Silverio Avila, PhD
Research Scientist
Borderlands Research Institute
Sul Ross State University
PO Box C-16
Alpine, TX 79832
Office phone:

Research Specialties

Rangeland Habitat Management
Big Game Ecology
UAV Remote Sensing and Landscape Ecology
Upland Gamebird Ecology
Range and Livestock Management
Habitat Management


Dr. Silverio Avila obtained his B.S. in Forestry from Universidad Autonoma Agraria Antonio Narro (UAAAN) in Saltillo, Mexico, where he learned about the ecology, business, and management of forest and rangeland ecosystems. During his B.S., he focused his thesis work on vegetation changes following a wildfire in an arid ecosystem.

He obtained an M.S. in Range and Wildlife from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. His M.S. research focused on looking at the effects of summer and winter prescribed burning on Gulf prairies and marshes vegetation.

Dr. Avila completed his Ph.D. in Wildlife and Range Sciences from Texas A&M University-Kingsville with the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute in 2023. His dissertation work focused on the effects of livestock grazing and how it affects the spatial arrangement of the vegetation at the pasture scale to enhance bobwhite habitat. He did this by using traditional vegetation sampling methods and UAV imagery to model fine-scale 3D vegetation structure, and by looking at the abundance of bobwhites under the effects of flexible stocking rates in semi-arid ecosystems of South Texas.

During his Ph. D. he developed an interest in UAV remote sensing and how it is used to monitor and manage rangelands and survey wildlife. He developed a feasibility study for the detection of bobwhites through thermal sensors attached on UAV’s. In general, his research interest has been in range ecology and management for livestock and wildlife, rangeland fire ecology and prescribed burning, rangeland remote sensing, landscape ecology, and the use of UAV technologies as a tool for range and wildlife management.

Selected Publications

Haynes, V. L., Avila-Sanchez, J. S., Toomey, A. E., Ortega-S, J. A., Campbell, T. A., Ortega-S Jr, A., … and Wester, D. B. 2023. Patch Burning Improves Nutritional Quality of Two Gulf Coast Grasses—And Winter Burning Is Better than Summer Burning. Fire, 6(3), 105.

Avila-Sanchez, J. S., C. E. Bates, A. M. Camacho, A. M. DiMaggio, S. Jacobson, B. K. Johnston, M. T. Page, E. C. Rhodes, N. J. Traub, and H. L. Perotto-Baldivieso. 2021. Rangeland Ecology & Management Highlights. 43: 127–130. Rangelands. DOI: 10.1016/0190-0528.43.3.127.

Haynes, V.L., J.S. Avila-Sanchez, S. Rideout-Hanzak, D.B. Wester and J.A. Ortega-S. 2018. Effects of prescribed burning on gulf cordgrass, Spartina spartinae. MOJ Ecology & Environmental Sciences 3(2):110-115.

Avila-Sanchez, J.S.; Perotto-Baldivieso, H.L.; Massey, L.D.; Ortega-S., J.A.; Brennan, L.A.; Hernández, F. 2024. Evaluating the Use of a Thermal Sensor to Detect Small Ground-Nesting Birds in Semi-Arid Environments during Winter. Drones, 8, 64.