In 1990 NASA funded the creation of an organization known as the Consortium for an International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) (Kuhn et al. 1991). It is also important to note that this research was also funded in part by the McArthur Foundation.

The purpose of CIESIN is to understand the human dimension of global change by increasing access to and use of earth science and related information by the international scientific and decision making communities. CIESIN will create a facility known as the CIESIN Data and Research Center (CDRC) which is to be located in Michigan. The CDRC will use global change models to develop, archive, and distribute special research products to public users as well as global change scientists. Based on these global change models, the CDRC will collect selected Earth Observing System (EOS) satellite data, as well as data sets from the physical, biological, and social sciences.

CIESIN initiated a series of nine human dimensions of global change pilot projects in 1991, to better understand how physical, biological, and social scientists must interact in order to address problems of importance to decision-makers. There is also a need to develop methodologies for merging data sets which differ on spatial and temporal scales, and indeed, to ascertain whether or not data are generally available to address specific, highly complex problems. Thus, interdisciplinary studies have been emphasized, especially those combining earth and social science. Because there has been virtually no research on the use of remotely sensed data in the social sciences of global change, this is a component of each pilot project. Pilot projects need to show how the results would be transferred to decision makers. All these elements of the pilots are to be used to inform the design of the CIESIN Data and Research Center.

One of the CIESIN human dimensions of global change pilot projects is situated on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. Here the questions are (1) whether or not satellite images can be used to identify and monitor small scale changes in coral reefs and the associated coastal marine ecosystem and (2) whether or not interdisciplinary research can identify and explain the ways that humans are affecting, and being affected by, changes in this ecosystem. The study area involves a portion of a thirty-mile long coral reef, defined by the Smithsonian Marine Systems Laboratory as one of the best remaining reefs in the Caribbean.

In addition to the ethnographic reports produced for this collection, the following articles and book chapters were produced:

Michalek, J., T. Wagner, J. Luczkovich and R. Stoffle
1993 Multispectral Change Vector Analysis for Monitoring Coastal Marine Environments. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing 59(3): 381-384.

Luczkovich, J., T. Wagner, J. Michalek, and R. Stoffle
1993 Discrimination of Coral Reefs, Seagrass Meadows, and Sand Bottom Types from Space: A Dominican Republic Case Study. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing 59(3): 358-389.

Stoffle, Richard
1993 The Human Dimensions of Global Change in Coastal Environments. High Plains Applied Anthropologist 13: 1-11.

Stoffle, B., D. Halmo, R. Stoffle, and C. Burpee
1994 Folk Management and Conservation Ethics among Small-scale Fishermen of Buen Hombre, Dominican Republic. In Folk Management in the World's Fisheries . C. Dyer and J. McGoodwin (eds.) Boulder, Colorado: University of Colorado Press. Pp. 115 - 138.

Stoffle, R., D. Halmo, T. Wagner, and J. Luczkovich
1994 Reefs from Space: Satellite Imagery, Marine Ecology, and Ethnography in the Dominican Republic. Human Ecology 22(3): 355-378.

Stoffle, R. D. Halmo, B. Stoffle, A. Williams, and C. Burpee
1993 An Ecosystem Approach to the Study of Coastal Areas: A Case From the Dominican Republic. In Population-Environment Dynamics. G. Ness, W. Drake and S. Brechin (eds.) Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press. Pp 253-283.


Richard Stoffle and his team also conducted a study on mithrax crab mariculture in Buen Hombre, Dominican Republic and Nonsuch Bay, Antigua. Information on this project can be found in the Richard Stoffle Collection under the heading Caribbean: Mithrax Crab Mariculture.

Recent Submissions

  • Multispectral Change Vector Analysis for Monitoring Coastal Marine Environments

    Michalek, Jeffrey L.; Wagner, Thomas W.; Luczkovich, Joseph J.; Stoffle, Richard W.; University of Michigan; East Carolina University (Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing, 1993-03)
    Documenting temporal changes to coastal zones is an essen­tial part of understanding and managing these environ­ments. The exclusive use of traditional surveying tools may not be practical for monitoring large, remote, or rapidly changing areas. This paper investigates the utility of multispectral Landsat Thematic Mapper satellite data for docu­menting changes to a Caribbean coastal zone using the change vector analysis processing technique. The area of study was the coastal region near the village of Buen Hombre on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The primary habitats of interest were the intertidal mangrove for­ ests, and the shallow water seagrasses, macroalgae, and coral reefs. The change vector analysis technique uses any number of spectral bands from multidate satellite data to produce change images that yield information about both the magnitude and direction of differences in pixel values (which are proportional to radiance). The final products were created by appending color-coded change pixels onto a black-and-white base map. The advantages and limitations of the technique for coastal inventories are discussed.
  • Buen Hombre Presentations

    Stoffle, Richard W.; Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, University of Arizona (2013)
  • When Fish is Water: Food Security and Fish in a Coastal Community in The Dominican Republic

    Stoffle, Richard, W.; Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, University of Arizona (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2001)
  • Buen Hombre Landsat Imagery

    Stoffle, Richard W.; Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, University of Arizona (Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, University of Arizona, 1994)
  • Satellite Monitoring of Coastal Marine Ecosystems: A Case from the Dominican Republic

    Stoffle, Richard W.; Halmo, David; University of Arizona; Environmental Research Institute of Michigan, University of Michigan; East Carolina University (University of Arizona, 1991-12)