Iara Lacher

Photo of Iara Lacher Landscape Ecologist
Smithsonian Institution
1500 Remount Rd
Front Royal, Virginia 22630
Email: LacherI@si.edu
Phone: 540-635-0039

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Research Disciplines: Research Interests:

Scenario Planning, Land use change, Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services, Stakeholder Engagement, Native Plants, Climate Change Adaptation

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Biographical Sketch

Dr. Lacher is an interdisciplinary landscape ecologist with experience working in complex issues of sustainability and resource use. Skilled in quantitative methods in landscape-scale modeling of land use change/climate change and impacts on ecological function and biodiversity. Demonstrated history of effective collaboration with academics and practitioners, including the co-production of science with regional stakeholders. Vast knowledge of native plants and contribution of flora to regional biodiversity. Research interests include sustainable land use planning, landscape ecology, scenario planning, land use change modeling, species distribution modeling, ecosystem function and biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services, prioritization of conservation and restoration action, conservation planning, plant-ecology, climate change impacts, human dimensions of ecology. 


PhD in Ecology  

Department of Environmental Science and Policy 

University of California – Davis, CA 

Dissertation – “Testing assumptions about the relationship between geographic range and climatic tolerance for narrow and broadly distributed native plant species using in-situ observations, ex-situ experiments, and species distribution modeling.” 


Master of Environmental Science and Management (MESM) 

Conservation Planning Specialization 

Bren School of Environmental Science and Management – University of California, Santa Barbara 


Bachelor of Science in Botany 

University of Washington – Seattle, WA 

Professional Certificates in Restoration Ecology and Botanical Illustration 

Other Research

  • Linking stakeholder input with quantitative land use land change models to identify ecologic and social trade-offs of future land use scenarios 
  • Regional scenarios for land use futures in working landscapes: Case study on Northwestern Virginia 
  • Impacts on ecosystem services, ecosystem function, landscape fragmentation metrics 
  • Ecological networks in freshwater systems from mountains-bay in Chesapeake Watershed 
  • Assessing conservation value of protected lands and connectivity of forest patches 
  • Using landscape characteristics to model invasion risk of forest habitat in Northwestern Virginia 
  • Effects of locally adapted populations on modeled projections of suitable habitat for the widely distributed Mimulus guttatus species 

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