I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University, where I am a Graduate Fellow at the Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment and a member of an NSF-funded trans-institutional interdisciplinary project exploring agricultural adaptation to changing climate in Sri Lanka.

My research integrates survey data, geospatial data, remotely-sensed imagery, and qualitative data to identify the factors that moderate the effects of meteorological drought on surface water irrigation systems across space and time.  I am particularly interested in using quantitative tools to explore political ecological and distributional dimensions of climate change and adaptation.

Published Papers

Papers Under Review

  • Nay, J., Burchfield, E., Gilligan, J. (2016).  A machine learning approach to forecasting remotely sensed vegetation healthUnder reviewCheck out the project website here.
  • Burchfield, E., Williams, N., Carrico, A. (2017). Assessing the expansion of a traditional drought adaptation strategy among rice farmers in Sri Lanka’s dry zone.  Under review.  
  • Tozier de la Poterie, A., Burchfield, E., Carrico, A. (2017).  Individual adaptation in collectively managed agricultural systems: evidence from Sri Lankan paddy farmers. Under review.
  • Nelson, K., Burchfield, E. (2017).  Effects of the structure of water rights on agricultural production during drought: A spatio-temporal analysis of California’s Central Valley.  Revised and resubmitted.  Working paper version can be found here.
  • Burchfield, E., Tozier de la Poterie, A. (2017). Determinants of crop diversification in rice-dominated agricultural systems.  Submitted.

Works in Progress

  • Data-driven drought effect estimation, SESYNC Graduate Pursuit co-PI (more information here).
  • Land-use variable drought response (with Katherine Nelson).
  • Agent-based modeling of multiscalar determinants of agricultural adaptation (with Jonathan Gilligan).


  • Scripts used in the projects mentioned above can be found at my git page.