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2014-04-18
Costanza, Robert. (2014-04-18) Creating a Sustainable and Desirable Future. Macalester International 26 3-22
2014
Bacon, Christopher M.; Sundstrom, William A.; Flores Gómez, María Eugenia; Ernesto Méndez, V.; Santos, Rica; Goldoftas, Barbara; Dougherty, Ian. (2014) Explaining the ‘hungry farmer paradox’: Smallholders and fair trade cooperatives navigate seasonality and change in Nicaragua's corn and coffee markets. Global Environmental Change (0)
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Latin American smallholder coffee farmers linked with fair trade and organic markets are frequently cited as models for sustainable food systems. Yet many experience seasonal hunger, which is a very common, but understudied, form of food insecurity. Northern Nicaragua's highlands include well-organized cooperatives, high rural poverty rates, and rain dependent farms, offering a compelling study area to understand what factors are associated with seasonal hunger. This participatory mixed methods study combines data from observations, interviews and focus groups with results from a survey of 244 cooperative members. It finds that seasonal hunger is influenced by multiple factors, including: (1) annual cycles of precipitation and rising maize prices during the lean months; (2) inter annual droughts and periodic storms; and (3) the long-term inability of coffee harvests and prices to provide sufficient income. Sampled households experienced an average of about 3 months of seasonal hunger in 2009. A series of five least squares regression models find the expected significant impacts of corn harvest quantity, farm area, improved grain storage, and household incomes, all inversely correlated with lean months. Unanticipated results include the finding that households with more fruit trees reported fewer lean months, while the predominant environmentally friendly farming practices had no discernable impacts. The presence of hunger among producers challenges sustainable coffee marketing claims. We describe one example of a partnership-based response that integrates agroecological farm management with the use of fair trade cooperative institutions to re-localize the corn distribution system. Increased investments and integrated strategies will be needed to reduce threats to food security, livelihoods, and biodiversity associated with the rapid spread of coffee leaf rust and falling commodity prices.
Costanza, R.; Kubiszewski, I.; Giovannini, E.; Lovins, H.; McGlade, J.; Pickett, K. E.; Ragnarsdottir, K. V.; Roberts, D.; De Vogli, R.; Wilkinson, R.. (2014) Time to leave GDP behind. Nature 505(7483) 283-285
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Gross domestic product is a misleading measure of national success. Countries should act now to embrace new metrics, urge Robert Costanza and colleagues.
Gaddis, EricaJ Brown; Voinov, Alexey; Seppelt, Ralf; Rizzo, DonnaM. (2014) Spatial Optimization of Best Management Practices to Attain Water Quality Targets. Water Resources Management; Water Resour Manage; Springer Netherlands, Germany. Pages 1-15;
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Diffuse nutrient loads are a common problem in developed and agricultural watersheds. While there has been substantial investment in best management practices (BMPs) to reduce diffuse pollution, there remains a need to better prioritize controls at the watershed scale as reflected in recent US-EPA guidance for watershed planning and Total Maximum Daily Load development. We implemented spatial optimization techniques among four diffuse source pathways in a mixed-use watershed in Northern Vermont to maximize total reduction of phosphorus loading to streams while minimizing associated costs. We found that within a capital cost range of 138 to 321 USD ha-1 a phosphorus reduction of 0.29 to 0.38 kg ha−1 year−1, is attainable. Optimization results are substantially more cost-effective than most scenarios identified by stakeholders. The maximum diffuse phosphorus load reduction equates to 1.25 t year−1using the most cost-effective technologies for each diffuse source at a cost of $3,464,260. However, 1.13 t year−1 could be reduced at a much lower cost of $976,417. This is the practical upper limit of achievable diffuse phosphorus reduction, above which additional spending would not result in substantially more phosphorus reduction. Watershed managers could use solutions along the resulting Pareto optimal curve to select optimal combinations of BMPs based on a water quality target or available funds. The results demonstrate the power of using spatial optimization methods to arrive at a cost-effective selection of BMPs and their distribution across a landscape.
Lima, L. S.; Coe, M. T.; Soares, B. S.; Cuadra, S. V.; Dias, L. C. P.; Costa, M. H.; Lima, L. S.; Rodrigues, H. O.. (2014) Feedbacks between deforestation, climate, and hydrology in the Southwestern Amazon: implications for the provision of ecosystem services. Landscape Ecology 29(2) 261-274
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Forests, through the regulation of regional water balances, provide a number of ecosystem services, including water for agriculture, hydroelectric power generation, navigation, industry, fisheries, and human consumption. Large-scale deforestation triggers complex non-linear interactions between the atmosphere and biosphere, which may impair such important ecosystem services. This is the case for the Southwestern Amazon, where three important river basins (Jurua, Purus, and Madeira) are undergoing significant land-use changes. Here, we investigate the potential impacts of deforestation throughout the Amazon on the seasonal and annual water balances of these river basins using coupled climatic and hydrologic models under several deforestation scenarios. Simulations without climate response to deforestation show an increase in river discharge proportional to the area deforested in each basin, whereas those with climate response produce progressive reductions in mean annual precipitation over all three basins. In this case, deforestation decreases the mean annual discharge of the Jurua and Purus rivers, but increases that of the Madeira, because the deforestation-induced reduction in evapotranspiration is large enough to increase runoff and thus offset the reduction in precipitation. The effects of Amazon deforestation on river discharge are scale-dependent and vary across and within river basins. Reduction in precipitation due to deforestation is most severe at the end of the dry season. As a result, deforestation increases the dry-season length and the seasonal amplitude of water flow. These effects may aggravate the economic losses from large droughts and floods, such as those experienced in recent years (2005, 2010 and 2009, 2012, respectively).
Mika, Anna M.; Keeton, William S.. (2014) Net carbon fluxes at stand and landscape scales from wood bioenergy harvests in the US Northeast. GCB Bioenergy Pages n/a-n/a;
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The long-term greenhouse gas emissions implications of wood biomass (‘bioenergy’) harvests are highly uncertain yet of great significance for climate change mitigation and renewable energy policies. Particularly uncertain are the net carbon (C) effects of multiple harvests staggered spatially and temporally across landscapes where bioenergy is only one of many products. We used field data to formulate bioenergy harvest scenarios, applied them to 362 sites from the Forest Inventory and Analysis database, and projected growth and harvests over 160 years using the Forest Vegetation Simulator. We compared the net cumulative C fluxes, relative to a non-bioenergy baseline, between scenarios when various proportions of the landscape are harvested for bioenergy: 0% (non-bioenergy); 25% (BIO25); 50% (BIO50); or 100% (BIO100), with three levels of intensification. We accounted for C stored in aboveground forest pools and wood products, direct and indirect emissions from wood products and bioenergy, and avoided direct and indirect emissions from fossil fuels. At the end of the simulation period, although 82% of stands were projected to maintain net positive C benefit, net flux remained negative (i.e., net emissions) compared to non-bioenergy harvests for the entire 160-year simulation period. BIO25, BIO50, and BIO100 scenarios resulted in average annual emissions of 2.47, 5.02, and 9.83 Mg C ha−1, respectively. Using bioenergy for heating decreased the emissions relative to electricity generation as did removing additional slash from thinnings between regeneration harvests. However, all bioenergy scenarios resulted in increased net emissions compared to the non-bioenergy harvests. Stands with high initial aboveground live biomass may have higher net emissions from bioenergy harvest. Silvicultural practices such as increasing rotation length and structural retention may result in lower C fluxes from bioenergy harvests. Finally, since passive management resulted in the greatest net C storage, we recommend designation of unharvested reserves to offset emissions from harvested stands.
Pursnani, S.; Srivastava, S.; Ali, S.; Leibert, E.; Rogers, L.. (2014) Risk Factors for and Outcomes of Detention of Patients With TB in New York City An Update: 2002-2009. Chest 145(1) 95-100
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Background: One of the most controversial aspects of New York City's highly effective TB control program is the use of public health law and court-ordered detention to treat persistently recalcitrant patients with active TB. We now report on characteristics and outcomes of patients undergoing detention for completion of TB treatment due to nonadherence in New York City from 2002 through 2009. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was designed to compare patients undergoing court-ordered detention (n = 79) and time-matched control subjects undergoing TB treatment in outpatient directly observed therapy (DOT) at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. Results: From January 1, 2002, through December 31, 2009, 79 patients underwent court-ordered detention for TB treatment. Compared with patients completing treatment in DOT, univariate analysis found that detainees were younger; more likely to be of minority race/ethnicity; to have a history of substance abuse, tobacco use, homelessness, incarceration, HIV infection; and to be born in the United States. Multivariate analysis adjusting for other variables found smear positivity (OR = 3.93; 95% CI, 1.05-14.75; P = .04), mental illness (OR = 5.80; 95% CI, 1.18-28.51; P = .03), and substance abuse (OR = 9.25; 95% CI, 2.81-30.39; P < .01) to be the strongest independent predictors of likelihood of detention. Of those initially detained, 46 (58%) completed treatment during inpatient detention, 29(37%) completed treatment under outpatient court-ordered DOT, and four died during their hospitalization. Conclusions: The majority of patients undergoing court-ordered detention for TB treatment (95%) successfully completed therapy. Likelihood of detention was most strongly associated with factors expected to be associated with poor adherence, including mental illness and substance abuse.
Volk, Timothy A.; Abrahamson, L. P.; Buchholz, T.; Caputo, J.; Eisenbies, M.. (2014) Development and Deployment of Willow Biomass Crops. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, New York, NY. Pages 201-217;
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Interest in shrub willows as a perennial energy crop for production of biomass has developed in Europe and North America over the past few decades because of concerns with energy security, environmental impact associated with the current mix of fossil fuels, and economic challenges in rural areas. When deployed properly across the landscape, willow biomass crops can provide multiple benefits, while providing a locally grown source of biomass that can be converted into a range of bioenergy, biofuels and bioproducts. This chapter discusses shrub willow characteristics, and production systems and economics for willow biomass crops. It also discusses environmental and rural development benefits of willow biomass crops, and commercial development of these crops.
2013
Alvez, Juan P.; Schmitt Fo, Abdon Luiz; Farley, Joshua C.; Erickson, Jon D.; Mendez, Ernesto. (2013) Transition from Semi-Confinement to Pasture-Based Dairy in Brazil: Farmers' View of Economic and Environmental Performances. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems; Taylor & Francis, New Haven, CT. Pages null-null;
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The production of ecosystem goods and services has increased significantly in the last hundred years, while the capacity of ecosystems to generate supporting and regulating services has decreased. In this context, agriculture and livestock production have become major concerns. At the same time, livestock, particularly dairy cows, play a key role and can serve to improve ecosystems, production, and rural livelihoods. We randomly selected and conducted semi-structural interviews with sixty-one dairy family farmers from four cooperatives in the Encosta da Serra Geral Region of the Atlantic Rainforest in Santa Catarina, Brazil. The goal was to analyze their production and viewpoints about environmental variables after adopting management-intensive grazing (MIG). The overall results showed that when farmers changed from semi-confinement and continuous grazing to MIG, they perceived improvements in production, livelihoods, and ecosystem services. Moreover, according to farmers' insights, MIG could be a tool to increase water and soil quality, animal health, alleviate poverty, and complement Brazilian conservation efforts.
Azaria, D. E.; Troy, A.; Lee, B. H. Y.; Ventriss, C.; Voigt, B.. (2013) Modeling the effects of an urban growth boundary on vehicle travel in a small metropolitan area. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design; Pion Ltd, New Haven, CT. 40(5) 846-864
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An integrated land-use - transportation model was used to simulate the impact that an urban growth boundary would have on vehicle miles of travel in a small metropolitan community over a forty-year modeling horizon. The results of the modeling effort indicate that even in an area with low to moderate population growth, there is the potential to reduce vehicle miles of travel per person by as much as 25% from a business-as-usual scenario over aˇforty-year period. The reduction would result primarily from a shift of driving alone to carpooling or walking for many trips. A scenario in which growth is concentrated in a single urban core would also benefit from shorter average trip lengths; a scenario with multiple village centers would not have shorter trip lengths, but would still have significant improvements in total vehicle miles of travel. Keywords: integrated land-use - transportation model, urban growth boundary, vehicle miles of travel
Banerjee, S.; Secchi, S.; Fargione, J.; Polasky, S.; Kraft, S.. (2013) How to sell ecosystem services: a guide for designing new markets. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11(6) 297-304
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Payments for ecosystem services (PES) can improve environmental quality by aligning the incentives of individual landowners with societal interests in providing valuable ecosystem services such as carbon storage, water quality, flood control, and wildlife habitat. However, for this potential to be realized, many institutional details and technical challenges must be addressed. In this review, we discuss six critical issues for creating effective PES markets: using the appropriate type of market institution, defining suitable spatial and temporal scales for the market, promoting additionality (avoiding payments for services that would have been provided even in the absence of payments) so that payments result in increased services, offering incentives for projects that generate multiple ecosystem services, considering practice-based versus performance-based payments, and eliminating opportunities for strategic behavior aimed at gaming the system. We illustrate these issues with an example of how PES could be applied to floodplain restoration.
Bierbaum, R. M.; Matson, P. A.. (2013) Energy in the Context of Sustainability. Daedalus 142(1) 146-161
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Today and in the coming decades, the world faces the challenge of meeting the needs of a still-growing human population, and of doing it sustainably - that is, without affecting the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Energy plays a pivotal role in this challenge, both because of its importance to economic development and because of the myriad interactions and influences it has on other critical sustainability issues. In this essay, we explore some of the direct interactions between energy and other things people need, such as food, water, fuel, and clean air, and also some of its indirect interactions with climate, ecosystems, and the habitability of the planet. We discuss some of the challenges and potential unintended consequences that are associated with a transition to clean, affordable energy as well as opportunities that make sense for energy and other sustainability goals. Pursuing such opportunities is critical not just to meeting the energy needs of nine billion people, but also to meeting their other critical needs and to maintaining a planet that supports human life in the near and long term.
Brando, P. M.; Coe, M. T.; DeFries, R.; Azevedo, A. A.. (2013) Ecology, economy and management of an agroindustrial frontier landscape in the southeast Amazon. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 368(1619)
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The papers in this special issue address a major challenge facing our society: feeding a population that is simultaneously growing and increasing its per capita food consumption, while preventing widespread ecological and social impoverishment in the tropics. By focusing mostly on the Amazon's most dynamic agricultural frontier, Mato Grosso, they collectively clarify some key elements of achieving more sustainable agriculture. First, stakeholders in commodity-driven agricultural Amazonian frontiers respond rapidly to multiple forces, including global markets, international pressures for sustainably produced commodities and national-, state- and municipality-level policies. These forces can encourage or discourage deforestation rate changes within a short time-period. Second, agricultural frontiers are linked systems, land-use change is linked with regional climate, forest fires, water quality and stream discharge, which in turn are linked with the well-being of human populations. Thus, land-use practices at the farm level have ecological and social repercussions far removed from it. Third, policies need to consider the full socio-economic system to identify the efficacy and consequences of possible land management strategies. Monitoring to devise suitable management approaches depends not only on tracking land-use change, but also on monitoring the regional ecological and social consequences. Mato Grosso's achievements in reducing deforestation are impressive, yet they are also fragile. The ecological and social consequences and the successes and failures of management in this region can serve as an example of possible trajectories for other commodity-driven tropical agricultural frontiers.
Buchholz, T.; Friedland, A. J.; Hornig, C. E.; Keeton, W. S.; Zanchi, G.; Nunery, J. S.. (2013) Mineral soil carbon fluxes in forests and implications for carbon balance assessments. Global Change Biology Bioenergy
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Forest carbon cycles play an important role in efforts to understand and mitigate climate change. Large amounts of carbon (C) are stored in deep mineral forest soils, but are often not considered in accounting for global C fluxes because mineral soil C is commonly thought to be relatively stable. We explore C fluxes associated with forest management practices by examining existing data on forest C fluxes in the northeastern US. Our findings demonstrate that mineral soil C can play an important role in C emissions, especially when considering intensive forest management practices. Such practices are known to cause a high aboveground C flux to the atmosphere, but there is evidence that they can also promote comparably high and long-term belowground C fluxes. If these additional fluxes are widespread in forests, recommendations for increased reliance on forest biomass may need to be reevaluated. Furthermore, existing protocols for the monitoring of forest C often ignore mineral soil C due to lack of data. Forest C analyses will be incomplete until this problem is resolved.
Buchholz, T.; Volk, T.. (2013) Profitability of Willow Biomass Crops Affected by Incentive Programs. Bioenergy Research 6(1) 53-64
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The economics of willow biomass crops are strongly influenced by yield, production, and harvesting costs and the delivered price for biomass. Under current management practices, willow biomass crops with yields of 12 oven-dried metric tons (odt) ha(-1) year(-1) and a delivered price of $60 odt(-1) have an internal rate of return (IRR) of about 5.5 %. Yields below 9 odt ha(-1) year(-1) have an IRR < 0 %. We examined the impact of different incentive programs on the returns from willow biomass crops and the hectares or tons of willow biomass supported across a range of yields. Incentive programs examined included establishment grants (EG), annual payments (AIP), low cost startup loans, and matching payments offered by two existing programs, the Conservation Resource Program (CRP) and more recently the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP). EGs covering 75 % of the establishment costs provide high returns for growers on medium to high-productivity sites. Stand-alone AIPs with payments of $124 ha(-1) year(-1) paid over 5-15 years had little impact on profitability for growers but were costly for a funding agency. Low-cost loans with an interest rate of 2-4 % are one of the least expensive approaches ($1.3-6.6 odt(-1)) and improve profitability for medium- and high-yielding (8-16 odt ha(-1) year(-1)) sites. A matching payment incentive providing $50 per odt delivered was the only individual incentive approach that made low-yielding sites (6 odt ha(-1) year(-1)) profitable but was costly per odt compared to other incentives. Current CRP incentives made willow profitable across all productivity scenarios. The BCAP program generates higher profits for all productivity scenarios but comes at a higher cost. Effective financial incentives need to be well designed and monitored so that the target audience is reached and the intended policy goals are attained.
Burgess, M. G.; Polasky, S.; Tilman, D.. (2013) Predicting overfishing and extinction threats in multispecies fisheries. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110(40) 15943-15948
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Threats to species from commercial fishing are rarely identified until species have suffered large population declines, by which time remedial actions can have severe economic consequences, such as closure of fisheries. Many of the species most threatened by fishing are caught in multispecies fisheries, which can remain profitable even as populations of some species collapse. Here we show for multispecies fisheries that the biological and socioeconomic conditions that would eventually cause species to be severely depleted or even driven extinct can be identified decades before those species experience high harvest rates or marked population declines. Because fishing effort imposes a common source of mortality on all species in a fishery, the long- term impact of a fishery on a species is predicted by measuring its loss rate relative to that of species that influence the fishery's maximal effort. We tested our approach on eight Pacific tuna and billfish populations, four of which have been identified recently as in decline and threatened with overfishing. The severe depletion of all four populations could have been predicted in the 1950s, using our approach. Our results demonstrate that species threatened by human harvesting can be identified much earlier, providing time for adjustments in harvesting practices before consequences become severe and fishery closures or other socioeconomically disruptive interventions are required to protect species.
Burrascano, S.; Keeton, W. S.; Sabatini, F. M.; Blasi, C.. (2013) Commonality and variability in the structural attributes of moist temperate old-growth forests: A global review. Forest Ecology and Management 291 458-479
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Temperate forests have been fundamentally altered by land use and other stressors globally; these have reduced the abundance of primary and old-growth forests in particular. Despite many regional studies, the literature lacks a global synthesis of temperate old-growth structural characteristics. In this study we compare literature derived data on mature and old-growth moist temperate forests with the aim of: (i) exploring global commonalities; (ii) investigating sources of variability among systems; and (iii) highlighting data gaps and research needs. We compiled a dataset of 147 records from 93 papers, and analyzed a set of structural indicators: basal area, stem density, large living trees, live aboveground biomass, quadratic mean diameter, and coarse woody debris volume. These indicators were contrasted between mature and old-growth age classes at a global level and across continents and broad forest types, testing for significance through Monte-Carlo permutation procedure. We also related structural indicators to age, climatic and geographical descriptors. Our results suggest that all structural indicators vary across systems in relation to geographical, compositional, and climatic influences. However old-growth forests showed global commonalities in structure when compared to mature forests: significantly higher densities of large living trees, higher quadratic mean diameter, and higher amounts of live aboveground biomass and coarse woody debris. Furthermore we found inconsistency in the structural variables reported by different papers; lack of studies on temperate forests in Russia, and Western and Central Asia. The findings improve our understanding of old-growth structure and function, and will help inform sustainable forest management and conservation approaches world-wide. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Butryn, R. S.; Parrish, D. L.; Rizzo, D. M.. (2013) Summer stream temperature metrics for predicting brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) distribution in streams. Hydrobiologia 703(1) 47-57
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We developed a methodology to predict brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) distribution using summer temperature metrics as predictor variables. Our analysis used long-term fish and hourly water temperature data from the Dog River, Vermont (USA). Commonly used metrics (e.g., mean, maximum, maximum 7-day maximum) tend to smooth the data so information on temperature variation is lost. Therefore, we developed a new set of metrics (called event metrics) to capture temperature variation by describing the frequency, area, duration, and magnitude of events that exceeded a user-defined temperature threshold. We used 16, 18, 20, and 22A degrees C. We built linear discriminant models and tested and compared the event metrics against the commonly used metrics. Correct classification of the observations was 66% with event metrics and 87% with commonly used metrics. However, combined event and commonly used metrics correctly classified 92%. Of the four individual temperature thresholds, it was difficult to assess which threshold had the "best" accuracy. The 16A degrees C threshold had slightly fewer misclassifications; however, the 20A degrees C threshold had the fewest extreme misclassifications. Our method leveraged the volumes of existing long-term data and provided a simple, systematic, and adaptable framework for monitoring changes in fish distribution, specifically in the case of irregular, extreme temperature events.
Canham, C. D.; Rogers, N.; Buchholz, T.. (2013) Regional variation in forest harvest regimes in the northeastern United States. Ecological Applications 23(3) 515-522
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Logging is a larger cause of adult tree mortality in northeastern U.S. forests than all other causes of mortality combined. We used Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data to develop statistical models to quantify three different aspects of aggregate regional forest harvest regimes: (1) the annual probability that a plot is logged, as a function of total aboveground tree biomass, (2) the fraction of adult tree basal area removed if a plot was logged, and (3) the probability that an individual tree within a plot was removed, as a function of the fraction of basal area removed at the plot level, the species of tree, and its size. Results confirm that relatively frequent partial harvesting dominates the logging regimes, but with significant variation among different parts of the region and different forest types. The harvest regimes have similarities with natural disturbance regimes in imposing spatially and temporally dynamic mortality that varies predictably as a function of stand structure as well as tree species and size.
Castello, L.; McGrath, D. G.; Hess, L. L.; Coe, M. T.; Lefebvre, P. A.; Petry, P.; Macedo, M. N.; Reno, V. F.; Arantes, C. C.. (2013) The vulnerability of Amazon freshwater ecosystems. Conservation Letters 6(4) 217-229
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The hydrological connectivity of freshwater ecosystems in the Amazon basin makes them highly sensitive to a broad range of anthropogenic activities occurring in aquatic and terrestrial systems at local and distant locations. Amazon freshwater ecosystems are suffering escalating impacts caused by expansions in deforestation, pollution, construction of dams and waterways, and overharvesting of animal and plant species. The natural functions of these ecosystems are changing, and their capacity to provide historically important goods and services is declining. Existing management policiesincluding national water resources legislation, community-based natural resource management schemes, and the protected area network that now epitomizes the Amazon conservation paradigmcannot adequately curb most impacts. Such management strategies are intended to conserve terrestrial ecosystems, have design and implementation deficiencies, or fail to account for the hydrologic connectivity of freshwater ecosystems. There is an urgent need to shift the Amazon conservation paradigm, broadening its current forest-centric focus to encompass the freshwater ecosystems that are vital components of the basin. This is possible by developing a river catchment-based conservation framework for the whole basin that protects both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
Chappell, M. J.; Wittman, H.; Bacon, C. M.; Ferguson, B. G.; Barrios, L. G.; Barrios, R. G.; Jaffee, D.; Lima, J.; Mendez, V. E.; Morales, H.; Soto-Pinto, L.; Vandermeer, J.; Perfecto, I.. (2013) Food sovereignty: an alternative paradigm for poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation in Latin America. F1000Res; F1000Research 2 235
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Strong feedback between global biodiversity loss and persistent, extreme rural poverty are major challenges in the face of concurrent food, energy, and environmental crises. This paper examines the role of industrial agricultural intensification and market integration as exogenous socio-ecological drivers of biodiversity loss and poverty traps in Latin America. We then analyze the potential of a food sovereignty framework, based on protecting the viability of a diverse agroecological matrix while supporting rural livelihoods and global food production. We review several successful examples of this approach, including ecological land reform in Brazil, agroforestry, milpa, and the uses of wild varieties in smallholder systems in Mexico and Central America. We highlight emergent research directions that will be necessary to assess the potential of the food sovereignty model to promote both biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction.
Coe, M. T.; Marthews, T. R.; Costa, M. H.; Galbraith, D. R.; Greenglass, N. L.; Imbuzeiro, H. M. A.; Levine, N. M.; Malhi, Y.; Moorcroft, P. R.; Muza, M. N.; Powell, T. L.; Saleska, S. R.; Solorzano, L. A.; Wang, J. F.. (2013) Deforestation and climate feedbacks threaten the ecological integrity of south-southeastern Amazonia. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 368(1619)
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A mosaic of protected areas, including indigenous lands, sustainable-use production forests and reserves and strictly protected forests is the cornerstone of conservation in the Amazon, with almost 50 per cent of the region now protected. However, recent research indicates that isolation from direct deforestation or degradation may not be sufficient to maintain the ecological integrity of Amazon forests over the next several decades. Large-scale changes in fire and drought regimes occurring as a result of deforestation and greenhouse gas increases may result in forest degradation, regardless of protected status. How severe or widespread these feedbacks will be is uncertain, but the arc of deforestation in south-southeastern Amazonia appears to be particularly vulnerable owing to high current deforestation rates and ecological sensitivity to climate change. Maintaining forest ecosystem integrity may require significant strengthening of forest conservation on private property, which can in part be accomplished by leveraging existing policy mechanisms.
Dasgupta, P. S.; Ehrlich, P. R.. (2013) Pervasive Externalities at the Population, Consumption, and Environment Nexus. Science 340(6130) 324-328
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Growing concerns that contemporary patterns of economic development are unsustainable have given rise to an extensive empirical literature on population growth, consumption increases, and our growing use of nature's products and services. However, far less has been done to reach a theoretical understanding of the socio-ecological processes at work at the population-consumption-environment nexus. In this Research Article, we highlight the ubiquity of externalities ( which are the unaccounted for consequences for others, including future people) of decisions made by each of us on reproduction, consumption, and the use of our natural environment. Externalities, of which the "tragedy of the commons" remains the most widely discussed illustration, are a cause of inefficiency in the allocation of resources across space, time, and contingencies; in many situations, externalities accentuate inequity as well. Here, we identify and classify externalities in consumption and reproductive decisions and use of the natural environment so as to construct a unified theoretical framework for the study of data drawn from the nexus. We show that externalities at the nexus are not self-correcting in the marketplace. We also show that fundamental nonlinearities, built into several categories of externalities, amplify the socio-ecological processes operating at the nexus. Eliminating the externalities would, therefore, require urgent collective action at both local and global levels.
De Groot, R. S.; Blignaut, J.; van der Ploeg, S.; Aronson, J.; Elmqvist, T.; Farley, J.. (2013) Benefits of Investing in Ecosystem Restoration. Conservation Biology 27(6) 1286-1293
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Measures aimed at conservation or restoration of ecosystems are often seen as net-cost projects by governments and businesses because they are based on incomplete and often faulty cost-benefit analyses. After screening over 200 studies, we examined the costs (94 studies) and benefits (225 studies) of ecosystem restoration projects that had sufficient reliable data in 9 different biomes ranging from coral reefs to tropical forests. Costs included capital investment and maintenance of the restoration project, and benefits were based on the monetary value of the total bundle of ecosystem services provided by the restored ecosystem. Assuming restoration is always imperfect and benefits attain only 75% of the maximum value of the reference systems over 20 years, we calculated the net present value at the social discount rates of 2% and 8%. We also conducted 2 threshold cum sensitivity analyses. Benefit-cost ratios ranged from about 0.05:1 (coral reefs and coastal systems, worst-case scenario) to as much as 35:1 (grasslands, best-case scenario). Our results provide only partial estimates of benefits at one point in time and reflect the lower limit of the welfare benefits of ecosystem restoration because both scarcity of and demand for ecosystem services is increasing and new benefits of natural ecosystems and biological diversity are being discovered. Nonetheless, when accounting for even the incomplete range of known benefits through the use of static estimates that fail to capture rising values, the majority of the restoration projects we analyzed provided net benefits and should be considered not only as profitable but also as high-yielding investments.
Delgado, P.; Hensel, P. F.; Swarth, C. W.; Ceroni, M.; Boumans, R.. (2013) Sustainability of a Tidal Freshwater Marsh Exposed to a Long-term Hydrologic Barrier and Sea Level Rise. 36(1) 1-10
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A 115-year-old railroad levee bisecting a tidal freshwater marsh perpendicular to the Patuxent River (Maryland) channel has created a northern, upstream marsh and a southern, downstream marsh. The main purpose of this study was to determine how this levee may affect the ability of the marsh system to gain elevation and to determine the levee’s impact on the marsh’s long-term sustainability to local relative sea level rise (RSLR). Previously unpublished data from 1989 to 1992 showed that suspended solids and short-term sediment deposition were greater in the south marsh compared to the north marsh; wetland surface elevation change data (1999 to 2009) showed significantly higher elevation gain in the south marsh compared to the north (6±2 vs. 0±2 mm year−1, respectively). However, marsh surface accretion (2007 to 2009) showed no significant differences between north and south marshes (23± 8 and 26±7mm year−1, respectively), and showed that shallow subsidence was an important process in both marshes. A strong seasonal effect was evident for both accretion and elevation change, with significant gains during the growing season and elevation loss during the non-growing season. Sediment transport, deposition and accretion decreased along the intertidal gradient, although no clear patterns in elevation change were recorded. Given the range in local RSLR rates in the Chesapeake Bay (2.9 to 5.8 mm year−1), only the south marsh is keeping pace with sea level at the present time. Although one would expect the north marsh to benefit from high accretion of abundant riverine sediments, these results suggest that longterm elevation gain is a more nuanced process involving more than riverine sediments. Overall, other factors such as infrequent episodic coastal events may be important in allowing the south marsh to keep pace with sea level rise. Finally, caution should be exercised when using data sets spanning only a couple of years to estimate wetland sustainability as they may not be representative of longterm cumulative effects. Two years of data do not seem to be enough to establish long-term elevation change rates at Jug Bay, but instead a decadal time frame is more appropriate.
Dinerstein, E.; Varma, K.; Wikramanayake, E.; Powell, G.; Lumpkin, S.; Naidoo, R.; Korchinsky, M.; Del Valle, C.; Lohani, S.; Seidensticker, J.; Joldersma, D.; Lovejoy, T.; Kushlin, A.. (2013) Enhancing Conservation, Ecosystem Services, and Local Livelihoods through a Wildlife Premium Mechanism. Conservation Biology 27(1) 14-23
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We propose the wildlife premium mechanism as an innovation to conserve endangered large vertebrates. The performance-based payment scheme would allow stakeholders in lower-income countries to generate revenue by recovering and maintaining threatened fauna that can also serve as umbrella species (i.e., species whose protection benefits other species with which they co-occur). There are 3 possible options for applying the premium: option 1, embed premiums in a carbon payment; option 2, link premiums to a related carbon payment, but as independent and legally separate transactions; option 3, link premiums to noncarbon payments for conserving ecosystem services (PES). Each option presents advantages, such as incentive payments to improve livelihoods of rural poor who reside in or near areas harboring umbrella species, and challenges, such as the establishment of a subnational carbon credit scheme. In Kenya, Peru, and Nepal pilot premium projects are now underway or being finalized that largely follow option 1. The Kasigau (Kenya) project is the first voluntary carbon credit project to win approval from the 2 leading groups sanctioning such protocols and has already sold carbon credits totaling over $1.2 million since June 2011. A portion of the earnings is divided among community landowners and projects that support community members and has added over 350 jobs to the local economy. All 3 projects involve extensive community management because they occur on lands where locals hold the title or have a long-term lease from the government. The monitoring, reporting, and verification required to make premium payments credible to investors include transparent methods for collecting data on key indices by trained community members and verification of their reporting by a biologist. A wildlife premium readiness fund would enable expansion of pilot programs needed to test options beyond those presented here.
Ehrlich, Paul R.; Ehrlich, Anne H.. (2013) Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 280(1754)
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Environmental problems have contributed to numerous collapses of civilizations in the past. Now, for the first time, a global collapse appears likely. Overpopulation, overconsumption by the rich and poor choices of technologies are major drivers; dramatic cultural change provides the main hope of averting calamity.
Epps, C. W.; Castillo, J. A.; Schmidt-Kuentzel, A.; du Preez, P.; Stuart-Hill, G.; Jago, M.; Naidoo, R.. (2013) Contrasting Historical and Recent Gene Flow among African Buffalo Herds in the Caprivi Strip of Namibia. Journal of Heredity 104(2) 172-181
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Population genetic structure is often used to infer population connectivity, but genetic structure may largely reflect historical rather than recent processes. We contrasted genetic structure with recent gene-flow estimates among 6 herds of African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) in the Caprivi Strip, Namibia, using 134 individuals genotyped at 10 microsatellite loci. We tested whether historical and recent gene flows were influenced by distance, potential barriers (rivers), or landscape resistance (distance from water). We also tested at what scales individuals were more related than expected by chance. Genetic structure across the Caprivi Strip was weak, indicating that historically, gene flow was strong and was not affected by distance, barriers, or landscape resistance. Our analysis of simulated data suggested that genetic structure would be unlikely to reflect human disturbances in the last 1020 generations (75150 years) because of slow predicted rates of genetic drift, but recent gene-flow estimates would be affected. Recent gene-flow estimates were not consistently affected by rivers or distance to water but showed that isolation by distance appears to be developing. Average relatedness estimates among individuals exceeded random expectations only within herds. We conclude that historically, African buffalo moved freely throughout the Caprivi Strip, whereas recent gene flow has been more restricted. Our findings support efforts to maintain the connectivity of buffalo herds across this region and demonstrate the utility of contrasting genetic inferences from different time scales.
Erickson, D. L.; Lovell, S. T.; Mendez, V. E.. (2013) Identifying, quantifying and classifying agricultural opportunities for land use planning. Landscape and Urban Planning 118 29-39
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Worldwide, urbanization is causing a loss of agricultural land as residential and commercial development expands. In many parts of the US, this land use conversion has in some cases resulted in subdivision of farms into large residential parcels. Some of these residential parcels may retain sizeable areas of undeveloped prime agricultural soil. In an uncertain future challenged by population growth, climate change, food insecurity, water shortages, and energy limitations, communities are beginning to explore their ability to feed themselves from local supplies. Addressing this issue will require additional tools for planning land use in a way that could support greater food self-sufficiency at the community level. In this study, a process was developed to identify, quantify and classify agricultural opportunities (AO). AO are simply open lands suitable for some level of agricultural production. The methods outlined here were developed in Chittenden County, Vermont but they can be applied elsewhere. While individual ancillary datasets may be unique to each study area, the general process can be replicated as long as some basic datasets such as classified land cover imagery and prime soils are available. The tools described herein, if employed by planners or geospatial analysts, can generate actionable information. The results of the analyses, as well as the associated participatory community discussions, can aid decision makers when drafting new or revising old policies. Because of their widespread applicability, these tools can serve as decision support aids for policy makers and planners tasked with developing strategies to increase food self-sufficiency. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Farley, J.; Burke, M.; Flomenhoft, G.; Kelly, B.; Murray, D.; Posner, S.; Putnam, M.; Scanlan, A.; Witham, A.. (2013) Monetary and Fiscal Policies for a Finite Planet.. Sustainability 5(6) 2802-2826
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Current macroeconomic policy promotes continuous economic growth. Unemployment, poverty and debt are associated with insufficient growth. Economic activity depends upon the transformation of natural materials, ultimately returning to the environment as waste. Current levels of economic throughput exceed the planet’s carrying capacity. As a result of poorly constructed economic institutions, society faces the unacceptable choice between ecological catastrophe and human misery. A transition to a steady-state economy is required, characterized by a rate of throughput compatible with planetary boundaries. This paper contributes to the development of a steady-state economy by addressing US monetary and fiscal policies. A steady-state monetary policy would support counter-cyclical, debt-free vertical money creation through the public sector, in ways that contribute to sustainable well-being. The implication for a steady-state fiscal policy is that any lending or spending requires a careful balance of recovery of money, not as a means of revenue, but as an economic imperative to meet monetary policy goals. A steady-state fiscal policy would prioritize targeted public goods investments, taxation of ecological “bads” and economic rent and implementation of progressive tax structures. Institutional innovations are considered, including common asset trusts, to regulate throughput, and a public monetary trust, to strictly regulate money supply.
Fernandez, M.; Goodall, K.; Olson, M. B.; Mendez, V. E.. (2013) Agroecology and alternative agrifood movements in the United States: towards a sustainable agrifood system.. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems 37(1) 115-126
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The concept of agroecology in the United States is born out of a dialectical process of co-production of knowledge whereby the science of agroecology has shaped and been shaped by alternative agri-food movements, policy, and local practice. This article examines the relationship between agroecology and alternative agri-food movements and identifies opportunities for greater engagement. The article concludes with a discussion of the challenges and opportunities to scaling up agroecology and sustainable agri-food systems.
Fisher, B.; Edwards, D. P.; Wilcove, D. S.. (2013) Logging and conservation: Economic impacts of the stocking rates and prices of commercial timber species. Forest Policy and Economics
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Tropical forests vary greatly in their stocking rates of timber and the commercial value of the different tree species they contain. This significantly affects the economics of logging and, consequently, the viability of carbon payments to aid in the conservation or management of the world's forests. In this paper we first develop a conceptual model to investigate how theoretical opportunity costs and the conservation potential of carbon payments vary across forests with stocking rates and species composition. We focus the model on two possible conservation contexts: 1) strict protection of unlogged forests and 2) conservation of selectively logged forests. Results suggest that the type of forest, with regard to both timber volume and species composition, greatly affects the potential of a carbon payment to mitigate forest degradation. Additionally, two complementary insights emerge. First, in forests where timbers of high commercial value represent only a small proportion of total wood volume (and therefore carbon), selective logging may make conservation of the wider landscape more feasible, and cost-effective. Second, in forests where selective logging of highly-prized species has already occurred, engaging in long-term conservation of forest (and hence thwarting conversion to agriculture) may make the conservation of biodiverse landscapes more feasible, and their management more cost-effective.
Fontana, V.; Radtke, A.; Fedrigotti, V. B.; Tappeiner, U.; Tasser, E.; Serbe, S.; Buchholz, T.. (2013) Comparing land-use alternatives: Using the ecosystem services concept to define a multi-criteria decision analysis. Ecological Economics 93 128-136
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In landscape planning, land-use types need to be compared including the ecosystem services they provide. With multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA), ecological economics offers a useful tool for environmental questions but mostly case-specific criteria are applied. This, however, makes it difficult to compare findings. Therefore, we present a systematic framework that includes the ecosystem services as criteria into MCDA. The ecological quantification of the provided ecosystem services is combined with the assigned importance of the single ecosystem services. In a case study from the central Alps, we compared three land-use alternatives resulting from land-use change caused by socio-economic pressures: traditional larch (Larix decidua) meadow, spruce forest (abandonment) and intensive meadow (intensification). Criteria for the MCDA model were selected by experts, criteria importance was ranked by stakeholders and criteria values were assessed with qualitative and quantitative indicators. Eventually spruce forest was ranked as the best land-use alternative followed by traditional larch meadow and intensive meadow. The combined approach of MCDA using ecosystem services as criteria showed how criteria weightings and criteria indicator values influence land-use alternatives' performance. The MCDA-model visualizes the consequences of land-use change for ecosystem service provision, facilitating landscape planning by structuring environmental problems and providing data for decisions.
