Blanca Cespedes, Ph.D.

Program Co-Director

Blanca Cespedes is a fire ecologist who joined the faculty of the Forestry Program at New Mexico Highlands University in Fall 2016. Now, she is an associate professor and chair of the Forestry Department.  She grew up in Spain, she has a BS in Environmental Science and I received my PhD at the University of Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo (Spain). She also has a BA in English and MS in Education. For the last 20 years, her research has focused on Fire Ecology, Prescribed Fires and seasonal effects, Fire history, Dynamics and Global Change in different types of ecosystems. As a scholar, she was a visiting scientist in the Centre for Fire Research and Outreach at the University of California-Berkeley in 2009. She worked with a model to study forest dynamics and fire regime under different climate change scenarios, as a post-doc scholar in the School of Forestry at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff (AZ) in 2015.  In summer 2020, Dr. Cespedes collaborated with a Book chapter about fire ecology in the Southwest. Currently. she is the CO-PI of USDA-HSI LIFT and NSF-CREST FORT projects, and her efforts are focus on building a Dendrochronology lab to be able to study the fire scars in the tree rings and reconstruct the fire history of a specific area. She is the coordinator of the Wildland Fire concentration in the Forestry program at NMHU