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Ranjani Kulawardhana Biography

Dr. Ranjani Kulawardhana
Associate Professor
Carver Complex South Bonner Wing Room 218 C
Phone: (256) 372-4689
Website: Kulawardhana-CV


Research Areas

  • GIS & Remote Sensing
  • Coastal & wetland ecology
  • Vegetation productivity & carbon dynamics
  • Climate change
  • Land-use/ land-cover change & disturbance impacts
  • Environmental health

Research Applications

  • Geospatial mapping and monitoring of vegetation productivity, carbon sequestration, &     ecosystem products & services,
  • Climate- and human-induced disturbance impacts on ecosystem health, productivity, carbon sequestration ability, and land-use/ land-cover change (LULCC)
  • Environmental health with special focus on effects of environmental pollution
  • Geospatial modeling of health disparity outcomes


PhD 2013
Ecosystem Science and Management - Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA

MSc 2007
Integrated Water Resources Management - Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

BSc. 2002
Agriculture (sp. Agric. Biology) – Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka


*denotes students mentored/ advised by Kulawardhana R W


Peer review publications

  • Kulawardhana, R. W., Popescu, S. C. & Feagin, R. A. (2017). Airborne lidar remote sensing applications in non-forested short stature environments: a review. Annals of Forest Research, DOI:10.15287/afr.2016.719.
  • Kulawardhana, R. W., Feagin, R. A., Popescu, S. C., Boutton, T. W., Yeager, K. & Bianchi, T. S. (2015). The role of elevation and relative sea level history in determining carbon distribution in Spartina alterniflora dominated salt marshes. Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, 154, 48-57
  • Gulledge, E. M*., Taimei, T. H*., Kulawardhana. R. W, Fengxiang, X. H., & Tchounwou, P. B. (2015). Impacts of the Deep-Water Horizon Oil Spilling on the Gulf Coastal Salt Marsh and its Carbon Sequestration Capacity. J Bioremed Biodeg, 7, e170
  • Kulawardhana, R. W., Popescu, S. C. & Feagin, R. A. (2014). Fusion of lidar and multi-spectral data to quantify saltmarsh carbon stocks. Remote Sensing of Environment -Special Issue on Remote Sensing of Vegetation Structure, Condition, and Function, 154, 345-357
  • Bianchi, T.S., Allison, M. A., Zhao, J., Li, X., Comeaux, R. S., Feagin R. A. & Kulawardhana, R. W. (2013). Historical reconstruction of mangrove expansion in the Gulf of Mexico: Linking climate change with carbon sequestration in coastal wetlands. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 119 (1), 7–16
  • Hideto, F., Busia, D., Kulawardhana, R. W., Thenkabail, P. & Namara, R. (2011). Features of river flow in inland valleys in semi-deciduous forest zone in Ghana. Transactions of the Japanese Society of Irrigation, Drainage and Rural Engineering, 77 (6), 637-644.
  • Islam, Md. A., Thenkabail, P. S., Kulawardhana, R. W., Alankara, R., Gunasinghe, S., Edussriya, C. & Gunawardana, A. (2008). Semi-automated methods for mapping wetlands using Landsat ETM+ and SRTM data, International Journal of Remote Sensing, 29 (24), 7077 — 7106.
  • Kulawardhana, R. W., Thenkabail, P. S., Vithanage, J., Biradar, C., Islam, Md. A., Gunasinghe, S. & Alankara, R. (2007). Evaluation of the Wetland Mapping Methods using Landsat ETM+ and SRTM Data. Journal of Spatial Hydrology (JoSH), 7(2): 1530-4736.

