Group.


Gibbes, C., and Skop, E. (2020). The Messiness of Co-Produced Research with Gatekeepers of Resettled Refugee Communities. Journal of Cultural Geography, 37(3), 278-295.


Gibbes, C., Hopkins, A. L., *Díaz, A. I., and Jimenez-Osornio, J. (2018). Defining and measuring sustainability: a systematic review of studies in rural Latin America and the Caribbean. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 1, 1-22.


Morris, P., Gibbes, C., and Jennings, S. (2018). Student Veteran Education Pathways in Geography. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 1-17.


Klenk, N., *Fiume, A., Meehan, K., and Gibbes, C. (2017). Local knowledge in climate adaptation research: moving knowledge frameworks from extraction to co-production. WIRES Climate Change, 8 (5).


Gibbes, C., Havlick, H., and Robb, J. (2017). Land Use and Land Cover in a Transitioning Militarized Landscape. Journal of Land Use Science, 12, 182-196.


Armenteras, D., Gibbes, C., *Anaya J., and Dávalos L. (2017). Integrating remotely sensed fires for predicting deforestation for REDD+. Ecological Applications, 27, 1294-1304.


Holder, C., and Gibbes, C. (2017). Influence of leaf and canopy characteristics on rainfall interception and urban hydrology. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 62, 182-190.


Southworth, J., Nagendra, H., Ryan, S., Gibbes, C., Herrero, H., and Bunting, E. (2017). Protected Areas, Climate Change and Ecosystem Sustainability. In Remote Sensing Applications for Societal Benefits. Eds. Dr. S. Walsh and S. Liang. Elsevier.


Hill, M.J., Zhou,Q., Sun, Q., Schaaf, C.B., Southworth, J., Mishra, N. B., Gibbes, C., Bunting,E., Christiansen, T.B., and Crews, K.A. (2016). Dynamics of the relationship between NDVI and SWIR32 vegetation indices in southern Africa: implications for retrieval of fractional cover from MODIS data. International Journal of Remote Sensing 37, 1476-1503.


Armenteras, D., Gibbes, C., Vivacqua, C.A., *Espinosa, J.S., Duleba, W., Goncalves, F. and Castro, C., (2016). Interactions between Climate, Land Use and Vegetation Fire Occurrences in El Salvador. Atmosphere, 7(2), p.26.


Gibbes, C., Southworth, J., Waylen, P., Child, B. (2014). Climate variability as a dominant driver of post-disturbance savanna dynamics. Applied Geography, 53, 389-401.


Waylen, P., Southworth, J., Gibbes, C., Tsai, H. (2014). Time series analysis of land cover change: Developing statistical tools to determine significance of land cover changes in persistence analyses. Remote Sensing, 6, 4473-4497.


*Schindling, J., and Gibbes, C. (2014).  LiDAR as a Tool for Archaeological Research: A Case Study. Archaeological and Anthropological Science, 1, 1-13.


Cassidy, L., Southworth, J., Gibbes, C., and Binford, M. (2013). Beyond classifications: combining continuous and discrete approaches to better understand land cover change within the Lower Mekong River Region. Applied Geography, 39, 26-45.


Gibbes, C., Cassidy, L., Hartter, J., and Southworth J.  (2012). The monitoring of land cover change and management across gradient landscapes in Africa. In Human-Environment Interactions: current and future directions, Eds. E. S. Brondizio and E. F. Moran, Springer, New York. pp 165-209.


Gaughan, A., Stevens, F.R., Gibbes, C., Southworth, J., and Binford, M. (2012). Linking vegetation response to seasonal precipitation in the Okavango-Kwando-Zambezi catchment of southern Africa. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 33, 6783-6804.


Hopkins, A., Gibbes, C., Inurreta, A., Rojas, R. (2012). Linking Remote Sensing, Census and Interview Data to Understand Forest Transitions in the Southern Cone of the State of Yucatan, Mexico. Ethnobotany Research and Application, 10, 1-13.


Gibbes, C., Southworth J., Adhikari, S. (2010). Utility of Object Oriented Classification and High Resolution Satellite Imagery for Savanna Ecosystem Analysis. Remote Sensing, 2, 2748-2772.


Gibbes, C., Keys, E. (2010). The illusion of equity: Community based natural resource management in southern Africa. Geography Compass, 4, 1324-1338.

Gibbes, C., Southworth J., Keys E. (2009). Wetland conservation: change and fragmentation in Trinidad’s protected areas. Geoforum, 40, 91-104.



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Shelby Tibuni

Shelby began the GES MA program in January 2023 and is interested in urban ecosystems and the environmental impacts of recreational trail use. Shelby recently received the Pat Tillman Scholarship. 

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Erinn Pablo

Erinn’s MA work focuses on the use of remote sensing and GIS to understand social inequities in Colorado Springs. She is particularly interested in gentrification and the impact of gentrification on low-income members of the community. Erinn is a Colorado Springs native and enjoys expected to graduate in spring 2024.

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Nicholas Miller

Nick's research will focus on the use of remote sensing to study social unrest. He began the graduate program in fall 2022 and plans to complete his thesis and graduate by spring 2024.


Erylin Serra-Ward

Erylin’s MA thesis examines the use of photography to understand perceptions of urban sustainability. Her interests include sustainability, citizen science and geospatial technologies. Erylin is expected to graduate in spring 2022.

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Kate Wright

Kate’s MA thesis “Deforestation Narratives and Forest Use Realities of the Anjozorobe-Angavo Forest Corridor Protected Area” combined the use of field and remotely sensed data to quantify forest change in Madagascar. Kate’s  research was funded by a grant (PI, Gibbes) from the Global Intercultural Research Center . Kate graduated in 2017 and is a project coordinator for the International Rescue Committee.


Mackenzie Pylate

Mackenzie  began the GES MA program in August 2023. More information coming soon.


Jesse Miller

Jesse’s research was funded by the Undergraduate Research Academy at UCCS. His work relies on geospatial science to understand wetland changes in Mexico. Jesse graduated in 2017 and now works as a GIS Specialist for Jones & DeMIlle Engineering.


Deanna Gerweck

Deanna’s work explored spatio-temporal patterns of fires in California. Deanna graduated in 2013, worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, and is currently pursuing her PhD.


Bret Bellizio

Bret’s MA thesis was titled “Wildlife Population Estimation Utilizing Satellite Imagery”. He graduated in 2013 and is currently Lieutenant Colonel, ARNORTH SSTO Chief. Bret continues to engage with UCCS students through guest presentations where he shares expertise related to disaster management.



New content coming soon.

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