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Don Nelson

UGA Arch
Graduate Coordinator

My goal is to pursue research that enhances our abilities to resolve complex social and environmental issues. I have worked extensively in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a particular focus in Northeast Brazil and the Brazilian Amazon. I have been involved with work in Africa including the countries of Mozambique, Angola, and The Comoros. I also study land use histories in the Southern U.S. Recently, I have focused on climate-change vulnerability research. With a team of researchers, our work moves beyond incremental adaptation, and explores options for transformative adaptation to ensure sustainability within our societies. We highlight current challenges and provide recommendations for the SocioEnvironmental research community. 

Research Interests:
  • Risks of human-environment interactions  
  • Land-use histories 
  • Global Infrastructure investment 
  • Global climate and environmental change 
  • Sustainability 
  • Imaging spectroscopy 
  • SocioEnvironmental (SES) research 
  • Remote sensing data 
  • Drought vulnurability 
  • Water management 
Selected Publications:

Nelson, D.R., B. Bledsoe, S. Ferreira, and N. Nibbelink. 2020. The Potential of Nature-based Solutions for water sustainability. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.45:49-55.

De Azevedo Reis, G., F.A. de Souza Filho, D.R. Nelson, R.V. Rocha and S.M.O. da Silva (2020). Development of a vulnerability to drought index using MCDM and GIS. Natural Disasters.

Nelson, D.R., Bledsoe, B., and M Shepherd. 2020. From hubris to humility: Transcending original sin in managing hydroclimate risk management. Anthropocene.

Chin, A., X. Cui, L. Gillson, D.R. Nelson, M. P. Taylor, V. Vanacker and E. Wang (2020). "Anthropocene in an age of pandemics." Anthropocene.

King, E., Nelson, D.R., and J.R. McGreevy. 2019. Advancing the integration of ecosystem services and livelihood adaptation. Environmental Research Letters.

Coughlan, M and D.R. Nelson. 2019. Geostatistical analysis of historical contingency and land use footprints in the prehistoric settlement dynamics of the South Carolina Piedmont, North America. Journal of Archaeological Science 107:1-9.

Unks, R., King, E., Nelson, D.R., Wachira, N.P., and L. German. 2019. Constraints, multiple stressors, and stratified adaptation: pastoralist livelihood vulnerability in a semi-arid wildlife conservation context in Central Kenya. Global Environmental Change. 54:124-134.

Unks, R., King, E., German, L. Wachira, N.P., and D.R. Nelson. 2019. Unevenness in scale mismatches: institutional change and pastoralist livelihoods in Laikipia, Kenya. Geoforum. 99:74-87.

Maione, C., Nelson, D.R., and R.M. Barbosa. 2019. Research on social data by means of cluster analysis. Applied Computing and Informatics. 15(2):153-162. doi:10.1016/j.aci.2018.02.003

Coughlan, M., and D.R. Nelson. 2018. Legacy effects of prehistoric Native American niche construction on Euro-American settlement in the South Carolina Piedmont. PLOS ONE. 13(3): e0195036.

Delaney, A., T. Evans, J. McGreevy, J. Blekking, T. Schlachter, K. Korhonen-Kurki, P. A. Tamás, T. A. Crane, H. Eakin, W. Förch, L. Jones, D.R. Nelson, C. Oberlack, and M. Purdon. 2018. Governance of food systems across scales in times of social-ecological change: a review of indicators." Food Security 10(2): 287-310.




PhD, Anthropology (with minor in Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis), University of Arizona, 2005

Articles Featuring Don Nelson
Monday, August 23, 2021 - 10:15am

Congratulations to Dr. Don Nelson on receiving a grant from the National Science Foundation for project titled, "Landscape Exchange Network for Socio-environmental systems (LENS)!" Dr.

Friday, October 16, 2020 - 1:19pm

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the University of Georgia (UGA) recently announced a partnership that connects the interdisciplinary expertise of UGA’s Institute for Resilient Infrastructure Systems (IRIS), with the vast on-the-ground experience of…

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