Mark D. O. Adams

My past courses at UNE have included: Geospatial Information & Technology I & II;  Human Traditions; and Introduction to Environmental Issues.  I have advised GIS internships for undergraduates from Environmental Studies and related majors.

During the 2016-2017 academic year, I am serving as an ORISE (Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Engineering) research fellow with the U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, located in Portland, OR.

For my fellowship I am leading a multi-state analysis of hazardous fuels reduction (HFR) activities implemented by the USFS between 2006 and 2015, and the environmental justice implications of those activities.  Specifically, I am investigating whether beneficial wildfire hazard risk reductions achieved by successful HFR activities are equitably distributed among the communities that neighbor a national forest.  The analysis focuses on national forests in central Oregon and Washington, northern California, and northern Arizona.  The subject national forests include some defined primarily by amenity recreation / vacation home economies in the vicinity of Bend, OR; Lake Tahoe; and Flagstaff, AZ; and adjacent forests that were historically important timber-producers. 


Ph.D., Geography

University of Wisconsin-Madison


M.S., Land Resources

University of Wisconsin-Madison



Rice University


B.A., Architecture and Art History

Rice University



ORISE Reseach Fellow

U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station




GIS; land use / land cover change; planning and land use policy; demographic change; environmental history


Current Research

Adams, M.D.O., and S. Charnley.  Environmental justice implications of hazardous fuels reduction activities by the U.S. Forest Service.   This U.S. government contract-funded multi-year project includes the development of a GIS methodology facilitativing comparative analysis of rural demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau and forest management activity data (FACTS) from the U.S. Forest Service, and subsequent application of the method to a sample of ten national forests in four western states: AZ, CA, OR, and WA.  Significant methodological development was necessary to render Census and USFS data suitable for spatial statistical analysis, particularly due to high error margins and poor spatial characterization of rural area populations in the Census.  The methodology and pilot results are currently in review by the journal Applied Geography.   Analysis is underway of national forests on the eastern Cascades of Washington and Oregon, and the northern Sierra Nevada of California.  These forests share high proportions of frequent-fire-recurrence forest types and high levels of HFR activity.   Additional analysis is forthcoming on national forests in the ponderosa pine belt of northern Arizona.  

Adams M.D.O., J. Kline and A. Yeakley. Land-cover change in stream corridors, metropolitan Portland, OR, USA: comparing spatial change trends under two state-mandated growth management regimes.  This seed-funded project is an initial GIS analysis of 2001-2011 land cover change in the greater Portland, Oregon metropolitan area, comparing the rate of land cover conversion within riparian corridors in the Oregon and Washington portions of the metro area.  We seek to identify whether the two states' differing approaches to surface water management and land development have differential impacts on land cover conversion adjacent to surface waters, and determine what the implications for stormwater and ecological aspects of urban stream management may be.  The project is on hold pending completion of the hazardous fuels / environmental justice contract award cited above.  Ultimately, with the release of the 2016 National Land Cover Dataset products, this project is projected to expand to encompass a 1994-2016 time span, which reaches back to the era in which Oregon implemented statewide growth management, but Washington was only begining to do so.   The target journal for our findings is Landscape and Urban Planning.

Adams M.D.O. and M.M. Steen-Adams. Historical ecology of forest landscape change in the Ponderosa Pine belt, eastern Cascade Range, central Oregon, 1930-2010.  We are editing and cross-walking previously digitized land survey maps made of Oregon forest resources in 1936-38 and 1947-54, to facilitate direct analysis of forest cover class change between the early foresrt harvest era for the east side of the Oregon Cascades (circa 1925-1935), the intensive forestry era (circa 1950-1975), and the ecosystem management era (post-1995).  We use a gradient-nearest-neighbor model of forest cover constructed by the Forest Service to describe current conditions circa 2008 for the third set of forest land cover data.  This analysis is temporarily on hold pending the completion of projects listed above.  It is a complementary project to environmental historical research conducted by Professor Michelle Steen-Adams on the remarkable management history of the working forests of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation in central Oregon.  The target journal for our results is. Landscape Ecology



