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Cal Poly Pomona Experts Guide


by name or by topic
Gabriel Granco, Ph.D.

Gabriel Granco studies how human decisions affect the natural environment, and vice-versa. His research in human-environment interaction focuses on sustainable agriculture under global environmental change science, land change science, and the response of socio-ecological systems to environmental change. Granco’s human geography approach integrates geospatial analysis, the social sciences and artificial intelligence to address the challenges faced by nature and society in the 21st century.


He is one of six California State University faculty who developed Artificial Intelligence for Social Good (AI4SG on LinkedIn), a $600,000 project funded by the National Science Foundation. The project seeks to address two critical areas: developing the AI knowledge and literacy skills of the next generation of the STEM workforce and tackling the shortcomings of current AI education – lack of diversity, shortage of broad multidisciplinary participation, and an overemphasis on technical concepts.


In his current work, Granco uses geographic information system (GIS) and spatial analysis to identify and forecast the agricultural suitability of California specialty crops — almonds, walnuts, grapes, strawberries, citrus and lettuce — in current and future environmental conditions under climate change. He has also conducted similar research for specialty crops in Jamaica (coffee) and Brazil (sugarcane).


Granco is the faculty director of the Sustainability and Land Change Research Lab at Cal Poly Pomona, where students get real-world research experience using data-driven geographical methods, GIS and computational techniques to create new insights and potential solutions to environmental issues resulting from society’s interventions on, and adaptation to, the changing natural environment.


Recent Grants and Fellowships:

  • Agricultural Research Institute CPP Campus Grant 2022/2023. “Multisensors and multiplatform assessment of specialty crops health and yield during drought and drought-mitigation management”. Principal Investigator. $170,464. Starting December 2023
  • Provost’s Teacher-Scholar Cal Poly Pomona. Principal Investigator, $6,300, 2022
  • National Science Foundation (NSF IUSE) Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Education and Human Resources – Track Engaged Student Learning, Level 2, “Collaborative Research: An Interdisciplinary Approach to AI Education for Social Good”, PI: Yu Chen (SJSU), Co-PIs: Gabriel Granco (CPP), Frank Gomez (Chancellor’s Office CSU), Heater Macias (CSU-LB), Yunfei Hou (CSU-SB). $599,170, 2022
  • Provost’s Teacher-Scholar Cal Poly Pomona. Principal Investigator. $6,300, 2022
  • Special Projects for Improving the Classroom Experience (SPICE) Cal Poly Pomona. “Societal Responses to Climate Change.” Principal Investigator. $12,600, 2022
  • US Department of Agriculture – Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (USDA-AFRI) Small and Medium-sized Farms Program, “Improving Sustainability of Specialty Crop Agricultural Systems through Geospatial Digital Agriculture in California”, PI: Gabriel Granco, Co-PIs: Subodh Bhandari, John Korah, and Mohammad Chaichi. $299,911, 2021
  • Provost’s Teacher-Scholar Cal Poly Pomona. Principal Investigator. $ 6,300, 2021
  • Special Projects for Improving the Classroom Experience (SPICE) Cal Poly Pomona. “BIG-GIS: Developing Novel Curriculum by Integrating Big Data Analytics and Geographical Information Systems.” Co-Principal Investigator. $8,400, 2021
  • Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Cal Poly Pomona. “Spatial Analysis of Surface Water Resources and Specialty Crops in California.” Principal Investigator. $5,000, 2021
  • Agricultural Research Institute CPP Seed Grant 2020/2021. “Mapping suitability of fruit and nut crops in California: using spatial models to project suitability under future climate and water conditions”. Principal Investigator. $8,863, 2020
  • CPP Strategic Interdisciplinary Research Grant 2020/2021. “Cross-Scale Estimation of Agricultural Suitability of Specialty Crops in California using UAV and Satellite Remote Sensing Observations”. Principal Investigator. $15,000, 2020

Selected Publications:

