Photo of Robert Washington-Allen, Extension

Robert Washington-Allen

Associate Professor


I am interested in the research, teaching, and application of passive and active ground to satellite-based remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) technologies to problems in landscape ecology, physical geography including synecology/biogeography, environmental monitoring, ecological restoration for developing solutions to restoring or maintaining the sustainability of dryland landscapes and their pastoral peoples.


Hamilton Township H.S., 1978
B.S. The Ohio State University, 1983
M.S. Utah State University, 1994
Ph.D. Utah State University, 2003


Courses taught at the University of Tennessee:

GEOG 309: Special Topics: Pastoralism in Drylands, Undergraduate course.

GEOG 413: Introductory Remote Sensing of the Environment, Undergraduate/Graduate course.

GEOG 435: Biogeography, Undergraduate/Graduate course.

GEOG 493: Independent Study, Undergraduate course.

GEOG 494: Undergraduate Research Experience, Undergraduate course.

GEOG 500: Thesis Research, Graduate course.

GEOG 501: Colloquium in Geography, Graduate course.

GEOG 505: Directed Research, Graduate course.

GEOG 506: Directed Research, Graduate course.

GEOG 513: Advanced Remote Sensing, Graduate course.

GEOG 593: Independent Study, Graduate course.

Courses taught at Texas A&M University:

RLEM 314: Rangeland Management Principles Around the World, Undergraduate course.

RLEM 316: Rangeland Communities and Ecosystems, Undergraduate course.

ESSM 462: Advanced GIS for Natural Resources Management, Undergraduate/Graduate course.

ESSM 652: Advanced GIS: Problems in Spatial Modeling, Graduate Course.

ESSM 692: Graduate Independent Research, Graduate Course.

Courses taught at The University of Virginia:

EVSC 410/710: Introductory Remote Sensing, Undergraduate/Graduate course.

Courses taught at National University of Lesotho’s Lesotho Agricultural College, Lesotho, Southern Africa:

Agricultural Mathematics,

Soil Physics & Conservation Management

Principles of Rangeland Science & Management

Agricultural Extension

Honors and Awards

  1. University of Tennessee’s Office of Undergraduate Research Award for an Undergraduate Research Assistantship of $2000 and $250 for materials, Spring 2017
  2. Nominated for Chancellors Honors Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year, 2016-2017
  3. Nominated for Board of Directors of the Society for Range Management 2017
  4. Nominated for 2nd Vice President of the Society for Range Management 2017
  5. Teaching for Impact Grant, Title: Virtual Sandbox ($500), Teaching & Learning Center, University of Tennessee, 2016
  6. Sigma Xi Graduate Student Research Presentation Competition (2nd Place, $100), UT Sigma Xi Chapter, (I am on the PhD Committee of Xiaoyu Lu, who won the award and I am the last author of this presentation) 2015
  7. Southeastern Conference Visiting Faculty Travel Award ($1,000), 2014
  8. Neuhaus-Shepardson Faculty Development Grant ($2000 and $2000), 2011 and 2012
  9. Selected by Ecological Society of America to “Profile of Ecologists” in honor of accomplishments in the field of ecology for the Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting in Savannah, GA 2003
  10. The Don Dwyer Award from the College of Natural Resources, Utah State University for Best Dissertation in the Department of Forest, Range, and Wildlife Sciences, 2002
  11. Best of Session-Plenary for Oral Paper entitled: Dynamical Retrospective Assessment of Rangelands Using Historical Satellite Remote Sensing Imagery presented at the Third International Conference on Geospatial Information in Agriculture and Forestry on 5-7 November, 2001 in Denver, Colorado, 2001
  12. Lockheed Martin Energy Research Co. Research Accomplishment Award, 1999
  13. East Tennessee Chapter of the Society for Technical Publications Award for Scholarly/Professional Article, 1999
  14. ORNL Supplementary Performance Award, 1997 and 1998
  15. Utah State University Minority Graduate Student award for Academic Achievement, 1993
  16. Utah State University Graduate School’s Allen and Alice Stokes Martin Luther King Jr. Minority Fellowship, 1991-1994


University and Department Service

Departmental and College Service at the University of Tennessee:

Geography Search Committee Member for Department Head, Fall 2016 – Spring 2017

Graduate Program Committee Member 2016-2017

Special Events Coordinating Committee 2016-2017

Elected Connections/Global Packages Committee Representative to College of Arts & Sciences Committee 2016 - 2019

Department Representative for Spring Graduation Ceremonies 2016

Department Representative for Fall Graduation Ceremonies 2015

Departmental Colloquium Organizer Fall Semester 2015

Stewart McCroskey Fund Committee, (chair) 2015 - 2016

Stewart McCroskey Fund Committee, (member) 2014 - 2015

Stand-In for Dr. Li to the UT Undergraduate Council, 2014

Faculty Meeting Minutes Recorder 2014 - 2015

Diversity Graduate Recruitment 2014 - present

Robert G. Long Award Masters Committee 2014

Technical Fee Committee member, 2014-present

Claxton Space Coordinator 2013 - present

Graduate Publications Committee 2013

Graduate Specialty Examinations Committee 2013

Burchfiel Geography Space Committee 2013


Departmental and College Service at Texas A&M University

Search Committee member 2008, 2011 for Blackland Research & Extension Center Assistant Professor in Agroecosystems

Search Committee member 2009 Department of Ecosystem Science & Management, Texas A&M University Selection for Integrative Ecosystem Scientist at Associate/Full Professor tenured/tenure track position


Departmental and College Service at Utah State University

Search Committee member 1992 for Dean of Graduate School

Participant/panelist 1991 First and Second African/African-American Summits in Cote d’ Ivoire and Gabon


Professional Service to Government Agency

Grasslands, Rangelands & Pastures Indicator Team 2012-present National Climate Assessment of the US Global Change Program.

