Janet Franklin

Janet Franklin, Distinguished Professor and Distinguished Biogeographer

Department of Botany and Plant Sciences
University of California - Riverside
900 University Ave
Riverside CA 92521

Dept Phone: (951) 827-4619

E-mail: Janet.Franklin@ucr.edu
Faculty Web Page 

I joined the faculty at UCR in Summer 2017.  

Research Interests

I use geospatial data and spatial analytical tools to study the past, present and future distributions of biodiversity and ecosystems in relation to the physical environment, ecological processes and human impacts, focusing on patterns and dynamics of terrestrial plant communities.  My work addresses the impacts of natural disturbance and human-caused landscape change on landscapes. Combining statistical modelling, computer simulation, geospatial data and spatial analysis with field work, my colleagues and I have found that:

  • remote sensing-based estimates of tree and shrub cover in arid rangelands reveal the disproportionate contribution of woody plants to ecosystem processes and services (nutrient and water cycling, livestock grazing) in Africa and the American Southwest
  • in the California biodiversity hotspot, natural fire regimes altered by human activities can profoundly affect long-term dynamics of ecological communities, causing state changes (shrubland to grassland, for example). Both increases and decreases in fire frequency occurring in the same region as a result in spatial variation in human activities can have devastating consequences for biodiversity and ecosystem services in a mosaic of natural communities that would otherwise be resilient to natural disturbance
  • by developing novel linkages among advanced methods and models that address processes at different scales (ecological populations, species ranges, land use, land forms, regional and global climate), my work has revealed new insights about synergies among human impacts (land use change, altered disturbance regimes, climate change, invasive species) leading to habitat loss and species decline. Only by considering these factors together can it be determined which has the greatest impact, which factors may amplify effects of others (for example urban growth and climate change), and which may have meliorating effects
  • This interdisciplinary approach has provided both new insights into the role of prehistoric humans in shaping ecological communities in the Pacific and Caribbean islands, and powerful forecasting tools for managing contemporary landscapes in the face of global change in the 21st century

Please see Research Projects for more details about these and other ongoing research in my lab.


Janet's Publications

Recent News

Janet Franklin elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences  read more

Janet Franklin elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science read more

Janet Franklin appointed as Regents' Professor at ASU read more and here

Janet Franklin elected a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America read more and here

Janet Franklin elected to National Academy of Sciences read more

Short Biographical Sketch

Janet Franklin is a Distinguished Professor and Biogeographer in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences, University of California at Riverside. She is a biogeographer who grew up, studied, and worked in California, USA. She received her PhD in geography in 1988 from University of California, Santa Barbara, for her dissertation on remote sensing of woody vegetation structure in West Africa. She was then appointed to the faculty of San Diego State University where she spent 20 years, teaching and researching conservation of natural resources, biophysical remote sensing, plant ecology and landscape ecology. Prior to moving to UC Riverside she was a Regents' Professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University. 

She expanded her work to encompass conservation biogeography as well as build on her early foundations in plant community ecology. She is an expert on species distribution modeling.

Her research emphasizes patterns and dynamics of terrestrial (land) plant communities at the landscape scale. Her work addresses the impacts of human-caused landscape change on the environment.  Human land use, and other large-scale human impacts such as climate change and the introduction of exotic species, often interact with natural disturbance regimes such as fire, flooding and hurricanes, to shape plant community dynamics. How resilient are ecological communities to these combined impacts?  Terrestrial plant communities are important elements of regional biodiversity and support charismatic animal and rare plant species. In recent years her research has been located in California, the Caribbean and South Africa.

Janet has published more than 135 papers and book chapters, authored one book and co-edited one book. She has supervised many Masters and PhD students, several of whom are now tenured university professors. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Curriculum Vitae

My CV in PDF format is here: 

Janet Franklin,
Jul 20, 2017, 12:19 PM