Geovisualizing, representing, analyzing, modeling, and simulating

Complex Human-Environment Systems (CHES)

for improved envisioning, understanding, and planning



News in 2015

• December 07, 2015: Dr. Hsiang Ling Chen returned to San Diego after her field work at Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve (China) from mid-October to late November and a short trip to Taiwan afterwards. Dr. Chen supervised camera data trapping and social survey of around 38 households. Welcome back Hsiang Ling!

• December 2, 2015: Dr. Li An has contributed to several proposal submissons as Co-PI or senior personnel over the past several weeks. The proposals were submitted to Joint Fire Science Program, NSF, and NIH, covering a set of impending topics such as wildfire hazards, space-time patterning of human health, and impact of climate change on wine production.

• October 13, 2015: A warm welcome to visiting delegates from the Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve (FNNR). Ms. Ni Yang, Head of the FNNR Department of Human Resources and Mr. Yuanping Zhai, Head of the FNNR Director's Office arrived on October 12, 2015 joining biologist Lei Shi who is Head of the Department of Scientific Research and Education, FNNR. A symposium was held by Dr. Li An to welcome our guests. The event began with a welcome from SDSU Geography Department Chair, Piotr Jankowski. The delegation then visited the Confucius Institute where they learned about the Institute¡¯s education program from Managing Director, Dr. Lily Cheng. The morning events convened with a message from the SDSU Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, Dr. Norma Bouchard. The delegates presented a gift to Dean Bouchard.

FNNR_Delegation_OCT2015 One goal of the CNH Project is to promote research and cross-education between the reserve staff and the project team. Therefore, the afternoon was comprised of several presentations. Project Principal Investigator, Dr. Li An gave an overview of the CNH Project. Postdoctoral researcher, Dr. Hsiang Ling Chen gave an update of ongoing fieldwork being conducted in FNNR. Ni Yang shared information and incredible photographs which highlighted the biodiversity of the reserve. Also, biologist Lei Shi gave an update of the conservation efforts and education programs happening within FNNR. The visitors were then taken on a tour of the SDSU campus.

In addition to campus events, the FNNR delegates were taken to a few of the locally-preserved areas in San Diego. They visited Cabrillo National Monument and Mission Bay which is a City of San Diego aquatic park. This event-filled day marked the beginning of an eight day visit ending on October 20, 2015. During that time, the delegates will see various sites including a visit to the world-famous Grand Canyon National Park.

• September 23, 2015: A hearty welcome of Lei Shi, visiting scholar invited by Dr. Li An's PES project (, to the SDSU Geography Department. He is a biologist and the head of Department of Scientific Research and Education in the Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve (FNNR) Administration in China. For more detail about his visit, see

• September 03, 2015: Dr. Li An, Piotr Jankowski, Steven Manson (University of Minnesota), Billie L. Turner II (Arizona State University), and Shaowen Wang (University of Illinois at at Urbana-Champaign) submitted a proposal to NSF. The proposal, entitled "ABM'16: The Usefulness, Uselessness, and Impending Tasks of Agent-Based Models", aims at transforming the science, technology, and application of agent-based models (ABMs, or agent-based modeling¡ªABM) in the context of geographic and spatial sciences.

• August 14, 2015: Dr. Li An traveled to Michigan State University (MSU) and University of Michigan (UM) between August 9 and 11, having in-depth discussions with Drs. Emilio Moran (MSU) and Daniel G. Brown (UM) about development of more sophisticated agent-based models to address many impending challenges and issues from both theoretical and application domains. He also met Dr. Dirgha Ghimire and William Axinn (UM) to update each other's research and other related pursuits.

• June 29, 2015: CHES member doctoral student Shuang Yang has just passed his written and oral exams! His dissertation proposal is titled "Exploring interactions between payments for ecosystem services (PES) and the associated coupled human and natural systems (CHANS): A case study of Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve (FNNR), China". With approval from dissertation committee Drs. Keith Clarke (UCSB), David Lopez-Carr (UCSB), Piotr Jankowski, and Li An (chair), Shuang has thus advanced to candidacy and will continue working on his dissertation about the PES programs in a Chinese nature reserve. Congratulations Shuang!

• June 24, 2015: CHES member Dr. Hsiang Ling Chen has been conducting intense fieldwork, which ended up with deployment of 37 cameras and survey of 37 vegetation plots. Visit the project website for more details.


• June 8, 2015: Dr. Li An completed his fieldwork between May 18 and June 8. During the trip, he led questionnaire development, testing, and enhancement about local villagers' land use and forestland patrol decisions. Doctoral student Shuang Yang and postdoctoral research fellow Dr. Hsiang Ling Chen led the survey team of over ten undegraduate students from Tongren College (Guizhou Province), and wrapped up the survey in late July, 2016. More at

• April 9, 2015: Dr. Hsiang Ling Chen successfully defended her dissertation and joined the CHES Group at San Diego State University as a postdoctoral research fellow. See for more details.

• March 30, 2015: Doctoral student/CHES member Stephen Crook attended the Natural Capital Symposium at Stanford University last week. See for more information.

• March 27, 2015: Dr. Shaowen Wang, Professor and Centennial Scholar from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, came to SDSU in response to an invitation from Dr. Li An. Dr. Wang gave a colloquium titled "CyberGIS for Data-Rich Geographic Research and Education" to the Department of Geography, which was well attended and enthusiastically welcomed by quite many Geography faculty members and students. Dr. Wang also met with CHES members Dr. Li An, Shuang Yang, Steve Crook, and Billy Orihuela as well as other Geography faculty and students, sharing his experiences and providing advice in Cyberinfrastructure, CyberGIS, and other related topics.

Drs. Wang and An also arrived at an agreement to work together closely, pushing forward a new research frontier that aims to advance the science and technology of agent-based modeling.

• March 18, 2015: Dr. Li An went to Washington D.C. and served on an NSF panel during March 16-18. During the 2.5-day panel, Dr. An closely worked with other panelists and NSF officers, discussing assigned proposals, coming up with panel discussion summaries, and making funding recommendations to NSF.

• March 5, 2015: By the invitation of Dr. Heejun Chang, Dr. Li An went to Portland State University and presented his research as part of their Winter 2015 Ecosystem Services Seminar sponsored by an NSF IGERT award ( Dr. An gave a lecture entitled "Agent-based Modeling of the Impact of Social Norms on PES Effectiveness" in GEOG 694, a lecture entitled "Payments for Ecosystem Services: Always a Path toward Sustainability?" in ESM 507 (watch the video at this site:, and a workshop about agent-based modeling for The American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) PSU chapter.

• February 27, 2015: Hsiang Ling Chen, doctoral candidate at University of Arizona, took the offer from our project as a postdoctoral fellow. See for more information.

• January 13, 2015: Hsiang Ling Chen, doctoral candidate at University of Arizona, accepted the offer from Drs. An and Lewison. She will work on Dr. An’s CNH project as a postdoctoral fellow. Visit for more information.


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