Book chapters

  • Reeves M, Angerer J, Hunt ER, Kulawardhana W, Loboda T, Loveland T, Metternicht G, Ramsey D Washington-Allen R. (2015). A Global View of Remote Sensing of Rangelands: Evolution, Applications, Future Pathways. In Remote Sensing Handbook. Volume II: Land Resources: Monitoring, Modeling, and Mapping (Thenkabail, P.S. ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press/Taylor & Francis Group
    Papers published in conference proceedings
  • Kulawardhana, R.W., Harris, T. T*. & Gulledge, E. M* (2016). Impacts of natural- and human-induced disturbances on Estuarine Wetland Ecosystems: Case study from Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), Mississippi, USA. Proceedings of the NOAA EPP/MSI 8th Biennial Education and Science Forum, Aug 28-31, New York, USA
  • Harris T.T*., Kulawardhana R.W., Gulledge E. M*., Han F. X. & Tchounwou P B (2016). Spatial patterns and temporal dynamics of Juncus roemerianus dominated wetland vegetation characteristics and carbon stocks of Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Mississippi. Proceedings of the NOAA EPP/MSI 8th Biennial Education and Science Forum, Aug 28-31, New York, USA.
  • Gulledge EM*, Kulawardhana RW, Harris TT*, Johnson TK*, Han FX and Tchounwou P B (2016). Characteristics of soil carbon stocks in the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) wetland ecosystems of the North Gulf of Mexico Region: Geo-spatial modeling approach. Proceedings of the NOAA EPP/MSI 8th Biennial Education and Science Forum, Aug 28-31, in New York, USA.
  • Washington-Allen, Robert A., March, Rosaleen G., McNelis, John J., Roberts, Joseph R., Seiden, Zachariah T., Kulawardhana, Ranjani W., Reeves, Matthew C., and Mitchell, John E. (2015). Examining the causes of US dryland “greening” and their relationships to commercial livestock grazing using time series of LST and NPP satellite data. Proceedings of the 3rd UNCCD Scientific Conference: “Combating desertification/land degradation and drought for poverty reduction and sustainable development: the contribution of science, technology, traditional knowledge and practices” held n 9-12 March in Cancun, Mexico.
  • Kulawardhana, R. W., Robert A. Washington-Allen, Popescu, S. C., Feagin, R. A., & Matt C. Reeves (2012). Regional scale assessment of rangelands degradation and its key drivers using remotely sensed vegetation net primary productivity data. Proceedings of the 4th Int. Conference on Geo-Information Technology for Natural Disaster Management. November 7-8, 2012, Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • Washington-Allen, R. A., Kulawardhana, R. W., Reeves M. C. & J. E. Mitchell (2011). The impact of livestock grazing on US dryland productivity from 2000 to 2006. Proceedings of the IX International Rangeland Congress, Diverse Rangelands for a Sustainable Society, April 2 – 8, 2011, Rosario, Argentina
  • Kulawardhana, R. W., Thenkabail. P.S., Masiyandima, M., Biradar, C.M., Vithanage, J., Finlayson, M., Gunasinghe, S. & Alankara., R. (2006). Evaluation of different methods for delineation of wetlands in the Limpopo river basin using Landsat ETM+ and SRTM data. Proceedings of the first Globwetland Symposium: Looking at wetlands from space held on October 19 – 20 in Frascati, Italy.
  • Thenkabail, P.S., Biradar, C.B., Noojipady, P., Islam, Md. A., Vithanage, J., Velpuri, M., Dheeravath, V., Kulawardhana, R. W., Li, Y.J., Gunasinghe, S. & Alankara, R. (2006). International Water Management Institute’s Data Storehouse Pathway (IWMIDSP): A unique data and knowledge gateway of spatial data with emphasis on river basins. Proceedings of SPIE, Vol. 6418.
  • Kulawardhana, R. W., Dayawansa, N. D. K. & De Silva, R. P. (2004). Determination of spatial and temporal variations of vegetation cover, land surface temperature and rainfall and their relationships over Sri Lanka using NOAA AVHRR data, Tropical Agricultural Research, 16 (1), 282-29 - Proceeding papers

Book reviews

  • Kulawardhana R. W. (2013). Review on the book “Environmental Remote Sensing and Systems Analysis, ed. Ni-Bin Chang, CRC Press, NY”. International Journal of Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, 79 (7), 508-603.
  • Kulawardhana R. W. (2012). Review on the book “Remote sensing and GIS technologies for monitoring and prediction of disasters, ed. Shailesh Nayak and Sisi Zlatanova, Oxford, NY, Springer”. International Journal of Digital Earth, 4(6), 539 – 541.
  • Kulawardhana R. W. (2011). Review on the book “Remote sensing of vegetation: principles, techniques and applications by Hamlyn G. Jones and Robin A Vaughan, Oxford University Press, Oxford, NY”. Journal of Vegetation Science, 22(6), 1–3.
Class Number Class Name Level
NRE 199 Technol in Agric and Bio Sci Undergraduate
NRE 365 Introduction to GIS Undergraduate
NRE 476/576 Remote Sensing for Environment Dual

Contact Us

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Carver Complex South Bonner Wing Room 218 C
Dr. Ranjani Kulawardhana
Associate Professor of RS & GIS

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