Research Interests

Spatial analysis of demographic, land cover, and resource management data in GIS

Policy analysis of land use planning and public lands resource management

Environmental justice

Civic environmentalism

Environmental history

Selected Publications


Steen-Adams, M.M., N.E. Langston, M.D.O. Adams, and D.J. Mladenoff. 2015. A historical framework to characterize long-term CHANS feedbacks: Application to a multiple-ownership landscape in the northern Great Lakes region, USA.  Ecology and Society 20 (1): 28

Steen-Adams, M.M., S. Charnley, and M.D.O. Adams.  In press.  Historical evolution of institutions and wildfire management in a multiownership, fire-frequent social-ecological system, Oregon, USA.  Ecology and Society

Morgan, P. and M.D.O. Adams.  In press.  Tidal marshes in the Saco River estuary, Maine: a study of plant diversity and possible effects of shoreline development.  Rhodora

Adams, M.D.O. and S. Charnley.  In review.  Environmental Justice and Forest Service hazardous fuels reduction: a spatial method for impact assessment of federal resource management actions.  Applied Geography

Other Scholarly Activity

Conference presentations:

Adams, M.D.O. and S. Charnley.  Mapping the environmental justice implications of U.S. Forest Service hazardous fuels reduction activities.  Association of Pacific Coast Geographers, Portland, OR, October 2016.

Steen-Adams, M.M., M.D.O. Adams, and S. Charnley. Historical evolution of hazard fuels management practices by National Forest, tribal, and private industrial owner classes in the eastern Cascades range, Oregon.  International Association for Landscape Ecology, Portland, OR, July 2015.

Steen-Adams, M.M., M.D.O. Adams, D. Weyermann, S. Charnley and T. Spies. Influence of ownership on historic fire, forest management, and forest landscape change (1935-1955) in the eastside Cascades of Oregon: a coupled human and natural systems (CHANS) analysis.  International Association for Landscape Ecology, Anchorage, AK, May 2014.

Steen-Adams, M.M. and M.D.O. Adams.  State of Maine- Federal Interactions over Maine coastal resources: A comparison of engagement with the Federal Emergency Relief Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act. New England History Association (NEHA), University of New England, Biddeford, ME, October 2010.

Adams, M.D.O.  The Limits of Civic Environmentalism for Urban Re-configuration: Boulder, Colorado, 1959-2001.  Session: Neoliberal urban-environmental reconfigurations I: Civic environmentalism and governance. Association of American Geographers, Boston, MA, April 2008.  Session organizer: Dr. James McCarthy, Geography, Pennsylvania State University

Adams, M.D.O.  The Prospects of Civic Environmentalism for Effective Environmental Policy: The Case of Land Use Planning in Boulder, Colorado, 1950-2000. American Society for Environmental History, Boise, ID, March 2008.

Adams, M.D.O.  Planning the Green City? Planning Policy, Demographic Change and the Cultural Landscape. American Society for Environmental History, Victoria, BC, CANADA, April 2004.

Adams, M.D.O.  Local Growth Management: Environmental Protection, Social Exclusion, Both, or Neither? Association of American Geographers, Philadelphia, PA, March 2004.

Adams, M.D.O.  Regional-Planning-by-NEPA in the Colorado Resort Corridor. West Lakes Division, Association of American Geographers, Minneapolis MN, Oct 2002.

Funded Grants

Proprietary (no-bid) contract award, U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, 2015-2016.  The environmental justice implications of hazardous fuels reduction activities by the U.S. Forest Service in frequent-fire recurrence forest ecosystem of the interior Pacific Coast states.  

Pilot grant, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, 2013.  Land-cover change in stream corridors, metropolitan Portland, OR, USA: comparing spatial change trends under two state-mandated growth management regimes.

Technical Advising Contract, Maine EPSCoR "Sustaining the Saco" Project, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. The contract award from this grant funds GIS mapping and photo rectification work by myself and undergraduate students under my supervision. Maine EPSCoR is an NSF-funded initiative, administered by the University of Maine. The project is developing ecosystem health indicators for the Saco River (ME) estuary.

Research start-up award, Center for Land and Sea Interaction, University of New England, 2011. The co-authored grant funded acquisition of hardware, software and historic aerial imagery to create a preliminary GIS database of circa 1962 land cover in the coastal zone of six towns in ME, NH and MA. 

Mark D. O. Adams

Mark D. O. Adams



Associate Research Faculty

Decary Hall

(207) 602-2626

On Leave
On Leave:
11/14/2016 to 11/13/2017