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Global Geomorphology

Human-Environment Interaction and Water Resources

Landscapes change as human activities change or persist over time. These dynamics, in turn, affect decisions about land use and environmental management. Liem TranYingkui Li, and their students conduct research to identify, characterize, and model environmental effects of human activity and land-use change. Much of their research focuses on water resources, and on surface hydrology, drought, water quality, and watershed dynamics at scales from headwater catchments to integrated regional assessment. They work with local agencies, including TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) and TDEC (Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation), in field-based and model-based studies of local water-related issues. Dr. Liem Tran developed a framework called Regional Hydrologic Modeling for Environmental Evaluation (RHyME2) for hydrologic modeling across scales. Tran works with the EPA’s Regional Vulnerability Assessment program to model regional-scale environmental conditions, anticipate future issues, set management and ecosystem protection priorities, and proactively assess decisions that may involve tradeoffs.  Dr. Yingkui Li has focused his water-related research on the Tibetan Plateau and Central Asian highlands.  Geographers collaborate in interdisciplinary research on water resources through the Water Resources Research Center and the Watershed Faculty group at The University of Tennessee.