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Emily Burchfield

Contact Information

Leslie Lyons Duncan

Emily Burchfield

Office: Mayborn 300

PMB 407702
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240
Phone: 615-343-4658
Fax: 615-322-7012


Ph.D. Candidate, Environmental Engineering, Management and Policy, Vanderbilt University

Fellow, Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and the Environment


M.A., Economics, University of Louvain, Louvain, Belgium
B.S., Economics, University of Louvain, Louvain, Belgium
B.A., Economics, Clemson University, Clemson, SC

Research Interests

My research uses remotely sensed data and GIS to assess how water allocation decisions affect cropping patterns and the distribution of crop health in large irrigation systems.  I also study the socioeconomic, institutional, and environmental factors that influence cropping patterns and crop health in smaller, locally-managed irrigation systems.  Ultimately, I hope to compare system dynamics in the large, centrally-managed systems to those in the small, locally-managed systems to determine which water management regime best supports local food security.   


“A Comparison of Vegetation Health in Major and Minor Irrigation Systems during Drought,” presented at the Spatial Analysis: Multidisciplinary Applications conference in Nashville, TN, December 2013.

“Water security and rural livelihood: Water management regimes and livelihood outcomes in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka,” presented at the Community Research and Action Departmental Conference in Nashville, TN, March 2013.

“Resettlement and coloniality in the Mahaweli Ganga Watershed,” presented at the Annual Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference on Nature/Society in Lexington, KY, February 2013.


Nwosu, O., Hennessey (Fisher) E., Burchfield, E., Barnes, S., Brinkley-Rubenstein, L., & Shields, S. Faculty and Student Experiences as a Model for the Academy in Action. Barnes, S. L., Brinkley-Rubinstein, L., Doykos, B., & Martin, N. (Eds). Academics in Action! A Model for Community-Engaged Research, Teaching, and Service (In Press).

Gunda, T., Benneyworth, L., Burchfield, E. (2013). ). “Exploring water indices and associated parameters: a case study in two South Asian countries,” under review by Water Policy.

Hobbies and Interests

Gardening, biking, and hiking