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A Communication Framework for Ecological Drought Information in the Southwestern U.S.

NIDIS Supported Research
NIDIS-Supported Research
Main Summary

What we learn from recent drought experiences can help reduce the social and environmental effects of future droughts. One of the challenges is in connecting scientific research with ranchers and other land managers whose day-to-day decisions determine how the next drought will affect not just their own herds, but the complex ecosystems that support cattle and many other species. This research will incorporate data and observations from on-the-ground decision makers, using state-of-the-art technology (including remote sensing and machine learning) to boil down vast amounts of data for easier use. 

The new “EcoDri” framework for effective and efficient information delivery will be rooted in the needs and preferences of users with boots on the ground, allowing them to both provide information and to access streams of clearly condensed, relevant data.

This research was funded by NIDIS through the FY 2022 Coping with Drought Competition – Ecological Drought. For more information, please contact Britt Parker (

Research Snapshot

Research Timeline
September 2022 – August 2024
Principal Investigator(s)

Hatim Geli, New Mexico State University

Co-Principal Investigator(s)

David Dubois, Lara Prihodko, and Casey Spackman, New Mexico State University

Kelly Smith, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Project Funding
FY 2022 Coping with Drought Competition – Ecological Drought
Research & Learn

What to expect from this research

  • Take advantage of existing data facilities at New Mexico State University (computing clusters and storage) as well as cloud-based tools to host, manage, and develop data cubes that organize drought information to better serve the needs of New Mexico. 
  • Develop an ecological drought information framework, EcoDri, that will innovatively integrate public engagement practices, data science, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide easily accessible, understandable, and usable information for decision-making, including predictions of drought impacts that will allow stakeholders, land managers, and decision-makers to anticipate and develop needed mitigation practices.
  • Develop drought summary reports for efficient, easily accessible, and understandable drought reporting, based on distilled information (assessed for accuracy and representation) from the drought data cubes.
  • Develop a drought impact prediction tool using advanced AI tools to help stakeholders, land managers, and decision-makers to improve their ability to deal with the uncertainties of ecological droughts.
  • Develop participation and engagement activities to encourage broader utilization of the project findings, build the capacity of these entities (ranchers, representative communities, the general public, land managers, and policy makers) in developing management tools and practices that are suitable to mitigate ecological drought impacts.

Key Regions

Research Scope