Esther S Parish

Esther S Parish

Researcher, Landscape Ecology & Regional Analysis


Dr. Esther S. Parish is an environmental scientist for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) where she conducts interdisciplinary research for ORNL’s Center for BioEnergy Sustainability (CBES), Climate Change Science Institute (CCSI), and Urban Dynamics Institute (UDI).  Esther's primary research interests include utilizing geographic information science (GIS) and integrated models and datasets to assess (1) potential tradeoffs between environmental and socioeconomic indicators of sustainability and (2) climate change impacts on human populations and water resources. With a Ph.D. in Energy Science & Engineering through the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Graduate Research and Education, an M.S. in Geography from The University of Tennessee, and B.S. in Geology & Geophysics from Yale University, Esther Parish has expertise in landscape ecology, sustainability evaluation of renewable energy resources, watershed hydrology, and pollution prevention. Dr. Parish has published in a variety of journals, including PNASEcology & SocietyEcological Indicators, Environmental Management, and Computers & Geosciences.

You may find a May 2018 ORNL Researcher Profile here: 


  • UT-Battelle 2017 Award for "Science Communicator" (October 2017)

  • Best Poster Award, Smoky Mountains Computational Sciences & Engineering Conference for “Science-Practice Collaboration to Increase Urban Resilience to Climate Change” (September 2016)

  • Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference (ISERC) Best Track Paper for Modeling and Simulation: “A Decision Analysis Tool for Climate Impacts, Adaptations, and Vulnerabilities” (May 2016)

  • CODiE Award for “Best Science or Health Curriculum” from the Software and Information Industry Association for the JASON curriculum, “Operation: Tectonic Fury” (May 2011)

  • ORNL Significant Event Award for Novel Computational Analysis (October 2010)

  • ORNL Significant Event Award for Climate War Gaming Support (March 2009)

  • My Community, Our Earth (MyCOE) Top Ten Project, as selected by UNEP, World Bank, National Geographic Society and Association of American Geographers (September 2002)


Parish ES, Herzberger AJ, Phifer CC, Dale VH (2018) Transatlantic wood pellet trade demonstrates telecoupled benefits. Ecology and Society 23 (1):28.

Liu J, Dou Y, Batistella M, Challies E, Connor T, Friis C, Huettmann F, Millington J, Parish E. et al. (2018) Spillover systems in a telecoupled Anthropocene: Typology, methods, and governance for global sustainability. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 33:58–69.!

Parish ES, Dale VH, Kline KL. Has pellet production affected SE US forests?World Biomass 2017/2018

Parish ES, Dale VH, Kline KL, Abt RC (2017) Reference scenarios for evaluating wood pellet production in the Southeastern United States. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews   

Parish ES, Dale VH, Tobin E, Kline KL (2017) Dataset of timberland variables used to assess forest conditions in two Southeastern United States’ fuelsheds. Elsevier’s Data in Brief 13: 278-290. 

Dale VH, Parish ES, Kline KL, Tobin E (2017) How is wood-based pellet production affecting forest conditions in the southeastern United States? Forest Ecology and Management 396: 143-149.

Dale VH, KL Kline, ES Parish, AL Cowie, R Emory, RW Malmsheimer, R Slade, CT Smith, TB Wigley, NS Bentsen, G Berndes, P Bernier, M Brandão, H Chum, R Diaz-Chavez, G Egnell, L Gustavsson, J Schweinle, I Stupak, P Trianosky, A Walter, C Whittaker, M Brown, G Chescheir, I Dimitriou, C Donnison, A Goss Eng, KP Hoyt, JC Jenkins, K Johnson, CA Levesque, V Lockhart, MC Negri, JE Nettles, M Wellisch (2017) Status and prospects for renewable energy using wood pellets from the southeastern United States. GCB Bioenergy doi: 10.1111/gcbb.12445

Nugent PJ, Omitaomu OA, Parish ES, Mei R, Ernst K, Absar M, Sylvester L (2017) A Web Based Geographic Information Platform to Support Urban Adaptation to Climate Change. Advances in Geocomputation, Springer.