Fytilis, N.; Rizzo, D. M.; Lamb, R. D.; Kerans, B. L.; Stevens, L.. (2013) Using real-time PCR and Bayesian analysis to distinguish susceptible tubificid taxa important in the transmission of Myxobolus cerebralis, the cause of salmonid whirling disease. International Journal for Parasitology 43(6) 493-501
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Aquatic oligochaetes have long been appreciated for their value in assessing habitat quality because they are ubiquitous sediment-dwelling filter feeders. Many oligochaete taxa are also important in the transmission of fish diseases. Distinguishing resistant and susceptible taxa is important for managing fish disease, yet challenging in practice. Tubifex tubifex (Oligochaeta: Tubificidae) is the definitive host for the complex life-cycle parasite, Myxobolus cerebralis, the causative agent of salmonid whirling disease. We developed two hydrolysis probe-based qualitative real-time PCR (qPCR) multiplex assays that distinguish among tubificid taxa collected from the Madison River, Montana, USA. The first assay distinguishes T. tubifex from Rhyacodrilus spp.; while the second classifies T. tubifex identified by the first assay into two genetic lineages (I and III). Specificity and sensitivity were optimized for each assay; the two assays showed specificity of 94.3% and 98.6% for the target oligochaetes, respectively. DNA sequencing verified the results. The development of these assays allowed us to more fully describe tubificid community composition (the taxa and their abundance at a site) and estimate the relative abundances of host taxa. To relate tubificid relative abundance to fish disease risk, we determined M. cerebralis infection prevalence in samples identified as T. tubifex using similar molecular techniques. Given prior information (i.e., morphological identification of sexually mature worms), Bayesian analysis inferred that the first qPCR assay improved taxonomic identification. Bayesian inference of the relative abundance of T. tubifex, combined with infection assay results, identified sites with a high prevalence of infected T. tubifex. To our knowledge, this study represents both the first assessment of oligochaete community composition using a qPCR assay based on fluorescent probes and the first use of Bayesian analysis to fully characterize the dominant infected taxa in streams where whirling disease is observed. (C) 2013 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Fytilis, N.; Rizzo, D. M.. (2013) Coupling self-organizing maps with a Naive Bayesian classifier : Stream classification studies using multiple assessment data. Water Resources Research 49(11) 7747-7762
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Organizing or clustering data into natural groups is one of the most fundamental aspects of understanding and mining information. The recent explosion in sensor networks and data storage associated with hydrological monitoring has created a huge potential for automating data analysis and classification of large, high-dimensional data sets. In this work, we develop a new classification tool that couples a Naive Bayesian classifier with a neural network clustering algorithm (i.e., Kohonen Self-Organizing Map (SOM)). The combined Bayesian-SOM algorithm reduces classification error by leveraging the Bayesian's ability to accommodate parameter uncertainty with the SOM's ability to reduce high-dimensional data to lower dimensions. The resulting algorithm is data-driven, nonparametric and is as computationally efficient as a Naive Bayesian classifier due to its parallel architecture. We apply, evaluate and test the Bayesian-SOM network using two real-world hydrological data sets. The first uses genetic data to classify the state of disease in native fish populations in the upper Madison River, MT, USA. The second uses stream geomorphic and water quality data measured at similar to 2500 Vermont stream reaches to predict habitat conditions. The new classification tool has substantial benefits over traditional classification methods due to its ability to dynamically update prior information, assess the uncertainty/confidence of the posterior probability values, and visualize both the input data and resulting probabilistic clusters onto two-dimensional maps to better assess nonlinear mappings between the two.
Galford, Gillian L.; Soares-Filho, Britaldo; Cerri, Carlos E. P.. (2013) Prospects for land-use sustainability on the agricultural frontier of the Brazilian Amazon. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 368(1619)
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The Brazilian Amazon frontier shows how remarkable leadership can work towards increased agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability without new greenhouse gas emissions. This is due to initiatives among various stakeholders, including national and state government and agents, farmers, consumers, funding agencies and non-governmental organizations. Change has come both from bottom-up and top-down actions of these stakeholders, providing leadership, financing and monitoring to foster environmental sustainability and agricultural growth. Goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from land-cover and land-use change in Brazil are being achieved through a multi-tiered approach that includes policies to reduce deforestation and initiatives for forest restoration, as well as increased and diversified agricultural production, intensified ranching and innovations in agricultural management. Here, we address opportunities for the Brazilian Amazon in working towards low-carbon rural development and environmentally sustainable landscapes.
Garibaldi, L. A.; Steffan-Dewenter, I.; Winfree, R.; Aizen, M. A.; Bommarco, R.; Cunningham, S. A.; Kremen, C.; Carvalheiro, L. G.; Harder, L. D.; Afik, O.; Bartomeus, I.; Benjamin, F.; Boreux, V.; Cariveau, D.; Chacoff, N. P.; Dudenhoffer, J. H.; Freitas, B. M.; Ghazoul, J.; Greenleaf, S.; Hipolito, J.; Holzschuh, A.; Howlett, B.; Isaacs, R.; Javorek, S. K.; Kennedy, C. M.; Krewenka, K. M.; Krishnan, S.; Mandelik, Y.; Mayfield, M. M.; Motzke, I.; Munyuli, T.; Nault, B. A.; Otieno, M.; Petersen, J.; Pisanty, G.; Potts, S. G.; Rader, R.; Ricketts, T. H.; Rundlof, M.; Seymour, C. L.; Schuepp, C.; Szentgyorgyi, H.; Taki, H.; Tscharntke, T.; Vergara, C. H.; Viana, B. F.; Wanger, T. C.; Westphal, C.; Williams, N.; Klein, A. M.. (2013) Wild Pollinators Enhance Fruit Set of Crops Regardless of Honey Bee Abundance. Science 339(6127) 1608-1611
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The diversity and abundance of wild insect pollinators have declined in many agricultural landscapes. Whether such declines reduce crop yields, or are mitigated by managed pollinators such as honey bees, is unclear. We found universally positive associations of fruit set with flower visitation by wild insects in 41 crop systems worldwide. In contrast, fruit set increased significantly with flower visitation by honey bees in only 14% of the systems surveyed. Overall, wild insects pollinated crops more effectively; an increase in wild insect visitation enhanced fruit set by twice as much as an equivalent increase in honey bee visitation. Visitation by wild insects and honey bees promoted fruit set independently, so pollination by managed honey bees supplemented, rather than substituted for, pollination by wild insects. Our results suggest that new practices for integrated management of both honey bees and diverse wild insect assemblages will enhance global crop yields.
Hu, L.; Savidge, C.; Rizzo, D.; Hayden, N.; Hagadorn, J.; Dewoolkar, M.. (2013) Commonly Used Porous Building Materials: Geomorphic Pore Structure and Fluid Transport. Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering 25(12) 1803-1812
Huang, Q. Q.; Wang, J. X.; Rozelle, S.; Polasky, S.; Liu, Y.. (2013) The Effects of Well Management and the Nature of the Aquifer on Groundwater Resources. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 95(1) 94-116
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We compare groundwater use under collective well management in China, where village leaders allocate water among households, and under private well management where farmers either pump from their own wells or buy water from wells owned by other farmers. Villages are divided into connected or isolated groups depending on whether there are lateral groundwater flows between aquifers underlying a village and neighboring ones. In rural China, households under collective well management use less water. Even under collective management, households located in connected villages use more water, indicating that the connectedness of the aquifers may undermine leaders' incentives to conserve water.
Isbell, F.; Reich, P. B.; Tilman, D.; Hobbie, S. E.; Polasky, S.; Binder, S.. (2013) Nutrient enrichment, biodiversity loss, and consequent declines in ecosystem productivity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110(29) 11911-11916
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Anthropogenic drivers of environmental change often have multiple effects, including changes in biodiversity, species composition, and ecosystem functioning. It remains unknown whether such shifts in biodiversity and species composition may, themselves, be major contributors to the total, long-term impacts of anthropogenic drivers on ecosystem functioning. Moreover, although numerous experiments have shown that random losses of species impact the functioning of ecosystems, human-caused losses of biodiversity are rarely random. Here we use results from long-term grassland field experiments to test for direct effects of chronic nutrient enrichment on ecosystem productivity, and for indirect effects of enrichment on productivity mediated by resultant species losses. We found that ecosystem productivity decreased through time most in plots that lost the most species. Chronic nitrogen addition also led to the nonrandom loss of initially dominant native perennial C-4 grasses. This loss of dominant plant species was associated with twice as great a loss of productivity per lost species than occurred with random species loss in a nearby biodiversity experiment. Thus, although chronic nitrogen enrichment initially increased productivity, it also led to loss of plant species, including initially dominant species, which then caused substantial diminishing returns from nitrogen fertilization. In contrast, elevated CO2 did not decrease grassland plant diversity, and it consistently promoted productivity over time. Our results support the hypothesis that the long-term impacts of anthropogenic drivers of environmental change on ecosystem functioning can strongly depend on how such drivers gradually decrease biodiversity and restructure communities.
Isbell, F.; Tilman, D.; Polasky, S.; Binder, S.; Hawthorne, P.. (2013) Low biodiversity state persists two decades after cessation of nutrient enrichment. Ecology Letters 16(4) 454-460
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Although nutrient enrichment frequently decreases biodiversity, it remains unclear whether such biodiversity losses are readily reversible, or are critical transitions between alternative low- and high-diversity stable states that could be difficult to reverse. Our 30-year grassland experiment shows that plant diversity decreased well below control levels after 10years of chronic high rates (95270kgNha1year1) of nitrogen addition, and did not recover to control levels 20years after nitrogen addition ceased. Furthermore, we found a hysteretic response of plant diversity to increases and subsequent decreases in soil nitrate concentrations. Our results suggest that chronic nutrient enrichment created an alternative low-diversity state that persisted despite decreases in soil nitrate after cessation of nitrogen addition, and despite supply of propagules from nearby high-diversity plots. Thus, the regime shifts between alternative stable states that have been reported for some nutrient-enriched aquatic ecosystems may also occur in grasslands.
Jain, M.; Mondal, P.; DeFries, R. S.; Small, C.; Galford, G. L.. (2013) Mapping cropping intensity of smallholder farms: A comparison of methods using multiple sensors. Remote Sensing of Environment 134 210-223
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The food security of smallholder farmers is vulnerable to climate change and climate variability. Cropping intensity, the number of crops planted annually, can be used as a measure of food security for smallholder farmers given that it can greatly affect net production. Current techniques for quantifying cropping intensity may not accurately map smallholder farms where the size of one field is typically smaller than the spatial resolution of readily available satellite data. We evaluated four methods that use multi-scalar datasets and are commonly used in the literature to assess cropping intensity of smallholder farms: 1) the Landsat threshold method, which identifies if a Landsat pixel is cropped or uncropped during each growing season, 2) the MODIS peak method, which determines if there is a phenological peak in the MODIS Enhanced Vegetation Index time series during each growing season, 3) the MODIS temporal mixture analysis, which quantifies the sub-pixel heterogeneity of cropping intensity using phenological MODIS data, and 4) the MODIS hierarchical training method, which quantifies the sub-pixel heterogeneity of cropping intensity using hierarchical training techniques. Each method was assessed using four criteria: 1) data availability, 2) accuracy across different spatial scales (at aggregate scales 250 x 250 m, 1 x 1 km, 5 x 5 km, and 10 x 10 km), 3) ease of implementation, and 4) ability to use the method over large spatial and temporal scales. We applied our methods to two regions in India (Gujarat and southeastern Madhya Pradesh) that represented diversity in crop type, soils, climatology, irrigation access, cropping intensity, and field size. We found that the Landsat threshold method is the most accurate (R-2 >= 0.71 and RMSE <= 0.14), particularly at smaller scales of analysis. Yet given the limited availability of Landsat data, we find that the MODIS hierarchical training method meets multiple criteria for mapping cropping intensity over large spatial and temporal scales. Furthermore, the adjusted R-2 between predicted and validation data generally increased and the RMSE decreased with spatial aggregation >= 5 x 5 km (R-2 up to 0.97 and RMSE as low as 0.00). Our model accuracy varied based on the region and season of analysis and was lowest during the summer season in Gujarat when there was high sub-pixel heterogeneity due to sparsely cropped agricultural land-cover. While our results specifically apply to our study regions in India, they most likely also apply to smallholder agriculture in other locations across the globe where the same types of satellite data are readily available. (C) 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Karp, Daniel S.; Mendenhall, Chase D.; Sandí, Randi Figueroa; Chaumont, Nicolas; Ehrlich, Paul R.; Hadly, Elizabeth A.; Daily, Gretchen C.. (2013) Forest bolsters bird abundance, pest control and coffee yield. Ecology Letters 16(11) 1339-1347
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Efforts to maximise crop yields are fuelling agricultural intensification, exacerbating the biodiversity crisis. Low-intensity agricultural practices, however, may not sacrifice yields if they support biodiversity-driven ecosystem services. We quantified the value native predators provide to farmers by consuming coffee's most damaging insect pest, the coffee berry borer beetle (Hypothenemus hampei). Our experiments in Costa Rica showed birds reduced infestation by ~ 50%, bats played a marginal role, and farmland forest cover increased pest removal. We identified borer-consuming bird species by assaying faeces for borer DNA and found higher borer-predator abundances on more forested plantations. Our coarse estimate is that forest patches doubled pest control over 230 km2 by providing habitat for ~ 55 000 borer-consuming birds. These pest-control services prevented US$75–US$310 ha-year−1 in damage, a benefit per plantation on par with the average annual income of a Costa Rican citizen. Retaining forest and accounting for pest control demonstrates a win–win for biodiversity and coffee farmers.
Kennedy, Christina M.; Lonsdorf, Eric; Neel, Maile C.; Williams, Neal M.; Ricketts, Taylor H.; Winfree, Rachael; Bommarco, Riccardo; Brittain, Claire; Burley, Alana L.; Cariveau, Daniel; Carvalheiro, Luísa G.; Chacoff, Natacha P.; Cunningham, Saul A.; Danforth, Bryan N.; Dudenhöffer, Jan-Hendrik; Elle, Elizabeth; Gaines, Hannah R.; Garibaldi, Lucas A.; Gratton, Claudio; Holzschuh, Andrea; Isaacs, Rufus; Javorek, Steven K.; Jha, Shalene; Klein, Alexandra M.; Krewenka, Kristin; Mandelik, Yael; Mayfield, Margaret M.; Morandin, Lora; Neame, Lisa A.; Otieno, Mark; Park, Mia; Potts, Simon G.; Rundlöf, Maj; Saez, Agustin; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Taki, Hisatomo; Viana, Blandina Felipe; Westphal, Catrin; Wilson, Julianna K.; Greenleaf, Sarah S.; Kremen, Claire. (2013) A global quantitative synthesis of local and landscape effects on wild bee pollinators in agroecosystems. Ecology Letters 16(5) 584-599
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Bees provide essential pollination services that are potentially affected both by local farm management and the surrounding landscape. To better understand these different factors, we modelled the relative effects of landscape composition (nesting and floral resources within foraging distances), landscape configuration (patch shape, interpatch connectivity and habitat aggregation) and farm management (organic vs. conventional and local-scale field diversity), and their interactions, on wild bee abundance and richness for 39 crop systems globally. Bee abundance and richness were higher in diversified and organic fields and in landscapes comprising more high-quality habitats; bee richness on conventional fields with low diversity benefited most from high-quality surrounding land cover. Landscape configuration effects were weak. Bee responses varied slightly by biome. Our synthesis reveals that pollinator persistence will depend on both the maintenance of high-quality habitats around farms and on local management practices that may offset impacts of intensive monoculture agriculture.
Kinzig, Ann P.; Ehrlich, Paul R.; Alston, Lee J.; Arrow, Kenneth; Barrett, Scott; Buchman, Timothy G.; Daily, Gretchen C.; Levin, Bruce; Levin, Simon; Oppenheimer, Michael; Ostrom, Elinor; Saari, Donald. (2013) Social Norms and Global Environmental Challenges: The Complex Interaction of Behaviors, Values, and Policy. Bioscience 63(3) 164-175
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Government policies are needed when people's behaviors fail to deliver the public good. Those policies will be most effective if they can stimulate long-term changes in beliefs and norms, creating and reinforcing the behaviors needed to solidify and extend the public good. It is often the short-term acceptability of potential policies, rather than their longer-term efficacy, that determines their scope and deployment. The policy process should include a consideration of both timescales. The academy, however, has provided insufficient insight on the coevolution of social norms and different policy instruments, thus compromising the ability of decisionmakers to craft effective solutions to the society's most intractable environmental problems. Life scientists could make fundamental contributions to this agenda through targeted research on the emergence of social norms.
Koliba, C.; Zia, A.. (2013) Complex Systems Modeling in Public Administration and Policy Studies: Challenges and Opportunities for a Meta-Theoretical Research Program.. Emergnent Publications, Litchfield Park, AZ.
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There is an argument that says that research in Public Administration is always about social complexity. This argument is true. There is also an argument that says that Public Administration is actually very little informed by complexity. This is equally true. The differences lie in the different takes on complexity. The latter approach understands that comprehension of complexity requires a specific theoretical framework and associated tools to look into the black box of causality. The authors in this edited volume gathered in Rotterdam (The Netherlands, June 2011) to discuss how the complexity sciences can contribute to pertinent questions in the domains of Public Administration and Public Policy. Their contributions are presented in this edited volume. Each contribution is an attempt to answer the Challenge of Making Public Administration and Complexity Theory work-COMPACT, as the title says. Together, they present an overview of the diverse state of the art in thinking about and research in complex systems in the public domain.
Koliba, C.; Zia, A.. (2013) Governance Informatics: Using Computer Simulation Models to Deepen Situational Awareness and Governance Design Considerations. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
Koliba, C.. (2013) Review of 'Cultural Competency for Public Administrators'. Journal of Public Affairs Education 19(2) 377-379
Kovacs, K.; Polasky, S.; Nelson, E.; Keeler, B. L.; Pennington, D.; Plantinga, A. J.; Taff, S. J.. (2013) Evaluating the Return in Ecosystem Services from Investment in Public Land Acquisitions. PloS One 8(6) 17
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We evaluate the return on investment (ROI) from public land conservation in the state of Minnesota, USA. We use a spatially-explicit modeling tool, the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST), to estimate how changes in land use and land cover (LULC), including public land acquisitions for conservation, influence the joint provision and value of multiple ecosystem services. We calculate the ROI of a public conservation acquisition as the ratio of the present value of ecosystem services generated by the conservation to the cost of the conservation. For the land scenarios analyzed, carbon sequestration services generated the greatest benefits followed by water quality improvements and recreation opportunities. We found ROI values ranged from 0.21 to 5.28 depending on assumptions about future land use change, service values, and discount rate. Our study suggests conservation is a good investment as long as investments are targeted to areas with low land costs and high service values.
Kubiszewski, I.; Costanza, R.; Franco, C.; Lawn, P.; Talberth, J.; Jackson, T.; Aylmer, C.. (2013) Beyond GDP: Measuring and achieving global genuine progress. Ecological Economics 93 57-68
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While global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased more than three-fold since 1950, economic welfare, as estimated by the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), has actually decreased since 1978. We synthesized estimates of GPI over the 1950–2003 time period for 17 countries for which GPI has been estimated. These 17 countries contain 53% of the global population and 59% of the global GDP. We compared GPI with Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Human Development Index (HDI), Ecological Footprint, Biocapacity, Gini coefficient, and Life Satisfaction scores. Results show a significant variation among these countries, but some major trends. We also estimated a global GPI/capita over the 1950–2003 period. Global GPI/capita peaked in 1978, about the same time that global Ecological Footprint exceeded global Biocapacity. Life Satisfaction in almost all countries has also not improved significantly since 1975. Globally, GPI/capita does not increase beyond a GDP/capita of around $7000/capita. If we distributed income more equitably around the planet, the current world GDP ($67 trillion/yr) could support 9.6 billion people at $7000/capita. While GPI is not the perfect economic welfare indicator, it is a far better approximation than GDP. Development policies need to shift to better account for real welfare and not merely GDP growth.
Kubiszewski, I.; Costanza, R.; Kompas, T.. (2013) The University Unbound: Transforming Higher Education. Solutions 4(2)
Kubiszewski, I.; Costanza, R.; Paquet, P.; Halimi, S.. (2013) Hydropower development in the lower Mekong basin: alternative approaches to deal with uncertainty. Regional Environmental Change 13(1) 3-15
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Governments in the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB) face decisions that involve trade-offs between the economic benefits from hydropower generation and potentially irreversible negative impacts on the ecosystems that provide livelihoods and food security to the rural poor. As a means of comparing these trade-offs, a sensitivity analysis of the benefit-cost analysis of certain Basin Development Plan (BDP) scenarios was undertaken. By changing some key assumptions in the BDP about discount rates, the value of lost capture fisheries, future aquaculture production in the LMB, and the value of lost ecosystem services from wetlands to reflect the full range of uncertainty, at the extremes, there could be a reversal of the Net Present Value (NPV) estimates of the scenarios from a positive $33 billion to negative $274 billion. This report recommends when dealing with large-scale, complex projects: a more comprehensive, integrated human and natural systems framework and adaptive management approach to LMB planning and development that deals with the entire watershed; a more comprehensive analysis and treatment of risk and uncertainty; a more thorough assessment of the value of direct and indirect ecosystem services; a broader set of scenarios that embody alternative models of development, broader stakeholder participation; and better treatment of the effects of infrastructure construction on local cultures and the poor.
Levin, Simon; Xepapadeas, Tasos; Crépin, Anne-Sophie; Norberg, Jon; de Zeeuw, Aart; Folke, Carl; Hughes, Terry; Arrow, Kenneth; Barrett, Scott; Daily, Gretchen; Ehrlich, Paul; Kautsky, Nils; Mäler, Karl-Göran; Polasky, Steve; Troell, Max; Vincent, Jeffrey R.; Walker, Brian. (2013) Social-ecological systems as complex adaptive systems: modeling and policy implications. Environment and Development Economics 18(02) 111-132
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Systems linking people and nature, known as social-ecological systems, are increasingly understood as complex adaptive systems. Essential features of these complex adaptive systems – such as nonlinear feedbacks, strategic interactions, individual and spatial heterogeneity, and varying time scales – pose substantial challenges for modeling. However, ignoring these characteristics can distort our picture of how these systems work, causing policies to be less effective or even counterproductive. In this paper we present recent developments in modeling social-ecological systems, illustrate some of these challenges with examples related to coral reefs and grasslands, and identify the implications for economic and policy analysis.
Liss, K. N.; Mitchell, M. G. E.; MacDonald, G. K.; Mahajan, S. L.; Methot, J.; Jacob, A. L.; Maguire, D. Y.; Metson, G. S.; Ziter, C.; Dancose, K.; Martins, K.; Terrado, M.; Bennett, E. M.. (2013) Variability in ecosystem service measurement: a pollination service case study. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11(8) 414-422
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Research quantifying ecosystem services (ES) - collectively, the benefits that society obtains from ecosystems -is rapidly increasing. Despite the seemingly straightforward definition, a wide variety of methods are used to measure ES. This methodological variability has largely been ignored, and standard protocols to select measures that capture ES provision have yet to be established. Furthermore, most published papers do not include explicit definitions of individual ES. We surveyed the literature on pollination ES to assess the range of measurement approaches, focusing on three essential steps: (1) definition of the ES, (2) identification of components contributing to ES delivery, and (3) selection of metrics to represent these components. We found considerable variation in how pollination as an ES - a relatively well-defined service - is measured. We discuss potential causes of this variability and provide suggestions to address this issue. Consistency in ES measurement, or a clear explanation of selected definitions and metrics, is critical to facilitate comparisons among studies and inform ecosystem management.
Lucero, D. E.; Morrissey, L. A.; Rizzo, D. M.; Rodas, A.; Garnica, R.; Stevens, L.; Bustamante, D. M.; Carlota Monroy, M.. (2013) Ecohealth Interventions Limit Triatomine Reinfestation following Insecticide Spraying in La Brea, Guatemala. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 88(4) 630-637
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In this study, we evaluate the effect of participatory Ecohealth interventions on domestic reinfestation of the Chagas disease vector Triatoma dimidiata after village-wide suppression of the vector population using a residual insecticide. The study was conducted in the rural community of La Brea, Guatemala between 2002 and 2009 where vector infestation was analyzed within a spatial data framework based on entomological and socio-economic surveys of homesteads within the village. Participatory interventions focused on community awareness and low-cost home improvements using local materials to limit areas of refuge and alternative blood meals for the vector within the home, and potential shelter for the vector outside the home. As a result, domestic infestation was maintained at <= 3% and peridomestic infestation at <= 2% for 5 years beyond the last insecticide spraying, in sharp contrast to the rapid reinfestation experienced in earlier insecticide only interventions.
Macedo, M. N.; Coe, M. T.; DeFries, R.; Uriarte, M.; Brando, P. M.; Neill, C.; Walker, W. S.. (2013) Land-use-driven stream warming in southeastern Amazonia. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 368(1619)
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Large-scale cattle and crop production are the primary drivers of deforestation in the Amazon today. Such land-use changes can degrade stream ecosystems by reducing connectivity, changing light and nutrient inputs, and altering the quantity and quality of streamwater. This study integrates field data from 12 catchments with satellite-derived information for the 176 000 km(2) upper Xingu watershed (Mato Grosso, Brazil). We quantify recent land-use transitions and evaluate the influence of land management on streamwater temperature, an important determinant of habitat quality in small streams. By 2010, over 40 per cent of catchments outside protected areas were dominated (greater than 60% of area) by agriculture, with an estimated 10 000 impoundments in the upper Xingu. Streams in pasture and soya bean watersheds were significantly warmer than those in forested watersheds, with average daily maxima over 4 degrees C higher in pasture and 3 degrees C higher in soya bean. The upstream density of impoundments and riparian forest cover accounted for 43 per cent of the variation in temperature. Scaling up, our model suggests that management practices associated with recent agricultural expansion may have already increased headwater stream temperatures across the Xingu. Although increased temperatures could negatively impact stream biota, conserving or restoring riparian buffers could reduce predicted warming by as much as fivefold.
Manukyan, Narine; Eppstein, Margaret J; Horbar, Jeffrey D; Leahy, Kathleen A; Kenny, Michael J; Mukherjee, Shreya; Rizzo, Donna M. (2013) Exploratory Analysis in Time-Varying Data Sets: a Healthcare Network Application. International Journal of Advanced Computer Science 3(7)
Marland, G.; Buchholz, T.; Kowalcyzk, T.. (2013) Accounting for Carbon Dioxide Emissions The Context and Stakeholders Matter. Journal of Industrial Ecology 17(3) 340-342
Masozera, M.; Erickson, J. D.; Clifford, D.; Coppolillo, P.; Sadiki, H. G.; Mazet, J. K.. (2013) Integrating the Management of Ruaha Landscape of Tanzania with Local Needs and Preferences. Environmental Management 52(6) 1533-1546
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Sustainable management of landscapes with multiple competing demands such as the Ruaha Landscape is complex due to the diverse preferences and needs of stakeholder groups involved. This study uses conjoint analysis to assess the preferences of representatives from three stakeholder groups-local communities, district government officials, and non-governmental organizations-toward potential solutions of conservation and development tradeoffs facing local communities in the Ruaha Landscape of Tanzania. Results demonstrate that there is little consensus among stakeholders about the best development strategies for the Ruaha region. This analysis suggests a need for incorporating issues deemed important by these various groups into a development strategy that aims to promote conservation of the Ruaha Landscape and improve the livelihood of local communities.
Mathon, B. R.; Rizzo, D. M.; Kline, M.; Alexander, G.; Fiske, S.; Langdon, R.; Stevens, L.. (2013) Assessing Linkages in Stream Habitat, Geomorphic Condition, and Biological Integrity Using a Generalized Regression Neural Network.. JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN WATER RESOURCES ASSOCIATION 49(2) 415-430
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Watershed managers often use physical geomorphic and habitat assessments in making decisions about the biological integrity of a stream, and to reduce the cost and time for identifying stream stressors and developing mitigation strategies. Such analysis is difficult since the complex linkages between reach-scale geomorphic and habitat conditions, and biological integrity are not fully understood. We evaluate the effectiveness of a generalized regression neural network (GRNN) to predict biological integrity using physical (i.e., geomorphic and habitat) stream-reach assessment data. The method is first tested using geomorphic assessments to predict habitat condition for 1,292 stream reaches from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. The GRNN methodology outperforms linear regression (69% vs. 40% classified correctly) and improves slightly (70% correct) with additional data on channel evolution. Analysis of a subset of the reaches where physical assessments are used to predict biological integrity shows no significant linear correlation, however the GRNN predicted 48% of the fish health data and 23% of macroinvertebrate health. Although the GRNN is superior to linear regression, these results show linking physical and biological health remains challenging. Reasons for lack of agreement, including spatial and temporal scale differences, are discussed. We show the GRNN to be a data-driven tool that can assist watershed managers with large quantities of complex, nonlinear data.
McLellan, B. C.; Corder, G. D.; Ali, S. H.. (2013) Sustainability of rare earths-an overview of the state of knowledge. Minerals 3(3) 304-17
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Rare Earths (RE) have been the focus of much attention in recent years as a consequence of a number of converging factors, prominent among which are: centralization of supply (in China), unique applications in high-end technologies particularly in the low-carbon energy industry, and global demand outstripping availability. Despite this focus, RE supply chain sustainability has not been examined in depth or in any systematic manner. This paper provides an initial review of RE sustainability considerations at present, including current initiatives to understand the research and development needs. The analysis highlights a broad range of areas needing consolidation with future research and calls for collaboration between industry and academia to understand the sustainability considerations of these critical elements in more depth.
Mendez, V. E.; Bacon, C. M.; Cohen, R.. (2013) Agroecology and the transformation of agro-food systems: Transdisciplinary and participatory perspectives.. Invited Special Inaugural Issue of Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems 37(1) 146
Mendez, V. E.; Bacon, C. M.; Cohen, R.. (2013) Agroecology as a Transdisciplinary, Participatory, and Action-Oriented Approach. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems 37(1) 3-18
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This article traces multiple directions in the evolution of agroecology, from its early emphasis on ecological processes in agricultural systems, to its emergence as a multidimensional approach focusing on broader agro-food systems. This review is timely, as agroecology is being increasingly applied within a diversity of scientific-, policy-, and farmer-based initiatives. We contrast different agroecological perspectives or “agroecologies” and discuss the characteristics of an agroecology characterized by a transdisciplinary, participatory and action-oriented approach. Our final discussion describes the contents of the special issue, and states our goal for this compilation, which is to encourage future work that embraces an agroecological approach grounded in transdisciplinarity, participation, and transformative action.
Mika, A. M.; Keeton, W. S.. (2013) Factors contributing to carbon fluxes from bioenergy harvests in the U.S. Northeast: an analysis using field data. Global Change Biology Bioenergy 5(3) 290-305
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With growing interest in wood bioenergy there is uncertainty over greenhouse gas emissions associated with offsetting fossil fuels. Although quantifying postharvest carbon (C) fluxes will require accurate data, relatively few studies have evaluated these using field data from actual bioenergy harvests. We assessed C reductions and net fluxes immediately postharvest from whole-tree harvests (WTH), bioenergy harvests without WTH, and nonbioenergy harvests at 35 sites across the northeastern United States. We compared the aboveground forest C in harvested with paired unharvested sites, and analyzed the C transferred to wood products and C emissions from energy generation from harvested sites, including indirect emissions from harvesting, transporting, and processing. All harvests reduced live tree C; however, only bioenergy harvests using WTH significantly reduced C stored in snags (P<0.01). On average, WTH sites also decreased downed coarse woody debris C while the other harvest types showed increases, although these results were not statistically significant. Bioenergy harvests using WTH generated fewer wood products and resulted in more emissions released from bioenergy than the other two types of harvests, which resulted in a greater net flux of C (P<0.01). A Classification and Regression Tree analysis determined that it was not the type of harvest or amount of bioenergy generated, but rather the type of skidding machinery and specifics of silvicultural treatment that had the largest impact on net C flux. Although additional research is needed to determine the impact of bioenergy harvesting over multiple rotations and at landscape scales, we conclude that operational factors often associated with WTH may result in an overall intensification of C fluxes. The intensification of bioenergy harvests, and subsequent C emissions, that result from these operational factors could be reduced if operators select smaller equipment and leave a portion of tree tops on site.
Mitchell, M. G. E.; Bennett, E. M.; Gonzalez, A.. (2013) Linking Landscape Connectivity and Ecosystem Service Provision: Current Knowledge and Research Gaps. Ecosystems 16(5) 894-908
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Human activities are rapidly changing ecosystems, landscapes and ecosystem service provision, yet there remain significant gaps in our understanding of the spatial ecology of ecosystem services. These gaps hinder our ability to manage landscapes effectively for multiple ecosystem services. In particular, we do not fully understand how changes in landscape connectivity affect ecosystem service provision, despite theory suggesting that connectivity is important. Here, we perform a semi-quantitative review of the literature that investigates how landscape connectivity affects the provision of specific ecosystem services. The vast majority of studies, including reviews, models, and field studies, suggest that decreased connectivity will have negative effects on ecosystem service provision. However, only 15 studies provided empirical evidence of these effects. Average effect sizes from these 15 studies suggest negative effects of connectivity loss on pollination and pest regulation. We identify a number of significant gaps in the connectivity-ecosystem services literature, including: a lack of multiple service studies, which precludes identification of trade-offs between services as connectivity changes; few studies that directly measure organism movement and its effects on ecosystem services; and few empirical studies that investigate the importance of abiotic flows on service provision. We propose that future research should aim to understand how different aspects of connectivity affect ecosystem service provision; which services are most influenced by connectivity; and how connectivity influences how humans access and benefit from ecosystem services. Studies that answer these questions will advance our understanding of connectivity-ecosystem service provision relationships and allow for better ecosystem and landscape management and restoration.
Moore, Rebecca; Williams, Tiffany; Rodriguez, Eduardo; Hepinstall-Cymerman, Jeffrey. (2013) Using Nonmarket Valuation to Target Conservation Payments: An Example Involving Georgia's Private Forests. Journal of Forestry 111(4) 261-270
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Using landscape analysis and economic valuation, this article shows how valuation techniques can inform prioritization of private forestland for ecosystem service conservation and highlights the methodological challenges in doing so. We classify forests according to six ecological and social characteristics. If ecosystem service priorities are known a priori, this landscape analysis might be sufficient for targeting conservation efforts. However, if priorities are not known or there are multiple priorities, economic valuation techniques can be used to estimate preference weights to prioritize forests based on the benefits of the ecosystem service provided. We create priority conservation maps using two different valuation methods: benefit transfer and an original stated choice experiment. The two approaches result in significantly different priority maps, largely due to how the two methods operationalize value. These differences underscore the importance of carefully evaluating the methodological implications of using a particular valuation technique
Morris, K. S.; Mendez, V. E.; Lovell, S. T.; Olson, M.. (2013) Conventional Food Plot Management in an Organic Coffee Cooperative: Explaining the Paradox. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems 37(7) 762-787
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This research analyzes farmers' motivations for conventional management of subsistence food crops, in contrast to organic management of coffee destined for export. Semistructured interviews, focus groups, and financial analyses were conducted with farmers from a small organic coffee cooperative in western El Salvador. We sought to identify what factors have motivated peasant farmers to manage subsistence crops, primarily maize and beans, with agrochemicals. We found that a combination of environmental, economic, social and political factors have driven agricultural management decisions. The environmental requirements of coffee are distinct, where coffee in a diverse shaded agroecosystem responds better to low-input management than maize grown on steep slopes in nutrient-poor soil. In addition, there are no direct economic incentives for subsistence farmers to manage food crops organically, while the benefit of a price premium does exist for organic coffee. Finally, institutional support for agriculture encourages organic production for export crops and generally overlooks subsistence farming. Our data show that half of the farmers lost money on their food plots, with agrochemicals representing the largest cost. This research suggests that small-scale farmers need support in transitioning to more economically and environmentally sustainable farming practices.
Morris, Katlyn S.; Mendez, V. Ernesto; Olson, Meryl B.. (2013) "Los meses flacos': seasonal food insecurity in a Salvadoran organic coffee cooperative. Journal of Peasant Studies 40(2) 423-446
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Central American coffee farmers commonly refer to annual periods of food insecurity as los meses flacos' - the thin months - indicating a recurring season in which they are unable to meet household food needs. Although this is a common phenomenon, little empirical research has documented the seasonal food insecurity that many small-scale coffee farmers face. Household surveys and focus groups were conducted with 29 members of an organic coffee cooperative in western El Salvador to determine the causes of, and responses to, seasonal food insecurity. Ninety-seven percent of households faced food shortages during some period of the year. The two most common proximate causes of food shortages were lack of income-generating opportunities to buy food and running out of staple food crops. Families coped with seasonal food shortages by borrowing money and food, seeking work outside of the community, changing diet, and selling livestock. It is clear that small-scale coffee farmers seek to maintain a balance between coffee, which provides income, and food crops, which provide staple food. Livelihood and income diversification are important coping strategies that should be supported; however, we conclude that efforts to address food insecurity in coffee regions require deeper structural changes to support peasant farmers.
Myers, Samuel S.; Gaffikin, Lynne; Golden, Christopher D.; Ostfeld, Richard S.; H. Redford, Kent; H. Ricketts, Taylor; Turner, Will R.; Osofsky, Steven A.. (2013) Human health impacts of ecosystem alteration. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110(47) 18753-18760
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Human activity is rapidly transforming most of Earth’s natural systems. How this transformation is impacting human health, whose health is at greatest risk, and the magnitude of the associated disease burden are relatively new subjects within the field of environmental health. We discuss what is known about the human health implications of changes in the structure and function of natural systems and propose that these changes are affecting human health in a variety of important ways. We identify several gaps and limitations in the research that has been done to date and propose a more systematic and comprehensive approach to applied research in this field. Such efforts could lead to a more robust understanding of the human health impacts of accelerating environmental change and inform decision making in the land-use planning, environmental conservation, and public health policy realms.
Naidoo, R.; Johnson, K.. (2013) Community-based conservation reduces sexual risk factors for HIV among men. Globalization and Health 9 5
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Background: Despite numerous programs to combat the global HIV and AIDS pandemic, infection rates remain high, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, where two-thirds of all people living with HIV reside. Here, we describe how we used rigorous program evaluation methods to assess the effectiveness of a community-based natural resource management program that "mainstreamed" HIV awareness and prevention activities within rural communities in Namibia. Findings: We used data from two rounds of the Namibia Demographic and Health Surveys (2000 and 2006/2007) and quasi-experimental statistical methods to evaluate changes in critical health-related outcomes in men and women living in communal conservancies, relative to several non-conservancy comparison groups. Our final dataset included 117 men and 318 women in 2000, and 170 men and 357 women in 2006/2007. We evaluated the statistical significance of the main effects of survey year and conservancy residence, and a conservancy-year interaction term, using generalized linear models. Our analyses show that community-based conservation in Namibia has significantly reduced multiple sexual partnerships, the main behavioural determinant of HIV/AIDS infection in Africa. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate the effectiveness of holistic community-based approaches centered on the preservation of lives and livelihoods, and highlight the potential benefits of integrating conservation and HIV prevention programming in other areas of communal land tenure in Africa.
