Nature provides multiple interacting benefits to people. Ecosystems store carbon, purify water, provide food, offer recreation opportunities, and much more. At the Gund Institute, we work to quantify these ecosystem services, map their sources and flows, and estimate their value to people. We use this information to assess the trade-offs presented by specific decisions, and the impacts of policies on social-ecological systems. An increasing focus for several Gund Fellows is the connection between ecosystems and human health.
The economy is a subsystem of the earth system and is therefore constrained by finite resources and energy availability. The current rates of economic activity compromise the capacity of ecosystems to generate vital ecosystem services essential to all species. We develop economic theory that is appropriately nested in biophysical, social and behavioral sciences. We work to create policies and management instruments that balance what is biophysically possible, ecologically sustainable, socially equitable, and efficient.
HEALTHY LANDSCAPES & SEASCAPES
Sustainable use of landscapes and seascapes allows communities and ecosystems to thrive over the long term. We approach them as coupled human and natural systems. This viewpoint involves weaving natural areas and biodiversity conservation into the fabric of people's lives; it uses the theory and practice of ecological design to create landscapes with resilient food, energy, water, and waste systems; and it involves building capacity in communities around the world to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Climate change is one of the great challenges of our time. It demands a reconceptualization of many of the foundational aspects of our society. At the Gund, we study and model coupled human-natural systems and their responses and feedbacks to changing climate. Our approach integrates stakeholder engagement as a critical feature and we work at scales from local watersheds to global systems.
Last modified June 16 2014 11:28 AM