  • With Mather, M., J. S. Bergtold, M. M. Caldas, J. L. Heier Stamm, A. Y. Sheshukov, M. R. Sanderson, M. D. Daniels. “Achieving Success with RISE: A Widely-Implementable, Iterative, Structured Process for Mastering Interdisciplinary Team Science Collaborations.” Bioscience. In press.
  • With H. He, B. Lentz, J. Voong, A. Reeve and E. Vega. “Mid- and End-of-the-Century Estimation of Agricultural Suitability of California’s Specialty Crops.” Land, Volume 10, no. 12: 1907. 2023
  • With Sun, Q., L. Groves, J. Voong and S. Van Zyl. “Viticultural Manipulation and New Technologies to Address Environmental Challenges Caused by Climate Change.” Climate, Volume 11, no. 4: 83. 2023
  • With Bergtold, J.S., M. M. Caldas, S. M. Ramsey, M. R. Sanderson and M. E. Mather. “The Gap Between Experts, Farmers and Non-Farmers on Perceived Environmental Vulnerability and the Influence of Values and Beliefs.” Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 316. 2022. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2022.115186.
  • With M. M. Caldas, J. S. Bergtold, J. L. Heier Stamm, M. E. Mather, M. R. Sanderson, M. D. Daniels, A. Y. Sheshukov, S. M. Ramsey and D. A. Haukos. “Local Environment and Individuals’ Beliefs: The Dynamics Shaping Public Support for Sustainability Policy in an Agricultural Landscape.” Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 301. 2022. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.113776
  • With Sant’Anna, A.C., J.S. Bergtold, A. Shanoyan and M.M. Caldas. “Biofuel feedstock contract attributes, substitutability and tradeoffs in sugarcane production for ethanol in the Brazilian Cerrado: A stated choice approach.” Renewable Energy. Volume 185, 665- 679. 2021. doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2021.12.021
  • With Mighty, M. “Modeling Profitability in the Jamaican Coffee Industry.” Agriculture. Volume 11, 121. 2021.  doi:103390/agriculture11020121
  • With J. L. Heier Stamm, J. S. Bergtold, M. D. Daniels, M. R. Sanderson, A. Y. Sheshukov, M. E. Mather, M. M. Caldas, S. M. Ramsey, R. J. Lehrter II, D. A. Haukos, J. Gao, S. Chatterjee, J. C. Nifong and J. A. Aistrup. “Evaluating environmental change and behavioral decision-making for sustainability policy using an agent-based model: A case study for the Smoky Hill River Watershed, Kansas.” Science of The Total Environment. Volume 695. 2019. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.133769
  • With Caldas, M. M. and De Marco Jr, P. “Effects of climate change on Brazil’s land use policy for renewable energy from sugarcane.” Resources, Conservation, and Recycling. Volume 144, 158–168. 2019. doi:10.1016/j.resconrec.2019.01.033
  •  With Sant’Anna, A. C., Bergtold, J. S. and Caldas, M. M. “Location factors influencing ethanol mills in a new sugarcane producing region in Brazil.” Biomass & Bioenergy. Volume 111, 125-133. 2018. doi: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2018.02.001
  • With Sant’Anna, A.C., J.S. Bergtold, A. Shanoyan and M.M. Caldas. “Examining the Relationship between Vertical Coordination Strategies and Technical Efficiency: Evidence from the Brazilian Ethanol Industry.” Agribusiness. 2018. doi: 10.1002/agr.21556
  • With Caldas, M. M., Bergtold, J. S. and Sant’Anna, A. C. “Exploring the policy and social factors fueling the expansion and shift of sugarcane production in the Brazilian Cerrado.” GeoJournal. Volume 82, Issue 1, 63–80. 2017. doi:10.1007/s10708-015-9666-y
  • With McKee, B., Sant’Anna, A.C., Bergtold, J. and Caldas, M. “Trust Me! Examining the Contractual Relationships between Sugarcane Producers and Mills in the Cerrado.” Revista de Extensão e Estudos Rurais, 6, 98. 2017. doi: 10.18540/rever62201798-117
  • With Bergtold, J. S., Caldas, M., Sant’Anna, A. C. and Rickenbrode, V. “Indirect Land-Use Change from Ethanol Production: The Case of Sugarcane Expansion at the Farm Level on the Brazilian Cerrado.” Journal of Land Use Science. Volume 12, Issue 6, 442–456. 2017. doi: 10.1080/1747423X.2017.1354937
  • With Bánkuti, F. I., Caldas, M. M. and Bánkuti, S. M. S. “Spatial Dynamics: A New “Milk Corridor” in Paraná State, Brazil.” Semina Ciências Agrárias. 2017. doi:10.5433/1679-0359.2017v38n4p2107
  • With Sant’Anna, A.C., Shanoyan, A., Bergtold, J.S. and Caldas, M.M. “Ethanol and Sugarcane Expansion in Brazil: What is Fueling the Ethanol Industry?” International Food and Agribusiness Management Review (IFAMR). 2016. doi: 10.22434/IFAMR2015.0195
  • With Sant’Anna, A. C., Bergtold, J., and Caldas, M. M. “Os Desafios da expansão da cana-de-açúcar: como pensam e agem arrendatários e produtores?” Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (Ipea). RADAR.  39-48. 2015

Book Chapters, Reports and Other Publications:

  • With Caldas, M., Mather, M., Bergtold, J., Daniels, M., Aistrup, J.A., Haukos, D., Sheshukov, A.Y., Sanderson, M.R. and Heier Stamm, J.L., 2019. Understanding the Central Great Plains as a Coupled Climatic-Hydrological-Human System: Lessons Learned in Operationalizing Interdisciplinary Collaboration, in: Perz, S.G. (Ed.), Collaboration Across Boundaries for Social-Ecological Systems Science: Experiences Around the World. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp. 265–294. 2019. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-13827-1_8
  • With Caldas, M., Featherstone, A., Sant’Anna, A. C. and Bergtold, J. “Farmers’ Acreage Responses to the Expansion of Sugarcane Ethanol Industry: The Case of Goiás and Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil” in Land Allocation for Biomass Crops: Challenges and Opportunities with Changing Land Use (eds R. Li, and A. Monti), Springer. 103-123. 2018. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-74536-7_6
  • With Caldas, M. M., Bishop, C., Kastens, J. and Brown, J. C.  “Effects of Sugarcane Ethanol Expansion in the Brazilian Cerrado” in Bioenergy and Land Use Change (eds Z. Qin, U. Mishra and A. Hastings), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. 39-51. 2017. doi: 10.1002/9781119297376.ch3
  • With Sant’Anna, A. C., Bergtold, J., Caldas, M. M., Xia, T., Masi, P., Link, T. and Lorenzani, W. “Os Desafios da Expansão da Cana-de-Açúcar: A Percepção de Produtores e Arrendatários de Terras em Goiás e Mato Grosso do Sul” in Quarenta Anos de Etanol em Larga Escala no Brasil: Desafios, Crises e Perspectivas (org G.R. Santos), IPEA, Brasília, Brazil. 113 – 142. 2016



B.S., Economics Science, University of São Paulo – Brazil

M.S., Applied Economics, University of São Paulo – Brazil

Ph.D., Geography, Kansas State University


English, Portuguese

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