Neill, C.; Coe, M. T.; Riskin, S. H.; Krusche, A. V.; Elsenbeer, H.; Macedo, M. N.; McHorney, R.; Lefebvre, P.; Davidson, E. A.; Scheffler, R.; Figueira, Ames; Porder, S.; Deegan, L. A.. (2013) Watershed responses to Amazon soya bean cropland expansion and intensification. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 368(1619)
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The expansion and intensification of soya bean agriculture in southeastern Amazonia can alter watershed hydrology and biogeochemistry by changing the land cover, water balance and nutrient inputs. Several new insights on the responses of watershed hydrology and biogeochemistry to deforestation in Mato Grosso have emerged from recent intensive field campaigns in this region. Because of reduced evapotranspiration, total water export increases threefold to fourfold in soya bean watersheds compared with forest. However, the deep and highly permeable soils on the broad plateaus on which much of the soya bean cultivation has expanded buffer small soya bean watersheds against increased stormflows. Concentrations of nitrate and phosphate do not differ between forest or soya bean watersheds because fixation of phosphorus fertilizer by iron and aluminium oxides and anion exchange of nitrate in deep soils restrict nutrient movement. Despite resistance to biogeochemical change, streams in soya bean watersheds have higher temperatures caused by impoundments and reduction of bordering riparian forest. In larger rivers, increased water flow, current velocities and sediment flux following deforestation can reshape stream morphology, suggesting that cumulative impacts of deforestation in small watersheds will occur at larger scales.
Olander, Lydia; Wollenberg, Eva; Tubiello, Francesco; Herold, Martin. (2013) Advancing agricultural greenhouse gas quantification*. Environmental Research Letters 8(1) 011002
Oliveira, L. J. C.; Costa, M. H.; Soares, B. S.; Coe, M. T.. (2013) Large-scale expansion of agriculture in Amazonia may be a no-win scenario. Environmental Research Letters 8(2)
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Using simplified climate and land-use models, we evaluated primary forests' carbon storage and soybean and pasture productivity in the Brazilian Legal Amazon under several scenarios of deforestation and increased CO2. The four scenarios for the year 2050 that we analyzed consider (1) radiative effects of increased CO2, (2) radiative and physiological effects of increased CO2, (3) effects of land-use changes on the regional climate and (4) radiative and physiological effects of increased CO2 plus land-use climate feedbacks. Under current conditions, means for aboveground forest live biomass (AGB), soybean yield and pasture yield are 179 Mg-C ha(-1), 2.7 Mg-grains ha(-1) and 16.2 Mg-dry mass ha(-1) yr(-1), respectively. Our results indicate that expansion of agriculture in Amazonia may be a no-win scenario: in addition to reductions in carbon storage due to deforestation, total agriculture output may either increase much less than proportionally to the potential expansion in agricultural area, or even decrease, as a consequence of climate feedbacks from changes in land use. These climate feedbacks, usually ignored in previous studies, impose a reduction in precipitation that would lead agriculture expansion in Amazonia to become self-defeating: the more agriculture expands, the less productive it becomes.
Pearce, A. R.; Rizzo, D. M.; Watzin, M. C.; Druschel, G. K.. (2013) Unraveling associations between cyanobacteria blooms and in-lake environmental conditions in Missisquoi Bay, Lake Champlain, USA, using a modified self-organizing map. 47(24) 14267-74
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Exploratory data analysis on physical, chemical, and biological data from sediments and water in Lake Champlain reveals a strong relationship between cyanobacteria, sediment anoxia, and the ratio of dissolved nitrogen to soluble reactive phosphorus. Physical, chemical, and biological parameters of lake sediment and water were measured between 2007 and 2009. Cluster analysis using a self-organizing artificial neural network, expert opinion, and discriminant analysis separated the data set into no-bloom and bloom groups. Clustering was based on similarities in water and sediment chemistry and non-cyanobacteria phytoplankton abundance. Our analysis focused on the contribution of individual parameters to discriminate between no-bloom and bloom groupings. Application to a second, more spatially diverse data set, revealed similar no-bloom and bloom discrimination, yet a few samples possess all the physicochemical characteristics of a bloom without the high cyanobacteria cell counts, suggesting that while specific environmental conditions can support a bloom, another environmental trigger may be required to initiate the bloom. Results highlight the conditions coincident with cyanobacteria blooms in Missisquoi Bay of Lake Champlain and indicate additional data are needed to identify possible ecological contributors to bloom initiation.
Petrosillo, Irene; Costanza, Robert; Aretano, Roberta; Zaccarelli, Nicola; Zurlini, Giovanni. (2013) The use of subjective indicators to assess how natural and social capital support residents’ quality of life in a small volcanic island. Ecological Indicators 24 609-620
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Quality of life is a multi-dimensional concept and it is essentially subjective even if we can often find objectively measurable proxies for it. High levels of quality of life are the results of the interplay of social, economic and environmental aspects that together make people satisfied with their life. People living in small islands can enhance their quality of life through appropriate programs that guarantee the conservation of natural capital, provided by ecosystems, and networks and norms that facilitate good governance and social cohesion. In this paper an integration of natural and social capital subjectively evaluated by people living in Vulcano Island (Sicily Region, Italy) is proposed as a first approximation of the perception of quality of life. This paper explores whether there are differences in such perception between permanent and seasonal residents, who live there only for tourist economic reasons. Results show that the perception of natural capital is high in both communities, while social capital and the quality of life is less perceived by seasonal respect to permanent residents. The results of this research highlight that natural capital and social capital, taken into account independently, provide only a partial vision of quality of life that is strongly dependent on the combination of both. In this respect, a list of potential subjective social–environmental indicators useful to assess the quality of life is proposed
Portenga, E. W.; Bierman, P. R.; Rizzo, D. M.; Rood, D. H.. (2013) Low rates of bedrock outcrop erosion in the central Appalachian Mountains inferred from in situ Be-10. Geological Society of America Bulletin 125(1-2) 201-215
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Bedrock outcrops are common on central Appalachian Mountain ridgelines. Because these ridgelines define watersheds, the rate at which they erode influences the pace of landscape evolution. To estimate ridgeline erosion rates, we sampled 72 quartz-bearing outcrops from the Potomac and Susquehanna River Basins and measured in situ produced Be-10. Ridgeline erosion rates average 9 +/- 1 m m.y.(-1) (median = 6 m m.y.(-1)), similar to Be-10-derived rates previously reported for the region. The range of erosion rates we calculated reflects the wide distribution of samples we collected and the likely inclusion of outcrops affected by episodic loss of thick slabs and periglacial activity. Outcrops on main ridgelines erode slower than those on mountainside spur ridges because ridgelines are less likely to be covered by soil, which reduces the production rate of Be-10 and increases the erosion rate of rock. Ridgeline outcrops erode slower than drainage basins in the Susquehanna and Potomac River watersheds, suggesting a landscape in disequilibrium. Erosion rates are more similar for outcrops meters to tens of meters apart than those at greater distances, yet semivariogram analysis suggests that outcrop erosion rates in the same physiographic province are similar even though they are hundreds of kilometers apart. This similarity may reflect underlying lithological and/or structural properties common to each physiographic province. Average Be-10-derived outcrop erosion rates are similar to denudation rates determined by other means (sediment flux, fission-track thermochronology, [U-Th]/He dating), indicating that the pace of landscape evolution in the central Appalachian Mountains is slow, and has been since post-Triassic rifting events.
Posner, S.; Stuart, R.. (2013) Understanding and advancing campus sustainability using a systems framework. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 14(3)
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Purpose - University campuses behave as complex systems, and sustainability in higher education is best seen as an emergent quality that arises from interactions both within an institution and between the institution and the environmental and social contexts in which it operates. A framework for strategically prioritizing campus sustainability work is needed. Design/methodology/approach - First, a conceptual model is developed for understanding institutions of higher education as systems. Second, a leverage points framework (Meadows, 1999) is applied to experiences at the University of Vermont in order to evaluate campus sustainability efforts. Finally, real-world examples are used to analyze and prioritize campus sustainability leverage points for advancing organizational change. Findings - This systems thinking approach identifies key leverage points for actions to improve sustainability on campus. The leverage points framework is found to be valuable for 1) evaluating the potential of individual programs to produce system-wide change, 2) coordinating individual programs into a strategic effort to improve the system, and 3) making connections between campus and the surrounding social and environmental contexts. Advancing campus sustainability is found to be strengthened by particular ways of thinking and an organizational culture committed to continuous improvements and learning improved ways of doing business based on environmental and social, as well as institutional, benefits. Originality/value - Campus sustainability workers must develop a prioritization process for evaluating which ideas to move forward on first. Systems thinking can cultivate our ability to consciously redesign and work with the systems that are in place, to intentionally pursue organizational improvements, and to plan and coordinate sustainability programs with potential for big changes.
Reyers, B.; Biggs, R.; Cumming, G. S.; Elmqvist, T.; Hejnowicz, A. P.; Polasky, S.. (2013) Getting the measure of ecosystem services: a social-ecological approach. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11(5) 268-273
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Despite growing interest and investment in ecosystem services across global science and policy arenas, it remains unclear how ecosystem services - and particularly changes in those services - should be measured. The social and ecological factors, and their interactions, that create and alter ecosystem services are inherently complex. Measuring and managing ecosystem services requires a sophisticated systems-based approach that accounts for how these services are generated by interconnected social-ecological systems (SES), how different services interact with each other, and how changes in the total bundle of services influence human well-being (HWB). Furthermore, there is a need to understand how changes in HWB feedback and affect the generation of ecosystem services. Here, we outline an SES-based approach for measuring ecosystem services and explore its value for setting policy targets, developing indicators, and establishing monitoring and assessment programs.
Ricketts, T. H.; Lonsdorf, E.. (2013) Mapping the margin: comparing marginal values of tropical forest remnants for pollination services. Ecological Applications 23(5) 1113-1123
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Natural ecosystems benefit human communities by providing ecosystem services such as water purification and crop pollination. Mapping ecosystem service values has become popular, but most are static snapshots of average value. Estimating instead the economic impacts of specific ecosystem changes can better inform typical resource decisions. Here we develop an approach to mapping marginal values, those resulting from the next unit of ecosystem change, across landscapes. We demonstrate the approach with a recent model of crop pollination services in Costa Rica, simulating deforestation events to predict resulting marginal changes in pollination services to coffee farms. We find that marginal losses from deforestation vary from zero to US$700/ha across the landscape. Financial risks for farmers from these losses and marginal benefits of forest restoration show similar spatial variation. Marginal values are concentrated in relatively few forest parcels not identified using average value. These parcels lack substitutes: nearby forest parcels that can supply services in the event of loss. Indeed, the marginal value of forest parcels declines exponentially with the density of surrounding forest cover. The approach we develop is applicable to any ecosystem service. Combined with information on costs, it can help target conservation or restoration efforts to optimize benefits to people and biodiversity.
Riskin, S. H.; Porder, S.; Schipanski, M. E.; Bennett, E. M.; Neill, C.. (2013) Regional Differences in Phosphorus Budgets in Intensive Soybean Agriculture. Bioscience 63(1) 49-54
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Fertilizer-intensive agriculture has been integral to increasing food production over the past half century but has been accompanied by environmental costs. We use case studies of phosphorus fertilizer use in the world's most productive soybean-growing regions, Iowa (United States), Mato Grosso (Brazil), and Buenos Aires (Argentina), to examine influences of management and soil type on agriculture's most prevalent phosphorus-related environmental consequences: eutrophication and consumption of Earth's finite phosphorus reserves. With increasing phosphorus inputs, achieving high yields on tropical soils with high phosphorus-binding capacity is becoming more common. This system has low eutrophication risks but increases demands on phosphorus supplies. In contrast, production in traditional breadbaskets, on soils with lower phosphorus-binding capacities, is being sustained with decreasing phosphorus inputs. However, in these regions, historical overuse of phosphorus may mean continued eutrophication risk even as pressures on phosphorus reserves diminish. We focus here on soybean production but illustrate how achieving sustainable agriculture involves an intricate optimization of local, regional, and global considerations.
Rizzo, Donna M; Dewoolkar, Mandar M; Hayden, Nancy J. (2013) Transferable Skills Development in Engineering Students: Analysis of Service-Learning Impact. Springer, Cambridge, U.K.. Pages 65-78;
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The practice of engineering, especially the design process, involves many aspects beyond just the technical and includes such critical components as engineering ethics, sustainability and transferable skills such as communication, leadership and mentoring. Engineering educators often struggle with how to best incorporate these nontechnical aspects within their curricula. Service learning offers an opportunity to do this. The disconnect is that students often view engineering as only the technical number crunching and these other nontechnical components as less important. We report on the assessment of student written reflections across two very different service-learning engineering design projects for the purpose of evaluating student attitudes about these service-learning experiences and to assess their awareness and appreciation of transferable-skills development. In the spirit of service-learning pedagogy, we divided the contents of the written reflections into three categories – academic enhancement, civic engagement and personal growth skills. The commonality across both courses centered on academic enhancements and the value of transferable skills (i.e., leadership, teamwork, negotiation skills, mentoring, scheduling, verbal and written communication skills). Assessments show our current service-learning pedagogy improves students’ understanding of the importance of written and oral presentation skills. However, as of yet, many students do not consider leadership, negotiation skills, design setbacks, scheduling and mentoring skills to be part of “real” engineering.
Sales, E.; Mendez, V. E.; Caporal, F. R.; Faria, J. C.. (2013) Agroecological Transition of Conilon Coffee (Coffea canephora) Agroforestry Systems in the State of Esp rito Santo, Brazil. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems 37(4) 405-429
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Coffee is a very important product in the State of Espirito Santo, Brazil, and most of it is planted as unshaded coffee monocultures, with few growers managing shaded coffee agroforestry systems (AFS). To analyze the opportunities and challenges associated with coffee agroforestry management, we conducted 58 semistructured interviews with coffee growers. In addition, we conducted a field investigation that tested production of Coffea canephora with the shade trees Australian Cedar (Toona ciliata), Jequitiba (Cariniana legalis), and Teak (Tectona grandis). Of the 58 interviewed farmers, 64% (37) were satisfied with the AFS. One of the main factors that caused satisfaction was obtaining income from sources other than coffee. Unsatisfied farmers mentioned the competition between shade trees and coffee shrubs. Cedar was the shade tree that grew most and reduced coffee production, while the combination with Jequitiba maintained more stable yields. We conclude that the higher the growth rate of trees, the higher the negative impact on the coffee production in the study areas.
Schmitt Filho., A. L.; Farley, J.; Alvez, J. P.; Alarcon, G.; Rebollar, P. M.. (2013) Integrating Agroecology with Payments for Ecosystem Services in Santa Catarina’s Atlantic Forest. Springer Verlag, Dordrecht, Netherlands. (4) 333-355
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There are no longer acceptable trade-offs between agriculture and ecosystem services: Both are essential and at risk. Agroecology may be uniquely capable of providing both. However, there are real costs to promoting agroecology that someone must pay, but any payment scheme must recognize that many of the services provided as well as the resources required to provide them are both public goods. Payments to individual farmers do little to provide these services, especially if they are contingent upon provision. Public sector investments are required. Since the public goods provided by these investments cross political boundaries, payments for these investments should flow from those governments or collective institutions that benefit to those that will provide the services, supplementing resources invested by the latter.
Stevens, L.; Rizzo, D. M.; Lucero, D. E.; Pizarro, J. C.. (2013) Household Model of Chagas Disease Vectors (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) Considering Domestic, Peridomestic, and Sylvatic Vector Populations. Journal of Medical Entomology; Entomological Society of America, Bogor, Indonesia. 50(4) 907-915
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Disease transmission is difficult to model because most vectors and hosts have different generation times. Chagas disease is such a situation, where insect vectors have 1–2 generations annually and mammalian hosts, including humans, can live for decades. The hemataphagous triatominae vectors (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) of the causative parasite Trypanosoma cruzi (Kinetoplastida: Trypanosomatidae) usually feed on sleeping hosts, making vector infestation of houses, peridomestic areas, and wild animal burrows a central factor in transmission. Because of difficulties with different generation times, we developed a model considering the dwelling as the unit of infection, changing the dynamics from an indirect to a direct transmission model. In some regions, vectors only infest houses; in others, they infest corrals; and in some regions, they also infest wild animal burrows. We examined the effect of sylvatic and peridomestic vector populations on household infestation rates. Both sylvatic and peridomestic vectors increase house infestation rates, sylvatic much more than peridomestic, as measured by the reproductive number R0. The efficacy of manipulating parameters in the model to control vector populations was examined. When R0 > 1, the number of infested houses increases. The presence of sylvatic vectors increases R0 by at least an order of magnitude. When there are no sylvatic vectors, spraying rate is the most influential parameter. Spraying rate is relatively unimportant when there are sylvatic vectors; in this case, community size, especially the ratio of houses to sylvatic burrows, is most important. The application of this modeling approach to other parasites and enhancements of the model are discussed.
Stickler, C. M.; Coe, M. T.; Costa, M. H.; Nepstad, D. C.; McGrath, D. G.; Dias, L. C. P.; Rodrigues, H. O.; Soares, B. S.. (2013) Dependence of hydropower energy generation on forests in the Amazon Basin at local and regional scales. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110(23) 9601-9606
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Tropical rainforest regions have large hydropower generation potential that figures prominently in many nations' energy growth strategies. Feasibility studies of hydropower plants typically ignore the effect of future deforestation or assume that deforestation will have a positive effect on river discharge and energy generation resulting from declines in evapotranspiration (ET) associated with forest conversion. Forest loss can also reduce river discharge, however, by inhibiting rainfall. We used land use, hydrological, and climate models to examine the local "direct" effects (through changes in ET within the watershed) and the potential regional "indirect" effects (through changes in rainfall) of deforestation on river discharge and energy generation potential for the Belo Monte energy complex, one of the world's largest hydropower plants that is currently under construction on the Xingu River in the eastern Amazon. In the absence of indirect effects of deforestation, simulated deforestation of 20% and 40% within the Xingu River basin increased discharge by 4-8% and 10-12%, with similar increases in energy generation. When indirect effects were considered, deforestation of the Amazon region inhibited rainfall within the Xingu Basin, counterbalancing declines in ET and decreasing discharge by 6-36%. Under business-as-usual projections of forest loss for 2050 (40%), simulated power generation declined to only 25% of maximum plant output and 60% of the industry's own projections. Like other energy sources, hydropower plants present large social and environmental costs. Their reliability as energy sources, however, must take into account their dependence on forests.
Tsai, Yushiou; Zia, Asim; Koliba, Christopher; Guilbert, Justin; Bucini, Gabriela; Beckage, Brian. (2013) Impacts of land managers' decisions on landuse transition within Missisquoi Watershed Vermont: An application of agent-based modeling system. IEEE, New York, NY. Pages 824-829;
Villamagna, A. M.; Angermeier, P. L.; Bennett, E. M.. (2013) Capacity, pressure, demand, and flow: A conceptual framework for analyzing ecosystem service provision and delivery. Ecological Complexity 15 114-121
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Ecosystem services provide an instinctive way to understand the trade-offs associated with natural resource management. However, despite their apparent usefulness, several hurdles have prevented ecosystem services from becoming deeply embedded in environmental decision-making. Ecosystem service studies vary widely in focal services, geographic extent, and in methods for defining and measuring services. Dissent among scientists on basic terminology and approaches to evaluating ecosystem services create difficulties for those trying to incorporate ecosystem services into decision-making. To facilitate clearer comparison among recent studies, we provide a synthesis of common terminology and explain a rationale and framework for distinguishing among the components of ecosystem service delivery, including: an ecosystem's capacity to produce services; ecological pressures that interfere with an ecosystem's ability to provide the service; societal demand for the service; and flow of the service to people. We discuss how interpretation and measurement of these four components can differ among provisioning, regulating, and cultural services. Our flexible framework treats service capacity, ecological pressure, demand, and flow as separate but interactive entities to improve our ability to evaluate the sustainability of service provision and to help guide management decisions. We consider ecosystem service provision to be sustainable when demand is met without decreasing capacity for future provision of that service or causing undesirable declines in other services. When ecosystem service demand exceeds ecosystem capacity to provide services, society can choose to enhance natural capacity, decrease demand and/or ecological pressure, or invest in a technological substitute. Because regulating services are frequently overlooked in environmental assessments, we provide a more detailed examination of regulating services and propose a novel method for quantifying the flow of regulating services based on estimates of ecological work. We anticipate that our synthesis and framework will reduce inconsistency and facilitate coherence across analyses of ecosystem services, thereby increasing their utility in environmental decision-making. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Warren, D. R.; Keeton, W. S.; Bechtold. H. A.; Rosi-Marshall, E. J.. (2013) Comparing streambed light availability and canopy cover in streams with old-growth versus early-mature riparian forests in western Oregon. Aquatic Sciences
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Light availability strongly influences stream primary production, water temperatures and resource availability at the base of stream food webs. In headwater streams, light is regulated primarily by the riparian forest, but few studies have evaluated the influence of riparian forest stand age and associated structural differences on light availability. In this study, we evaluated canopy cover and streambed light exposure in four second-order streams within paired reaches of primary old-growth versus second-growth mature riparian forests. Stand age class was used as a proxy here for canopy complexity. We estimated stream canopy cover using a spherical densiometer. Local streambed light exposure was quantified and compared within and between reaches using fluorescein dye photodegradation. Reaches with complex old-growth riparian forests had frequent canopy gaps which lead to greater stream light availability compared to adjacent reaches with simpler second-growth riparian forests. We quantified light exposure at relatively high resolution (every 5 m) and also found greater variability in stream light along the reaches with old-growth riparian forests in three of the four streams. Canopy gaps were particularly important in creating variable light within and between reaches. This work demonstrates the importance of the age, developmental stage, and structure of riparian forests in controlling stream light. The highly variable nature of light on the stream benthos also highlights the value of multiple measurements of light or canopy structure when quantifying stream light.
Wilcove, D. S.; Giam, X.; Edwards, D. P.; Fisher, B.; Koh, L. P.. (2013) Navjot’s nightmare revisited: logging, agriculture, and biodiversity in Southeast Asia. Trends in Ecology & Evolution
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In 2004, Navjot Sodhi and colleagues warned that logging and agricultural conversion of Southeast Asia’s forests were leading to a biodiversity disaster. We evaluate this prediction against subsequent research and conclude that most of the fauna of the region can persist in logged forests. Conversely, conversion of primary or logged forests to plantation crops, such as oil palm, causes tremendous biodiversity loss. This loss is exacerbated by increased fire frequency. Therefore, we conclude that preventing agricultural conversion of logged forests is essential to conserving the biodiversity of this region. Our analysis also suggests that, because Southeast Asian forests are tightly tied to global commodity markets, conservation payments commensurate with combined returns from logging and subsequent agricultural production may be required to secure long-term forest protection.
Wilcove, David S.; Giam, Xingli; Edwards, David P.; Fisher, Brendan; Koh, Lian Pin. (2013) Navjot's nightmare revisited: logging, agriculture, and biodiversity in Southeast Asia. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 28(9) 531-540
Zheng, H.; Robinson, B. E.; Liang, Y. C.; Polasky, S.; Ma, D. C.; Wang, F. C.; Ruckelshaus, M.; Ouyang, Z. Y.; Daily, G. C.. (2013) Benefits, costs, and livelihood implications of a regional payment for ecosystem service program. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110(41) 16681-16686
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Despite broad interest in using payment for ecosystem services to promote changes in the use of natural capital, there are few ex-post assessments of impacts of payment for ecosystem services programs on ecosystem service provision, program cost, and changes in livelihoods resulting from program participation. In this paper, we evaluate the Paddy Land-to-Dry Land (PLDL) program in Beijing, China, and associated changes in service providers' livelihood activities. The PLDL is a land use conversion program that aims to protect water quality and quantity for the only surface water reservoir that serves Beijing, China's capital city with nearly 20 million residents. Our analysis integrates hydrologic data with household survey data and shows that the PLDL generates benefits of improved water quantity and quality that exceed the costs of reduced agricultural output. The PLDL has an overall benefit-cost ratio of 1.5, and both downstream beneficiaries and upstream providers gain from the program. Household data show that changes in livelihood activities may offset some of the desired effects of the program through increased expenditures on agricultural fertilizers. Overall, however, reductions in fertilizer leaching from land use change dominate so that the program still has a positive net impact on water quality. This program is a successful example of water users paying upstream landholders to improve water quantity and quality through land use change. Program evaluation also highlights the importance of considering behavioral changes by program participants.
Zia, A.; Koliba, C.; Tian, Y.. (2013) Governance Network Analysis: Experimental Simulations of Alternate Institutional Designs for Intergovernmental Project Prioritization Processes.. Emergent Publications, Litchfield Park, AZ.
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There is an argument that says that research in Public Administration is always about social complexity. This argument is true. There is also an argument that says that Public Administration is actually very little informed by complexity. This is equally true. The differences lie in the different takes on complexity. The latter approach understands that comprehension of complexity requires a specific theoretical framework and associated tools to look into the black box of causality. The authors in this edited volume gathered in Rotterdam (The Netherlands, June 2011) to discuss how the complexity sciences can contribute to pertinent questions in the domains of Public Administration and Public Policy. Their contributions are presented in this edited volume. Each contribution is an attempt to answer the Challenge of Making Public Administration and Complexity Theory work-COMPACT, as the title says. Together, they present an overview of the diverse state of the art in thinking about and research in complex systems in the public domain.
Zia, A.. (2013) Post-Kyoto Climate Governance: Confronting the Politics of Scale, Ideology and Knowledge. Routledge, New York, NY. Pages 224;
Zia, Asim; Koliba, Christopher. (2013) The emergence of attractors under multi-level institutional designs: agent-based modeling of intergovernmental decision making for funding transportation projects. AI & SOCIETY; AI & Soc; Springer London, New York, NY. Pages 1-17;
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Multi-level institutional designs with distributed power and authority arrangements among federal, state, regional, and local government agencies could lead to the emergence of differential patterns of socioeconomic and infrastructure development pathways in complex social–ecological systems. Both exogenous drivers and endogenous processes in social–ecological systems can lead to changes in the number of “basins of attraction,” changes in the positions of the basins within the state space, and changes in the positions of the thresholds between basins. In an effort to advance the theory and practice of the governance of policy systems, this study addresses a narrower empirical question: how do intergovernmental institutional rules set by federal, state, and regional government agencies generate and sustain basins of attraction in funding infrastructure projects? A pattern-oriented, agent-based model (ABM) of an intergovernmental network has been developed to simulate real-world transportation policy implementation processes across the federal, the state of Vermont, regional, and local governments for prioritizing transportation projects. The ABM simulates baseline and alternative intergovernmental institutional rule structures and assesses their impacts on financial investment flows. The ABM was calibrated with data from multiple focus groups, individual interviews, and analysis of federal, state, and regional scale transportation projects and programs. The results from experimental simulations are presented to test system-wide effects of alternative multi-level institutional designs, in particular different power and authority arrangements between state and regional governments, on the emergence of roadway project prioritization patterns and funding allocations across regions and towns.
Ziter, C.; Bennett, E. M.; Gonzalez, A.. (2013) Functional diversity and management mediate aboveground carbon stocks in small forest fragments. Ecosphere 4(7)
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Similar to Improved landscape connectivity is increasingly considered a viable management strategy to maintain biodiversity, ecosystem functions, and services. How landscape structure affects biodiversity, ecosystem services, and their relationship, however, is still unclear in many cases, including the service of climate regulation. The effects of forest fragmentation on carbon storage remain largely unknown, compounded by uncertainty in both the direction and magnitude of the relationship between carbon storage and biodiversity. We investigated the effects of forest fragmentation and management on carbon stocks and biodiversity in the Monteregie, QC. We quantified total aboveground carbon stocks in 24 small forest fragments of two sizes (10 ha similar to 100 ha), and two levels of connectivity, using a combination of satellite data, field-based methods, and allometry. We correlated this data with both woody plant species richness and functional dispersion to determine the relationship between biodiversity and carbon stocks in these forest fragments. We found functional dispersion was a significant predictor of aboveground carbon stocks, interacting with forest management and connectivity in this fragmented forest system. Both synergies and tradeoffs between biodiversity and carbon stocks were observed. Unmanaged forest stands stored less carbon on average than managed, but demonstrated a significant positive relationship between functional dispersion and aboveground carbon stocks, corroborating the results of biodiversity-ecosystem function experiments. The slope of the relationship was significantly greater in connected fragments than isolated, suggesting improved forest connectivity may strengthen the relationship between biodiversity and aboveground carbon stocks in this region. Managed stands exhibited a significant negative relationship, demonstrating that anthropogenic influence can alter the link between biodiversity and carbon stocks in natural systems. Our results suggest that considering management, connectivity, and functional diversity may increase accuracy in estimating landscape level carbon stocks. Additionally, the significant contributions of small forest fragments to regional diversity and service provision emphasizes the important role these fragments can play in conservation efforts.
2012
Al-Abdulrazzak, D.; Naidoo, R.; Palomares, M. L. D.; Pauly, D.. (2012) Gaining Perspective on What We've Lost: The Reliability of Encoded Anecdotes in Historical Ecology. PloS One 7(8) 5
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Historical data are essential in fisheries management and conservation, especially for species that suffered significant population declines prior to ecological data collection. Within the field of historical marine ecology, studies have relied on anecdotal evidence, such as written accounts by explorers and interviews of different generations of resource users, to demonstrate the former abundance of certain species and the extent of their ranges. Yet, do we all agree on how these anecdotes are interpreted? This study examines the way that different people interpret anecdotes extracted from historical narratives. We outsource a survey to 50 randomly selected people using Amazon Mechanical Turk (www.mturk.com) and ask them to 'code' historical anecdotes based on their perceived abundance of species. We perform intercoder reliability tests to show that people's perceptions of historical anecdotes are generally consistent. The results speak to the reliability of using people's perceptions to acquire quantitative data, and provide novel insights into the use of anecdotal evidence to inform historical ecology.
Alvez, J. P.; Schmitt F., A. L.; Farley, J.; Alarcon, G.; Fantini, A. C.. (2012) The Potential for Agroecosystems to Restore Ecological Corridors and Sustain Farmer Livelihoods: Evidence from Brazil.. 30(4) 288-290
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This paper describes how an agroecological management technique (MIG) is helping farmers to farm avoiding the use of new 'slash and burn' practices and using slightly smaller areas. In turn, this mgmt might have the potential of re-establishing forest fragment connectivity (a.k.a. corridors), kickstarting the flow of ecosystem services.
Beier, C. M.; Signell, S. A.; Luttman, A.; DeGaetano, A. T.. (2012) High-resolution climate change mapping with gridded historical climate products. Landscape Ecology 27(3) 327-342
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The detection of climate-driven changes in coupled human-natural systems has become a focus of climate research and adaptation efforts around the world. High-resolution gridded historical climate (GHC) products enable analysis of recent climatic changes at the local/regional scales most relevant for research and decision-making, but these fine-scale climate datasets have several caveats. We analyzed two 4 km GHC products to produce high-resolution temperature trend maps for the US Northeast from 1980 to 2009, and compared outputs between products and with an independent climate record. The two products had similar spatial climatologies for mean temperatures, agreed on temporal variability in regionally averaged trends, and agreed that warming has been greater for minimum versus maximum temperatures. Trend maps were highly heterogeneous, i.e., a patchy landscape of warming, cooling and stability that varied by month, but with local-scale anomalies persistent across months (e.g., cooling 'pockets' within warming zones). In comparing trend maps between GHC products, we found large local-scale disparities at high elevations and along coastlines; and where weather stations were sparse, a single-station disparity in input data resulted in a large zone of trend map disagreement between products. Preliminary cross-validation with an independent climate record indicated substantial and complex errors for both products. Our analysis provided novel landscape-scale insights on climate change in the US Northeast, but raised questions about scale and sources of uncertainty in high-resolution GHC products and differences among the many products available. Given rapid growth in their use, we recommend exercising caution in the analysis and interpretation of high-resolution climate maps.
Beier, C. M.; Woods, A. M.; Hotopp, K. P.; Gibbs, J. P.; Mitchell, M. J.; Dovciak, M.; Leopold, D. J.; Lawrence, G. B.; Page, B. D.. (2012) Changes in faunal and vegetation communities along a soil calcium gradient in northern hardwood forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research-Revue Canadienne De Recherche Forestiere 42(6) 1141-1152
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Depletion of Ca from forest soils due to acidic deposition has had potentially pervasive effects on forest communities, but these impacts remain largely unknown. Because snails, salamanders, and plants play essential roles in the Ca cycle of northern hardwood forests, we hypothesized that their community diversity, abundance, and structure would vary with differences in biotic Ca availability. To test this hypothesis, we sampled 12 upland hardwood forests representing a soil Ca gradient in the Adirondack Mountains, New York (USA), where chronic deposition has resulted in acidified soils but where areas of well-buffered soils remain Ca rich due to parent materials. Along the gradient of increasing soil [Ca2+], we observed increasing trends in snail community richness and abundance, live biomass of redback salamanders (Plethodon cinereus (Green, 1818)), and canopy tree basal area. Salamander communities were dominated by mountain dusky salamanders (Desmognathus ochrophaeus Cope, 1859) at Ca-poor sites and changed continuously along the Ca gradient to become dominated by redback salamanders at the Ca-rich sites. Several known calciphilic species of snails and plants were found only at the highest-Ca sites. Our results indicated that Ca availability, which is shaped by geology and acidic deposition inputs, influences northern hardwood forest ecosystems at multiple trophic levels, although the underlying mechanisms require further study.
Brando, P. M.; Nepstad, D. C.; Balch, J. K.; Bolker, B.; Christman, M. C.; Coe, M.; Putz, F. E.. (2012) Fire-induced tree mortality in a neotropical forest: the roles of bark traits, tree size, wood density and fire behavior. Global Change Biology 18(2) 630-641
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Large-scale wildfires are expected to accelerate forest dieback in Amazonia, but the fire vulnerability of tree species remains uncertain, in part due to the lack of studies relating fire-induced mortality to both fire behavior and plant traits. To address this gap, we established two sets of experiments in southern Amazonia. First, we tested which bark traits best predict heat transfer rates (R) through bark during experimental bole heating. Second, using data from a large-scale fire experiment, we tested the effects of tree wood density (WD), size, and estimated R (inverse of cambium insulation) on tree mortality after one to five fires. In the first experiment, bark thickness explained 82% of the variance in R, while the presence of water in the bark reduced the difference in temperature between the heat source and the vascular cambium, perhaps because of high latent heat of vaporization. This novel finding provides an important insight for improving mechanistic models of fire-induced cambium damage from tropical to temperate regions. In the second experiment, tree mortality increased with increasing fire intensity (i.e. as indicated by bark char height on tree boles), which was higher along the forest edge, during the 2007 drought, and when the fire return interval was 3 years instead of one. Contrary to other tropical studies, the relationship between mortality and fire intensity was strongest in the year following the fires, but continued for 3 years afterwards. Tree mortality was low (=20%) for thick-barked individuals (=18 mm) subjected to medium-intensity fires, and significantly decreased as a function of increasing tree diameter, height and wood density. Hence, fire-induced tree mortality was influenced not only by cambium insulation but also by other traits that reduce the indirect effects of fire. These results can be used to improve assessments of fire vulnerability of tropical forests.
Buchholz, T.; Da Silva, I.; Furtado, J.. (2012) Electricity from wood-fired gasification in Uganda - a 250 and 10 kW case study. Proceedings of the 2012 Twentieth Conference on the Domestic Use of Energy (DUE) Pages 12;
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Wood gasification systems have the potential to contribute to the rural electrification in Sub-Saharan Africa. This paper presents an operational and economic analysis of two wood-based gasification systems (250 and 10 kW) installed in Uganda in 2007. Both systems proved their potential to compete economically with diesel generated electricity when operating close to the rated capacity. At an output of 150 kW running for ~12 h/day and 8 kW running for ~8h/day, the systems produced electricity at US$ 0.18 and 0.34/kWh, respectively. A stable electricity demand close to the rated capacity proved to be a challenge for both systems. Fuelwood costs accounted for ~US$0.03/kWh for both systems. Recovery of even a small fraction of the excess heat (22%) already resulted in substantial profitability gains for the 250 kW system. Results indicate that replicating successful wood gasification systems stipulates integration of sustainable fuelwood supply and viable business models.
Buchholz, T.; Da Silva, I.; Furtado, J.. (2012) Power from wood gasifiers in Uganda - a 250 kW and 10 kW case study. Energy - Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers 165(EN4) 181-196
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Wood gasification systems have the potential to contribute to the rural electrification in Sub-Saharan Africa. This paper presents an operational and economic analysis of two wood-based gasification systems (250 and 10 kW) installed in Uganda in 2007. Both systems proved their potential to compete economically with diesel generated electricity when operating close to the rated capacity. At an output of 150 kW running for ~12 h/day and 8 kW running for ~8h/day, the systems produced electricity at US$ 0.18 and 0.34/kWh, respectively. A stable electricity demand close to the rated capacity proved to be a challenge for both systems. Fuelwood costs accounted for ~US$0.03/kWh for both systems. Recovery of even a small fraction of the excess heat (22%) already resulted in substantial profitability gains for the 250 kW system. Results indicate that replicating successful wood gasification systems stipulates integration of sustainable fuelwood supply and viable business models.
Buchholz, T.; Tennigkeit, T.; Weinreich, A.; Windhorst, K.; Da Silva, I.. (2012) Modeling the profitability of power production from short-rotation woody crops in Sub-Saharan Africa. Biomass and Bioenergy
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Increasing electricity supply in Sub-Saharan Africa is a prerequisite to enable economic development and reduce poverty. Renewable sources such as wood-fueled power plants are being promoted for social, environmental and economic reasons. We analyzed an economic model of a vertically integrated system of short-rotation woody crops (SRWC) plantations coupled with a combined heat and power (CHP) plant under Sub-Saharan African conditions. We analyzed a 5 MW (electric) base-case scenario under Ugandan conditions with a 2870 ha Eucalyptus grandis plantation and a productivity of 12 t ha 1 y 1 (oven dry basis) under a 5-year rotation. Plant construction and maintenance constituted 27% and 41% of total costs, respectively. Plantation productivity, carbon credit sales as well as land, fuel, labor & transport costs played an economic minor role. Highly influential variables included plant efficiency & construction costs, plantation design (spacing and rotation length) and harvest technologies. We conclude that growing 12e24 t ha 1 y 1 at a five year rotation can produce IRR’s of 16 and 19% over 30-years, respectively. Reducing rotation length significantly reduced short-term financial risk related to frontloaded costs and relatively late revenues from electricity sales. Long-term feed-in tariffs and availability of a heat market played a significant economic role. The base-case scenario’s 30-year IRR dropped from 16% to 9% when a heat market was absent. Results suggest a leveling-off of economies-of-scale effects above 20 MW (electric) installations. Implementation-related research needs for pilot activities should focus on SRWC productivity and energy life cycle analysis.
Buchholz, T.; Volk, T. A.. (2012) Considerations of Project Scale and Sustainability of Modern Bioenergy Systems in Uganda. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 31(1-2) 154-173
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Energy supply and accessibility has a major impact on the development of societies. Modern bioenergy production in the form of heat, electricity, and liquid transportation fuels is increasingly cost competitive as prices of fossil fuels continue to increase. However, the large potential benefits associated with bioenergy come with a price tag and risks that may be disproportionately carried by tropical and non-industrialized countries. This analysis focuses on the influence of project scale on economic, social, and environmental impacts of bioenergy production in the tropics using the framework of two wood fueled bioenergy projects in Uganda—a large (50 MW) and a small-scale (200 kW). There are indications that less sustainable practices often come with increasing project-scale. This study found that a distributed, small-scale infrastructure indeed can be more desirable in terms of resource efficiency, impacts on ecosystems and local societies, and financial risks and benefits compared with those associated with one large-scale. To support the implementation of small-scale projects, there is a need for policies fostering distributed energy infrastructure and participatory tools beyond traditional cost-benefit analysis to assess sustainability of bioenergy systems.