Dale VH, Parish ES, Kline KL. (2016) Lessons from the Forest. World Biomass.

Parish ES (2016) In Search of Bioenergy Sustainability. In Auburn Speaks: On Biofuels in the Southeast. Edited by Steve Taylor. Published by Auburn University. 226 p.

Parish ES, Dale VH, English BC, Jackson SW, Tyler DD (2016) Assessing multimetric aspects of sustainability: Application to a bioenergy crop production system in East Tennessee.  Ecosphere 7(2):e01206. 10.1002/ecs2.1206

Sylvester LM, Omitaomu OA, Parish ES (2016) Analyzing the Implications of Climate Data on the Rainfall Frequency Spectrum: Case Study of Knoxville, Tennessee and Surrounding Region. ORNL/TM-2016/485

Sylvester LM, Omitaomu OA, Parish ES, Allen M (2016) Processing and Monthly Summaries of Downscaled Climate Data for Knoxville, Tennessee and Surrounding Region. ORNL/TM-2016/486

Sylvester LM, Omitaomu OA, Parish ES (2016) Analyzing the Implications of Climate Data on Plant Hardiness Zones for Green Infrastructure Planning: Case Study of Knoxville, Tennessee and Surrounding Region. ORNL/TM-2016/322

Dale VH, Parish ES, Kline KL (2015) Mapping risks to global biodiversity: Comparing biofuel to fossil fuel production. Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining 9(2):177-189.

Nugent PJ, Omitaomu O, Parish ES, Mei R, Ernst KM, Absar M (2015) A Web Based Geographic Information Platform to Support Urban Adaptation to Climate Change. Proceedings of Geocomputation 2015, May 20-23.

Preston BL, King AW, Ernst KM, Absar SM, Nair SS, Parish ES (2015) Scale and representation of human agency in the modeling of agroecosystems. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability.  doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2015.05.010

Smith, CT, E Atkin, I Dimitriou, KL Kline, and G Berndes, et al. (2015) Mobilizing Sustainable Bioenergy Supply Chain, Lignocellulosic Crops Supply Chain,  Inter-Task Project Synthesis Report, IEA Bioenergy. Available online at

Parish E, Kline K, Dale V, Efroymson R, McBride A, Johnson T, Hilliard M, Bielicki J (2013) Comparing Scales of Environmental Effects from Gasoline and Ethanol Production. Environmental Management 51(2): 307-338.

Efroymson RA, Dale VH, Kline KL, McBride AC, Bielicki JM, Smith RL, Parish ES, Schweizer PE, Shaw D (2013) Environmental indicators of biofuel sustainability: What about context? Environmental Management 51(2):291-306.

Preston BL, Parish ES, Dale VH, Editors (2012) Sustaining Tennessee in the Face of Climate Change: Grand Challenges and Opportunities. A report developed by ORNL in conjunction with researchers from several universities across Tennessee.

Parish ES, Hilliard M, Baskaran LM, Dale VH, Griffiths NA, Mulholland PJ, Sorokine A, Thomas NA, Downing ME, Middleton R (2012) Multimetric Spatial Optimization of Switchgrass Plantings Across a Watershed. Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining 6(1):58-72.

Parish ES, Kodra E, Steinhaeuser K, Ganguly AR (2012) Estimating future global per capita water availability based on changes in climate and population. Computers & Geosciences 42:79-86.

McBride A, Dale VH, Baskaran L, Downing M, Eaton L, Efroymson RA, Garten C, Kline KL, Jager H, Mulholland P, Parish E, Schweizer P, Storey J (2011) Indicators to support environmental sustainability of bioenergy systems. Ecological Indicators 11(5): 1277-1289.

Ganguly AR, Steinhaeuser K, Erickson III DJ, Branstetter ML, Parish ES, et al. (2009)  Higher trends but larger uncertainty and geographic variability in 21st century temperature and heat waves. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106(37):15555-15559.