Steering Committee of the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, & Medicine and Mexico Academy of Science on Sustainability Science in US-Mexico Border Drylands October 2017 - December 2018

News & Journal Articles, Fact Sheets, Reports...

Fact Sheets
sorghum fallon nevada
Sorghum Production in Nevada
This fact sheet aims to educate it's readers on sorghum as an alternative crop for Nevada, varieties of sorghum, and key considerations for the production of sorghum crops.
Walia, M., Yerka, M., Washington-Allen, R., Andrade-Rodriguez, M., and McCuin, G. 2021, University of Nevada, Reno, FS-21-09
A climate change indicator framework for rangelands and pastures of the USA. D. Ojima, R. Aicher, S. Archer, D. Bailey, S. Casby-Horton, N. Cavallaro, J. Reyes, J. Tanaka, R. Washington-Allen 2020, Climatic Change 163, 1733–1750 (2020)
Quantifying short-term erosion and deposition in an active gully using terrestrial laser scanning: a case study from west Tennessee, USA Y Li, JJ Mcnelis, RA Washington-Allen 2020, Frontiers in Earth Science, Vol 8
Studying Crop Yield Response to Supplemental Irrigation and the Spatial Heterogeneity of Soil Physical Attributes in a Humid Region Haghverdi, A., Leib, B., Washington-Allen, R., Wright W., Ghodsi, S., Grant, T., Zheng, M., Vanchiasong, P. 2019, Agriculture 2019, 9(2), 43
Structural and sedimentological connectivity on a rilled hillslope L. Xiaoyu, Y.K. Li., R.A. Washington-Allen, and Y. Li 2019, Science of The Total Environment Vol. 655, 10 March 2019, Pages 1479-1494
Determining Spread Rate of Kudzu Bug (Hemiptera: Plataspidae) and Its Associations With Environmental Factors in a Heterogeneous Landscape Liang, W., L. Tran, J. Grant, R. Washington-Allen, S. Stewart, and G. Wiggins 2019, Environmental Entomology, Volume 48, Issue 2, April 2019, Pages 309–317
Assessing the Impact of a Geospatial Data Collection App on Student Engagement in Environmental Education Norton, E., Y.K. Li., R.A. Washington-Allen, and L. Reyes-Mason 2019, Education Sciences, v9 Article 118 2019
Prediction of cotton lint yield from phenology of crop indices using artificial neural networks. Haghverdi, A., R.A. Washington-Allen, A., B.G. Leib. 2018, Computers and Electronics in Agriculture 152: 186-197
Predicting the potential invasion of kudzu bug, Megacopta cribraria (Heteroptera: Platspidae) in North and South America and determining its climatic preference. Liang, W.*, L. Tran, R. Washington-Allen, G. Wiggins, S. Stewart, J. Vogt, and J.Grant. 2018, Biological Invasions, Vol 20(10), pp 2899–2913
The effect of pseudo-absence selection method on transferability of species distribution models in the context of non-adaptive niche shift. Liang, W.*, M. Papes, L. Tran, J. Grant, R. Washington-Allen, S. Stewart, and G. Wiggins. 2018, Ecological Modeling 388: 1-9
2018. Structural and sedimentological connectivity on a rilled hillslope. Lu, Xiaoyu*, Y.K. Li., R.A. Washington-Allen, and Y. Li. 2018, Science of the Total Environment 655, 1479-1494.
Tree mortality from an exceptional drought spanning mesic to semiarid ecoregions

Signicant areas of the southern USA periodically experience intense drought that can lead to episodic tree mortality events. Because drought tolerance varies among species and size of trees, such events can alter the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystem in ways that are difficult to detect with local data sets or solely with remote- sensing platforms. We investigated a widespread tree mortality event that resulted from the worst 1-year drought on record for the state of Texas, USA. The drought affected ecoregions spanning mesic to semiarid climate zones and provided a unique opportunity to test hypotheses related to how trees of varying genus and size were affected. The study was based on an extensive set of 599 distributed plots, each 0.16 ha, surveyed in the summer following the drought. In each plot, dead trees larger than 12.7 cm in diameter were counted, sized, and identified to the genus level. Estimates of total mortality were obtained for each of 10 regions using a combination of design-based estimators and calibrated remote sensing using MODIS 1-yr change in normalized difference vegetation index products developed by the U.S. Forest Service. As compared with most of the publicized extreme die-off events, this study documents relatively low rates of mortality occurring over a very large area. However, statewide, regional tree mortality was massive, with an estimated 6.2% of the live trees perishing, nearly nine times greater than normal annual mortality. Dead tree diameters averaged larger than the live trees for most ecoregions, and this trend was most pronounced in the wetter climate zones, suggesting a potential re-ordering of species dominance and downward trend in tree size that was specific to climatic regions. The net effect on carbon storage was estimated to be a redistribution of 24–30 Tg C from the live tree to dead tree carbon pool. The dead tree survey documented drought mortality in more than 29 genera across all regions, and surprisingly, drought resistant and sensitive species fared similarly in some regions. Both angiosperms and gymnosperms were affected. These results highlight that drought-driven mortality alters forest structure differently across climatic regions and genera. 

Moore, G.W., Edgar ,C.B., Vogel, J.B., Washington-Allen, R.A., March, R.G., Zehnder, R. 2016, Ecological Applications 26: 602-611
Estimation of Tree Height, Biomass, and Standing Carbon in Miombo Woodlands Using Radar Interferometry NS Ribeiro, RA Washington-Allen, M Simard, HH Shugart 2020, International Grassland Congress / International Rangeland Congress