Burkhard, B.; de Groot, R.; Costanza, R.; Seppelt, R.; Jorgensen, S. E.; Potschin, M.. (2012) Solutions for sustaining natural capital and ecosystem services. Ecological Indicators 21 1-6
Butchart, S. H. M.; Scharlemann, Joern P. W.; Evans, Mike I.; Quader, Suhel; Arico, Salvatore; Arinaitwe, Julius; Balman, Mark; Bennun, L.; Bertzky, Bastian; Besancon, Charles; Boucher, Timothy M.; Brooks, T. M.; Burfield, Ian J.; Burgess, N.; Chan, Simba; Clay, Rob P.; Crosby, Mike J.; Davidson, Nicholas C.; De Silva, Naamal; Devenish, Christian; Dutson, Guy C. L.; Dia z Fernandez, David F.; Fishpool, Lincoln; Fitzgerald, Claire; Foster, Matt; Heath, Melanie F.; Hockings, Marc; Hoffmann, M.; Knox, D.; Larsen, Frank W.; Lamoreux, J.; Loucks, C.; May, Ian; Molloy, Dominic; Morling, P.; Parr, M.; Ricketts, T.; Seddon, Nathalie; Skolnik, Benjamin; Stuart, Simon N.; Upgren, Amy; Woodley, Stephen. (2012) Protecting Important Sites for Biodiversity Contributes to Meeting Global Conservation Targets. PloS One 7(3) 1-8
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Protected areas (PAs) are a cornerstone of conservation efforts and now cover nearly 13% of the world's land surface, with the world's governments committed to expand this to 17%. However, as biodiversity continues to decline, the effectiveness of PAs in reducing the extinction risk of species remains largely untested. We analyzed PA coverage and trends in species' extinction risk at globally significant sites for conserving birds (10,993 Important Bird Areas, IBAs) and highly threatened vertebrates and conifers (588 Alliance for Zero Extinction sites, AZEs) (referred to collectively hereafter as ‘important sites’). Species occurring in important sites with greater PA coverage experienced smaller increases in extinction risk over recent decades: the increase was half as large for bird species with>50% of the IBAs at which they occur completely covered by PAs, and a third lower for birds, mammals and amphibians restricted to protected AZEs (compared with unprotected or partially protected sites). Globally, half of the important sites for biodiversity conservation remain unprotected (49% of IBAs, 51% of AZEs). While PA coverage of important sites has increased over time, the proportion of PA area covering important sites, as opposed to less important land, has declined (by 0.45–1.14% annually since 1950 for IBAs and 0.79–1.49% annually for AZEs). Thus, while appropriately located PAs may slow the rate at which species are driven towards extinction, recent PA network expansion has under-represented important sites. We conclude that better targeted expansion of PA networks would help to improve biodiversity trends.
Carpenter, S. R.; Arrow, K. J.; Barrett, S.; Biggs, R.; Brock, W. A.; Crepin, A. S.; Engstrom, G.; Folke, C.; Hughes, T. P.; Kautsky, N.; Li, C. Z.; McCarney, G.; Meng, K.; Maler, K. G.; Polasky, S.; Scheffer, M.; Shogren, J.; Sterner, T.; Vincent, J. R.; Walker, B.; Xepapadeas, A.; de Zeeuw, A.. (2012) General Resilience to Cope with Extreme Events. Sustainability 4(12) 3248-3259
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Resilience to specified kinds of disasters is an active area of research and practice. However, rare or unprecedented disturbances that are unusually intense or extensive require a more broad-spectrum type of resilience. General resilience is the capacity of social-ecological systems to adapt or transform in response to unfamiliar, unexpected and extreme shocks. Conditions that enable general resilience include diversity, modularity, openness, reserves, feedbacks, nestedness, monitoring, leadership, and trust. Processes for building general resilience are an emerging and crucially important area of research.
Carpenter, S. R.; Folke, C.; Norstrom, A.; Olsson, O.; Schultz, L.; Agarwal, B.; Balvanera, P.; Campbell, B.; Castilla, J. C.; Cramer, W.; DeFries, R.; Eyzaguirre, P.; Hughes, T. P.; Polasky, S.; Sanusi, Z.; Scholes, R.; Spierenburg, M.. (2012) Program on ecosystem change and society: an international research strategy for integrated social-ecological systems. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 4(1) 134-138
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The Program on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS), a new initiative within the ICSU global change programs, aims to integrate research on the stewardship of social-ecological systems, the services they generate, and the relationships among natural capital, human wellbeing, livelihoods, inequality and poverty. The vision of PECS is a world where human actions have transformed to achieve sustainable stewardship of social-ecological systems. The goal of PECS is to generate the scientific and policy-relevant knowledge of social-ecological dynamics needed to enable such a shift, including mitigation of poverty. PECS is a coordinating body for diverse independently funded research projects, not a funder of research. PECS research employs a range of transdisciplinary approaches and methods, with comparative, place-based research that is international in scope at the core.
Cayuela, L.; Galvez-Bravo, L.; de Albuquerque, F. S.; Golicher, D. J.; Gonzalez-Espinosa, M.; Ramirez-Marcial, N.; Rey Benayas, J. M.; Zahawi, R. A.; Meave, J. A.; Benito, B. M.; Garibaldi, C.; Chan, I.; Perez-Perez, R.; Field, R.; Balvanera, P.; Castillo, M. A.; Figueroa-Rangel, B. L.; Griffith, D. M.; Islebe, G. A.; Kelly, D. L.; Olvera-Vergas, M.; Schnitzer, S. A.; Velazquez, E.; Williams-Linera, G.; Brewer, S. W.; Camacho-Cruz, A.; Coronado, I.; de Jong, B.; del Castillo, R.; Granzow-de la Cerda, I.; Fernandez, J.; Fonseca, W.; Galindo-Jaimes, L.; Gillespie, T. W.; Gonzalez-Rivas, B.; Gordon, J. E.; Hurtado, J.; Linares, J.; Letcher, S. G.; Mangan, S. A.; Mendez, V. E.; Meza, V.; Ochoa-Gaona, S.; Peterson, C. J.; Ruiz-Gutierrez, V.; Snarr, K. A.; Tun Dzul, F.; Valdez-Hernandez, M.; Viergever, K. M.; White, D. A.; Williams, J. N.; Bonet, F. J.; Zamora, R.. (2012) The International Network of Forest Inventory Plots (BIOTREE-NET) in Mesoamerica: advances, challenges and future perspectives.. 21(1-2) 126-135
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Conservation efforts in Neotropical regions are often hindered by lack of data, since for many species there is a vacuum of information, and many species have not even been described yet. The International Network of Forest Inventory Plots (BIOTREE-NET) gathers and facilitates access to tree data from forest inventory plots in Mesoamerica, while encouraging data exchange between researchers, managers and conservationists. The information is organised and standardised into a single database that includes spatially explicit data. This article describes the scope and objectives of the network, its progress, and the challenges and future perspectives. The database includes above 50 000 tree records of over 5000 species from more than 2000 plots distributed from southern Mexico through to Panama. Information is heterogeneous, both in nature and shape, as well as in the geographical coverage of inventory plots. The database has a relational structure, with 12 inter-connected tables that include information about plots, species names, dbh, and functional attributes of trees. A new system that corrects typographical errors and achieves taxonomic and nomenclatural standardization was developed using The Plant List (http://theplantlist.org/) as reference. Species distribution models have been computed for around 1700 species using different methods, and they will be publicly accessible through the web site in the future (http://portal.biotreenet.com). Although BIOTREE-NET has contributed to the development of improved species distribution models, its main potential lies, in our opinion, in studies at the community level. Finally, we emphasise the need to expand the network and encourage researchers willing to share data and to join the network and contribute to the generation of further knowledge about forest biodiversity in Neotropical regions.
Cayuela, L.; Gálvez-Bravo, L.; Pérez Pérez, R.; de Albuquerque, F. S.; Golicher, D. J.; Zahawi, R. A.; Ramírez-Marcial, N.; Garibaldi, C.; Field, R.; Rey Benayas, J. M.; González-Espinosa, M.; Balvanera, P.; Castillo, M. Á.; Figueroa-Rangel, B. L.; Griffith, D. M.; Islebe, G. A.; Kelly, D. L.; Olvera-Vargas, M.; Schnitzer, S. A.; Velázquez, E.; Williams-Linera, G.; Brewer, S. W.; Camacho-Cruz, A.; Coronado, I.; de Jong, B.; del Castillo, R.; Granzow-de la Cerda, Í.; Fernández, J.; Fonseca, W.; Galindo-Jaimes, L.; Gillespie, T. W.; González-Rivas, B.; Gordon, J. E.; Hurtado, J.; Linares, J.; Letcher, S. G.; Mangan, S. A.; Meave, J. A.; Méndez, E. V.; Meza, V.; Ochoa-Gaona, S.; Peterson, C. J.; Ruiz-Gutierrez, V.; Snarr, K. A.; Tun Dzul, F.; Valdez-Hernández, M.; Viergever, K. M.; White, D. A.; Williams, J. N.; Bonet, F. J.; Zamora, R.. (2012) The Tree Biodiversity Network (BIOTREE-NET): prospects for biodiversity research and conservation in the Neotropics. 4 211-224
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Biodiversity research and conservation efforts in the tropics are hindered by the lack of knowledge of the assemblages found there, with many species undescribed or poorly known. Our initiative, the Tree Biodiversity Network (BIOTREE-NET), aims to address this problem by assembling georeferenced data from a wide range of sources, making these data easily accessible and easily queried, and promoting data sharing. The database (GIVD ID NA-00-002) currently comprises ca. 50,000 tree records of ca. 5,000 species (230 in the IUCN Red List) from >2,000 forest plots in 11 countries. The focus is on trees because of their pivotal role in tropical forest ecosystems (which contain most of the world's biodiversity) in terms of ecosystem function, carbon storage and effects on other species. BIOTREE-NET currently focuses on southern Mexico and Central America, but we aim to expand coverage to other parts of tropical America. The database is relational, comprising 12 linked data tables. We summarise its structure and contents. Key tables contain data on forest plots (including size, location and date(s) sampled), individual trees (including diameter, when available, and both recorded and standardised species name), species (including biological traits of each species) and the researchers who collected the data. Many types of queries are facilitated and species distribution modelling is enabled. Examining the data in BIOTREE-NET to date, we found an uneven distribution of data in space and across biomes, reflecting the general state of knowledge of the tropics. More than 90% of the data were collected since 1990 and plot size varies widely, but with most less than one hectare in size. A wide range of minimum sizes is used to define a 'tree'. The database helps to identify gaps that need filling by further data collection and collation. The data can be publicly accessed through a web application at http://portal.biotreenet.com. Researchers are invited and encouraged to contribute data to BIOTREE-NET.
Conner, D.; King, B.; Kolodinsky, J.; Roche, E.; Koliba, C.; Trubek, A.. (2012) You can know your school and feed it too: Vermont farmers' motivations and distribution practices in direct sales to school food services. Agriculture and Human Values 29(3) 321-332
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Farm to School (FTS) programs are increasingly popular as methods to teach students about food, nutrition, and agriculture by connecting students with the sources of the food that they eat. They may also provide opportunity for farmers seeking to diversify market channels. Food service buyers in FTS programs often choose to procure food for school meals directly from farmers. The distribution practices required for such direct procurement often bring significant transaction costs for both school food service professionals and farmers. Analysis of data from a survey of Vermont farmers who sell directly to school food services explores farmers' motivations and distribution practices in these partnerships. A two-step cluster analysis procedure characterizes farmers' motivations along a continuum between market-based and socially embedded values. Further bivariate analysis shows that farmers who are motivated most by market-based values are significantly associated with distribution practices that facilitate sales to school food services. Implications for technical assistance to facilitate these sales are discussed.
Costanza, R.; van der Leeuw, S.; Hibbard, K.; Aulenbach, S.; Brewer, S.; Burek, M.; Cornell, S.; Crumley, C.; Dearing, J.; Folke, C.; Graumlich, L.; Hegmon, M.; Heckbert, S.; Jackson, S. T.; Kubiszewski, I.; Scarborough, V.; Sinclair, P.; Sorlin, S.; Steffen, W.. (2012) Developing an Integrated History and future of People on Earth (IHOPE). Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 4(1) 106-114
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The Integrated History and future of People on Earth (IHOPE) initiative is a global network of researchers and research projects with its International Program Office (IPO) now based at the Stockholm Resilience Center (SRC), Uppsala University, Arizona State University, Portland State University, and the Australian National University. Research linked to IHOPE demonstrates that Earth system changes in the past have been strongly associated with changes in the coupled human-environment system. IHOPE supports integrating knowledge and resources from the biophysical and the social sciences and the humanities to address analytical and interpretive issues associated with coupled human-earth system dynamics. This integration of human history and Earth system history is a timely and important task. Until recently, however, there have been few attempts at such integration. IHOPE will create frameworks that can be used to help achieve this integration. The overarching goal is to produce a rich understanding of the relationships between environmental and human processes over the past millennia. HOPE recognizes that one major challenge for reaching this goal is developing 'workable' terminology that can be accepted by scholars of all disciplines. The specific objectives for IHOPE are to identify slow and rapidly moving features of complex social-ecological systems, on local to continental spatial scales, which induce resilience, stress, or collapse in linked systems of humans in nature. These objectives will be reached by exploring innovative ways of conducting interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary science, including theory, case studies, and integrated modeling. Examples of projects underway to implement this initiative are briefly discussed.
Costanza, R.. (2012) Ecosystem health and ecological engineering. Ecological Engineering 45 24-29
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Ecosystem health is a desired endpoint of environmental management and should be a primary design goal for ecological engineering. This paper describes ecosystem health as a comprehensive, multiscale, measure of system vigor, organization and resilience. Ecosystem health is thus closely linked to the idea of sustainability, which implies the ability of the system to maintain its structure (organization) and function (vigor) over time in the face of external stress (resilience). To be truly successful, ecological engineering should pursue the broader goal of designing healthy ecosystems, which may be novel assemblages of species that perform desired functions and produce a range of valuable ecosystem services. In this way ecological engineering can achieve its goals, embedded in its definition as the "design of sustainable ecosystems that integrate human society with its natural environment for the benefit of both." It allows the benefits of ecological engineering practices 'to both humans and the rest of nature' to be assessed in an integrated and consistent way that will allow us to build a sustainable and desirable future. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Costanza, Robert; Kubiszewski, Ida. (2012) The authorship structure of “ecosystem services” as a transdisciplinary field of scholarship. Ecosystem Services 1(1) 16-25
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“Ecosystem Services” is now a well-defined and active enough field of scholarship to warrant its own academic journal (this paper is published in the inaugural issue). In this paper we describe the authorship structure of this rapidly emerging transdisciplinary field, which has so far generated over 2400 papers (as of January 2011) listed in ISI Web of Science journals, written by over 2000 authors since the 1990s. We describe the number of publications, the number and interconnection of co-authors, clusters of co-authors, and other variables for the top 172 authors who have authored or co-authored more than 5 papers each. These 172 authors together have written over half the total papers. This allows a coherent picture of current participants in the field and their collaborative interconnections. These methods can be applied to any topic area and represent one way to better understand and support emerging scholarship that goes beyond disciplinary boundaries.
Courtney, E.; Zencey, E.. (2012) Greening Vermont - The Search for a Sustainable State. Vermont Natural Resources Council/Thistle Hill Publications, New York, NY. Pages 173;
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Whatever you call it - climate change, global warming -- weather abnormalities over the past several years reveal that we can no longer accurately predict weather by studying historical patterns. Nor can we continue to delude ourselves into thinking that the planet's resources are infinite. They are finite, and if we don't act to establish a sustainable relationship between humans and nature, these resources will run out sooner rather than later. Greening Vermont: In Search of a Sustainable State (Vermont Natural Resources Council, Thistle Hill Publications) looks back over five decades of Vermont's environmental activism in order to move us all forward into ecological sustainability. This book is a story about people, politics, money and the environment. As Tom Slayton tells us in his Forward: "It is a tale of environmental victories, defeats and, perhaps most significantly, collaborations and compromises that have put Vermont at the forefront of the environmental movement". Greening Vermont is a call to action. Authors Elizabeth Courtney and Eric Zencey advise: "Our ecosystems are out of balance, and if we don't address this issue now, there is no certain sustainable future." Our states are all currently unsustainable. We must fit our economic life into its proper ecological and social context, so Vermonters and the rest of us can enjoy a healthy environment. Greening Vermont illustrates what sustainability will look like and how we can shift our economic and energy resources to achieve that desired state. The book includes fascinating in depth interviews with Vermont movers and shakers from over the years, as well as stunning illustrations of the Vermont countryside.
Crepin, A. S.; Biggs, R.; Polasky, S.; Troell, M.; de Zeeuw, A.. (2012) Regime shifts and management. Ecological Economics 84 15-22
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Regime shifts are substantial reorganizations in system structure, functions and feedbacks, which can lead to changes in the provision of ecosystem services with significant impacts on human well-being. Recent research has documented cases of regime shifts in local and regional systems and there is mounting concern about regime shifts of global significance. In this paper we discuss management of social-ecological systems in light of the potential for regime shift. Management that increases system resilience and lowers the probability of regime shifts is beneficial when regime shifts are likely to reduce human well-being. It may not always be possible to avoid harmful regime shifts, so building capacity to adapt should a regime shift occur is beneficial too. Adaptive management can help reduce uncertainty about the likelihood of regime shifts, how this likelihood can be affected by management action, and the impact of regime shifts on well-being. Linking scientific understanding with decision-making is important but distributional consequences can impede decision making and action. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Daniel, T. C.; Muhar, A.; Arnberger, A.; Aznar, O.; Boyd, J. W.; Chan, K. M. A.; Costanza, R.; Elmqvist, T.; Flint, C. G.; Gobster, P. H.; Gret-Regamey, A.; Lave, R.; Muhar, S.; Penker, M.; Ribe, R. G.; Schauppenlehner, T.; Sikor, T.; Soloviy, I.; Spierenburg, M.; Taczanowska, K.; Tam, J.; von der Dunk, A.. (2012) Contributions of cultural services to the ecosystem services agenda. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109(23) 8812-8819
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Cultural ecosystem services (ES) are consistently recognized but not yet adequately defined or integrated within the ES framework. A substantial body of models, methods, and data relevant to cultural services has been developed within the social and behavioral sciences before and outside of the ES approach. A selective review of work in landscape aesthetics, cultural heritage, outdoor recreation, and spiritual significance demonstrates opportunities for operationally defining cultural services in terms of socioecological models, consistent with the larger set of ES. Such models explicitly link ecological structures and functions with cultural values and benefits, facilitating communication between scientists and stakeholders and enabling economic, multicriterion, deliberative evaluation and other methods that can clarify tradeoffs and synergies involving cultural ES. Based on this approach, a common representation is offered that frames cultural services, along with all ES, by the relative contribution of relevant ecological structures and functions and by applicable social evaluation approaches. This perspective provides a foundation for merging ecological and social science epistemologies to define and integrate cultural services better within the broader ES framework.
Davidson, E. A.; de Araujo, A. C.; Artaxo, P.; Balch, J. K.; Brown, I. F.; Bustamante, M. M. C.; Coe, M. T.; DeFries, R. S.; Keller, M.; Longo, M.; Munger, J. W.; Schroeder, W.; Soares, B. S.; Souza, C. M.; Wofsy, S. C.. (2012) The Amazon basin in transition. Nature 481(7381) 321-328
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Agricultural expansion and climate variability have become important agents of disturbance in the Amazon basin. Recent studies have demonstrated considerable resilience of Amazonian forests to moderate annual drought, but they also show that interactions between deforestation, fire and drought potentially lead to losses of carbon storage and changes in regional precipitation patterns and river discharge. Although the basin-wide impacts of land use and drought may not yet surpass the magnitude of natural variability of hydrologic and biogeochemical cycles, there are some signs of a transition to a disturbance-dominated regime. These signs include changing energy and water cycles in the southern and eastern portions of the Amazon basin.
De Almeida Castanho, A. D.; Coe, M. T.; Heil Costa, M.; Malhi, Y.; Galbraith, D.; Quesada, C. A.. (2012) Accounting for spatial variation in vegetation properties improves simulations of Amazon forest biomass and productivity in a global vegetation model. Biogeosciences Discuss.; Copernicus Publications, Washington, D.C.. 9(8) 11767-11813
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Dynamic vegetation models forced with spatially homogeneous biophysical parameters are capable of producing average productivity and biomass values for the Amazon basin forest biome that are close to the observed estimates, but are unable to reproduce the observed spatial variability. Recent observational studies have shown substantial regional spatial variability of above-ground productivity and biomass across the Amazon basin, which is believed to be primarily driven by soil physical and chemical properties. In this study, spatial heterogeneity of vegetation properties is added to the IBIS land surface model, and the simulated productivity and biomass of the Amazon basin are compared to observations from undisturbed forest. The maximum Rubisco carboxylation capacity (Vcmax) and the woody biomass residence time (τw) were found to be the most important properties determining the modeled spatial variation of above-ground woody net primary productivity and biomass, respectively. Spatial heterogeneity of these properties may lead to a spatial variability of 1.8 times in the simulated woody net primary productivity and 2.8 times in the woody above-ground biomass. The coefficient of correlation between the modeled and observed woody productivity improved from 0.10 with homogeneous parameters to 0.73 with spatially heterogeneous parameters, while the coefficient of correlation between the simulated and observed woody above-ground biomass improved from 0.33 to 0.88. The results from our analyses with the IBIS dynamic vegetation model demonstrate that using single values for key ecological parameters in the tropical forest biome severely limits simulation accuracy. We emphasize that our approach must be viewed as an important first step and that a clearer understanding of the biophysical mechanisms that drive the spatial variability of carbon allocation, τw and Vcmax are necessary.
De Groot, R. S.; Costanza, R.; Van den Broeck, D.; Aronson, J.; Burkhard, B.; Gomez-Baggethun, E.; Haines-Young, R.; Kubiszewski, I.; Muller, F.; Petrosillo, Irene.; Potschin, M.; van der Ploeg, S.; Zurlini, Giovanni. (2012) A Global Partnership for Ecosystem Services. Solutions 2(6) 42-43
De Groot, Rudolf; Brander, Luke; van der Ploeg, Sander; Costanza, Robert; Bernard, Florence; Braat, Leon; Christie, Mike; Crossman, Neville; Ghermandi, Andrea; Hein, Lars; Hussain, Salman; Kumar, Pushpam; McVittie, Alistair; Portela, Rosimeiry; Rodriguez, Luis C.; ten Brink, Patrick; van Beukering, Pieter. (2012) Global estimates of the value of ecosystems and their services in monetary units. Ecosystem Services 1(1) 50-61
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This paper gives an overview of the value of ecosystem services of 10 main biomes expressed in monetary units. In total, over 320 publications were screened covering over 300 case study locations. Approximately 1350 value estimates were coded and stored in a searchable Ecosystem Service Value Database (ESVD). A selection of 665 value estimates was used for the analysis. Acknowledging the uncertainties and contextual nature of any valuation, the analysis shows that the total value of ecosystem services is considerable and ranges between 490 int$/year for the total bundle of ecosystem services that can potentially be provided by an ‘average’ hectare of open oceans to almost 350,000 int$/year for the potential services of an ‘average’ hectare of coral reefs. More importantly, our results show that most of this value is outside the market and best considered as non-tradable public benefits. The continued over-exploitation of ecosystems thus comes at the expense of the livelihood of the poor and future generations. Given that many of the positive externalities of ecosystems are lost or strongly reduced after land use conversion better accounting for the public goods and services provided by ecosystems is crucial to improve decision making and institutions for biodiversity conservation and sustainable ecosystem management.
DeFries, R. S.; Ellis, E. C.; Chapin, F. S.; Matson, P. A.; Turner, B. L.; Agrawal, A.; Crutzen, P. J.; Field, C.; Gleick, P.; Kareiva, P. M.; Lambin, E.; Liverman, D.; Ostrom, E.; Sanchez, P. A.; Syvitski, J.. (2012) Planetary Opportunities: A Social Contract for Global Change Science to Contribute to a Sustainable Future. Bioscience 62(6) 603-606
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The global change research community needs to renew its social contract with society by moving beyond a focus on biophysical limits and toward solution-oriented research to provide realistic, context-specific pathways to a sustainable future. A focus On planetary opportunities is based on the premise that societies adapt to change and have historically implemented solutions-for example, to prow: watersheds, improve food security, and reduce harmful atmospheric emissions. Daunting social and biophysical challenges for achieving a sustainable future demand that the global change research community work to provide underpinnings for workable solutions at multiple scales of governance. Global change research must reorient itself from a focus on biophysically oriented, global-scale analysis of humanity's negative impact on the Earth system to consider the needs of decision makers from household to global scales.
Dearing, J. A.; Bullock, S.; Costanza, R.; Dawson, T. P.; Edwards, M. E.; Poppy, G. M.; Smith, G. M.. (2012) Navigating the Perfect Storm: Research Strategies for Socialecological Systems in a Rapidly Evolving World. Environmental Management 49(4) 767-775
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The 'Perfect Storm' metaphor describes a combination of events that causes a surprising or dramatic impact. It lends an evolutionary perspective to how social-ecological interactions change. Thus, we argue that an improved understanding of how social-ecological systems have evolved up to the present is necessary for the modelling, understanding and anticipation of current and future social-ecological systems. Here we consider the implications of an evolutionary perspective for designing research approaches. One desirable approach is the creation of multi-decadal records produced by integrating palaeoenvironmental, instrument and documentary sources at multiple spatial scales. We also consider the potential for improved analytical and modelling approaches by developing system dynamical, cellular and agent-based models, observing complex behaviour in social-ecological systems against which to test systems dynamical theory, and drawing better lessons from history. Alongside these is the need to find more appropriate ways to communicate complex systems, risk and uncertainty to the public and to policy-makers.
Edwards, D. P.; Fisher, B.; Wilcove, D. S.. (2012) High Conservation Value or high confusion value? Sustainable agriculture and biodiversity conservation in the tropics. Conservation Letters 5(1) 20-27
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Green labeling of products that have been produced sustainably is an emerging tool of the environmental movement. A prominent example is the Forest Stewardship Council, which certifies timber that is harvested to manage and maintain forests defined as having High Conservation Value (HCV). The criteria for HCV are now being applied to four rapidly expanding crops in the tropics: oil palm, soy, sugarcane, and cacao. However, these criteria do not provide adequate protection for biodiversity when applied to agriculture. The only criterion that provides blanket protection to forests is one that protects large expanses of habitat (=20,000500,000 ha, depending on the country). Absent of other HCVs, the collective clearing of forest patches below these thresholds could result in extensive deforestation that would be sanctioned with a green label. Yet such forest patches retain much biodiversity and provide connectivity within the agricultural matrix. An examination of forest fragments in biodiverse countries across the tropics shows that future agricultural demand can be met by clearing only forest patches below a 1,000 ha threshold. We recommend the development of a new HCV criterion that recognizes the conservation value of habitat patches within the agricultural matrix and that protects patches above 1,000 ha.
Farley, J.; Schmitt F., A. L.; Alvez, J. P.; Rebola, P. M.. (2012) The farmer’s viewpoint: Payment for ecosystem services and agroecologic pasture based dairy production. Advances in Animal Biosciences 1(2) 490-491
Farley, J.; Schmitt F., A.; Alvez, J.; Ribiero de Freitas Jr., N.. (2012) How Valuing Nature Can Transform Agriculture. Solutions 2(6) 64-73
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Society must increase food production and restore vital ecosystem services or suffer unacceptable consequences. Unfortunately, conventional agriculture may be the single greatest threat to ecosystem function. At the same time, reducing ecologically harmful agricultural inputs or restoring farmlands to native ecosystems threatens food production. We fell into this predicament because we designed agricultural and economic systems that failed to account for ecosystem services, and the path forward requires redesigning both systems. Agroecology—which applies ecological principles to design sustainable farming methods that can increase food production, wean us away from nonrenewable and harmful agricultural inputs, and restore ecosystem services—promises to be an appropriate redesign of agricultural systems. We focus on the example of management-intensive grazing (MIG), which mimics natural grassland-grazer dynamics. Compared to conventional systems, MIG increases pasture growth and cattle production, reduces the use of fertilizers and pesticides, and enhances biodiversity, water quality, nutrient capture, and carbon sequestration. Redesigning economic institutions to reward the provision of ecosystem services and provide the public goods required for the global-scale development and dissemination of agroecology practices still presents a serious challenge. Payments for ecosystem services (PES) are a promising mechanism through which those who benefit from ecosystem services can compensate those who provide them, for mutual gain. Numerous schemes already exist that pay landowners for land uses that sequester carbon, regulate and purify water, and enhance biodiversity, but their effectiveness is debated. We propose a form of PES in which the potential public beneficiaries of ecosystem services at the local, national, and global scales fund the research and development, extension work (i.e., farmer education, usually supported by government agencies), and affordable credit required to scale agroecology up to the level required to provide for a growing global population.
Farley, J.. (2012) Ecosystem Services: The Economics Debate.. Ecosystem Services 1(1) 40-49
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The goal of this paper is to illuminate the debate concerning the economics of ecosystem services. The sustainability debate focuses on whether or not ecosystem services are essential for human welfare and the existence of ecological thresholds. If ecosystem services are essential, then marginal analysis and monetary valuation are inappropriate tools in the vicinity of thresholds. The justice debate focuses on who is entitled to ecosystem services and the ecosystem structure that generates them. Answers to these questions have profound implications for the choice of suitable economic institutions. The efficiency debate concerns both the goals of economicactivity and the mechanisms best suited to achieve those goals. Conventional economists pursue Pareto efficiency and the maximization of monetary value, achieved by integrating ecosystem services into the market framework. Ecological economists and many others pursue the less rigorously defined goal of achieving the highest possible quality of life compatible with the conservation of resilient, healthy ecosystems, achieved by adapting economic institutions to the physical characteristics of ecosystem services.The concept of ecosystem services is a valuable tool for economic analysis, and should not be discarded because of disagreements with particular economists’ assumptions regarding sustainability, justice and efficiency.
Farley, J.. (2012) Natural Capital. Berkshire Publishing, Gt Barrington, MA. 5 264-267
Farley, Joshua; Schmitt Filho, Abdon. (2012) Ecosystem Services, Agriculture and Economic Institutions. Meindert Brower, Partner in communications, Bunnik, The Netherlands.
Fisher, B.. (2012) Poverty, Payments and Ecosystem Services in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania.. Springer, New York. Pages 444;
Fisher, B.P.. (2012) Guest Editorial-Conservation and livelihoods: Identifying trade-offs and win-wins. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10(7) 343
Flomenhoft, G.. (2012) Applying the Alaska model in a Resource-Poor State: The Example of Vermont. Palgrave-Macmillan, St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY. Pages Pg. 85-107;
Forrest, J. L.; Wikramanayake, E.; Shrestha, R.; Areendran, G.; Gyeltshen, K.; Maheshwari, A.; Mazumdar, S.; Naidoo, R.; Thapa, G. J.; Thapa, K.. (2012) Conservation and climate change: Assessing the vulnerability of snow leopard habitat to treeline shift in the Himalaya. Biological Conservation 150(1) 129-135
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Climate change is likely to affect the persistence of large, space-requiring species through habitat shifts, loss, and fragmentation. Anthropogenic land and resource use changes related to climate change can also impact the survival of wildlife. Thus, climate change has to be integrated into biodiversity conservation plans. We developed a hybrid approach to climate-adaptive conservation landscape planning for snow leopards in the Himalayan Mountains. We first mapped current snow leopard habitat using a mechanistic approach that incorporated field-based data, and then combined it with a climate impact model using a correlative approach. For the latter, we used statistical methods to test hypotheses about climatic drivers of treeline in the Himalaya and its potential response to climate change under three IPCC greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. We then assessed how change in treeline might affect the distribution of snow leopard habitat. Results indicate that about 30% of snow leopard habitat in the Himalaya may be lost due to a shifting treeline and consequent shrinking of the alpine zone, mostly along the southern edge of the range and in river valleys. But, a considerable amount of snow leopard habitat and linkages are likely to remain resilient to climate change, and these should be secured. This is because, as the area of snow leopard habitat fragments and shrinks, threats such as livestock grazing, retaliatory killing, and medicinal plant collection can intensify. We propose this approach for landscape conservation planning for other species with extensive spatial requirements that can also be umbrella species for overall biodiversity. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Giam, Xingli; Scheffers, Brett R.; Sodhi, Navjot S.; Wilcove, David S.; Ceballos, Gerardo; Ehrlich, Paul R.. (2012) Reservoirs of richness: least disturbed tropical forests are centres of undescribed species diversity. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 279(1726) 67-76
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In the last few decades, there has been a remarkable discovery of new species of plants, invertebrates and vertebrates, in what have been called the new age of discovery. However, owing to anthropogenic impacts such as habitat conversion, many of the still unknown species may go extinct before being scientifically documented (i.e. ‘crypto-extinctions’). Here, by applying a mathematical model of species descriptions which accounts for taxonomic effort, we show that even after 250 years of taxonomic classification, about 3050 amphibians and at least 160 land mammal species remain to be discovered and described. These values represent, respectively, 33 and 3 per cent of the current species total for amphibians and land mammals. We found that tropical moist forests of the Neotropics, Afrotropics and Indomalaya probably harbour the greatest numbers of undescribed species. Tropical forests with minimal anthropogenic disturbance are predicted to have larger proportions of undescribed species. However, the protected area coverage is low in many of these key biomes. Moreover, undescribed species are likely to be at a greater risk of extinction compared with known species because of small geographical ranges among other factors. By highlighting the key areas of undescribed species diversity, our study provides a starting template to rapidly document these species and protect them through better habitat management.
Goldstein, J. H.; Caldarone, G.; Duarte, T. K.; Ennaanay, D.; Hannahs, N.; Mendoza, G.; Polasky, S.; Wolny, S.; Daily, G. C.. (2012) Integrating ecosystem-service tradeoffs into land-use decisions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109(19) 7565-7570
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Recent high-profile efforts have called for integrating ecosystem-service values into important societal decisions, but there are few demonstrations of this approach in practice. We quantified ecosystem-service values to help the largest private landowner in Hawaii, Kamehameha Schools, design a land-use development plan that balances multiple private and public values on its North Shore land holdings (Island of O'ahu) of similar to 10,600 ha. We used the InVEST software tool to evaluate the environmental and financial implications of seven planning scenarios encompassing contrasting land-use combinations including biofuel feedstocks, food crops, forestry, livestock, and residential development. All scenarios had positive financial return relative to the status quo of negative return. However, tradeoffs existed between carbon storage and water quality as well as between environmental improvement and financial return. Based on this analysis and community input, Kamehameha Schools is implementing a plan to support diversified agriculture and forestry. This plan generates a positive financial return ($10.9 million) and improved carbon storage (0.5% increase relative to status quo) with negative relative effects on water quality (15.4% increase in potential nitrogen export relative to status quo). The effects on water quality could be mitigated partially (reduced to a 4.9% increase in potential nitrogen export) by establishing vegetation buffers on agricultural fields. This plan contributes to policy goals for climate change mitigation, food security, and diversifying rural economic opportunities. More broadly, our approach illustrates how information can help guide local land-use decisions that involve tradeoffs between private and public interests.
Gunn, J. S.; Ganz, D. J.; Keeton, W. S.. (2012) Biogenic vs. geologic carbon emissions and forest biomass energy production. Global Change Biology Bioenergy 4(3) 239-242
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In the current debate over the CO2 emissions implications of switching from fossil fuel energy sources to include a substantial amount of woody biomass energy, many scientists and policy makers hold the view that emissions from the two sources should not be equated. Their rationale is that the combustion or decay of woody biomass is simply part of the global cycle of biogenic carbon and does not increase the amount of carbon in circulation. This view is frequently presented as justification to implement policies that encourage the substitution of fossil fuel energy sources with biomass. We present the opinion that this is an inappropriate conceptual basis to assess the atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting of woody biomass energy generation. While there are many other environmental, social, and economic reasons to move to woody biomass energy, we argue that the inferred benefits of biogenic emissions over fossil fuel emissions should be reconsidered.
Halpern, B. S.; Longo, C.; Hardy, D.; McLeod, K. L.; Samhouri, J. F.; Katona, S. K.; Kleisner, K.; Lester, S. E.; O'Leary, J.; Ranelletti, M.; Rosenberg, A. A.; Scarborough, C.; Selig, E. R.; Best, B. D.; Brumbaugh, D. R.; Chapin, F. S.; Crowder, L. B.; Daly, K. L.; Doney, S. C.; Elfes, C.; Fogarty, M. J.; Gaines, S. D.; Jacobsen, K. I.; Karrer, L. B.; Leslie, H. M.; Neeley, E.; Pauly, D.; Polasky, S.; Ris, B.; St Martin, K.; Stone, G. S.; Sumaila, U. R.; Zeller, D.. (2012) An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean. Nature 488(7413) 615-+
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The ocean plays a critical role in supporting human well-being, from providing food, livelihoods and recreational opportunities to regulating the global climate. Sustainable management aimed at maintaining the flow of a broad range of benefits from the ocean requires a comprehensive and quantitative method to measure and monitor the health of coupled human-ocean systems. We created an index comprising ten diverse public goals for a healthy coupled human-ocean system and calculated the index for every coastal country. Globally, the overall index score was 60 out of 100 (range 36-86), with developed countries generally performing better than developing countries, but with notable exceptions. Only 5% of countries scored higher than 70, whereas 32% scored lower than 50. The index provides a powerful tool to raise public awareness, direct resource management, improve policy and prioritize scientific research.
Holmes, Robert M.; Coe, Michael T.; Fiske, Greg J.; Gurtovaya, Tatiana; McClelland, James W.; Shiklomanov, Alexander I.; Spencer, Robert G. M.; Tank, Suzanne E.; Zhulidov, Alexander V.. (2012) Climate Change Impacts on the Hydrology and Biogeochemistry of Arctic Rivers. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. Pages 1-26;
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This chapter contains sections titled: * Introduction * The pan-Arctic watershed * Observational data—historical to contemporary time series * Projections of future fluxes * Conclusions * Acknowledgments * References
Jarchow, M. E.; Kubiszewski, I.; Larsen, G. L. D.; Zdorkowski, G.; Costanza, R.; Gailans, S. R.; Ohde, N.; Dietzel, R.; Kaplan, S.; Neal, J.; Petrehn, M. R.; Gunther, T.; D'Adamo, S. N.; McCann, N.; Larson, A.; Damery, P.; Gross, L.; Merriman, M.; Post, J.; Sheradin, M.; Liebman, M.. (2012) The future of agriculture and society in Iowa: four scenarios. 10(1) 76-92
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Iowa is a leader in crop and livestock production, but its high productivity has had concomitant negative environmental and societal impacts and large requirements for fossil-fuel-derived inputs. Maintaining agricultural productivity, economic prosperity and environmental integrity will become ever more challenging as the global demand for agricultural products increases and the resources needed become increasingly limited. Here we present four scenarios for Iowa in 2100, based on combinations of differing goals for the economy and differing energy availability. In scenarios focused on high material throughput, environmental degradation and social unrest will increase. In scenarios with a focus on human and environmental welfare, environmental damage will be ameliorated and societal happiness will increase. Movement towards a society focused on human and environmental welfare will require changes in the goals of the economy, whereas no major changes will be needed to maintain focus on high throughput. When energy sources are readily available and inexpensive, the goals of the economy will be more easily met, whereas energy limitations will restrict the options available to agriculture and society. Our scenarios can be used as tools to inform people about choices that must be made to reach more desirable futures for Iowa and similar agricultural regions.
Johnson, K. A.; Polasky, S.; Nelson, E.; Pennington, D.. (2012) Uncertainty in ecosystem services valuation and implications for assessing land use tradeoffs: An agricultural case study in the Minnesota River Basin. Ecological Economics 79 71-79
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Ecosystem services analysis can help recognize the full costs and benefits of land management decisions. Quantification and valuation of services can enhance policies and regulations and, if linked with payments or incentives, properly reward private decisions that yield public benefits. However, the field of ecosystem services research is relatively new and quantification and valuation remains highly uncertain. While there is significant uncertainty about the biophysical production of ecosystem services, there is additional uncertainty about the value of services. This paper explores how uncertainty associated with valuation of ecosystem services in agriculture affects the ranking of land use alternatives in terms of social net benefits. We compare the values of four land use scenarios in the Minnesota River Basin, USA, by combining a range of value estimates for these services with varying estimates for returns from agricultural production. Although variations in ecosystem service values are significant, fluctuations in agricultural returns more significantly determine how scenarios rank with regard to delivery of total value. This analysis suggests that addressing uncertainty in ecosystem service valuation is critical to accurately assessing tradeoffs in land use. (C) 2012 Elsevier BM. All rights reserved.
Karp, Daniel S.; Rominger, Andrew J.; Zook, Jim; Ranganathan, Jai; Ehrlich, Paul R.; Daily, Gretchen C.. (2012) Intensive agriculture erodes β-diversity at large scales. Ecology Letters 15(9) 963-970
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Biodiversity is declining from unprecedented land conversions that replace diverse, low-intensity agriculture with vast expanses under homogeneous, intensive production. Despite documented losses of species richness, consequences for β-diversity, changes in community composition between sites, are largely unknown, especially in the tropics. Using a 10-year data set on Costa Rican birds, we find that low-intensity agriculture sustained β-diversity across large scales on a par with forest. In high-intensity agriculture, low local (α) diversity inflated β-diversity as a statistical artefact. Therefore, at small spatial scales, intensive agriculture appeared to retain β-diversity. Unlike in forest or low-intensity systems, however, high-intensity agriculture also homogenised vegetation structure over large distances, thereby decoupling the fundamental ecological pattern of bird communities changing with geographical distance. This ~40% decline in species turnover indicates a significant decline in β-diversity at large spatial scales. These findings point the way towards multi-functional agricultural systems that maintain agricultural productivity while simultaneously conserving biodiversity.
Kaufman, Z. A.; Welsch, R. L.; Erickson, J. D.; Craig, S.; Adams, L. V.; Ross, D. A.. (2012) Effectiveness of a sports-based HIV prevention intervention in the Dominican Republic: a quasi-experimental study. 24(3) 377-385
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Previous observational and quasi-experimental studies in sub-Saharan Africa have suggested the effectiveness of youth-targeted HIV prevention interventions using sport as an educational tool. No studies have yet assessed the effect of similar programs in the Caribbean. A quasi-experimental trial was conducted to assess the effectiveness of a sports-based intervention in six migrant settlements in the Puerto Plata Province of the Dominican Republic. A total of 397 structured interviews were conducted with 140 adolescents prior to, immediately following, and four months following 10-hour interventions using the Grassroot Soccer curriculum. Interview responses were coded, aggregated into composite scores, and analyzed using logistic regression, adjusting for baseline differences as well as age, sex, community, and descent. At post-intervention, significant differences were observed between groups in HIV-related knowledge (adjOR = 13.02, 95% CI = 8.26, 20.52), reported attitudes (adjOR = 12.01, 95% CI = 7.61, 18.94), and reported communication (adjOR = 3.13, 95% CI = 1.91, 5.12). These differences remained significant at four-month follow-up, though declines in post-intervention knowledge were observed in the Intervention group while gains in knowledge and reported attitudes were observed in the Control group. Results suggest that this sports-based intervention could play a valuable role in HIV prevention efforts in the Caribbean, particularly those targeting early adolescents. Further evaluation of sports-based interventions should include indicators assessing behavioral and biological outcomes, longer-term follow-up, a larger sample, randomization of study participants, and strenuous efforts to minimize loss-to-follow-up.
Keeler, B. L.; Polasky, S.; Brauman, K. A.; Johnson, K. A.; Finlay, J. C.; O'Neill, A.; Kovacs, K.; Dalzell, B.. (2012) Linking water quality and well-being for improved assessment and valuation of ecosystem services. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109(45) 18619-18624
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Despite broad recognition of the value of the goods and services provided by nature, existing tools for assessing and valuing ecosystem services often fall short of the needs and expectations of decision makers. Here we address one of the most important missing components in the current ecosystem services toolbox: a comprehensive and generalizable framework for describing and valuing water quality-related services. Water quality is often misrepresented as a final ecosystem service. We argue that it is actually an important contributor to many different services, from recreation to human health. We present a valuation approach for water quality-related services that is sensitive to different actions that affect water quality, identifies aquatic endpoints where the consequences of changing water quality on human well-being are realized, and recognizes the unique groups of beneficiaries affected by those changes. We describe the multiple biophysical and economic pathways that link actions to changes in water quality-related ecosystem goods and services and provide guidance to researchers interested in valuing these changes. Finally, we present a valuation template that integrates biophysical and economic models, links actions to changes in service provision and value estimates, and considers multiple sources of water quality-related ecosystem service values without double counting.
Kim, C. K.; Toft, J. E.; Papenfus, M.; Verutes, G.; Guerry, A. D.; Ruckelshaus, M. H.; Arkema, K. K.; Guannel, G.; Wood, S. A.; Bernhardt, J. R.; Tallis, H.; Plummer, M. L.; Halpern, B. S.; Pinsky, M. L.; Beck, M. W.; Chan, F.; Chan, K. M. A.; Levin, P. S.; Polasky, S.. (2012) Catching the Right Wave: Evaluating Wave Energy Resources and Potential Compatibility with Existing Marine and Coastal Uses. PloS One 7(11) 14
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Many hope that ocean waves will be a source for clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy, yet wave energy conversion facilities may affect marine ecosystems through a variety of mechanisms, including competition with other human uses. We developed a decision-support tool to assist siting wave energy facilities, which allows the user to balance the need for profitability of the facilities with the need to minimize conflicts with other ocean uses. Our wave energy model quantifies harvestable wave energy and evaluates the net present value (NPV) of a wave energy facility based on a capital investment analysis. The model has a flexible framework and can be easily applied to wave energy projects at local, regional, and global scales. We applied the model and compatibility analysis on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada to provide information for ongoing marine spatial planning, including potential wave energy projects. In particular, we conducted a spatial overlap analysis with a variety of existing uses and ecological characteristics, and a quantitative compatibility analysis with commercial fisheries data. We found that wave power and harvestable wave energy gradually increase offshore as wave conditions intensify. However, areas with high economic potential for wave energy facilities were closer to cable landing points because of the cost of bringing energy ashore and thus in nearshore areas that support a number of different human uses. We show that the maximum combined economic benefit from wave energy and other uses is likely to be realized if wave energy facilities are sited in areas that maximize wave energy NPV and minimize conflict with existing ocean uses. Our tools will help decision-makers explore alternative locations for wave energy facilities by mapping expected wave energy NPV and helping to identify sites that provide maximal returns yet avoid spatial competition with existing ocean uses.
Knorn, J.; Kuemmerle, T.; Radeloff, V. C.; Keeton, W. S.; Gancz, V.; Biris, I. A.; Svoboda, M.; Griffiths, P.; Hagatis, A.; Hostert, P.. (2012) Continued loss of temperate old-growth forests in the Romanian Carpathians despite an increasing protected area network. Environmental Conservation 40(2) 182-193
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Old-growth forests around the world are vanishing rapidly and have been lost almost completely from the European temperate forest region. Poor management practices, often triggered by socioeconomic and institutional change, are the main causes of loss. Recent trends in old-growth forest cover in Romania, where some of the last remaining tracts of these forests within Europe are located, are revealed by satellite image analysis. Forest cover declined by 1.3% from 2000 to 2010. Romania's protected area network has been expanded substantially since the country's accession to the European Union in 2007, and most of the remaining old-growth forests now are located within protected areas. Surprisingly though, 72% of the old-growth forest disturbances are found within protected areas, highlighting the threats still facing these forests. It appears that logging in old-growth forests is, at least in part, related to institutional reforms, insufficient protection and ownership changes since the collapse of communism in 1989. The majority of harvesting activities in old-growth forest areas are in accordance with the law. Without improvements to their governance, the future of Romania's old-growth forests and the important ecosystem services they provide remains uncertain.
Knorn, J.; Kuemmerle, T.; Radeloff, V. C.; Szabo, A.; Mindrescu, M.; Keeton, W. S.; Abrudan, I.; Griffiths, P.; Gancz, V.; Hostert, P.. (2012) Forest restitution and protected area effectiveness in post-socialist Romania. Biological Conservation 146(1) 204-212
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The effectiveness of protected areas can diminish during times of pronounced socio-economic and institutional change. Our goals were to assess the effectiveness of Romanian protected areas at stemming unsanctioned logging, and to assess post-socialist logging in their surrounding landscapes, during a time of massive socio-economic and institutional change. Our results suggest that forest cover remained fairly stable shortly before and after 1990, but forest disturbance rates increased sharply in two waves after 1995 and 2005. We found substantial disturbances inside protected areas, even within core reserve areas. Moreover, disturbances in the matrix surrounding protected areas were even lower than inside protected area boundaries. We suggest that these rates are largely the result of high logging rates, triggered by rapid ownership and institutional changes. These trends compromise the goals of Romania's protected area network, lead to an increasing loss of forest habitat, and more isolated and more fragmented protected areas. The effectiveness of Romania's protected area network in terms of its ability to safeguard biodiversity is therefore most likely decreasing. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Koliba, C.; Zia, A.. (2012) "Complexity Friendly" Meso-Level Frameworks for Modeling Complex Governance Systems. Emergent Publications, Litchfield Park, AZ. Pages 119-140;
Koliba, C.. (2012) Administrative Strategies for a Networked World: The Educational Imperative for Intergovernmental Relations in 2020.. Sage Publications, New York, NY. Pages 70-93;
Kubiszewski, I.; Costanza, R.; Dorji, L.; Thoennes, P.; Tshering, K.. (2012) An initial estimate of the value of ecosystem services in Bhutan. Ecosystem Services
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We estimated the value of ecosystem services in Bhutan using benefit transfer methodology in order to determine an initial assessment of their overall contribution to human well-being. The total estimated value was approximately $15.5 billion/yr (NU760 billion/yr), significantly greater than the gross domestic product (GDP) of $3.5 billion/yr. We also estimated who benefits from Bhutan’s ecosystem services. 53%of the total benefits accrue to people outside Bhutan. 47% of the benefits accrue to people inside the country—15 % at the national level, and 32% at the local level. Based on this and a population of 700,000 we estimated Bhutan’s combined per capita annual benefits at $15,400/capita/yr. Of this $5000 is from goods and services captured in GDP and $10,400 is from ecosystem services. This is only a partial estimate that leaves out other sources of benefits to people, including social and cultural values. This study is the first phase of a larger, multiyear project and ongoing effort in Bhutan. Subsequent phases will apply more sophisticated methods to further elaborate the value of Bhutan’s ecosystem services, who benefits from them, how they can best be integrated into national well-being accounting, and how best to manage them.
Littlefield, C. E.; Keeton, W. S.. (2012) Bioenergy harvesting impacts on ecologically important stand structure and habitat characteristics. Ecological Applications 22(7) 1892-1909
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Demand for forest bioenergy fuel is increasing in the northern forest region of eastern North America and beyond, but ecological impacts, particularly on habitat, of bioenergy harvesting remain poorly explored in the peer-reviewed literature. Here, we evaluated the impacts of bioenergy harvests on stand structure, including several characteristics considered important for biodiversity and habitat functions. We collected stand structure data from 35 recent harvests in northern hardwood-conifer forests, pairing harvested areas with unharvested reference areas. Biometrics generated from field data were analyzed using a multi-tiered nonparametric uni- and multivariate statistical approach. In analyses comparing harvested to reference areas, sites that had been whole-tree harvested demonstrated significant differences (relative negative contrasts, P < 0.05) in snag density, large live-tree density, well-decayed downed coarse woody debris volume, and structural diversity index (H) values, while sites that had not been whole-tree harvested did not exhibit significant differences. Classification and regression tree (CART) analyses suggested that the strongest predictors of structural retention, as indicated by downed woody debris volumes and H index, were silvicultural treatment and equipment type rather than the percentage of harvested volume allocated to bioenergy uses. In general, bioenergy harvesting impacts were highly variable across the study sites, suggesting a need for harvesting guidelines aimed at encouraging retention of ecologically important structural attributes.
Luisa Martinez, M.; Feagin, R. A.; Yeager, K. M.; Day, J.; Costanza, R.; Harris, J. A.; Hobbs, R. J.; Lopez-Portillo, J.; Walker, I. J.; Higgs, E.; Moreno-Casasola, P.; Sheinbaum, J.; Yanez-Arancibia, A.. (2012) Artificial modifications of the coast in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: quick solutions or long-term liabilities?. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 10(1) 44-49
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The Deepwater Horizon oil spill threatened many coastal ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico during the spring and summer of 2010. Mitigation strategies included the construction of barrier sand berms, the restriction or blocking of inlets, and the diversion of freshwater from rivers to the coastal marshes and into the ocean, in order to flush away the oil, on the premise that these measures could reduce the quantity of oil reaching sensitive coastal environments such as wetlands or estuaries. These projects result in changes to the ecosystems that they were intended to protect. Long-term effects include alterations of the hydrological and ecological characteristics of estuaries, changes in sediment transport along the coastal barrier islands, the loss of sand resources, and adverse impacts to benthic and pelagic organisms. Although there are no easy solutions for minimizing the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on coastal ecosystems, we recommend that federal, state, and local agencies return to the strategic use of long-term restoration plans for this region.
MacDonald, G. K.; Bennett, E. M.; Carpenter, S. R.. (2012) Embodied phosphorus and the global connections of United States agriculture. Environmental Research Letters 7(4)
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Agricultural phosphorus (P) use is intricately linked to food security and water quality. Globalization of agricultural systems and changing diets clearly alter these relationships, yet their specific influence on non-renewable P reserves is less certain. We assessed P fertilizer used for production of food crops, livestock and biofuels in the US agricultural system, explicitly comparing the domestic P use required for US food consumption to the P use embodied in the production of US food imports and exports. By far the largest demand for P fertilizer throughout the US agricultural system was for feed and livestock production (56% of total P fertilizer use, including that for traded commodities). As little as 8% of the total mineral P inputs to US domestic agriculture in 2007 (1905 Gg P) was consumed in US diets in the same year, while larger fractions may have been retained in agricultural soils (28%), associated with different post-harvest losses (40%) or with biofuel refining (10%). One quarter of all P fertilizer used in the US was linked to export production, primarily crops, driving a large net P flux out of the country (338 Gg P). However, US meat consumption relied considerably on P fertilizer use in other countries to produce red meat imports. Changes in domestic farm management and consumer waste could together reduce the P fertilizer required for US food consumption by half, which is comparable to the P fertilizer reduction attainable by cutting domestic meat consumption (44%). US export-oriented agriculture, domestic post-harvest P losses and global demand for meat may ultimately have an important influence on the lifespan of US phosphate rock reserves.
MacDonald, G. K.; Bennett, E. M.; Taranu, Z. E.. (2012) The influence of time, soil characteristics, and land-use history on soil phosphorus legacies: a global meta-analysis. Global Change Biology 18(6) 1904-1917
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Agriculturally driven changes in soil phosphorus (P) are known to have persistent effects on local ecosystem structure and function, but regional patterns of soil P recovery following cessation of agriculture are less well understood. We synthesized data from 94 published studies to assess evidence of these land-use legacies throughout the world by comparing soil labile and total P content in abandoned agricultural areas to that of reference ecosystems or sites remaining in agriculture. Our meta-analysis shows that soil P content was typically elevated after abandonment compared to reference levels, but reduced compared to soils that remained under agriculture. There were more pronounced differences in the legacies of past agriculture on soil P across regions than between the types of land use practiced prior to abandonment (cropland, pasture, or forage grassland). However, consistent patterns of soil P enrichment or depletion according to soil order and types of post-agricultural vegetation suggest that these factors may mediate agricultural legacies on soil P. We also used mixed effects models to examine the role of multiple variables on soil P recovery following agriculture. Time since cessation of agriculture was highly influential on soil P legacies, with clear reductions in the degree of labile and total P enrichment relative to reference ecosystems over time. Soil characteristics (clay content and pH) were strongly related to changes in labile P compared to reference sites, but these were relatively unimportant for total P. The duration of past agricultural use and climate were weakly related to changes in total P only. Our finding of reductions in the degree of soil P alteration over time relative to reference conditions reveals the potential to mitigate these land-use legacies in some soils. Better ability to predict dynamics of soil nutrient recovery after termination of agricultural use is essential to ecosystem management following land-use change.
Macedo, M. N.; DeFries, R. S.; Morton, D. C.; Stickler, C. M.; Galford, G. L.; Shimabukuro, Y. E.. (2012) Decoupling of deforestation and soy production in the southern Amazon during the late 2000s. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109(4) 1341-1346
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From 2006 to 2010, deforestation in the Amazon frontier state of Mato Grosso decreased to 30% of its historical average (1996-2005) whereas agricultural production reached an all-time high. This study combines satellite data with government deforestation and production statistics to assess land-use transitions and potential market and policy drivers associated with these trends. In the forested region of the state, increased soy production from 2001 to 2005 was entirely due to cropland expansion into previously cleared pasture areas (74%) or forests (26%). From 2006 to 2010, 78% of production increases were due to expansion (22% to yield increases), with 91% on previously cleared land. Cropland expansion fell from 10 to 2% of deforestation between the two periods, with pasture expansion accounting for most remaining deforestation. Declining deforestation coincided with a collapse of commodity markets and implementation of policy measures to reduce deforestation. Soybean profitability has since increased to pre-2006 levels whereas deforestation continued to decline, suggesting that antideforestation measures may have influenced the agricultural sector. We found little evidence of direct leakage of soy expansion into cerrado in Mato Grosso during the late 2000s, although indirect land-use changes and leakage to more distant regions are possible. This study provides evidence that reduced deforestation and increased agricultural production can occur simultaneously in tropical forest frontiers, provided that land is available and policies promote the efficient use of already-cleared lands (intensification) while restricting deforestation. It remains uncertain whether government- and industry-led policies can contain deforestation if future market conditions favor another boom in agricultural expansion.
Manes, F.; Incerti, G.; Salvatori, E.; Vitale, M.; Ricotta, C.; Costanza, R.. (2012) Urban ecosystem services: tree diversity and stability of tropospheric ozone removal. Ecological Applications 22(1) 349-360
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Urban forests provide important ecosystem services, such as urban air quality improvement by removing pollutants. While robust evidence exists that plant physiology, abundance, and distribution within cities are basic parameters affecting the magnitude and efficiency of air pollution removal, little is known about effects of plant diversity on the stability of this ecosystem service. Here, by means of a spatial analysis integrating system dynamic modeling and geostatistics, we assessed the effects of tree diversity on the removal of tropospheric ozone (O-3) in Rome, Italy, in two years (2003 and 2004) that were very different for climatic conditions and ozone levels. Different tree functional groups showed complementary uptake patterns, related to tree physiology and phenology, maintaining a stable community function across different climatic conditions. Our results, although depending on the city-specific conditions of the studied area, suggest a higher function stability at increasing diversity levels in urban ecosystems. In Rome, such ecosystem services, based on published unitary costs of externalities and of mortality associated with O-3, can be prudently valued to roughly US$2 and $3 million/year, respectively.
Manukyan, N.; Eppstein, M. J.; Rizzo, D. M.. (2012) Data-Driven Cluster Reinforcement and Visualization in Sparsely-Matched Self-Organizing Maps. IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON NEURAL NETWORKS ON LEARNING SYSTEMS 23(5) 846-852
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A self-organizing map (SOM) is a self-organized projection of high-dimensional data onto a typically 2-dimensional (2-D) feature map, wherein vector similarity is implicitly translated into topological closeness in the 2-D projection. However, when there are more neurons than input patterns, it can be challenging to interpret the results, due to diffuse cluster boundaries and limitations of current methods for displaying interneuron distances. In this brief, we introduce a new cluster reinforcement (CR) phase for sparsely-matched SOMs. The CR phase amplifies within-cluster similarity in an unsupervised, datadriven manner. Discontinuities in the resulting map correspond to between-cluster distances and are stored in a boundary (B) matrix. We describe a new hierarchical visualization of cluster boundaries displayed directly on feature maps, which requires no further clustering beyond what was implicitly accomplished during self-organization in SOM training. We use a synthetic benchmark problem and previously published microbial community profile data to demonstrate the benefits of the proposed methods.
Melack, John M.; Coe, Michael T.. (2012) Climate Change and the Floodplain Lakes of the Amazon Basin. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, New York, NY. Pages 295-310;
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This chapter contains sections titled: * Introduction * Current limnological conditions * Current climatic conditions * Current characteristics of discharge and inundation * Simulations of inundation under altered climates and land uses * Limnological implications of altered climate, land uses and inundation * Management options and research directions * Acknowledgements * References
Mendenhall, Chase D.; Daily, Gretchen C.; Ehrlich, Paul R.. (2012) Improving estimates of biodiversity loss. Biological Conservation 151(1) 32-34
Mendez, V. E.; Castro-Tanzi, S.; Goodall, K.; Morris, K. S.; Bacon, C. M.; Laderach, P.; Morris, W. B.; Georgeoglou-Laxalde, M. U.. (2012) Livelihood and environmental trade-offs of climate mitigation in smallholder coffee agroforestry systems. Routledge, New York, NY. Pages 370-381;
Metson, G. S.; Bennett, E. M.; Elser, J. J.. (2012) The role of diet in phosphorus demand. Environmental Research Letters 7(4)
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Over the past 50 years, there have been major changes in human diets, including a global average increase in meat consumption and total calorie intake. We quantified how changes in annual per capita national average diets affected requirements for mined P between 1961 and 2007, starting with the per capita availability of a food crop or animal product and then determining the P needed to grow the product. The global per capita P footprint increased 38% over the 46 yr time period, but there was considerable variability among countries. Phosphorus footprints varied between 0.35 kg P capita(-1) yr(-1) (DPR Congo, 2007) and 7.64 kg P capita(-1) yr(-1) (Luxembourg, 2007). Temporal trends also differed among countries; for example, while China's P footprint increased almost 400% between 1961 and 2007, the footprints of other countries, such as Canada, decreased. Meat consumption was the most important factor affecting P footprints; it accounted for 72% of the global average P footprint. Our results show that dietary shifts are an important component of the human amplification of the global P cycle. These dietary trends present an important challenge for sustainable P management.
Naidoo, R.; Du Preez, P.; Stuart-Hill, G.; Jago, M.; Wegmann, M.. (2012) Home on the Range: Factors Explaining Partial Migration of African Buffalo in a Tropical Environment. PloS One 7(5) 11
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Partial migration (when only some individuals in a population undertake seasonal migrations) is common in many species and geographical contexts. Despite the development of modern statistical methods for analyzing partial migration, there have been no studies on what influences partial migration in tropical environments. We present research on factors affecting partial migration in African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) in northeastern Namibia. Our dataset is derived from 32 satellite tracking collars, spans 4 years and contains over 35,000 locations. We used remotely sensed data to quantify various factors that buffalo experience in the dry season when making decisions on whether and how far to migrate, including potential man-made and natural barriers, as well as spatial and temporal heterogeneity in environmental conditions. Using an information-theoretic, non-linear regression approach, our analyses showed that buffalo in this area can be divided into 4 migratory classes: migrants, non-migrants, dispersers, and a new class that we call "expanders". Multimodel inference from least-squares regressions of wet season movements showed that environmental conditions (rainfall, fires, woodland cover, vegetation biomass), distance to the nearest barrier (river, fence, cultivated area) and social factors (age, size of herd at capture) were all important in explaining variation in migratory behaviour. The relative contributions of these variables to partial migration have not previously been assessed for ungulates in the tropics. Understanding the factors driving migratory decisions of wildlife will lead to better-informed conservation and land-use decisions in this area.
Naidoo, R.; Du Preez, P.; Stuart-Hill, G.; Weaver, L. C.; Jago, M.; Wegmann, M.. (2012) Factors affecting intraspecific variation in home range size of a large African herbivore. Landscape Ecology 27(10) 1523-1534
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Factors affecting intraspecific variation in home range size have rarely been examined using modern statistical and remote sensing methods. This is especially true for animals in seasonal savanna environments in Africa, despite this biome's importance for both conservation and development goals. We studied the impacts of spatial and temporal variability in environmental conditions, along with individual and social factors, on home range sizes in African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) in northeastern Namibia. Our data set spans 4 years, is derived from 32 satellite tracking collars, and contains over 35,000 GPS locations. We used the local convex hull method to estimate home range size from 31 buffalo captured at 6 sites. We used a variety of remotely sensed data to characterize potential anthropogenic and natural boundaries, as well as seasonal and temporal heterogeneity in environmental conditions. Using an information-theoretic, mixed effects approach, our analyses showed that home ranges varied over two orders of magnitude and are among the largest recorded for this species. Variables relating to vegetation and habitat boundaries were more important than abiotic environmental conditions and individual or social factors in explaining variation in home range size. The relative contributions of environmental, individual, social, and linear boundary variables to intraspecific home range size have rarely been examined and prior to this had not been assessed for any species in seasonal savannas of Africa. Understanding the factors that condition space-use patterns of wildlife in this area will lead to better-informed conservation and sustainable development decisions.
Olson, M. B.; Morris, K. S.; Mendez, V. E.. (2012) Cultivation of maize landraces by small-scale shade coffee farmers in western El Salvador. 111 63-74
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Small-scale shade coffee agroecosystems have been noted for their potential for tree, bird, and insect biodiversity conservation in the tropics. However, there is a lack of research on other productive areas managed by small-scale coffee farmers such as subsistence maize and bean (milpa) plots, which may be sites of important crop biodiversity conservation, particularly through the on-farm cultivation of native landraces. This study empirically examined the factors that influence farmers’ choices between landraces and improved varieties of maize, how seed type interacts with management decisions, and how yields of local maize landraces compare with improved varieties on the farms of small-scale shade coffee farmers in western El Salvador. We conducted household interviews and focus groups with the membership of a 29-household coffee cooperative and tracked management and maize yields in the 42 milpa plots managed by these households. Farmers planted both a hybrid improved variety and five local maize landraces. ANOVA and Pearson’s chi-square test were used to compare household characteristics, management, agroecological variables, and yields between plots planted with landraces and plots planted with the improved variety. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the strongest drivers of farmers’ choice between landrace seed and improved seed. Analyses indicated that use of maize landraces was associated with higher household income and steeper plot slope. Landrace maize and improved maize were not managed differently, with the exception of synthetic insecticide use. There was no yield advantage for improved varieties over landraces in the 2009 growing season. Farmers appear to prefer local maize landraces for milpa plots on more marginal land, and continue to cultivate landraces despite the availability of improved seed. The farms of small-scale shade coffee farmers could have substantial conservation potential for crop genetic diversity, and the seed-saving and exchange activities among such farmers should be supported.
Polasky, S.; Binder, S.. (2012) Valuing the Environment for Decisionmalung. Issues in Science and Technology 28(4) 53-62
Polasky, S.; Johnson, K.; Keeler, B.; Kovacs, K.; Nelson, E.; Pennington, D.; Plantinga, A. J.; Withey, J.. (2012) Are investments to promote biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services aligned?. Oxford Review of Economic Policy 28(1) 139-163
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The conservation community is divided over the proper objective for conservation, with one faction focused on ecosystem services that contribute to human well-being and another faction focused on the intrinsic value of biodiversity. Despite the underlying difference in philosophy, it is not clear that this divide matters in a practical sense of guiding what a conservation organization should do in terms of investing in conservation. In this paper we address the degree of alignment between ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation strategies, using data from the state of Minnesota, USA. Minnesota voters recently passed an initiative that provides approximately $171m annually in dedicated funding for conservation. We find a high degree of alignment between investing conservation funds to target the value of ecosystem services and investing them to target biodiversity conservation. Targeting one of these two objectives generates 4770 per cent of the maximum score of the other objective. We also find that benefits of conservation far exceed the costs, with a return on investment of between 2 to 1 and 3 to 1 in our base-case analysis. In general, investing in conservation to increase the value of ecosystem services is also beneficial for biodiversity conservation, and vice-versa.
Raheem, N.; Colt, S.; Fleishman, E.; Talberth, J.; Swedeen, P.; Boyle, K. J.; Rudd, M.; Lopez, R. D.; Crocker, D.; Bohan, D.; O'Higgins, T.; Willer, C.; Boumans, R. M.. (2012) Application of non-market valuation to California's coastal policy decisions. Marine Policy 36(5) 1166-1171
Reyers, B.; Polasky, S.; Tallis, H.; Mooney, H. A.; Larigauderie, A.. (2012) Finding Common Ground for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Bioscience 62(5) 503-507
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Recently, some members of the conservation community have used ecosystem services as a strategy to conserve biodiversity. Others in the community have criticized this strategy as a distraction from the mission of biodiversity conservation. The debate continues, and it remains unclear whether the concerns expressed are significant enough to merit the opposition. Through an exploration of the science of biodiversity and ecosystem services, we find that narrow interpretations of metrics, values, and management drive much of the tension and make the common ground appear small. The size of this common ground depends on the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem services and how they respond to management interventions. We demonstrate how understanding this response can be used to delimit common ground but highlight the importance of differentiating between objectives and approaches to meeting those objectives in conservation projects.
Ribeiro de Freitas, N.; Farley, J.. (2012) Restoring Ecosystem Services in Riparian Zones by Promoting Working Forests in São Paulo, Brazil.. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.
Runge, C. F.; Sheehan, J. J.; Senauer, B.; Foley, J.; Gerber, J.; Johnson, J. A.; Polasky, S.; Runge, C. P.. (2012) Assessing the comparative productivity advantage of bioenergy feedstocks at different latitudes. Environmental Research Letters 7(4) 6
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We evaluate the comparative productivity of maize and sugarcane biofuel feedstocks as a function of latitude. Solar radiation for photosynthesis varies by latitude and contributes to differential productivity of tropical and temperate zones. We calculate comparative productivity in two ways-the amount of net sugar energy produced per unit area, and the amount produced per unit of net primary productivity (NPP). NPP measures the accumulation of energy in an ecosystem and can be used as a proxy for the capacity of an ecosystem to support biodiversity and a broader array of ecosystem services. On average sugarcane produces three times more energy per unit area than does maize. The comparative productivity advantage of sugarcane decreases with increases in latitude. Latitudes closer to the equator have higher NPP, so there is a greater trade-off between biofuel production and ecosystem productivity in the equatorial zones. The comparative productivity of sugarcane relative to maize is reduced when comparing biofuel energy per unit of NPP. Sugarcane is still twice as productive on average compared to maize in the amount of biofuel energy produced per unit of NPP. Regions near the equator have lower biofuel energy per unit NPP, making them less attractive for biofuels production.
Schaafsma, M.; Morse-Jones, S.; Posen, P.; Swetnam, R. D.; Balmford, A.; Bateman, I. J.; Burgess, N. D.; Chamshama, S. A. O.; Fisher, B.; Green, R. E.; Hepelwa, A. S.; Hernandez-Sirvent, A.; Kajembe, G. C.; Kulindwa, K.; Lund, J. F.; Mbwambo, L.; Meilby, H.; Ngaga, Y. M.; Theilade, I.; Treue, T.; Vyamana, V. G.; Turner, R. K.. (2012) Towards transferable functions for extraction of Non-timber Forest Products: A case study on charcoal production in Tanzania. Ecological Economics 80 48-62
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Mapping the distribution of the quantity and value of forest benefits to local communities is useful for forest management, when socio-economic and conservation objectives may need to be traded off. We develop a modelling approach for the economic valuation of annual Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP) extraction at a large spatial scale, which has 4 main strengths: (1) it is based on household production functions using data of actual household behaviour, (2) it is spatially sensitive, using a range of explanatory variables related to socio-demographic characteristics, population density, resource availability and accessibility, (3) it captures the value of the actual flow rather than the potential stock, and (4) it is generic and can therefore be up-scaled across non-surveyed areas. We illustrate the empirical application of this approach in an analysis of charcoal production in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania, using a dataset comprising over 1100 observations from 45 villages. The total flow of charcoal benefits is estimated at USD 14 million per year, providing an important source of income to local households, and supplying around 11% of the charcoal used in Dar es Salaam and other major cities. We discuss the potential and limitations of up-scaling micro-level analysis for NTFP valuation. Crown Copyright (c) 2012 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Schipanski, M. E.; Bennett, E. M.. (2012) The Influence of Agricultural Trade and Livestock Production on the Global Phosphorus Cycle. Ecosystems 15(2) 256-268
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Trends of increasing agricultural trade, increased concentration of livestock production systems, and increased human consumption of livestock products influence the distribution of nutrients across the global landscape. Phosphorus (P) represents a unique management challenge as we are rapidly depleting mineable reserves of this essential and non-renewable resource. At the same time, its overuse can lead to pollution of aquatic ecosystems. We analyzed the relative contributions of food crop, feed crop, and livestock product trade to P flows through agricultural soils for 12 countries from 1961 to 2007. Due to the intensification of agricultural production, average soil surface P balances more than tripled from 6 to 21 kg P ha(-1) between 1961 and 2007 for the 12 study countries. Consequently, countries that are primarily agricultural exporters carried increased risks for water pollution or, for Argentina, reduced soil fertility due to soil P mining to support exports. In 2007, nations imported food and feed from regions with higher apparent P fertilizer use efficiencies than if those crops were produced domestically. However, this was largely because imports were sourced from regions depleting soil P resources to support export crop production. In addition, the pattern of regional specialization and intensification of production systems also reduced the potential to recycle P resources, with greater implications for livestock production than crop production. In a globalizing world, it will be increasingly important to integrate biophysical constraints of our natural resources and environmental impacts of agricultural systems into trade policy and agreements and to develop mechanisms that move us closer to more equitable management of non-renewable resources such as phosphorus.
Schmitt Filho, A., J. Farley, G. Alarcon, J. Alvez and P. Rebollar. (2012) Integrating Agroecology and PES in Santa Catarina’s Atlantic Forest. Springer, Cambridge, MA. Pages 333-356;
Schwartz, M. W.; Hellmann, J. J.; McLachlan, J. M.; Sax, D. F.; Borevitz, J. O.; Brennan, J.; Camacho, A. E.; Ceballos, G.; Clark, J. R.; Doremus, H.; Early, R.; Etterson, J. R.; Fielder, D.; Gill, J. L.; Gonzalez, P.; Green, N.; Hannah, L.; Jamieson, D. W.; Javeline, D.; Minteer, B. A.; Odenbaugh, J.; Polasky, S.; Richardson, D. M.; Root, T. L.; Safford, H. D.; Sala, O.; Schneider, S. H.; Thompson, A. R.; Williams, J. W.; Vellend, M.; Vitt, P.; Zellmer, S.. (2012) Managed Relocation: Integrating the Scientific, Regulatory, and Ethical Challenges. Bioscience 62(8) 732-743
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Managed relocation is defined as the movement of species, populations, or genotypes to places outside the areas of their historical distributions to maintain biological diversity or ecosystem functioning with changing climate. It has been claimed that a major extinction event is under way and that climate change is increasing its severity Projections indicating that climate change may drive substantial losses of biodiversity have compelled some scientists to suggest that traditional management strategies are insufficient. The managed relocation of species is a controversial management response to climate change. The published literature has emphasized biological concerns over difficult ethical, legal, and policy issues. Furthermore, ongoing managed relocation actions lack scientific and societal engagement. Our interdisciplinary team considered ethics, law, policy, ecology, and natural resources management in order to identify the key issues of managed relocation relevant for developing sound policies that support decisions for resource management. We recommend that government agencies develop and adopt best practices for managed relocation.
Schwenk, W. S.; Donovan, T. M.; Keeton, W. S.; Nunery, J. S.. (2012) Carbon storage, timber production, and biodiversity: comparing ecosystem services with multi-criteria decision analysis. Ecological Applications 22(5) 1612-1627
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Increasingly, land managers seek ways to manage forests for multiple ecosystem services and functions, yet considerable challenges exist in comparing disparate services and balancing trade-offs among them. We applied multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) and forest simulation models to simultaneously consider three objectives: (1) storing carbon, (2) producing timber and wood products, and (3) sustaining biodiversity. We used the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) applied to 42 northern hardwood sites to simulate forest development over 100 years and to estimate carbon storage and timber production. We estimated biodiversity implications with occupancy models for 51 terrestrial bird species that were linked to FVS outputs. We simulated four alternative management prescriptions that spanned a range of harvesting intensities and forest structure retention. We found that silvicultural approaches emphasizing less frequent harvesting and greater structural retention could be expected to achieve the greatest net carbon storage but also produce less timber. More intensive prescriptions would enhance biodiversity because positive responses of early successional species exceeded negative responses of late successional species within the heavily forested study area. The combinations of weights assigned to objectives had a large influence on which prescriptions were scored as optimal. Overall, we found that a diversity of silvicultural approaches is likely to be preferable to any single approach, emphasizing the need for landscape-scale management to provide a full range of ecosystem goods and services. Our analytical framework that combined MCDA with forest simulation modeling was a powerful tool in understanding trade-offs among management objectives and how they can be simultaneously accommodated.
Sheil, Douglas; Basuki, Imam; German, Laura; Kuyper, Thomas W.; Limberg, Godwin; Puri, Rajindra K.; Sellato, Bernard; van Noordwijk, Meine; Wollenberg, Eva. (2012) Do Anthropogenic Dark Earths Occur in the Interior of Borneo? Some Initial Observations from East Kalimantan. Forests 3(2) 207-229
Smith, P.; Wollenberg, E.. (2012) Achieving Mitigation Through Synergies With Adaptation. Pages 50-57;
Soares, B.; Silvestrini, R.; Nepstad, D.; Brando, P.; Rodrigues, H.; Alencar, A.; Coe, M.; Locks, C.; Lima, L.; Hissa, L.; Stickler, C.. (2012) Forest fragmentation, climate change and understory fire regimes on the Amazonian landscapes of the Xingu headwaters. Landscape Ecology 27(4) 585-598
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Understory fire modeling is a key tool to investigate the cornerstone concept of landscape ecology, i.e. how ecological processes relate to landscape structure and dynamics. Within this context, we developed FISC-a model that simulates fire ignition and spread and its effects on the forest carbon balance. FISC is dynamically coupled to a land-use change model to simulate fire regimes on the Amazonian landscapes of the Xingu Headwaters under deforestation, climate change, and land-use management scenarios. FISC incorporates a stochastic cellular automata approach to simulate fire spread across agricultural and forested lands. CARLUC, nested in FISC, simulates fuel dynamics, forest regrowth, and carbon emissions. Simulations of fire regimes under modeled scenarios revealed that the major current and future driver of understory fires is forest fragmentation rather than climate change. Fire intensity proved closely related to the landscape structure of the remaining forest. While climate change may increase the percentage of forest burned outside protected areas by 30% over the next four decades, deforestation alone may double it. Nevertheless, a scenario of forest recovery and better land-use management would abate fire intensity by 18% even in the face of climate change. Over this time period, the total carbon balance of the Xingu's forests varies from an average net sink of 1.6 ton ha(-1) year(-1) in the absence of climate change, fire and deforestation to a source of -0.1 ton ha(-1) year(-1) in a scenario that incorporates these three processes.
Swickard, N.; Nihart, A.. (2012) Accounting for quality in agricultural carbon credits: a Verified Carbon Standard for agricultural land management projects. Routledge, New York, NY. Pages 274-284;
Tallis, H.; Mooney, H.; Andelman, S.; Balvanera, P.; Cramer, W.; Karp, D.; Polasky, S.; Reyers, B.; Ricketts, T.; Running, S.; Thonicke, K.; Tietjen, B.; Walz, A.. (2012) A Global System for Monitoring Ecosystem Service Change. Bioscience 62(11) 977-986
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Earth's life-support systems are in flux, yet no centralized system to monitor and report these changes exists. Recognizing this, 77 nations agreed to establish the Group on Earth Observations (GEO). The GEO Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON) integrates existing data streams into one platform in order to provide a more complete picture of Earth's biological and social systems. We present a conceptual framework envisioned by the GEO BON Ecosystem Services Working Group, designed to integrate national statistics, numerical models, remote sensing, and in situ measurements to regularly track changes in ecosystem services across the globe. This information will serve diverse applications, including stimulating new research and providing the basis for assessments. Although many ecosystem services are not currently measured, others are ripe for reporting. We propose a framework that will continue to grow and inspire more complete observation and assessments of our planet's life-support systems.
Troy, A.; Grove, J. M.; O'Neil-Dunne, J.. (2012) The relationship between tree canopy and crime rates across an urban-rural gradient in the greater Baltimore region. Landscape and Urban Planning 106(3) 262-270
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The extent to which urban tree cover influences crime is in debate in the literature. This research took advantage of geocoded crime point data and high resolution tree canopy data to address this question in Baltimore City and County. MD, an area that includes a significant urban-rural gradient. Using ordinary least squares and spatially adjusted regression and controlling for numerous potential confounders, we found that there is a strong inverse relationship between tree canopy and our index of robbery, burglary, theft and shooting. The more conservative spatially adjusted model indicated that a 10% increase in tree canopy was associated with a roughly 12% decrease in crime. When we broke down tree cover by public and private ownership for the spatial model, we found that the inverse relationship continued in both contexts, but the magnitude was 40% greater for public than for private lands. We also used geographically weighted regression to identify spatial non-stationarity in this relationship, which we found for trees in general and trees on private land, but not for trees on public land. Geographic plots of pseudo-t statistics indicated that while there was a negative relationship between crime and trees in the vast majority of block groups of the study area, there were a few patches where the opposite relationship was true, particularly in a part of Baltimore City where there is an extensive interface between industrial and residential properties. It is possible that in this area a significant proportion of trees is growing in abandoned lands between these two land uses. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Troy, A.. (2012) The Very Hungry City: Urban Energy Efficiency and the Economic Fate of Cities. Yale University Press, New York, NY.
Troy, Austin; Azaria, Dale; Voigt, Brian; Sadek, Adel. (2012) Integrating a traffic router and microsimulator into a land use and travel demand model. Transportation Planning and Technology; Routledge, New York, NY. 35(8) 737-751
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Abstract This paper describes one of the first known attempts at integrating a dynamic and disaggregated land-use model with a traffic microsimulator and compares its predictions of land use to those from an integration of the same land-use model with a more traditional four-step travel demand model. For our study area of Chittenden County, Vermont, we used a 40-year simulation beginning in 1990. Predicted differences in residential units between models for 2030 broken down by town correlated significantly with predicted differences in accessibility. The two towns with the greatest predicted differences in land use and accessibility are also the towns that currently have the most severe traffic bottlenecks and poorest route redundancy. Our results suggest that this particular integration of a microsimulator with a disaggregated land-use model is technically feasible, but that in the context of an isolated, small metropolitan area, the differences in predicted land use are small. This paper describes one of the first known attempts at integrating a dynamic and disaggregated land-use model with a traffic microsimulator and compares its predictions of land use to those from an integration of the same land-use model with a more traditional four-step travel demand model. For our study area of Chittenden County, Vermont, we used a 40-year simulation beginning in 1990. Predicted differences in residential units between models for 2030 broken down by town correlated significantly with predicted differences in accessibility. The two towns with the greatest predicted differences in land use and accessibility are also the towns that currently have the most severe traffic bottlenecks and poorest route redundancy. Our results suggest that this particular integration of a microsimulator with a disaggregated land-use model is technically feasible, but that in the context of an isolated, small metropolitan area, the differences in predicted land use are small.
Vermeulen, S. J.; Aggarwal, P. K.; Ainslie, A.; Angelone, C.; Campbell, B. M.; Challinor, A. J.; Hansen, J. W.; Ingram, J. S. I.; Jarvis, A.; Kristjanson, P.; Lau, C.; Nelson, G. C.; Thornton, P. K.; Wollenberg, E.. (2012) Options for support to agriculture and food security under climate change. 15(1) 136-144
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Agriculture and food security are key sectors for intervention under climate change. Agricultural production is highly vulnerable even to 2C (low-end) predictions for global mean temperatures in 2100, with major implications for rural poverty and for both rural and urban food security. Agriculture also presents untapped opportunities for mitigation, given the large land area under crops and rangeland, and the additional mitigation potential of aquaculture. This paper presents a summary of current knowledge on options to support farmers, particularly smallholder farmers, in achieving food security through agriculture under climate change. Actions towards adaptation fall into two broad overlapping areas: (1) accelerated adaptation to progressive climate change over decadal time scales, for example integrated packages of technology, agronomy and policy options for farmers and food systems, and (2) better management of agricultural risks associated with increasing climate variability and extreme events, for example improved climate information services and safety nets. Maximization of agriculture's mitigation potential will require investments in technological innovation and agricultural intensification linked to increased efficiency of inputs, and creation of incentives and monitoring systems that are inclusive of smallholder farmers. Food systems faced with climate change need urgent, broad-based action in spite of uncertainties. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Vermeulen, S. J.; Zougmore, R.; Wollenberg, E.; Thornton, P. K.; Nelson, G. C.; Kristjanson, P.; Kinyangi, J.; Jarvis, A.; Hansen, J. W.; Challinor, A. J.; Campbell, B.; Aggarwal, P. K.. (2012) Climate change, agriculture and food security: a global partnership to link research and action for low-income agricultural producers and consumers. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 4(1) 128-133
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To achieve food security for many in low-income and middle-income countries for whom this is already a challenge, especially with the additional complications of climate change, will require early investment to support smallholder farming systems and the associated food systems that supply poor consumers. We need both local and global policy-linked research to accelerate sharing of lessons on institutions, practices and technologies for adaptation and mitigation. This strategy paper briefly outlines how the Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) of the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centres (CGIAR) is working across research disciplines, organisational mandates, and spatial and temporal levels to assist immediate and longer-term policy actions.
Withey, J. C.; Lawler, J. J.; Polasky, S.; Plantinga, A. J.; Nelson, E. J.; Kareiva, P.; Wilsey, C. B.; Schloss, C. A.; Nogeire, T. M.; Ruesch, A.; Ramos, J.; Reid, W.. (2012) Maximising return on conservation investment in the conterminous USA. Ecology Letters 15(11) 1249-1256
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Efficient conservation planning requires knowledge about conservation targets, threats to those targets, costs of conservation and the marginal return to additional conservation efforts. Systematic conservation planning typically only takes a small piece of this complex puzzle into account. Here, we use a return-on-investment (ROI) approach to prioritise lands for conservation at the county level in the conterminous USA. Our approach accounts for species richness, county area, the proportion of species' ranges already protected, the threat of land conversion and land costs. Areas selected by a complementarity-based greedy heuristic using our full ROI approach provided greater averted species losses per dollar spent compared with areas selected by heuristics accounting for richness alone or richness and cost, and avoided acquiring lands not threatened with conversion. In contrast to traditional prioritisation approaches, our results highlight conservation bargains, opportunities to avert the threat of development and places where conservation efforts are currently lacking.
Wohl, E.; Barros, A.; Brunsell, N.; Chappell, N. A.; Coe, M.; Giambelluca, T.; Goldsmith, S.; Harmon, R.; Hendrickx, J. M. H.; Juvik, J.; McDonnell, J.; Ogden, F.. (2012) The hydrology of the humid tropics. Nature Climate Change 2(9) 655-662
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Hydrological processes in the humid tropics differ from other regions in having greater energy inputs and faster rates of change, including human-induced change. Human influences on population growth, land use and climate change will profoundly influence tropical hydrology, yet understanding of key hydrological interactions is limited. We propose that efforts to collect tropical data should explicitly emphasize characterizing moisture and energy fluxes from below the ground surface into the atmosphere. Research needs to chiefly involve field-based characterizations and modelling of moisture cycling and catchment processes, as well as long-term data acquisition and organization.
Wohl, Ellen; Barros, Ana; Brunsell, Nathaniel; Chappell, Nick A; Coe, Michael; Giambelluca, Thomas; Goldsmith, Steven; Harmon, Russell; Hendrickx, Jan MH; Juvik, James. (2012) The hydrology of the humid tropics. Nature Climate Change 2(9) 655-662
View Abstract
Hydrological processes in the humid tropics differ from other regions in having greater energy inputs and faster rates of change, including human-induced change. Human influences on population growth, land use and climate change will profoundly influence tropical hydrology, yet understanding of key hydrological interactions is limited. We propose that efforts to collect tropical data should explicitly emphasize characterizing moisture and energy fluxes from below the ground surface into the atmosphere. Research needs to chiefly involve field-based characterizations and modelling of moisture cycling and catchment processes, as well as long-term data acquisition and organization.
Wollenberg, E.; Tapio-Bistroem, M. L.; Grieg-Gran, M.. (2012) Climate change mitigation and agriculture: designing projects and policies for smallholder farms. Routledge, New York, NY. Pages 3-27;
Zanchi, G.; Frieden, D.; Pucker, J.; Bird, D. N.; Buchholz, T.; Windhorst, K.. (2012) Climate benefits from alternative energy uses of biomass plantations in Uganda. Biomass and Bioenergy
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The establishment of tree plantations in rural areas in Uganda could provide renewable energy to rural communities, while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions from conventional electricity sources and unsustainable forest use. The study evaluates the greenhouse gas benefits that could be produced by biomass based energy systems in Anaka, a rural settlement in the Amuru district in northern Uganda. Two alternative energy uses are explored: a) electricity production through wood gasification and b) traditional fuelwood use. It is estimated that a small-scale wood gasifier could provide electricity for basic community services by planting less than 10 ha of new short rotation coppices (SRCs). The gasification system could save 50e67% of the GHG emissions produced by traditional diesel based electricity generators in terms of CO2-eq. (0.61e0.83 t MWh 1 or 7.1 t y 1 per hectare of SRCs). It was also estimated that traditional use of fuelwood in households is currently unsustainable, i.e. the consumption of wood is higher than the annual growth fromnatural wood resources in the study area. It is estimated that 0.02e0.06 ha per capita of plantations could render the current consumption of wood sustainable. In this way, the CO2 emissions produced through unsustainable extraction of wood could be avoided (2.0e7.3 t per capita per year or 50e130 t y 1 per hectare of SRCs).
Zencey, E.. (2012) The Other Road to Serfdom and the Path to Sustainable Democracy. University Press of New England, Hanover, NH. Pages 340;
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Our planet is finite. Our political and economic systems were designed for an infinite planet. These difficult truths anchor the perceptive analysis offered in The Other Road to Serfdom and the Path to Sustainable Democracy. With wit, energy, and a lucid prose style, Eric Zencey identifies the key elements of "infinite planet" thinking that underlie our economics and our politics--and shows how they must change. Zencey's title evokes F. A. Hayek, who argued that any attempt to set overall limits to free markets--any attempt at centralized planning--is "the road to serfdom." But Hayek's argument works only if the planet is infinite. If Hayek is right that planning and democracy are irreducibly in conflict, Zencey argues, then on a finite planet, "free markets operated on infinite planet principles are just the other road to serfdom." The alternative is ecological economics, an emergent field that accepts limits to what humans can accomplish economically on a finite planet. Zencey explains this new school of thought and applies it to current political and economic concerns: the financial collapse, terrorism, population growth, hunger, the energy and oil industry's social control, and the deeply rooted dissatisfactions felt by conservative "values" voters who have been encouraged to see smaller government and freer markets as the universal antidote. What emerges is a coherent vision, a progressive and hopeful alternative to neoconservative economic and political theory--a foundation for an economy that meets the needs of the 99% and just might help save civilization from ecological and political collapse.
Zia, A.; Glantz, M. H.. (2012) Risk Zones: Comparative Lesson Drawing and Policy Learning from Flood Insurance Programs. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis 14(2) 143-159
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Risk insurance mechanisms have been proposed as proactive policy options to enhance the resilience of communities for coping with extreme events. Many risk insurance mechanisms require designation of "risk zones" to legalize governmental interventions. After a three-day workshop and ensuing interviews, "wicked" challenges were identified in the designation of risk zones: risk thresholds; land value; damage-reduction; land-use planning; forecast uncertainty; map accuracy; modifiable-areal-unit problem; winners and losers; single versus multiple hazards; and cross-jurisdictional administrative boundaries. A total of 56 peer-reviewed studies are synthesized that evaluate these "wicked" challenges in flood insurance programs and derive deliberative heuristics for designating risk zones in publicly sponsored insurance mechanisms.
Zia, A.. (2012) Land Use Adaptation to Climate Change: Economic Damages from Land-Falling Hurricanes in the Atlantic and Gulf States of the USA, 1900–2005. Sustainability 4 917-932
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Global climate change, especially the phenomena of global warming, is expected to increase the intensity of land-falling hurricanes. Societal adaptation is needed to reduce vulnerability from increasingly intense hurricanes. This study quantifies the adaptation effects of potentially policy driven caps on housing densities and agricultural cover in coastal (and adjacent inland) areas vulnerable to hurricane damages in the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal regions of the U.S. Time series regressions, especially Prais-Winston and Autoregressive Moving Average (ARMA) models, are estimated to forecast the economic impacts of hurricanes of varying intensity, given that various patterns of land use emerge in the Atlantic and Gulf coastal states of the U.S. The Prais-Winston and ARMA models use observed time series data from 1900 to 2005 for inflation adjusted hurricane damages and socio-economic and land-use data in the coastal or inland regions where hurricanes caused those damages. The results from this study provide evidence that increases in housing density and agricultural cover cause significant rise in the de-trended inflation-adjusted damages. Further, higher intensity and frequency of land-falling hurricanes also significantly increase the economic damages. The evidence from this study implies that a medium to long term land use adaptation in the form of capping housing density and agricultural cover in the coastal (and adjacent inland) states can significantly reduce economic damages from intense hurricanes. Future studies must compare the benefits of such land use adaptation policies against the costs of development controls implied in housing density caps and agricultural land cover reductions.
2011
Abell, R.; Thieme, M.; Ricketts, T. H.; Olwero, N.; Ng, R.; Petry, P.; Dinerstein, E.; Revenga, C.; Hoekstra, J. M.. (2011) Concordance of freshwater and terrestrial biodiversity. Conservation Letters 4(2) 127-136
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Efforts to set global conservation priorities have largely ignored freshwater diversity, thereby excluding some of the world's most speciose, threatened, and valuable taxa. Using a new global map of freshwater ecoregions and distribution data for about 13,300 fish species, we identify regions of exceptional freshwater biodiversity and assess their overlap with regions of equivalent terrestrial importance. Overlap is greatest in the tropics and is higher than expected by chance. These high-congruence areas offer opportunities for integrated conservation efforts, which could be of particular value when economic conditions force conservation organizations to narrow their focus. Areas of low overlap-missed by current terrestrially based priority schemes-merit independent freshwater conservation efforts. These results provide new information to conservation investors setting priorities at global or regional scales and argue for a potential reallocation of future resources to achieve representation of overlooked biomes.
Alvez, J.; Matthews, A. G.; Schmitt F., A.; Farley, J.. (2011) Sustainability indicators for cattle farms. Cadernos de Agroecologia 6(1)
Balmford, A.; Fisher, B.; Green, R. E.; Naidoo, R.; Strassburg, B.; Turner, R. K.; Rodrigues, A. S. L.. (2011) Bringing Ecosystem Services into the Real World: An Operational Framework for Assessing the Economic Consequences of Losing Wild Nature. Environmental & Resource Economics 48(2) 161-175
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Policy action to halt the global loss of biodiversity and ecosystems is hindered by the perception that it would be so costly as to compromise economic development, yet this assumption needs testing. Inspired by the recent Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, the leaders of the G8+5 nations commissioned a similar assessment of the economics of losing biodiversity, under the Potsdam Initiative on Biodiversity. Here, we propose a conceptual framework for such a global assessment which emphasizes several critical insights from the environmental economics and valuation literature: contrasting counterfactual scenarios which differ solely in whether they include specific conservation policies; identifying non-overlapping benefits; modeling the production, flow, use and value of benefits in a spatially-explicit way; and incorporating the likely costs as well as possible benefits of policy interventions. Tackling these challenges, we argue, will significantly enhance our ability to quantify how the loss of benefits derived from ecosystems and biodiversity compares with the costs incurred in retaining them. We also summarise a review of the current state of knowledge, in order to assess how quickly this framework could be operationalized for some key ecosystem services.
Beier, C.. (2011) Factors Influencing Adaptive Capacity in the Reorganization of Forest Management in Alaska. Ecology and Society 16(1)
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Several studies of U.S. National Forests suggest that declines of their associated forest products industries were driven by synergistic changes in federal governance and market conditions during the late 20th century. In Alaska, dramatic shifts in the economic and political settings of the Tongass National Forest (Tongass) drove changes in governance leading to collapse of an industrial forest management system in the early 1990s. However, 15 years since collapse, the reorganization of Tongass governance to reflect 'new' economic and political realities has not progressed. To understand both the factors that hinder institutional change (inertia) and the factors that enable progress toward reorganization (adaptation), I analyzed how Tongass forest management, specifically timber sale planning, has responded to changes in market conditions, local industry structure, and larger-scale political governance. Inertia was evidenced by continued emphasis on even-aged management and large-scale harvesting, i.e., the retention of an industrial forestry philosophy that, in the current political situation, yields mostly litigation and appeals, and relatively few forest products. Adaptation was evidenced by flexibility in harvest methods, a willingness to meet local demand instead of political targets, and a growing degree of cooperation with environmental advocacy groups. New partnerships, markets, and political leaders at state and national levels can frame a new blueprint for reorganization of Tongass management toward a more sustainable future.
Bohensky, E.; Butler, J. R. A.; Costanza, R.; Bohnet, I.; Delisle, A.; Fabricius, K.; Gooch, M.; Kubiszewski, I.; Lukacs, G.; Pert, P.; Wolanski, E.. (2011) Future makers or future takers? A scenario analysis of climate change and the Great Barrier Reef. Global Environmental Change-Human and Policy Dimensions 21(3) 876-893
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The extent to which nations and regions can actively shape the future or must passively respond to global forces is a topic of relevance to current discourses on climate change. In Australia, climate change has been identified as the greatest threat to the ecological resilience of the Great Barrier Reef, but is exacerbated by regional and local pressures. We undertook a scenario analysis to explore how two key uncertainties may influence these threats and their impact on the Great Barrier Reef and adjacent catchments in 2100: whether (1) global development and (2) Australian development is defined and pursued primarily in terms of economic growth or broader concepts of human well-being and environmental sustainability, and in turn, how climate change is managed and mitigated. We compared the implications of four scenarios for marine and terrestrial ecosystem services and human well-being. The results suggest that while regional actions can partially offset global inaction on climate change until about mid-century, there are probable threshold levels for marine ecosystems, beyond which the Great Barrier Reef will become a fundamentally different system by 2100 if climate change is not curtailed. Management that can respond to pressures at both global and regional scales will be needed to maintain the full range of ecosystem services. Modest improvements in human well-being appear possible even while ecosystem services decline, but only where regional management is strong. The future of the region depends largely on whether national and regional decision-makers choose to be active future 'makers' or passive future 'takers' in responding to global drivers of change. We conclude by discussing potential avenues for using these scenarios further with the Great Barrier Reef region's stakeholders. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Brüll, Anja; van Bohemen, Hein; Costanza, Robert; Mitsch, William J; van den Boomen, Rob; Chaudhuri, Nita; Heeb, Johannes; Jenssen, Petter; Kalin, Margarete; Schönborn, Andreas. (2011) Benefits of ecological engineering practices. Procedia Environmental Sciences 9 16-20
View Abstract
With the intention to further promote the field of ecological engineering and the solutions it provides, a workshop on “Benefits of Ecological Engineering Practices” was held 3 Dec 2009. It was conducted by the International Ecological Engineering Society in Paris at the conference “Ecological Engineering: from Concepts to Application” organized by the Ecological Engineering Applications Group GAIE. This paper presents the results of the workshop related to three key questions: (1) what are the benefits of ecological engineering practices to human and ecosystem well-being, (2) which concepts are used or useful to identify, reference, and measure the benefits of ecological engineering practices, and (3) how and to whom shall benefits of ecological engineering practices be promoted. While benefits of ecological engineering practices are diverse, general conclusions can be derived to facilitate communication. Identifying benefits requires valuation frameworks reaching beyond the scope of ecology and engineering. A distinction between human and ecosystem well-being in this regard may not be easy or useful, but instead humans embedded in ecosystems should be addressed as a whole. The concepts of resource efficiency, ecosystem services, ecosystem health, and multifunctional land use could serve as suitable references to frame ecological engineering benefits, as well as referring to international political goals such as biodiversity protection, climate change mitigation and poverty reduction. Sector and application specific criteria of good practice could be worked out. Regional, area specific reference systems for sustainable development could provide comparative advantages for ecologically engineered solutions. Besides people with high decision making power and people with high motivation for change are good target groups to be addressed.
Buchholz, T.; Volk, T. A.. (2011) Improving the Profitability of Willow Crops-Identifying Opportunities with a Crop Budget Model. Bioenergy Research 4(2) 85-95
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Short-rotation woody crops like shrub willow are a potential source of biomass for energy generation and bioproducts. However, since willow crops are not widely grown in North America, the economics of this crop and the impacts of key crop production and management components are not well understood. We developed a budget model, EcoWillow v1.4 (Beta), that allows users to analyze the entire production-chain for willow systems from the establishment to the delivery of wood chips to the end-user. EcoWillow was used to analyze how yield, crop management options, land rent, fuel, labor, and other costs influence the Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of willow crop systems in upstate New York. We further identified cost variables with the greatest potential for reducing production and transport costs of willow biomass. Productivity of 12 oven-dried tons (odt) ha(-1) year(-1) and a biomass price of $ (US dollars) 60 odt(-1) results in an IRR of 5.5%. Establishment, harvesting, and transportation operations account for 71% of total costs. Increases in willow yield, rotation length, and truck capacity as well as a reduction in harvester down time, land costs, planting material costs, and planting densities can improve the profitability of the system. Results indicate that planting speed and fuel and labor costs have a minimal effect on the profitability of willow biomass crops. To improve profitability, efforts should concentrate on (1) reducing planting stock costs, (2) increasing yields, (3) optimizing harvesting operations, and (4) co-development of plantation designs with new high-yielding clones to reduce planting density.
Carpenter, S. R.; Bennett, E. M.. (2011) Reconsideration of the planetary boundary for phosphorus. Environmental Research Letters 6(1)
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Phosphorus (P) is a critical factor for food production, yet surface freshwaters and some coastal waters are highly sensitive to eutrophication by excess P. A planetary boundary, or upper tolerable limit, for P discharge to the oceans is thought to be ten times the pre-industrial rate, or more than three times the current rate. However this boundary does not take account of freshwater eutrophication. We analyzed the global P cycle to estimate planetary boundaries for freshwater eutrophication. Planetary boundaries were computed for the input of P to freshwaters, the input of P to terrestrial soil, and the mass of P in soil. Each boundary was computed for two water quality targets, 24 mg P m(-3), a typical target for lakes and reservoirs, and 160 mg m-3, the approximate pre-industrial P concentration in the world's rivers. Planetary boundaries were also computed using three published estimates of current P flow to the sea. Current conditions exceed all planetary boundaries for P. Substantial differences between current conditions and planetary boundaries demonstrate the contrast between large amounts of P needed for food production and the high sensitivity of freshwaters to pollution by P runoff. At the same time, some regions of the world are P-deficient, and there are some indications that a global P shortage is possible in coming decades. More efficient recycling and retention of P within agricultural ecosystems could maintain or increase food production while reducing P pollution and improving water quality. Spatial heterogeneity in the global P cycle suggests that recycling of P in regions of excess and transfer of P to regions of deficiency could mitigate eutrophication, increase agricultural yield, and delay or avoid global P shortage.
Chapin, F.S.; Chapin, C.; Matson, P.A.; Vitousek, P.. (2011) Principles of Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology. Springer, Washington, D. C..
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Humans have directly modified half of the ice-free terrestrial surface and use 40% of terrestrial production. We are causing the sixth major extinction event in the history of life on Earth. With the Earth’s climate, flora, and fauna changing rapidly, there is a pressing need to understand terrestrial ecosystem processes and their sensitivity to environmental and biotic changes. This book offers a framework to do just that. Ecosystem ecology regards living organisms, including people, and the elements of their environment as components of a single integrated system. The comprehensive coverage in this textbook examines the central processes at work in terrestrial ecosystems, including their freshwater components. It traces the flow of energy, water, carbon, and nutrients from their abiotic origins to their cycles through plants, animals, and decomposer organisms. As well as detailing the processes themselves, the book goes further to integrate them at various scales of magnitude—those of the ecosystem, the wider landscape and the globe. It synthesizes recent advances in ecology with established and emerging ecosystem theory to offer a wide-ranging survey of ecosystem patterns and processes in our terrestrial environment. Featuring review questions at the end of each chapter, suggestions for further reading, and a glossary of ecological terms, Principles of Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology is a vitally relevant text suitable for study in all courses in ecosystem ecology. Resource managers and researchers in many fields will welcome its thorough presentation of ecosystem essentials.
Chen, X. P.; Cui, Z. L.; Vitousek, P. M.; Cassman, K. G.; Matson, P. A.; Bai, J. S.; Meng, Q. F.; Hou, P.; Yue, S. C.; Romheld, V.; Zhang, F. S.. (2011) Integrated soil-crop system management for food security. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108(16) 6399-6404
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China and other rapidly developing economies face the dual challenge of substantially increasing yields of cereal grains while at the same time reducing the very substantial environmental impacts of intensive agriculture. We used a model-driven integrated soil-crop system management approach to develop a maize production system that achieved mean maize yields of 13.0 t ha(-1) on 66 on-farm experimental plots-nearly twice the yield of current farmers' practices-with no increase in N fertilizer use. Such integrated soil-crop system management systems represent a priority for agricultural research and implementation, especially in rapidly growing economies.
Chraibi, V. L. S.; Bennett, E. M.; Gregory-Eaves, I.. (2011) Conservation of a transboundary lake: Historical watershed and paleolimnological analyses can inform management strategies. Lake and Reservoir Management 27(4) 355-364
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Chraibi VLS, Bennett EM, Gregory-Eaves I. 2011. Conservation of a transboundary lake: Historical watershed and paleolimnological analyses can inform management strategies. Lake Reserv Manage. 27:355-364. International cooperation between Canada and the United States is necessary to sustain water quality and quantity of numerous cross-border water bodies. We used Lake Memphremagog as a case study for highlighting how paleolimnological and historical research can be insightful in developing conservation plans for transboundary waters. To investigate how the lake and its phosphorus (P) input from agricultural activity in the watershed have changed over the past similar to 100 years, we developed decadal-scale, diatom-based records from analyses of sediment cores taken from the south and northwest ends of the lake and calculated watershed agricultural P budgets from Canadian and US agricultural census data. Based on these analyses, we observed substantial changes in diatom flora over the past century, and our diatom-based P transfer function demonstrated that lake trophic state in both basins has substantially varied. Correlation analyses between our diatom-inferred P concentrations and watershed P budgets identified agricultural inputs of P as a significant driver of lake trophic state, particularly from the 1930s to the 1970s. Recent dynamics in lake-water P concentrations are no longer tracking agricultural P budgets; instead, they likely reflect P arising from urban activities and possibly the slow release of P that previously accumulated in watershed soils or lake sediments. Given the complex network of regulatory agencies responsible for Lake Memphremagog and its watershed, as well as lessons learned from a neighboring transboundary lake, we predict that future lake management will be most effective if collaborations among local conservation groups and regional to national government agencies are fostered.
Coe, MT; Latrubesse, EM; Ferreira, ME; Amsler, ML. (2011) The effects of deforestation and climate variability on the streamflow of the Araguaia River, Brazil. Biogeochemistry 105(1-3) 119-131
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Deforestation changes the hydrological, geomorphological, and biochemical states of streams by decreasing evapotranspiration on the land surface and increasing runoff, river discharge, erosion and sediment fluxes from the land surface. Deforestation has removed about 55% of the native vegetation and significantly altered the hydrological and morphological characteristics of an 82,632 km2 watershed of the Araguaia River in east-central Brazil. Observed discharge increased by 25% from the 1970s to the 1990s and computer simulations suggest that about 2/3 of the increase is from deforestation, the remaining 1/3 from climate variability. Changes of this scale are likely occurring throughout the 2,000,000 km2 savannah region of central Brazil.
Conner, D. S.; King, B.; Koliba, C.; Kolodinsky, J.; Trubek, A.. (2011) Mapping Farm-to-School Networks Implications for Research and Practice. Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition 6 133-125
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In this article, the contemporary Farm-to-School movement is described as a system comprised of discrete actors operating at varying levels of geographic scale, social sector, and network function. Drawing on a literature review and case study research, the authors present and analyze a Farm-to-School network in Vermont as a series of relationships between network actors predicated on the flow of financial resources, whole and processed foods, information, and regulatory authority. Furthermore, the utility for using this map to critically examine the leverage points that may drive positive change within and across the system is discussed.
Conte, M.; Nelson, E.; Carney, K.; Fissore, C.; Olwero, N.; Plantinga, A.; Stanley, W.; Ricketts, T.. (2011) Terrestrial Carbon Sequestration and Storage. Oxford University Press, New York. Pages 111-128;
Costanza, R.; Kubiszewski, I.; Roman, J.; Sutton, P.. (2011) Changes in ecosystem services and migration in low-lying coastal areas over the next 50 years. Migration and Global Environmental Change
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This paper examines the history and current status of ecosystem services in low-lying coastal areas (LLCAs), their potential changes because of wider environmental and social shifts, and the potential impacts of these changes on human migration. We synthesised information from a number of sources on the status and value of ecosystem services in LLCAs, including information about key ecosystems that are likely to be particularly vulnerable to environmental change. We created maps of ecosystem and human population changes in LLCAs and then estimated changes in ecosystem services. Estimating the impacts of these potential changes depends on the future scenario one assumes. For our analysis four scenarios were developed for future ecosystem and ecosystem services conditions in 2060, based on the four SRES (Special Report on Emissions Scenarios) scenarios with additional reference to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and the Great Transition Initiative scenarios. The two axes of the SRES scenarios are global vs. regional and material economy vs. environment foci. This allowed an assessment of the plausible range of future uncertainty about ecosystem services in LLCAs and the potential for changes in ecosystem services to drive human migration.
Cragg, Michael; Polek, Christine; Polasky, Stephen. (2011) Valuing Properties with Wetland Potential. Appraisal Journal 79(2)
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The Clean Water Act and federal policy of "no net loss of wetlands" prohibit the destruction of wetland acreage in the United States. However, these policies allow for wetland destruction to be offset by developing and converting suitable land into qualifying wetlands, which can then be sold as credits to developers. Land with a highest and best use for wetland mitigation credits typically requires environmental analysis, engineering expertise, landscape design, and approval by authorities before it can be resold for that purpose. This article offers information, examples, and suggestions for the valuation of property readily converted to qualifying wetlands.
Daily, G. C.; Kareiva, P.; Polasky, S.; Ricketts, T.; Tallis, H.. (2011) Mainstreaming Natural Capital into Decisions. Oxford University Press, New York. Pages 3-14;
Daly, H.; Farley, J.. (2011) Ecological Economics: Principles and Applications. Island Press, Washington, D.C.. Pages 454;
Day, J. W.; Kemp, G. P.; Reed, D. J.; Cahoon, D. R.; Boumans, R. M.; Suhayda, J. M.; Gambrell, R.. (2011) Vegetation death and rapid loss of surface elevation in two contrasting Mississippi delta salt marshes: The role of sedimentation, autocompaction and sea-level rise. Ecological Engineering 37 229-240
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From 1990 to 2004, we carried out a study on accretionary dynamics and wetland loss in salt marshes surrounding two small ponds in the Mississippi delta; Old Oyster Bayou (OB), a sediment-rich area near the mouth of the Atchafalaya River and Bayou Chitigue (BC), a sediment-poor area about 70km to the east. The OB site was stable, while most of the marsh at BC disappeared within a few years. Measurements were made of short-term sedimentation, vertical accretion, change in marsh surface elevation, pond wave activity, and marsh soil characteristics. The OB marsh was about 10cm higher than BC; the extremes of the elevation range for Spartina alterniflora in Louisiana. Vertical accretion and short-term sedimentation were about twice as high at BC than at OB, but theOBmarsh captured nearly all sediments deposited, while the BC marsh captured <30%. The OB and BC sites flooded about 15% and 85% of the time, respectively. Marsh loss at BC was not due to wave erosion. The mineral content of deposited sediments was higher at OB. Exposure and desiccation of the marsh surface at OB increased the efficiency that deposited sediments were incorporated into the marsh soil, and displaced the marsh surface upward by biological processes like root growth, while also reducing shallow compaction. Once vegetation dies, there is a loss of soil volume due to loss of root turgor and oxidation of root organic matter, which leads to elevation collapse. Revegetation cannot occur because of the low elevation and weak soil strength. The changes in elevation at both marsh sites are punctuated, occurring in steps that can either increase or decrease elevation.When a marsh is low as at BC, a step down can result in an irreversible change. At this point, the option is not restoration but creating a new marsh with massive sediment input either from the river or via dredging.
De Graaf, John; Batker, David K. (2011) What's the Economy For, Anyway?: Why It's Time to Stop Chasing Growth and Start Pursuing Happiness. Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Washington, D.C..
De Oliveira, Jose Antonio Puppim; Ali, Saleem H.. (2011) Gemstone mining as a development cluster: A study of Brazil's emerald mines. Resources Policy 36(2) 132-141
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For many centuries, emeralds have bejeweled the rich and famous all over the world. Emeralds have also made many millionaires overnight, sometimes by chance, as in some of the cases reported in this study. On the other hand, even though emerald mining has brought some economic benefits, many of these have remained at the top of the production chain. In many cases mining activities have caused a number of negative social and environmental impacts locally. Working conditions in small mines are very poor in general: with bad ventilation, high temperatures, long working hours, lack of safety, informal working contracts and no health or life insurance. Environmental impacts can be significant, such as widespread deforestation, erosion of abandoned mines, and soil and water pollution in streams. The economic and social public benefits can be minimal. Even when taxes on gem mining are relatively low, much of the mining local activity is informal and the high value-added formal activities take place outside the mining regions. This study aims to understand the dynamics of emerald mining and its impact on local development using the concept of clusters. The research analyzes three case studies in Brazil: Campos Verdes/Santa Terezinha (Goias state), Nova Era/Itabira (Minas Gerais state) and Carnaiba/Campo Formoso (Bahia state). Emerald mining regions attract many migrants, increasing the demand for public services (infrastructure, health, education, etc.), but local governments are unable to provide for them because the activity produces little tax revenue. In the end, there is a growing mismatch between demand and supply of public services, leading to a series of social and environmental problems. However, working with the concept of cluster can help to shed light on policies to improve the local benefits of gem mining, by organizing the miners and their supporting organizations to allow investments that bring long term benefits locally. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Edwards, D. P.; Fisher, B.; Giam, X. L.; Wilcove, D. S.. (2011) Underestimating the costs of conservation in Southeast Asia. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9(10) 544-545
Edwards, D. P.; Fisher, B.; Wilcove, D. S.. (2011) Green labelling being misused. Nature 475(7355) 174-174
Ellis, A. M.; Garcia, A. J.; Focks, D. A.; Morrison, A. C.; Scott, T. W.. (2011) Parameterization and Sensitivity Analysis of a Complex Simulation Model for Mosquito Population Dynamics, Dengue Transmission, and Their Control. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 85(2) 257-264
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Models can be useful tools for understanding the dynamics and control of mosquito-borne disease. More detailed models may be more realistic and better suited for understanding local disease dynamics; however, evaluating model suitability, accuracy, and performance becomes increasingly difficult with greater model complexity. Sensitivity analysis is a technique that permits exploration of complex models by evaluating the sensitivity of the model to changes in parameters. Here, we present results of sensitivity analyses of two interrelated complex simulation models of mosquito population dynamics and dengue transmission. We found that dengue transmission may be influenced most by survival in each life stage of the mosquito, mosquito biting behavior, and duration of the infectious period in humans. The importance of these biological processes for vector-borne disease models and the overwhelming lack of knowledge about them make acquisition of relevant field data on these biological processes a top research priority.
Eppstein, M. J.; Grover, D. K.; Marshall, J. S.; Rizzo, D. M.. (2011) An agent-based model to study market penetration of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Energy Policy 39(6) 3789-3802
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A spatially explicit agent-based vehicle consumer choice model is developed to explore sensitivities and nonlinear interactions between various potential influences on plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) market penetration. The model accounts for spatial and social effects (including threshold effects, homophily, and conformity) and media influences. Preliminary simulations demonstrate how such a model could be used to identify nonlinear interactions among potential leverage points, inform policies affecting PHEV market penetration, and help identify future data collection necessary to more accurately model the system. We examine sensitivity of the model to gasoline prices, to accuracy in estimation of fuel costs, to agent willingness to adopt the PHEV technology, to PHEV purchase price and rebates, to PHEV battery range, and to heuristic values related to gasoline usage. Our simulations indicate that PHEV market penetration could be enhanced significantly by providing consumers with ready estimates of expected lifetime fuel costs associated with different vehicles (e.g., on vehicle stickers), and that increases in gasoline prices could nonlinearly magnify the impact on fleet efficiency. We also infer that a potential synergy from a gasoline tax with proceeds is used to fund research into longer-range lower-cost PHEV batteries. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Erickson, Daniel L.; Lovell, Sarah Taylor; Mendez, V. Ernesto. (2011) Landowner willingness to embed production agriculture and other land use options in residential areas of Chittenden County, VT. Landscape and Urban Planning 103(2) 174-184
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Throughout the world, urbanization is causing a loss of agricultural land as residential and commercial development expand. In Chittenden County, Vermont, U.S.A., this land use conversion has resulted in subdivision of farms into large residential parcels. Some of these residential parcels retain sizeable areas of undeveloped prime agricultural soil, yet the land is effectively removed from agricultural production. This study explored landowner willingness to enroll a portion of their land in a cooperative land management (CLM) scheme. Our results show support for embedding production agriculture and other cooperative land use options in residential parcels. Almost half of the respondents (45.6%) indicated they would enroll a portion of their land in a CLM program, while another 28.4% said "maybe". A cluster analysis partitioned the respondents into five clusters based on the following variables: percent agricultural land on parcel, parcel size, years in residence, and the population density of the town where the parcel is located. Willingness to participate in the CLM program and different land use options (livestock grazing, vegetables, fruit, field crops, biofuel, maple sugaring, wildflowers, medicinal plants, wildlife corridor, and recreational trails) varied across the clusters. A cluster containing a high percentage of agricultural land ("farms") had the highest support for production agriculture options, while a cluster of long term residents (old timers) had the lowest. These results are encouraging for farmers seeking access to affordable farmland and for planning efforts seeking increased regional landscape multifunctionality. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Fargione, J. E.; Lehman, C.; Polasky, S.. (2011) Entrepreneurs, Chance, and the Deterministic Concentration of Wealth. PloS One 6(7) 6
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In many economies, wealth is strikingly concentrated. Entrepreneurs-individuals with ownership in for-profit enterprises-comprise a large portion of the wealthiest individuals, and their behavior may help explain patterns in the national distribution of wealth. Entrepreneurs are less diversified and more heavily invested in their own companies than is commonly assumed in economic models. We present an intentionally simplified individual-based model of wealth generation among entrepreneurs to assess the role of chance and determinism in the distribution of wealth. We demonstrate that chance alone, combined with the deterministic effects of compounding returns, can lead to unlimited concentration of wealth, such that the percentage of all wealth owned by a few entrepreneurs eventually approaches 100%. Specifically, concentration of wealth results when the rate of return on investment varies by entrepreneur and by time. This result is robust to inclusion of realities such as differing skill among entrepreneurs. The most likely overall growth rate of the economy decreases as businesses become less diverse, suggesting that high concentrations of wealth may adversely affect a country's economic growth. We show that a tax on large inherited fortunes, applied to a small portion of the most fortunate in the population, can efficiently arrest the concentration of wealth at intermediate levels.
Ferreira, L. G.; Asner, G. P.; Knapp, D. E.; Davidson, E. A.; Coe, M.; Bustamante, M. M. C.; de Oliveira, E. L.. (2011) Equivalent water thickness in savanna ecosystems: MODIS estimates based on ground and EO-1 Hyperion data. International Journal of Remote Sensing 32(22) 7423-7440
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The Brazilian savanna biome, known locally as the Cerrado, with an area of about 2 million km(2) and marked by a conspicuous seasonality, comprises a vertically structured mosaic of ecosystem types, ranging from grassland to tropical dry forests. The Cerrado is a major agricultural frontier in Brazil, with nearly 50% of its original vegetative cover already converted to pastures and crop fields. Such large-scale conversion has severely affected regional runoff, river discharge and the atmosphere water transfer from soil reservoirs through vegetation. In this study, we used multitemporal Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) Hyperion hyperspectral imagery to derive canopy water content (validated by ground truth measurements), whose estimates were regionally extrapolated, over the entire Cerrado biome, based on the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) product MOD13Q1. MODIS-based canopy-level equivalent water thickness (EWT(C)) values were significantly distinct for each of the major anthropogenic and natural Cerrado land-cover types, at both the beginning and end of the dry season, and were correlated with land surface temperatures (LSTs). This method provides reasonable estimates of precipitable canopy water. Potential applications of EWTC estimates based on moderate resolution imagery include early fire warnings and validation and constraining of regional hydrological models.
Fisher, B.; Bradbury, R. B.; Andrews, J. E.; Ausden, M.; Bentham-Green, S.; White, S. M.; Gill, J. A.. (2011) Impacts of species-led conservation on ecosystem services of wetlands: understanding co-benefits and tradeoffs. Biodiversity and Conservation 20(11) 2461-2481
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Biodiversity conservation organisations have recently begun to consider a wider ecosystem services context for their activities. While the literature suggests the potential of 'win-win' situations where biodiversity conservation and the delivery of ecosystem services overlap, empirical evidence is wanting. Here we explore the role that species-led management for the benefit of biodiversity in cultural landscapes can play in the delivery of wider ecosystem services. We use UK lowland wetlands as a case study and show how successful delivery of species-led conservation through management interventions relies on practices that can affect greenhouse gas fluxes, water quality and regulation, and cultural benefits. In these wetlands, livestock grazing has potentially large effects on water and greenhouse gas related services, but there is little scope to alter management without compromising species objectives. Likewise, there is little potential to alter reedbed management without compromising conservation objectives. There is some potential to alter woodland and scrub management, but this would likely have limited influence due to the relatively small area over which such management is practiced. The management of water levels potentially has large effects on provision of several services and there does appear to be some scope to align this objective with biodiversity objectives. A comprehensive understanding of the net costs and benefits to society of these interventions will require fine-grained research integrating ecological, economic and social science research. However, a less analytic understanding of the potential costs and benefits can highlight ways by which land management principally to achieve biodiversity conservation objectives might be modified to enhance delivery of other ecosystem services.
Fisher, B.; Edwards, D. P.; Giam, X. L.; Wilcove, D. S.. (2011) The high costs of conserving Southeast Asia's lowland rainforests. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9(6) 329-334
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Mechanisms that mitigate greenhouse-gas emissions via forest conservation have been portrayed as a cost-effective approach that can also protect biodiversity and vital ecosystem services. However, the costs of conservation - including opportunity costs - are spatially heterogeneous across the globe. The lowland rainforests of Southeast Asia represent a unique nexus of large carbon stores, imperiled biodiversity, large stores of timber, and high potential for conversion to oil-palm plantations, making this region one where understanding the costs of conservation is critical. Previous studies have underestimated the gap between conservation costs and conversion benefits in Southeast Asia. Using detailed logging records, cost data, and species-specific timber auction prices from Borneo, we show that the profitability of logging, in combination with potential profits from subsequent conversion to palm-oil production, greatly exceeds foreseeable revenues from a global carbon market and other ecosystem-service payment mechanisms. Thus, the conservation community faces a massive funding shortfall to protect the remaining lowland primary forests in Southeast Asia.
Fisher, B.; Edwards, D. P.; Larsen, T. H.; Ansell, F. A.; Hsu, W. W.; Roberts, C. S.; Wilcove, D. S.. (2011) Cost-effective conservation: calculating biodiversity and logging trade-offs in Southeast Asia. Conservation Letters 4(6) 443-450
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The Sundaland Biodiversity Hotspot of Southeast Asia is widely regarded as one of the most imperiled biodiversity hotspots due to high degrees of endemism coupled with extensive logging and forest conversion to oil palm. The large financial returns to these activities have made it difficult to conserve much of the region's lowland primary forest, suggesting a large trade-off between economic interests and biodiversity conservation. Here, we provide an empirical examination of the magnitude of this trade-off in Borneo. By incorporating both financial values and biodiversity responses across logging regimes, we show that selectively logged forests represent a surprisingly low-cost option for conserving high levels of biodiversity. In our study, the standing value of timber dropped from similar to$10,460 ha-1 to similar to$2,010 ha-1 after two logging rotations, yet these forests retained over 75% of bird and dung beetle species found in primary unlogged forest. We suggest that the conservation of selectively logged forests represents a highly cost-efficient opportunity to enlarge existing protected areas, improve connectivity between them, and to create new, large protected areas.
Fisher, B.; Lewis, S. L.; Burgess, N. D.; Malimbwi, R. E.; Munishi, P. K.; Swetnam, R. D.; Turner, R. K.; Willcock, S.; Balmford, A.. (2011) Implementation and opportunity costs of reducing deforestation and forest degradation in Tanzania. Nature Climate Change 1(3) 161-164
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The Cancun Agreements provide strong backing for a REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) mechanism whereby developed countries pay developing ones for forest conservation(1). REDD+ has potential to simultaneously deliver cost-effective climate change mitigation and human development(2-5). However, most REDD+ analysis has used coarse-scale data, overlooked important opportunity costs to tropical forest users(4,5) and failed to consider how to best invest funds to limit leakage, that is, merely displacing deforestation(6). Here we examine these issues for Tanzania, a REDD+ country, by comparing district-scale carbon losses from deforestation with the opportunity costs of carbon conservation. Opportunity costs are estimated as rents from both agriculture and charcoal production (the most important proximate causes of regional forest conversion(7-9).). As an alternative we also calculate the implementation costs of alleviating the demand for forest conservation thereby addressing the problem of leakage by raising agricultural yields on existing cropland and increasing charcoal fuel-use efficiency. The implementation costs exceed the opportunity costs of carbon conservation (medians of US$6.50 versus US$3.90 per Mg CO(2)), so effective REDD+ policies may cost more than simpler estimates suggest. However, even if agricultural yields are doubled, implementation is possible at the competitive price of similar to US$12 per Mg CO(2).
Fisher, B.; Naidoo, R.. (2011) Concerns About Extrapolating Right Off the Bat. Science 333(6040) 287-287
Fisher, B.; Polasky, S.; Sterner, T.. (2011) Conservation and Human Welfare: Economic Analysis of Ecosystem Services. Environmental & Resource Economics 48(2) 151-159
Fisher, B.; Turner, R. K.; Burgess, N. D.; Swetnam, R. D.; Green, J.; Green, R. E.; Kajembe, G.; Kulindwa, K.; Lewis, S. L.; Marchant, R.; Marshall, A. R.; Madoffe, S.; Munishi, P. K. T.; Morse-Jones, S.; Mwakalila, S.; Paavola, J.; Naidoo, R.; Ricketts, T.; Rouget, M.; Willcock, S.; White, S.; Balmford, A.. (2011) Measuring, modeling and mapping ecosystem services in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania. 35(5) 595-611
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In light of the significance that ecosystem service research is likely to play in linking conservation activities and human welfare, systematic approaches to measuring, modeling and mapping ecosystem services ( and their value to society) are sorely needed. In this paper we outline one such approach, which we developed in order to understand the links between the functioning of the ecosystems of Tanzania's Eastern Arc Mountains and their impact on human welfare at local, regional and global scales. The essence of our approach is the creation of a series of maps created using field-based or remotely sourced data, data-driven models, and socio-economic scenarios coupled with rule-based assumptions. Here we describe the construction of this spatial information and how it can help to shed light on the complex relationships between ecological and social systems. There are obvious difficulties in operationalizing this approach, but by highlighting those which we have encountered in our own case-study work, we have also been able to suggest some routes to overcoming these impediments.
Flomenhoft, G.. (2011) "Is the concept of a green economy a useful way of framing policy discussions and policymaking to promote sustainable development?". Natural Resources Forum 35(1) 63-63
Foley, J. A.; Ramankutty, N.; Brauman, K. A.; Cassidy, E. S.; Gerber, J. S.; Johnston, M.; Mueller, N. D.; O'Connell, C.; Ray, D. K.; West, P. C.; Balzer, C.; Bennett, E. M.; Carpenter, S. R.; Hill, J.; Monfreda, C.; Polasky, S.; Rockstrom, J.; Sheehan, J.; Siebert, S.; Tilman, D.; Zaks, D. P. M.. (2011) Solutions for a cultivated planet. Nature 478(7369) 337-342
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Increasing population and consumption are placing unprecedented demands on agriculture and natural resources. Today, approximately a billion people are chronically malnourished while our agricultural systems are concurrently degrading land, water, biodiversity and climate on a global scale. To meet the world's future food security and sustainability needs, food production must grow substantially while, at the same time, agriculture's environmental footprint must shrink dramatically. Here we analyse solutions to this dilemma, showing that tremendous progress could be made by halting agricultural expansion, closing 'yield gaps' on underperforming lands, increasing cropping efficiency, shifting diets and reducing waste. Together, these strategies could double food production while greatly reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture.
Folke, C.; Jansson, A.; Rockstrom, J.; Olsson, P.; Carpenter, S. R.; Chapin, F. S.; Crepin, A. S.; Daily, G.; Danell, K.; Ebbesson, J.; Elmqvist, T.; Galaz, V.; Moberg, F.; Nilsson, M.; Osterblom, H.; Ostrom, E.; Persson, A.; Peterson, G.; Polasky, S.; Steffen, W.; Walker, B.; Westley, F.. (2011) Reconnecting to the Biosphere. Ambio 40(7) 719-738
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Humanity has emerged as a major force in the operation of the biosphere, with a significant imprint on the Earth System, challenging social-ecological resilience. This new situation calls for a fundamental shift in perspectives, world views, and institutions. Human development and progress must be reconnected to the capacity of the biosphere and essential ecosystem services to be sustained. Governance challenges include a highly interconnected and faster world, cascading social-ecological interactions and planetary boundaries that create vulnerabilities but also opportunities for social-ecological change and transformation. Tipping points and thresholds highlight the importance of understanding and managing resilience. New modes of flexible governance are emerging. A central challenge is to reconnect these efforts to the changing preconditions for societal development as active stewards of the Earth System. We suggest that the Millennium Development Goals need to be reframed in such a planetary stewardship context combined with a call for a new social contract on global sustainability. The ongoing mind shift in human relations with Earth and its boundaries provides exciting opportunities for societal development in collaboration with the biosphere-a global sustainability agenda for humanity.
Galford, G. L.; Melillo, J. M.; Kicklighter, D. W.; Mustard, J. F.; Cronin, T. W.; Cerri, C. E. P.; Cerri, C. C.. (2011) Historical carbon emissions and uptake from the agricultural frontier of the Brazilian Amazon. Ecological Applications 21(3) 750-763
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Tropical ecosystems play a large and complex role in the global carbon cycle. Clearing of natural ecosystems for agriculture leads to large pulses of CO(2) to the atmosphere from terrestrial biomass. Concurrently, the remaining intact ecosystems, especially tropical forests, may be sequestering a large amount of carbon from the atmosphere in response to global environmental changes including climate changes and an increase in atmospheric CO(2). Here we use an approach that integrates census-based historical land use reconstructions, remote-sensing-based contemporary land use change analyses, and simulation modeling of terrestrial biogeochemistry to estimate the net carbon balance over the period 1901-2006 for the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, which is one of the most rapidly changing agricultural frontiers in the world. By the end of this period, we estimate that of the state's 925 225 km(2), 221 092 km(2) have been converted to pastures and 89 533 km(2) have been converted to croplands, with forest-to-pasture conversions being the dominant land use trajectory but with recent transitions to croplands increasing rapidly in the last decade. These conversions have led to a cumulative release of 4.8 Pg C to the atmosphere, with similar to 80% from forest clearing and 20% from the clearing of cerrado. Over the same period, we estimate that the residual undisturbed ecosystems accumulated 0.3 Pg C in response to CO2 fertilization. Therefore, the net emissions of carbon from Mato Grosso over this period were 4.5 Pg C. Net carbon emissions from Mato Grosso since 2000 averaged 146 Tg C/yr, on the order of Brazil's fossil fuel emissions during this period. These emissions were associated with the expansion of croplands to grow soybeans. While alternative management regimes in croplands, including tillage, fertilization, and cropping patterns promote carbon storage in ecosystems, they remain a small portion of the net carbon balance for the region. This detailed accounting of a region's carbon balance is the type of foundation analysis needed by the new United Nations Collaborative Programmme for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).
Garibaldi, L. A.; Steffan-Dewenter, I.; Kremen, C.; Morales, J. M.; Bommarco, R.; Cunningham, S. A.; Carvalheiro, L. G.; Chacoff, N. P.; Dudenhoeffer, J. H.; Greenleaf, S. S.; Holzschuh, A.; Isaacs, R.; Krewenka, K. M.; Mandelik, Y.; Mayfield, M. M.; Morandin, L. A.; Potts, S. G.; Ricketts, T. H.; Szentgyoergyi, H.; Viana, B. F.; Westphal, C.; Winfree, R.; Klein, A. M.. (2011) Stability of pollination services decreases with isolation from natural areas despite honey bee visits. Ecology Letters 14(10) 1062-1072
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Sustainable agricultural landscapes by definition provide high magnitude and stability of ecosystem services, biodiversity and crop productivity. However, few studies have considered landscape effects on the stability of ecosystem services. We tested whether isolation from florally diverse natural and semi-natural areas reduces the spatial and temporal stability of flower-visitor richness and pollination services in crop fields. We synthesised data from 29 studies with contrasting biomes, crop species and pollinator communities. Stability of flower-visitor richness, visitation rate (all insects except honey bees) and fruit set all decreased with distance from natural areas. At 1 km from adjacent natural areas, spatial stability decreased by 25, 16 and 9% for richness, visitation and fruit set, respectively, while temporal stability decreased by 39% for richness and 13% for visitation. Mean richness, visitation and fruit set also decreased with isolation, by 34, 27 and 16% at 1 km respectively. In contrast, honey bee visitation did not change with isolation and represented > 25% of crop visits in 21 studies. Therefore, wild pollinators are relevant for crop productivity and stability even when honey bees are abundant. Policies to preserve and restore natural areas in agricultural landscapes should enhance levels and reliability of pollination services.
Harrison, D. M.; Noordewier, T.. (2011) Empirical Evidence on Mortgage Choice as a Screening Mechanism for Default Risk. 20(1) 1-18
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Despite the enormously important role played by credit in modern market-based economies, the marketing literature offers little theoretical or empirical insight into how consumers choose among available credit products. This paper examines one of the most critical credit decisions made by consumers: selecting between a fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) and an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM). To understand this selection process, the authors test a theoretical model in which a borrower's mortgage choice (i.e., ARM vs. FRM) is contingent upon transaction default costs, where the latter are defined as costs associated with the borrower's defaulting on a mortgage (e.g., damage to the borrower's credit rating, search and legal costs stemming from having to purchase a new home, etc.). The model predicts that when a borrower's transaction costs of default are sufficiently small (high), high default risk borrowers will select fixed (adjustable) rate mortgages, and low default risk borrowers will select adjustable (fixed) rate mortgages. The authors empirically test this transaction cost-contingent hypothesis using a sample of 1,003 mortgage loans, finding evidence consistent with the proposed interaction. In contrast to traditional transaction cost studies, which focus on whether (or how well) alternative buyer-seller "governance" modes match the underlying attributes of the transactions, this research demonstrates that transaction cost reasoning is applicable to consumer product choice as well.
Hayden, N.; Rizzo, D.; Dewoolkar, M. M.; Neumann, M. D.; Lathem, S. A.; Sadek, A. W.. (2011) Incorporating a Systems Approach into Civil and Environmental Engineering Curricula: Effect on Course Redesign, and Student and Faculty Attitudes. Advances in Engineering Education 2(4) 1-27
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This paper presents a brief overview of the changes made during our department level reform (DLR) process (Grant Title: A Systems Approach for Civil and Environmental Engineering Education: Integrating Systems Thinking, Inquiry-Based Learning and Catamount Community Service-Learning Projects) and some of the effects of these changes on our students and ourselves. The overall goal of the reform has been to have students learn and apply a systems approach to engineering problem solving such that when they become practicing engineers they will develop more sustainable engineering solutions. We have integrated systems thinking into our programs in the following ways; 1) new material has been included in key courses (e.g., the first-year introductory and senior design courses), 2) a sequence of three related environmental and transportation systems courses have been included within the curricula (i.e., Introduction to Systems, Decision Making, and Modeling), and 3) service-learning (SL) projects have been integrated into key required courses as a way of practicing a systems approach. A variety of assessment methods were implemented as part of the reform including student surveys, student focus groups, faculty interviews, and assessment of student work. Student work in five classes demonstrate that students are learning the systems approach, applying it to engineering problem solving, and that this approach helps meet ABET outcomes. Initial student resistance to changing the curriculum has decreased post implementation (e.g., graduating class 2010), and many students are able to define and apply the concept of sustainability in senior design project. Student self-assessments show support of SL projects and that the program is influencing student understanding of the roles and responsibilities of engineers in society.
Hayhoe, S. J.; Neill, C.; Porder, S.; McHorney, R.; Lefebvre, P.; Coe, M. T.; Elsenbeer, H.; Krusche, A. V.. (2011) Conversion to soy on the Amazonian agricultural frontier increases streamflow without affecting stormflow dynamics. Global Change Biology 17(5) 1821-1833
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Large-scale soy agriculture in the southern Brazilian Amazon now rivals deforestation for pasture as the region's predominant form of land use change. Such landscape-level change can have substantial consequences for local and regional hydrology, but these effects remain relatively unstudied in this ecologically and economically important region. We examined how the conversion to soy agriculture influences water balances and stormflows using stream discharge (water yields) and the timing of discharge (stream hydrographs) in small (2.5-13.5 km2) forested and soy headwater watersheds in the Upper Xingu Watershed in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil. We monitored water yield for 1 year in three forested and four soy watersheds. Mean daily water yields were approximately four times higher in soy than forested watersheds, and soy watersheds showed greater seasonal variability in discharge. The contribution of stormflows to annual streamflow in all streams was low (< 13% of annual streamflow), and the contribution of stormflow to streamflow did not differ between land uses. If the increases in water yield observed in this study are typical, landscape-scale conversion to soy substantially alters water-balance, potentially altering the regional hydrology over large areas of the southern Amazon.
Hinckley, E. L. S.; Fendorf, S.; Matson, P.. (2011) Short-term fates of high sulfur inputs in Northern California vineyard soils. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 89(1) 135-142
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The widespread application of elemental sulfur (S(0)) to vineyards may have ecosystem effects at multiple scales. We evaluated the short-term fates of applied S(0) in a Napa Valley vineyard; we determined changes in soil sulfur (S) speciation (measured by X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) spectroscopy), soil pH, extractable sulfate (SO(4) (2-)), and total S to evaluate changes in acidity and soil S within the vineyard over time. Surface soil samples were collected immediately prior to and following two applications of S(0) (6.7 kg S(0) ha(-1)), with weekly collections in the 2 weeks between applications and following the last application. XANES spectra indicated that the majority of soil S persists in the +6 oxidation state and that S(0) oxidizes within 7 days following application. Soil pH and extractable SO(4) (2-) measurements taken at 30 min after S(0) application revealed generation of acidity and an increase in extractable SO(4) (2-), but by 12 days after application, soil pH increased to approximately pre-application levels. These data suggest that the major consequence of reactive S applications in vineyards may be the accumulation of soil SO(4) (2-) and organic S during the growing season, which can be mobilized during storm events during the dormant (wet) season. In spatially-extensive winegrowing regions where these applications are made by hundreds of individual farmers each year, it will be important to understand the long-term implications of this perturbation to the regional S cycle.
Hinckley, E. L. S.; Matson, P. A.. (2011) Transformations, transport, and potential unintended consequences of high sulfur inputs to Napa Valley vineyards. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108(34) 14005-14010
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Unintended anthropogenic deposition of sulfur (S) to forest ecosystems has a range of negative consequences, identified through decades of research. There has been far less study of purposeful S use in agricultural systems around the world, including the application of elemental sulfur (S(0)) as a quick-reacting fungicide to prevent damage to crops. Here we report results from a three-year study of the transformations and flows of applied S0 in soils, vegetation, and hydrologic export pathways of Napa Valley, CA vineyards, documenting that all applied S is lost from the vineyard ecosystem on an annual basis. We found that S0 oxidizes rapidly to sulfate (SO(4)(2-)) on the soil surface where it then accumulates over the course of the growing season. Leaf and grape tissues accounted for only 7-13% of applied S whereas dormant season cover crops accounted for 4-10% of applications. Soil S inventories were largely SO(4)(2-) and ester-bonded sulfates; they decreased from 1,623 +/- 354 kg ha(-1) during the dry growing season to 981 +/- 526 kg ha(-1) (0-0.5 m) during the dormant wet season. Nearly all S applied to the vineyard soils is transported offsite in dissolved oxidized forms during dormant season rainstorms. Thus, the residence time of reactive S is brief in these systems, and largely driven by hydrology. Our results provide new insight into how S use in vineyards constitutes a substantial perturbation of the S cycle in Northern California winegrowing regions and points to the unintended consequences that agricultural S use may have at larger scales.
Hirsch, P. D.; Adams, W. M.; Brosius, J. P.; Zia, A.; Bariola, N.; Dammert, J. L.. (2011) Acknowledging Conservation Trade-Offs and Embracing Complexity. Conservation Biology 25(2) 259-264
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There is a growing recognition that conservation often entails trade-offs. A focus on trade-offs can open the way to more complete consideration of the variety of positive and negative effects associated with conservation initiatives. In analyzing and working through conservation trade-offs, however, it is important to embrace the complexities inherent in the social context of conservation. In particular, it is important to recognize that the consequences of conservation activities are experienced, perceived, and understood differently from different perspectives, and that these perspectives are embedded in social systems and preexisting power relations. We illustrate the role of trade-offs in conservation and the complexities involved in understanding them with recent debates surrounding REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), a global conservation policy designed to create incentives to reduce tropical deforestation. Often portrayed in terms of the multiple benefits it may provide: poverty alleviation, biodiversity conservation, and climate-change mitigation; REDD may involve substantial trade-offs. The gains of REDD may be associated with a reduction in incentives for industrialized countries to decrease carbon emissions; relocation of deforestation to places unaffected by REDD; increased inequality in places where people who make their livelihood from forests have insecure land tenure; loss of biological and cultural diversity that does not directly align with REDD measurement schemes; and erosion of community-based means of protecting forests. We believe it is important to acknowledge the potential trade-offs involved in conservation initiatives such as REDD and to examine these trade-offs in an open and integrative way that includes a variety of tools, methods, and points of view.
Hobbs, R. J.; Hallett, L. M.; Ehrlich, P. R.; Mooney, H. A.. (2011) Intervention Ecology: Applying Ecological Science in the Twenty-first Century. Bioscience 61(6) 442-450
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Rapid, extensive, and ongoing environmental change increasingly demands that humans intervene in ecosystems to maintain or restore ecosystem services and biodiversity. At the same time, the basic principles and tenets of restoration ecology and conservation biology are being debated and reshaped. Escalating global change is resulting in widespread no-analogue environments and novel ecosystems that render traditional goals unachievable. Policymakers and the general public, however, have embraced restoration without an understanding of its limitations, which has led to perverse policy outcomes. Therefore, a new ecology, free of pre- and misconceptions and directed toward meaningful interventions, is needed. Interventions include altering the biotic and abiotic structures and processes within ecosystems and changing social and policy settings. Interventions can be aimed at leverage points, both within ecosystems and in the broader social system particularly, feedback loops that either maintain a particular state or precipitate a rapid change from one state to another.
Huang, G.; Zhou, W.; Ali, S.. (2011) Spatial patterns and economic contributions of mining and tourism in biodiversity hotspots: A case study in China. Ecological Economics 70(8) 1492-1498
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Mining activities and tourism are both growing fast in biodiversity intense areas globally. However, the dynamic and interactions between mining and tourism when they both occur in biodiversity hotspots, and how they together may impact the economy and environment in these biodiversity rich areas, remain unclear. This paper examined how the two industries interact in terms of their economic contributions and spatial patterns in a biodiversity hotspot, Yunnan, China. We used correlation analyses to measure the relationships between mining activities, tourism visits and local gross domestic productions. We also employed a distancebased technique to investigate the nature of any dependency between mining and tourism sites. Results showed that mining activities tend to be in relatively fluent areas while tourism tends to occur in less developed areas. Our results showed that the location of tourism and mining sites are likely to be close to one another but the two industries usually perform better economically when they are apart from each other. These findings can provide insights on how mining and tourism together may impact the economy and environment in biodiversity rich areas, and provide important information for managers and planners on balancing mining and tourism development in these areas.
Jarvis, A.; Lau, C.; Cook, S.; Wollenberg, E.; Hansen, J. W.; Bonilla, O.; Challinor, A. J.. (2011) AN INTEGRATED ADAPTATION AND MITIGATION FRAMEWORK FOR DEVELOPING AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH: SYNERGIES AND TRADE-OFFS. 47(2) 185-203
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Global rood security is under threat by climate change, and the impacts fall disproportionately on resource-poor small producers. With the goal of making agricultural and food systems more climate-resilient this paper presents an adaptation and mitigation framework. A road map for bather agricultural research is proposed, based on the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security We propose a holistic, integrated approach that takes into account trade-offs and feedbacks between interventions. We divide the agenda into four research areas, three tackling risk management, accelerated adaptation and emissions mitigation, and the fourth facilitating adoption of research outputs. After reviewing specific technical, agronomic and policy options for reducing climate change vulnerability, we acknowledge that science and good-faith recommendations do not necessarily translate into effective and timely actions. We therefore outline impediments to behavioural change and propose that future research overcomes these obstacles by linking the right institutions, instruments and scientific outputs. Food security research must go beyond its focus on production to also examine food access and utilization issues. Finally, we conclude that urgent action is needed despite the uncertainties, trade-offs and challenges.
Kareiva, P.; Tallis, H.; Ricketts, T.; Daily, G. C.; Polasky, S.. (2011) Natural Capital: Theory and Practice of Mapping Ecosystem Services. Oxford University Press, New York. Pages 392;
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In 2005, The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) provided the first global assessment of the world's ecosystems and ecosystem services. It concluded that recent trends in ecosystem change threatened human wellbeing due to declining ecosystem services. This bleak prophecy has galvanized conservation organizations, ecologists, and economists to work toward rigorous valuations of ecosystem services at a spatial scale and with a resolution that can inform public policy.The editors have assembled the world's leading scientists in the fields of conservation, policy analysis, and resource economics to provide the most intensive and best technical analyses of ecosystem services to date. A key idea that guides the science is that the modelling and valuation approaches being developed should use data that are readily available around the world. In addition, the book documents a toolbox of ecosystem service mapping, modeling, and valuation models that both TheNature Conservancy and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) are beginning to apply around the world as they transform conservation from a biodiversity only to a people and ecosystem services agenda. The book addresses land, freshwater, and marine systems at a variety of spatial scales and includesdiscussion of how to treat both climate change and cultural values when examining tradeoffs among ecosystem services.
Karp, D. S.; Ziv, G.; Zook, J.; Ehrlich, P. R.; Daily, G. C.. (2011) Resilience and stability in bird guilds across tropical countryside. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108(52) 21134-21139
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The consequences of biodiversity decline in intensified agricultural landscapes hinge on surviving biotic assemblages. Maintaining crucial ecosystem processes and services requires resilience to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. However, the resilience and stability of surviving biological communities remain poorly quantified. From a 10-y dataset comprising 2,880 bird censuses across a land-use gradient, we present three key findings concerning the resilience and stability of Costa Rican bird communities. First, seed dispersing, insect eating, and pollinating guilds were more resilient to low-intensity land use than high-intensity land use. Compared with forest assemblages, bird abundance, species richness, and diversity were all similar to 15% lower in low-intensity land use and similar to 50% lower in high-intensity land use. Second, patterns in species richness generally correlated with patterns in stability: guilds exhibited less variation in abundance in low-intensity land use than in high-intensity land use. Finally, interspecific differences in reaction to environmental change (response diversity) and possibly the portfolio effect, but not negative covariance of species abundances, conferred resilience and stability. These findings point to the changes needed in agricultural production practices in the tropics to better sustain bird communities and, possibly, the functional and service roles that they play.
Keatley, B. E.; Bennett, E. M.; MacDonald, G. K.; Taranu, Z. E.; Gregory-Eaves, I.. (2011) Land-Use Legacies Are Important Determinants of Lake Eutrophication in the Anthropocene. PloS One 6(1)
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Background: A hallmark of the latter half of the 20(th) century is the widespread, rapid intensification of a variety of anthropogenically-driven environmental changes-a "Great Acceleration." While there is evidence of a Great Acceleration in a variety of factors known to be linked to water quality degradation, such as conversion of land to agriculture and intensification of fertilizer use, it is not known whether there has been a similar acceleration of freshwater eutrophication. Methodology/Principal Findings: Using quantitative reconstructions of diatom-inferred total phosphorus (DI-TP) as a proxy for lake trophic state, we synthesized results from 67 paleolimnological studies from across Europe and North America to evaluate whether most lakes showed a pattern of eutrophication with time and whether this trend was accelerated after 1945 CE, indicative of a Great Acceleration. We found that European lakes have experienced widespread increases in DI-TP over the 20(th) century and that 33% of these lakes show patterns consistent with a post-1945 CE Great Acceleration. In North America, the proportion of lakes that increased in DI-TP over time is much lower and only 9% exhibited a Great Acceleration of eutrophication. Conclusions/Significance: The longer and more widespread history of anthropogenic influence in Europe, the leading cause for the relatively pervasive freshwater eutrophication, provides an important cautionary tale; our current path of intensive agriculture around the world may lead to an acceleration of eutrophication in downstream lakes that could take centuries from which to recover.
Keeton, W. S.; Whitman, A. A.; McGee, G. C.; Goodale, C. L.. (2011) Late-Successional Biomass Development in Northern Hardwood-Conifer Forests of the Northeastern United States. Forest Science 57(6) 489-505
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Managing the contribution of forest ecosystems to global carbon cycles requires accurate predictions of biomass dynamics in relation to stand development. Our study evaluated competing hypotheses regarding late-successional biomass dynamics in northern hardwood-conifer forests using a data set spanning the northeastern United States, including 48 mature and 46 old-growth stands. Continuous data on dominant tree ages were available for 29 of these and were used as an indicator of stand development. Aboveground live biomass was significantly (P < 0.001) different between mature (195 Mg/ha) and old-growth (266 Mg/ha) sites. Aboveground biomass was positively (P < 0.001) and logarithmically correlated with dominant tree age; this held for live trees (r(2) = 0.52), standing dead trees (r(2) = 0.36), total trees (r(2) = 0.63), and downed woody debris (r(2) = 0.24). In a Classification and Regression Tree analysis, stand age class was the strongest predictor of biomass, but ecoregion and percent conifer accounted for similar to 25-33% of intraregional variability. Biomass approached maximum values in stands with dominant tree ages of similar to 350-400 years. Our results support the hypothesis that aboveground biomass can accumulate very late into succession in northern hardwood-conifer forests, recognizing that early declines are also possible in secondary forests as reported previously. Empirical studies suggest a high degree of variability in biomass development pathways and these may differ from theoretical predictions. Primary forest systems, especially those prone to partial disturbances, may have different biomass dynamics compared with those of secondary forests. These differences have important implications for both the quantity and temporal dynamics of carbon storage in old-growth and recovering secondary forests. FOR. SCI 57(6):489-505.
Koliba, C. J.; Mills, R. M.; Zia, A.. (2011) Accountability in Governance Networks: An Assessment of Public, Private, and Nonprofit Emergency Management Practices Following Hurricane Katrina. Public Administration Review 71(2) 210-220
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What is the most effective framework for analyzing complex accountability challenges within governing networks? Recognizing the multiscale and intersector (public, private, and nonprofit) characteristics of these networks, an accountability model is advanced organized around democratic (elected representatives, citizens, and the legal system), market (owners and consumers), as well as administrative (bureaucratic, professional and collaborative) relationships. This concept draws from 2005 events following Hurricane Katrina. Multiple failures of governing networks to plan for and respond to Katrina include a breakdown in democratic, market, and administrative accountability as well as a pervasive confusion over trade-offs between accountability types emerging from crises. This essay offers several useful recommendations for emergency management planners as well as for those who teach and research.
Koliba, C.; Campbell, E.; Zia, A.. (2011) Performance Management Systems Of Congestion Management Networks: Evidence from Four Cases. Public Performance & Management Review 34(4) 520-548
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The central research question in this article asks how performance management systems are employed in interorganizational governance networks designed to mitigate traffic congestion. Congestion management networks (CMNs) adopt performance management systems across regionally bound networks of state, regional, and local actors; and within these networks, performance data are often assumed to be directing policy strategy and tool selection. Drawing on existing frameworks for categorizing performance measures and policy strategies used within congestion management networks, the authors present data from case studies of four regional networks. The CMNs studied here were indelibly shaped by the funded mandates of the U.S. Department of Transportation with guidance from the major transportation reauthorization bills since the early 1990s. No uniform performance management system exists in the regional CMSs that were studied. Rather, the CMNs' performance management systems are a construct of discrete and overlapping performance management subsystems. Making comparisons more difficult, CMN performance measures are tied to multiple policy domains (including economic, environmental health, and quality of life). Left unanswered are questions relating to the collection and analysis of performance data in terms of administrative and political drivers and the extent to which congestion management is ultimately the policy frame that drives action in these networks. Some suggestions are offered that may eventually lead to answering some of these questions through further empirical inquiry and modeling.
Koliba, C.; Zia, A.; Lee, B. H. Y.. (2011) Governance Informatics: Managing the Performance of Inter-Organizational Governance Networks. The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector Innovation Journal 16(1)
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This article introduces an informatics approach to managing the performance of inter-organizational governance networks that are designed to create, implement and evaluate public policies and the range of activities undertaken by practicing public administrators. We label this type of information flow process management “governance informatics” and lay out a range of theoretical constructs that may be used to collect, categorize, and analyze performance in inter-organizational governance networks. We discuss how governance informatics may be able to assess and re-design the accountability and transparency regimes of information flows in inter-organizational governance networks. The integration of a governance informatics-driven performance management system into an existing regional transportation planning network is presented as an application of the framework.
Koliba, C.. (2011) Performance Management In Governance Networks-Critical Concepts And Practices. Public Performance & Management Review 34(4) 515-519
Kraft, C. E.; Warren, D. R.; Keeton, W. S.. (2011) Identifying the spatial pattern of wood distribution in northeastern North American streams. Geomorphology 135(1-2) 1-7
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The spatial distribution of instream wood influences important ecological processes but has proven challenging to describe quantitatively. We present a modified version of a previously described metric used to quantify the spatial extent and pattern of instream wood distribution, then apply this approach in evaluating the distribution of wood habitat in forested northeastern North American streams. This revised metric, a 'binned neighbor-K analysis', provides greater resolution in evaluating the presence of aggregated, periodic, or segregated wood distributions in stream ecosystems. We employed this metric in evaluating the distribution of wood within 17 streams in two regions of northeastern North America. Our results indicate that the binned neighbor-K approach more accurately represents the spatial extent at which wood accumulates in streams by identifying recurring intervals in streams within which instream wood is not present and by more accurately quantifying the spatial extent of wood aggregations and periodically repeating occurrences of accumulated wood. We also used this metric to quantify the overall extent of wood 'organization' in streams, which revealed similarities and differences in instream wood distribution patterns in the two regions evaluated. Wood distribution patterns in both study regions were generally consistent with our expectations of increased organization at an intermediate stream size (up to 10 m bankfull width), then in larger streams (>10 m) wood was less organized. These observed patterns result from landscape and ecosystem influences upon wood accumulation and movement in streams. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Kubiszewski, I.; Noordewier, T.; Costanza, R.. (2011) Perceived credibility of Internet encyclopedias. Computers & Education 56(3) 659-667
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A vast amount of information is now available online, produced by a variety of sources with a range of editorial oversight procedures. These range from very centralized information with multiple layers of review, to no oversight at all. Determining which information is credible can pose a real challenge. An experiment was designed to determine whether certain webpage characteristics affect academics' and students' perception of the credibility of information presented in an online article. The experiment looked at five peripheral cues: (1) presence or absence of an identifiable author, (2) presence or absence of references. (3) presence or absence of a biased sponsor, (4) presence or absence of an award, and (5) whether the article is designated as appearing in Encyclopedia Britannica, Wikipedia, or Encyclopedia of Earth. The results indicate that compared to Encyclopedia Britannica, article information appearing in both Encyclopedia of Earth and Wikipedia is perceived as significantly less credible. They also show that the presence of a biased sponsor has a significant negative effect on perceived credibility. (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Kuemmerle, T.; Olofsson, P.; Chaskovskyy, O.; Baumann, M.; Ostapowicz, K.; Woodcock, C. E.; Houghton, R. A.; Hostert, P.; Keeton, W. S.; Radeloff, V. C.. (2011) Post-Soviet farmland abandonment, forest recovery, and carbon sequestration in western Ukraine. Global Change Biology 17(3) 1335-1349
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Land use is a critical factor in the global carbon cycle, but land-use effects on carbon fluxes are poorly understood in many regions. One such region is Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, where land-use intensity decreased substantially after the collapse of socialism, and farmland abandonment and forest expansion have been widespread. Our goal was to examine how land-use trends affected net carbon fluxes in western Ukraine (57 000 km2) and to assess the region's future carbon sequestration potential. Using satellite-based forest disturbance and farmland abandonment rates from 1988 to 2007, historic forest resource statistics, and a carbon bookkeeping model, we reconstructed carbon fluxes from land use in the 20th century and assessed potential future carbon fluxes until 2100 for a range of forest expansion and logging scenarios. Our results suggested that the low-point in forest cover occurred in the 1920s. Forest expansion between 1930 and 1970 turned the region from a carbon source to a sink, despite intensive logging during socialism. The collapse of the Soviet Union created a vast, but currently largely untapped carbon sequestration potential (up to similar to 150 Tg C in our study region). Future forest expansion will likely maintain or even increase the region's current sink strength of 1.48 Tg C yr-1. This may offer substantial opportunities for offsetting industrial carbon emissions and for rural development in regions with otherwise diminishing income opportunities. Throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, millions of hectares of farmland were abandoned after the collapse of socialism; thus similar reforestation opportunities may exist in other parts of this region.
Lewis, D. J.; Plantinga, A. J.; Nelson, E.; Polasky, S.. (2011) The efficiency of voluntary incentive policies for preventing biodiversity loss. Resource and Energy Economics 33(1) 192-211
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Habitat loss is a primary cause of loss of biodiversity but conserving habitat for species presents challenges. Land parcels differ in their ability to produce returns for landowners and landowners may have private information about the value of the land to them. Land parcels also differ in the type and quality of habitat and the spatial pattern of land use across multiple landowners is important for determining the conservation value of parcels. This paper analyzes the relative efficiency of simple voluntary incentive-based policies in achieving biodiversity conservation objectives. This topic is important not just for biodiversity conservation but for any effort to provide a public good requiring coordination across multiple decision-makers who have some degree of private information. We develop a method that integrates spatially explicit data, an econometric model of private land-use decisions, landscape simulations, a biological model of biodiversity as a function of landscape pattern, and an algorithm that estimates the set of efficient solutions. These methods allow us to simulate landowner responses to policies, measure the consequences of these decisions for biodiversity conservation, and compare these outcomes to efficient outcomes to show the relative efficiency of various policy approaches. We find substantial differences in biodiversity conservation scores generated by simple voluntary incentive-based policies and efficient solutions. The performance of incentive-based policies is particularly poor at low levels of the conservation budget where spatial fragmentation of conserved parcels is a large concern. Performance can be improved by encouraging agglomeration of conserved habitat and by incorporating basic biological information, such as that on rare habitats, into the selection criteria. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Lonsdorf, E.; Ricketts, T.; Kremen, C.; Winfree, R.; Greenleaf, S.; Williams, N.. (2011) Crop Pollination. Oxford University Press, New York. Pages 168-187;
MacDonald, G. K.; Bennett, E. M.; Potter, P. A.; Ramankutty, N.. (2011) Agronomic phosphorus imbalances across the world's croplands. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108(7) 3086-3091
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Increased phosphorus (P) fertilizer use and livestock production has fundamentally altered the global P cycle. We calculated spatially explicit P balances for cropland soils at 0.5 degrees resolution based on the principal agronomic P inputs and outputs associated with production of 123 crops globally for the year 2000. Although agronomic inputs of P fertilizer (14.2 Tg of P.y(-1)) and manure (9.6 Tg of P.y(-1)) collectively exceeded P removal by harvested crops (12.3 Tg of P.y(-1)) at the global scale, P deficits covered almost 30% of the global cropland area. There was massive variation in the magnitudes of these P imbalances across most regions, particularly Europe and South America. High P fertilizer application relative to crop P use resulted in a greater proportion of the intense P surpluses (> 13 kg of P.ha(-1).y(-1)) globally than manure P application. High P fertilizer application was also typically associated with areas of relatively low P-use efficiency. Although manure was an important driver of P surpluses in some locations with high livestock densities, P deficits were common in areas producing forage crops used as livestock feed. Resolving agronomic P imbalances may be possible with more efficient use of P fertilizers and more effective recycling of manure P. Such reforms are needed to increase global agricultural productivity while maintaining or improving freshwater quality.
Main-Knorn, M.; Moisen, G. G.; Healey, S. P.; Keeton, W. S.; Freeman, E. A.; Hostert, P.. (2011) Evaluating the Remote Sensing and Inventory-Based Estimation of Biomass in the Western Carpathians. Remote Sensing 3(7) 1427-1446
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Understanding the potential of forest ecosystems as global carbon sinks requires a thorough knowledge of forest carbon dynamics, including both sequestration and fluxes among multiple pools. The accurate quantification of biomass is important to better understand forest productivity and carbon cycling dynamics. Stand-based inventories (SBIs) are widely used for quantifying forest characteristics and for estimating biomass, but information may quickly become outdated in dynamic forest environments. Satellite remote sensing may provide a supplement or substitute. We tested the accuracy of aboveground biomass estimates modeled from a combination of Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) imagery and topographic data, as well as SBI-derived variables in a Picea abies forest in the Western Carpathian Mountains. We employed Random Forests for non-parametric, regression tree-based modeling. Results indicated a difference in the importance of SBI-based and remote sensing-based predictors when estimating aboveground biomass. The most accurate models for biomass prediction ranged from a correlation coefficient of 0.52 for the TM- and topography-based model, to 0.98 for the inventory-based model. While Landsat-based biomass estimates were measurably less accurate than those derived from SBI, adding tree height or stand-volume as a field-based predictor to TM and topography-based models increased performance to 0.36 and 0.86, respectively. Our results illustrate the potential of spectral data to reveal spatial details in stand structure and ecological complexity.
Matson, P.A.; Falcon, W.; Dean, A.; Naylor, R.; Ortiz-Monasterio, I.; Lobell, D.; Harrison, J.; Ahrens, T.; Beman, M.; Addams, L.. (2011) Seeds of Sustainability: Lessons from the Birthplace of the Green Revolution in Agriculture. Island Press, Washington, DC.
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Seeds of Sustainability is a groundbreaking analysis of agricultural development and transitions toward more sustainable management in one region. An invaluable resource for researchers, policymakers, and students alike, it examines new approaches to make agricultural landscapes healthier for both the environment and people. The Yaqui Valley is the birthplace of the Green Revolution and one of the most intensive agricultural regions of the world, using irrigation, fertilizers, and other technologies to produce some of the highest yields of wheat anywhere. It also faces resource limitations, threats to human health, and rapidly changing economic conditions. In short, the Yaqui Valley represents the challenge of modern agriculture: how to maintain livelihoods and increase food production while protecting the environment. Renowned scientist Pamela Matson and colleagues from leading institutions in the U.S. and Mexico spent fifteen years in the Yaqui Valley in Sonora, Mexico addressing this challenge. Seeds of Sustainability represents the culmination of their research, providing unparalleled information about the causes and consequences of current agricultural methods. Even more importantly, it shows how knowledge can translate into better practices, not just in the Yaqui Valley, but throughout the world.
Mendenhall, C. D.; Sekercioglu, C. H.; Brenes, F. O.; Ehrlich, P. R.; Daily, G. C.. (2011) Predictive model for sustaining biodiversity in tropical countryside. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108(39) 16313-16316
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Growing demand for food, fuel, and fiber is driving the intensification and expansion of agricultural land through a corresponding displacement of native woodland, savanna, and shrubland. In the wake of this displacement, it is clear that farmland can support biodiversity through preservation of important ecosystem elements at a fine scale. However, how much biodiversity can be sustained and with what tradeoffs for production are open questions. Using a well-studied tropical ecosystem in Costa Rica, we develop an empirically based model for quantifying the "wildlife-friendliness" of farmland for native birds. Some 80% of the 166 mist-netted species depend on fine-scale countryside forest elements (<= 60-m-wide clusters of trees, typically of variable length and width) that weave through farmland along hilltops, valleys, rivers, roads, and property borders. Our model predicts with similar to 75% accuracy the bird community composition of any part of the landscape. We find conservation value in small (<= 20 m wide) clusters of trees and somewhat larger (<= 60 m wide) forest remnants to provide substantial support for biodiversity beyond the borders of tropical forest reserves. Within the study area, forest elements on farms nearly double the effective size of the local forest reserve, providing seminatural habitats for bird species typically associated with the forest. Our findings provide a basis for estimating and sustaining biodiversity in farming systems through managing fine-scale ecosystem elements and, more broadly, informing ecosystem service analyses, biodiversity action plans, and regional land use strategies.
Morse-Jones, S.; Luisetti, T.; Turner, R. K.; Fisher, B.. (2011) Ecosystem valuation: some principles and a partial application. Environmetrics; Environmetrics 22(5) 675-685
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Understanding the economic value of nature and the services it provides to humanity has become increasingly important for local, national and global policy, and decision-making. However, problems arise in that it is difficult to obtain meaningful values for goods and services that ecosystems provide which have no formal market, or are characteristically intangible. Additional problems occur when economic methods are applied inappropriately and when the importance of ecosystem maintenance for human welfare is underestimated. In this article, we provide clarification to practitioners on important considerations in ecosystem services valuation. We first review and adapt definitions of ecosystem services in order to make an operational link to valuation methods. We make a distinction between intermediate and final ecosystem services and also identify non-monetary ways to incorporate regulatory and support services into decision-making. We then discuss the spatially explicit nature of ecosystem service provision and benefits capture, and highlight the issues surrounding the valuing of marginal changes, nonlinearities in service benefits, and the significance of non-convexities (threshold effects). Finally, we argue for a sequential decision support system that can lead to a more integrated and rigorous approach to ecosystem valuation and illustrate some of its features in a coastal ecosystem management context. Copyright (C) 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Naidoo, R.; Stuart-Hill, G.; Weaver, L. C.; Tagg, J.; Davis, A.; Davidson, A.. (2011) Effect of Diversity of Large Wildlife Species on Financial Benefits to Local Communities in Northwest Namibia. Environmental & Resource Economics 48(2) 321-335
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There exist few quantitative assessments of the relationship between biodiversity per se and economic benefits at scales that are relevant for conservation. Similarly, the merits of Community-Based Natural Resource Management programs for both wildlife and people are contested. Here, we harness two databases, on wildlife surveys and financial benefits, to address these issues for communal conservancies in northwest Namibia. We use ordination methods to characterize the diversity and stability of large wildlife assemblages on conservancies, and demonstrate that diversity (but not stability) is an important explanator of conservancy financial benefits. Our results indicate that for this area of Namibia, biodiversity, as represented by large wildlife assemblages, has an important, positive effect on the tangible financial benefits that people derive from conservation programs.
Naidoo, R.; Weaver, L. C.; De Longcamp, M.; Du Plessis, P.. (2011) Namibia's community-based natural resource management programme: an unrecognized payments for ecosystem services scheme. Environmental Conservation 38(4) 445-453
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Payments for ecosystem services (PES) programmes are widely recognized as novel and innovative mechanisms that seek to promote the conservation of biodiversity while simultaneously improving human livelihoods. A number of national-level PES programmes have made significant contributions to advancing knowledge of these mechanisms. Namibia's community-based natural resources management (CBNRM) programme effectively operates as one such large-scale PES programme, making it one of the world's longest-standing schemes. In this review, Namibia's CBNRM scheme is compared and contrasted with the formal definition of a PES programme, some of the outcomes that the programme has produced illustrated by examples, and the challenges that must still be faced identified. Most of the requirements for a PES programme are present in Namibia's CBNRM programme, and when it does not meet these criteria, it is not exceptional. Notwithstanding the increases in wildlife populations and financial benefits that have been associated with the programme, a major challenge going forward revolves around diversifying the number of services produced. Namibia's CBNRM programme has much to contribute to the design of large-scale PES schemes.
Naidoo, R.; Weaver, L. C.; Stuart-Hill, G.; Tagg, J.. (2011) Effect of biodiversity on economic benefits from communal lands in Namibia. Journal of Applied Ecology 48(2) 310-316
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P>1. The conservation of biodiversity is increasingly justified by claims that human livelihoods are improved through its protection. Nature's ecosystem services do indeed benefit people, but how necessary is a diversity of living things to provide these services? Most studies cited as addressing this question in natural systems do not actually quantify relevant metrics (e.g. species richness) and assess their relationship with services and/or economic benefits. On the other hand, numerous small-scale experimental studies have demonstrated that more diverse systems do indeed tend to function better, but the relevance of these results to much larger, more complex socio-ecological systems is unclear. 2. Here, we investigate how biodiversity affects the gains from two ecosystem services, trophy hunting and ecotourism, in communal conservancies of Namibia, an arid country in southern Africa. We used statistical methods to explicitly control for confounding variables so that the effect of biodiversity per se on financial benefits to local communities was isolated. 3. Our results show that biodiversity exerts a positive effect on the economic benefits generated from these two ecosystem services produced on communal lands in Namibia. The richness of large wildlife species is positively related to income derived from ecotourism and trophy hunting after statistically controlling for potentially confounding variables such as a conservancy's geographic characteristics and human population size. 4. Synthesis and applications. Our results demonstrate that the conservation of biodiversity can indeed generate increased services from real-world ecosystems, in this case for the benefit of impoverished rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa. More such studies are needed from various ecological and socioeconomic contexts in order to boost the evidence base for positive effects of biodiversity on ecosystem services.
Negra, C.; Wollenberg, E.. (2011) LESSONS FROM REDD+ FOR AGRICULTURE. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, Copenhagen, Denmark. Pages 113-122;
Pearce, A. R.; Rizzo, D. M.; Mouser, P. J.. (2011) Subsurface characterization of groundwater contaminated by landfill leachate using microbial community profile data and a nonparametric decision-making process. Water Resources Research 47
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Microbial biodiversity in groundwater and soil presents a unique opportunity for improving characterization and monitoring at sites with multiple contaminants, yet few computational methods use or incorporate these data because of their high dimensionality and variability. We present a systematic, nonparametric decision-making methodology to help characterize a water quality gradient in leachate-contaminated groundwater using only microbiological data for input. The data-driven methodology is based on clustering a set of molecular genetic-based microbial community profiles. Microbes were sampled from groundwater monitoring wells located within and around an aquifer contaminated with landfill leachate. We modified a self-organizing map (SOM) to weight the input variables by their relative importance and provide statistical guidance for classifying sample similarities. The methodology includes the following steps: (1) preprocessing the microbial data into a smaller number of independent variables using principal component analysis, (2) clustering the resulting principal component (PC) scores using a modified SOM capable of weighting the input PC scores by the percent variance explained by each score, and (3) using a nonparametric statistic to guide selection of appropriate groupings for management purposes. In this landfill leachate application, the weighted SOM assembles the microbial community data from monitoring wells into groupings believed to represent a gradient of site contamination that could aid in characterization and long-term monitoring decisions. Groupings based solely on microbial classifications are consistent with classifications of water quality from hydrochemical information. These microbial community profile data and improved decision-making strategy compliment traditional chemical groundwater analyses for delineating spatial zones of groundwater contamination.
Pfeifer, L. R.; Bennett, E. M.. (2011) Environmental and social predictors of phosphorus in urban streams on the Island of Montreal, Quebec. Urban Ecosystems 14(3) 485-499
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Researchers have identified the importance of social characteristics for understanding ecological patterns in cities but the use of these characteristics in urban stream research has yet to be fully explored. Urban development is currently the second-largest cause of stream impairment in North America due in part to nutrient loading. However, research into factors that influence nutrient concentrations in urban streams is lacking. We sampled seven streams on the island of Montr,al daily to measure phosphorus (P) concentration and P flux in each stream. We then compared stream P concentration and flux to several watershed characteristics commonly used to predict stream nutrients (e.g., watershed imperviousness, land use, existence of a riparian buffer) as well as several socio-economic characteristics of the watersheds (e.g., average home value, median household income). Overall, impervious surface cover and measures of land use were most effective at explaining the variation in P concentration and P flux in streams on the island of Montr,al, while the riparian buffer and socio-economic variables were less effective. However, dollars spent on fertilizer per hectare of residential land and percent residential land use became important predictors of stream P concentration when impervious surface cover was removed from the regression model. This suggests that after accounting for the impact of physical watershed characteristics, social factors may be important predictors of urban stream P concentration. The results of our study suggest that more research is needed to determine the role that socio-economic variables play with respect to urban stream P.
Pickett, S. T. A.; Cadenasso, M. L.; Grove, J. M.; Boone, Christopher G.; Groffman, Peter M.; Irwin, Elena; Kaushal, Sujay S.; Marshall, Victoria; McGrath, Brian P.; Nilon, C. H.; Pouyat, R. V.; Szlavecz, Katalin; Troy, Austin; Warren, Paige. (2011) Urban ecological systems: Scientific foundations and a decade of progress. Journal of Environmental Management 92(3) 331-362
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Urban ecological studies, including focus on cities, suburbs, and exurbs, while having deep roots in the early to mid 20th century, have burgeoned in the last several decades. We use the state factor approach to highlight the role of important aspects of climate, substrate, organisms, relief, and time in differentiating urban from non-urban areas, and for determining heterogeneity within spatially extensive metropolitan areas. In addition to reviewing key findings relevant to each state factor, we note the emergence of tentative "urban syndromes" concerning soils, streams, wildlife and plants, and homogenization of certain ecosystem functions, such as soil organic carbon dynamics. We note the utility of the ecosystem approach, the human ecosystem framework, and watersheds as integrative tools to tie information about multiple state factors together. The organismal component of urban complexes includes the social organization of the human population, and we review key modes by which human populations within urban areas are differentiated, and how such differentiation affects environmentally relevant actions. Emerging syntheses in land change science and ecological urban design are also summarized. The multifaceted frameworks and the growing urban knowledge base do however identify some pressing research needs. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Polasky, S.; Caldarone, G.; Duarte, T. K.; Goldstein, J.; Hannahs, N.; Ricketts, T.; Tallis, H.. (2011) Putting Ecosystem Service Models to Work: Conservation, Management and Tradeoffs. Oxford University Press, New York. Pages 249-263;
Polasky, S.; Carpenter, S. R.; Folke, C.; Keeler, B.. (2011) Decision-making under great uncertainty: environmental management in an era of global change. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 26(8) 398-404
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Global change issues are complex and the consequences of decisions are often highly uncertain. The large spatial and temporal scales and stakes involved make it important to take account of present and potential consequences in decision-making. Standard approaches to decision-making under uncertainty require information about the likelihood of alternative states, how states and actions combine to form outcomes and the net benefits of different outcomes. For global change issues, however, the set of potential states is often unknown, much less the probabilities, effect of actions or their net benefits. Decision theory, thresholds, scenarios and resilience thinking can expand awareness of the potential states and outcomes, as well as of the probabilities and consequences of outcomes under alternative decisions.
Polasky, S.; Nelson, E.; Pennington, D.; Johnson, K. A.. (2011) The Impact of Land-Use Change on Ecosystem Services, Biodiversity and Returns to Landowners: A Case Study in the State of Minnesota. Environmental & Resource Economics 48(2) 219-242
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Land-use change has a significant impact on the world's ecosystems. Changes in the extent and composition of forests, grasslands, wetlands and other ecosystems have large impacts on the provision of ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation and returns to landowners. While the change in private returns to landowners due to land-use change can often be measured, changes in the supply and value of ecosystem services and the provision of biodiversity conservation have been harder to quantify. In this paper we use a spatially explicit integrated modeling tool (InVEST) to quantify the changes in ecosystem services, habitat for biodiversity, and returns to landowners from land-use change in Minnesota from 1992 to 2001. We evaluate the impact of actual land-use change and a suite of alternative land-use change scenarios. We find a lack of concordance in the ranking of baseline and alternative land-use scenarios in terms of generation of private returns to landowners and net social benefits (private returns plus ecosystem service value). Returns to landowners are highest in a scenario with large-scale agricultural expansion. This scenario, however, generated the lowest net social benefits across all scenarios considered because of large losses in stored carbon and negative impacts on water quality. Further, this scenario resulted in the largest decline in habitat quality for general terrestrial biodiversity and forest songbirds. Our results illustrate the importance of taking ecosystem services into account in land-use and land-management decision-making and linking such decisions to incentives that accurately reflect social returns.
Polasky, S.; de Zeeuw, A.; Wagener, F.. (2011) Optimal management with potential regime shifts. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 62(2) 229-240
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We analyze how the threat of a potential future regime shift affects optimal management. We use a simple general growth model to analyze four cases that involve combinations of stock collapse versus changes in system dynamics, and exogenous versus endogenous probabilities of regime shift. Prior work in economics has focused on stock collapse with endogenous probabilities and reaches ambiguous conclusions on whether the potential for regime shift will increase or decrease intensity of resource use and level of resource stock. We show that all other cases yield unambiguous results. In particular, with endogenous probability of regime shift that affects system dynamics the potential for regime shift causes optimal management to become precautionary in the sense of maintaining higher resource stock levels. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Pompa, S.; Ehrlich, P. R.; Ceballos, G.. (2011) Global distribution and conservation of marine mammals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108(33) 13600-13605
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We identified 20 global key conservation sites for all marine (123) and freshwater (6) mammal species based on their geographic ranges. We created geographic range maps for all 129 species and a Geographic Information System database for a 46,184 1 x 1 grid-cells, similar to 10,000-km(2). Patterns of species richness, endemism, and risk were variable among all species and species groups. Interestingly, marine mammal species richness was correlated strongly with areas of human impact across the oceans. Key conservation sites in the global geographic grid were determined either by their species richness or by their irreplaceability or uniqueness, because of the presence of endemic species. Nine key conservation sites, comprising the 2.5% of the grid cells with the highest species richness, were found, mostly in temperate latitudes, and hold 84% of marine mammal species. In addition, we identified 11 irreplaceable key conservation sites, six of which were found in freshwater bodies and five in marine regions. These key conservation sites represent critical areas of conservation value at a global level and can serve as a first step for adopting global strategies with explicit geographic conservation targets for Marine Protected Areas.
Posner, S. M.; Costanza, R.. (2011) A summary of ISEW and GPI studies at multiple scales and new estimates for Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and the State of Maryland. Ecological Economics 70(11) 1972-1980
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This paper (1) summarizes a number of previous Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) and Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) studies at various scales; (2) estimates the GPI for Baltimore, Baltimore County, and the State of Maryland; and (3) compares these results with previous and parallel studies. GPI incorporates environmental, social, and economic information into a single metric to represent economic well-being. At all three scales, GPI was found to grow at a slower rate than the conventional economic measure of gross domestic product (GDP), while at the US national scale GPI has been relatively flat since 1975. State-level results match an independently calculated Maryland GPI, confirming that GPI methods are robust and reproducible. In addition, the State of Maryland has recently made GPI one of their official State statistics, reported annually. State-level GPI results were also compared with studies for the states of Ohio and Vermont to explore regional differences. We recommend that the GPI research community develop consensus on a standardized measurement approach and seek common ground for advancing the use of improved indicators and accounting systems in official policy settings. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Pringle, J. M.; Blakeslee, A. M. H.; Byers, J. E.; Roman, J.. (2011) Asymmetric dispersal allows an upstream region to control population structure throughout a species’ range. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108(37) 15288-15293
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In a single well-mixed population, equally abundant neutral alleles are equally likely to persist. However, in spatially complex populations structured by an asymmetric dispersal mechanism, such as a coastal population where larvae are predominantly moved downstream by currents, the eventual frequency of neutral haplotypes will depend on their initial spatial location. In our study of the progression of two spatially separate, genetically distinct introductions of the European green crab (Carcinus maenas) along the coast of eastern North America, we captured this process in action. We documented the shift of the genetic cline in this species over 8 y, and here we detail how the upstream haplotypes are beginning to dominate the system. This quantification of an evolving genetic boundary in a coastal system demonstrates that novel genetic alleles or haplotypes that arise or are introduced into upstream retention zones (regions whose export of larvae is not balanced by import from elsewhere) will increase in frequency in the entire system. This phenomenon should be widespread when there is asymmetrical dispersal, in the oceans or on land, suggesting that the upstream edge of a species’ range can influence genetic diversity throughout its distribution. Efforts to protect the upstream edge of an asymmetrically dispersing species’ range are vital to conserving genetic diversity in the species.
Pucko, Carolyn; Beckage, Brian; Perkins, Timothy; Keeton, William S.. (2011) Species shifts in response to climate change: Individual or shared responses?1,2. The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society; Torrey Botanical Society, New York. 138(2) 156-176
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Individual species are expected to shift their distributions in response to global climate change. Species within existing communities may respond to climate change individualistically, resulting in the formation of novel communities, or may instead shift as intact communities. We examined whether montane plant communities in the northeastern United States have shifted their elevational range as intact assemblages or individualistically in response to recent regional climatic and environmental change. We used non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) to examine changes in plant community composition and species distributions using vegetation surveys repeated five times between 1964 and 2006 across an elevational gradient (549–1158 m) on Camels Hump Mountain, Vermont, USA, in conjunction with an analysis of local climate change. We found evidence that species elevational distributions and community compositions have shifted in response to a 0.49 °C per decade warming. These species responses were complex and largely individualistic at some elevations, while at other elevations species in a given community tended to respond similarly. The magnitude of community compositional change was largely dependent on location with respect to the ecotone between northern hardwood and boreal forests. While climate change likely contributed to the large shifts in species within NMDS space, these shifts may also be a response to invasive earthworms at low elevations and to prolonged exposure to acid deposition at high elevations. Though we found evidence of shared species responses within communities, future species responses may become increasingly divergent as the magnitude of climate change increases causing species-specific environmental thresholds to be reached and as the synergistic effects of multiple anthropogenic perturbations rise.
Roman, J.. (2011) Listed : Dispatches from America's Endangered Species Act. Harvard University Press , Cambridge, MA. Pages 360;
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The first listed species to make headlines after the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973 was the snail darter, a three-inch fish that stood in the way of a massive dam on the Little Tennessee River. When the Supreme Court sided with the darter, Congress changed the rules. The dam was built, the river stopped flowing, and the snail darter went extinct on the Little Tennessee, though it survived in other waterways. A young Al Gore voted for the dam; freshman congressman Newt Gingrich voted for the fish. A lot has changed since the 1970s, and Joe Roman helps us understand why we should all be happy that this sweeping law is alive and well today. More than a general history of endangered species protection, Listed is a tale of threatened species in the wild—from the whooping crane and North Atlantic right whale to the purple bankclimber, a freshwater mussel tangled up in a water war with Atlanta—and the people working to save them. Employing methods from the new field of ecological economics, Roman challenges the widely held belief that protecting biodiversity is too costly. And with engaging directness, he explains how preserving biodiversity can help economies and communities thrive. Above all, he shows why the extinction of species matters to us personally—to our health and safety, our prosperity, and our joy in nature.
Roman, J.. (2011) Why Whales? On learning from nature and the Endangered Species Act. (May-June 2011) 41-44
Silvestrini, R. A.; Soares, B. S.; Nepstad, D.; Coe, M.; Rodrigues, H.; Assuncao, R.. (2011) Simulating fire regimes in the Amazon in response to climate change and deforestation. Ecological Applications 21(5) 1573-1590
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Fires in tropical forests release globally significant amounts of carbon to the atmosphere and may increase in importance as a result of climate change. Despite the striking impacts of fire on tropical ecosystems, the paucity of robust spatial models of forest fire still hampers our ability to simulate tropical forest fire regimes today and in the future. Here we present a probabilistic model of human-induced fire occurrence for the Amazon that integrates the effects of a series of anthropogenic factors with climatic conditions described by vapor pressure deficit. The model was calibrated using NOAA-12 night satellite hot pixels for 2003 and validated for the years 2002, 2004, and 2005. Assessment of the fire risk map yielded fitness values >85% for all months from 2002 to 2005. Simulated fires exhibited high overlap with NOAA-12 hot pixels regarding both spatial and temporal distributions, showing a spatial fit of 50% within a radius of 11 km and a maximum yearly frequency deviation of 15%. We applied this model to simulate fire regimes in the Amazon until 2050 using IPCC's A2 scenario climate data from the Hadley Centre model and a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario of deforestation and road expansion from SimAmazonia. Results show that the combination of these scenarios may double forest fire occurrence outside protected areas (PAs) in years of extreme drought, expanding the risk of fire even to the northwestern Amazon by midcentury. In particular, forest fires may increase substantially across southern and southwestern Amazon, especially along the highways slated for paving and in agricultural zones. Committed emissions from Amazon forest fires and deforestation under a scenario of global warming and uncurbed deforestation may amount to 21 +/- 4 Pg of carbon by 2050. BAU deforestation may increase fires occurrence outside PAs by 19% over the next four decades, while climate change alone may account for a 12% increase. In turn, the combination of climate change and deforestation would boost fire occurrence outside PAs by half during this period. Our modeling results, therefore, confirm the synergy between the two Ds of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries).
Simberloff, D.. (2011) Non-natives: 141 scientists object. Nature 475(7354) 36
Steffen, Will; Rockström, Johan; Costanza, Robert. (2011) How Defining Planetary Boundaries Can Transform Our Approach to Growth. Solutions 2(3) -
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Our planet’s ability to provide an accommodating environment for humanity is being challenged by our own activities. The environment—our life-support system—is changing rapidly from the stable Holocene state of the last 12,000 years, during which we developed agriculture, villages, cities, and contemporary civilizations, to an unknown future state of significantly different conditions. One way to address this challenge is to determine “safe boundaries” based on fundamental characteristics of our planet and to operate within them. By “boundary,” we mean a specific point related to a global-scale environmental process beyond which humanity should not go. Identifying our planet’s intrinsic, nonnegotiable limits is not easy, but here we specify nine areas that are most in need of well-defined planetary boundaries, and we explain the steps needed to begin defining and living within them.
Stoeckl, N.; Hicks, C. C.; Mills, M.; Fabricius, K.; Esparon, M.; Kroon, F.; Kaur, K.; Costanza, R.. (2011) The economic value of ecosystem services in the Great Barrier Reef: our state of knowledge. 1219 113-133
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This article reviews literature relating to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and aims to assess the current state of knowledge about (1) the "value" of ecosystem services (ES) provided by the GBR and (2) the way in which activities that are carried out in regions adjacent to the GBR affect those values. It finds that most GBR valuation studies have concentrated on a narrow range of ES (e.g., tourism and fishing) and that little is known about other ES or about the social, temporal, and spatial distribution of those services. Just as the reef provides ES to humans and to other ecosystems, so too does the reef receive a variety of ES from adjoining systems (e.g., mangroves). Yet, despite the evidence that the reef's ability to provide ES has been eroded because of recent changes to adjoining ecosystems, little is known about the value of the ES provided by adjoining systems or about the value of recent changes. These information gaps may lead to suboptimal allocations of resource use within multiple realms.
Surdi, J.; Schmitt F., A.; Farley, J.; Alvez, J.; Sa Tschumi, H.. (2011) The flow of ecosystem services in family farming of Encosta da Serra Catarinense. Cadernos de Agroecologia 6(2)
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Considering the predominance of family farming in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil, a more sustainable livestock production has proved crucial. The objective of this study was to understand dairy farmer’s awareness about ecosystem services. Sixty dairy farmers working under the Voisin system were randomly selected through structured interviews. Results revealed that farmers perceived that soils were more structured, moist and covered under Voisin system. In addition, the annual silage production and supplementation decreased due to the improvement of naturalized pasture. Farmers also observed an increase in carrying capacity. After the adoption of the Voisin system, farmers began to deliver water through water-tanks in the paddocks, decreasing animal access to water sources. Thus, it was observed that pasture-based milk production improved the farm environment, causing an apparent increase in the flow of services of this pastoral agroecosystems.
Swetnam, R. D.; Fisher, B.; Mbilinyi, B. P.; Munishi, P. K. T.; Willcock, S.; Ricketts, T.; Mwakalila, S.; Balmford, A.; Burgess, N. D.; Marshall, A. R.; Lewis, S. L.. (2011) Mapping socio-economic scenarios of land cover change: A GIS method to enable ecosystem service modelling. Journal of Environmental Management 92(3) 563-574
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We present a GIS method to interpret qualitatively expressed socio-economic scenarios in quantitative map-based terms. (i) We built scenarios using local stakeholders and experts to define how major land cover classes may change under different sets of drivers; (ii) we formalised these as spatially explicit rules, for example agriculture can only occur on certain soil types; (iii) we created a future land cover map which can then be used to model ecosystem services. We illustrate this for carbon storage in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania using two scenarios: the first based on sustainable development, the second based on 'business as usual' with continued forest woodland degradation and poor protection of existing forest reserves. Between 2000 and 2025 4% of carbon stocks were lost under the first scenario compared to a loss of 41% of carbon stocks under the second scenario. Quantifying the impacts of differing future scenarios using the method we document here will be important if payments for ecosystem services are to be used to change policy in order to maintain critical ecosystem services. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Van den Belt, M.; Forgie, V.; Farley, J.. (2011) Valuation of Coastal Ecosystem Services.. Academic Press, Waltham. 12 35-54
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Valuation is about tradeoffs between alternative options, regardless of whether these tradeoffs are consciously made or not. Natural capital contributes substantially to societal and individual well-being by sustaining economies, generating life support functions and innumerable amenities, and assimilating waste. Societies that rely on the market system for resource allocation generally underestimate the contribution of natural capital to human welfare. Valuation exercises are about making these contributions more visible and thereby generate a better understanding of the way we assess, negotiate, measure, and use tradeoffs. Short-term, enduring, localized, individual tradeoffs are more easily perceived and estimated, and markets in many cases automatically calculate a monetary value or the market system can be simulated to provide a value. Tradeoffs and, therefore, valuation of more systemic ecosystem services, provided free by natural capital, require capturing long-term, risky and uncertain, global, and co-evolving community-oriented perceptions, and are much more difficult to make explicit. This chapter aims to cover a valuation continuum and first presents the approaches that fall in the realm of neoclassical economics valuation tools by providing examples of valuation from an ecological economics perspective.
Van der Leeuw, S.; Costanza, R.; Aulenbach, S.; Brewer, S.; Burek, M.; Cornell, S.; Crumley, C.; Dearing, J. A.; Downy, C.; Graumlich, L. J.; Heckbert, S.; Hegmon, M.; Hibbard, K.; Jackson, S. T.; Kubiszewski, I.; Sinclair, P.; Sorlin, S.; Steffen, W.. (2011) Toward an Integrated History to Guide the Future. Ecology and Society 16(4)
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Many contemporary societal challenges manifest themselves in the domain of human-environment interactions. There is a growing recognition that responses to these challenges formulated within current disciplinary boundaries, in isolation from their wider contexts, cannot adequately address them. Here, we outline the need for an integrated, transdisciplinary synthesis that allows for a holistic approach, and, above all, a much longer time perspective. We outline both the need for and the fundamental characteristics of what we call "integrated history." This approach promises to yield new understandings of the relationship between the past, present, and possible futures of our integrated human-environment system. We recommend a unique new focus of our historical efforts on the future, rather than the past, concentrated on learning about future possibilities from history. A growing worldwide community of transdisciplinary scholars is forming around building this Integrated History and future of People on Earth (IHOPE). Building integrated models of past human societies and their interactions with their environments yields new insights into those interactions and can help to create a more sustainable and desirable future. The activity has become a major focus within the global change community.
Vermeulen, S. J.; Wollenberg, E. K.. (2011) Benefits of tropical crops for food security. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108(9) E31-E30; author reply E31
Villa, Ferdinando; Bagstad, Ken; Johnson, Gary; Voigt, Brian. (2011) Scientific instruments for climate change adaptation: estimating and optimizing the efficiency of ecosystem service provision. Economía Agraria y Recursos Naturales (Agricultural and Resource Economics) 11(1) 83-98
Zia, A.; Hirsch, P.; Songorwa, A.; Mutekanga, D. R.; O'Connor, S.; McShane, T.; Brosius, P.; Norton, B.. (2011) Cross-Scale Value Trade-Offs in Managing Social-Ecological Systems: The Politics of Scale in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania. Ecology and Society 16(4)
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Management of social-ecological systems takes place amidst complex governance processes and cross-scale institutional arrangements that are mediated through politics of scale. Each management scenario generates distinct cross-scale trade-offs in the distribution of pluralistic values. This study explores the hypothesis that conservation-oriented management scenarios generate higher value for international and national scale social organizations, whereas mixed or more balanced management scenarios generate higher value for local scale social organizations. This hypothesis is explored in the management context of Ruaha National Park (RNP), Tanzania, especially the 2006 expansion of RNP that led to the eviction of many pastoralists and farmers. Five management scenarios for RNP, i.e., national park, game reserve, game control area, multiple use area, and open area, are evaluated in a multicriteria decision analytical framework on six valuation criteria: economic welfare; good governance; socio-cultural values; social equity; ecosystem services; and biodiversity protection; and at three spatial scales: local, national, and international. Based upon this evaluation, we discuss the politics of scale that ensue from the implementation of management alternatives with different mixes of conservation and development goals in social-ecological systems.
Zia, A.; Koliba, C.. (2011) Accountable Climate Governance: Dilemmas of Performance Management across Complex Governance Networks. Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis 13(5) 479-497
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How can accountability be institutionalized across complex governance networks that are dealing with the transboundary pollution problem of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions at multiple spatial, temporal and social scales? To address this question, we propose an accountability framework that enables comparison of the democratic, market and administrative anchorage of actor accountability within and across governance networks. A comparative analysis of performance measures in a sample of climate governance networks is undertaken. This comparative analysis identifies four critical performance management dilemmas in the areas of strategy, uncertain science, integration of multiple scales, and monitoring and verification of performance measures.
2010
Adams, V. M.; Pressey, R. L.; Naidoo, R.. (2010) Opportunity costs: Who really pays for conservation?. Biological Conservation 143(2) 439-448
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Designing conservation areas entails costs that, if considered explicitly, can be minimized while still achieving conservation targets. Here we focus on opportunity costs which measure forgone benefits from alternative land uses. Conservation planning studies often use partial estimates of costs, but the extent to which these result in actual efficiencies has not been demonstrated. Our study partitions land costs into three distinct opportunity costs to smallholder agriculture, soybean agriculture and ranching. We demonstrate that opportunity costs to single stakeholder groups can be inaccurate measures of true opportunity costs and can inadvertently shift conservation costs to affect groups of stakeholders disproportionately. Additionally, we examine how spatial correlations between costs as well as target size affect the performance of opportunity costs to single stakeholder groups as surrogate measures of true opportunity costs. We conclude that planning with opportunity costs to single stakeholder groups can result in cost burdens to other groups that could undermine the long-term success of conservation. Thus, an understanding of the spatial distributions of opportunity costs that are disaggregated to groups of stakeholders is necessary to make informed decisions about priority conservation areas. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Ahrends, A.; Burgess, N. D.; Milledge, S. A. H.; Bulling, M. T.; Fisher, B.; Smart, J. C. R.; Clarke, G. P.; Mhoro, B. E.; Lewis, S. L.. (2010) Predictable waves of sequential forest degradation and biodiversity loss spreading from an African city. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107(33) 14556-14561
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Tropical forest degradation emits carbon at a rate of similar to 0.5 Pg.y(-1), reduces biodiversity, and facilitates forest clearance. Understanding degradation drivers and patterns is therefore crucial to managing forests to mitigate climate change and reduce biodiversity loss. Putative patterns of degradation affecting forest stocks, carbon, and biodiversity have variously been described previously, but these have not been quantitatively assessed together or tested systematically. Economic theory predicts a systematic allocation of land to its highest use value in response to distance from centers of demand. We tested this theory to see if forest exploitation would expand through time and space as concentric waves, with each wave targeting lower value products. We used forest data along a transect from 10 to 220 km from Dar es Salaam (DES), Tanzania, collected at two points in time (1991 and 2005). Our predictions were confirmed: high-value logging expanded 9 km.y(-1), and an inner wave of lower value charcoal production 2 km.y(-1). This resource utilization is shown to reduce the public goods of carbon storage and species richness, which significantly increased with each kilometer from DES [carbon, 0.2 Mg.ha(-1); 0.1 species per sample area (0.4 ha)]. Our study suggests that tropical forest degradation can be modeled and predicted, with its attendant loss of some public goods. In sub-Saharan Africa, an area experiencing the highest rate of urban migration worldwide, coupled with a high dependence on forest based resources, predicting the spatiotemporal patterns of degradation can inform policies designed to extract resources without unsustainably reducing carbon storage and biodiversity.
Ahrens, T. D.; Lobell, D. B.; Ortiz-Monasterio, J. I.; Li, Y.; Matson, P. A.. (2010) Narrowing the agronomic yield gap with improved nitrogen use efficiency: a modeling approach. Ecological Applications 20(1) 91-100
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Improving nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in the major cereals is critical for more sustainable nitrogen use in high-input agriculture, but our understanding of the potential for NUE improvement is limited by a paucity of reliable on-farm measurements. Limited on-farm data suggest that agronomic NUE (AE(N)) is lower and more variable than data from trials conducted at research stations, on which much of our understanding of AE(N) has been built. The purpose of this study was to determine the magnitude and causes of variability in AE(N) across an agricultural region, which we refer to as the achievement distribution of AE(N). distribution of simulated AE(N) in 80 farmers' fields in an irrigated wheat systems in the Yaqui Valley, Mexico, was compared with trials at a local research center (International Wheat and Maize Improvement Center; CIMMYT). An agroecosystem simulation model WNMM was used to understand factors controlling yield, AE(N), gaseous N emissions, and nitrate leaching in the region. Simulated AE(N) in the Yaqui Valley was highly variable, and mean on-farm AE(N) was 44% lower than trials with similar fertilization rates at CIMMYT. Variability in residual N supply was the most important factor determining simulated AE(N). Better split applications of N fertilizer led to almost a doubling of AE(N) increased profit, and reduced N pollution, and even larger improvements were possible with technologies that allow for direct measurement of soil N supply and plant N demand, such as site-specific nitrogen management.
Albert, M. R.; Chen, G. J.; MacDonald, G. K.; Vermaire, J. C.; Bennett, E. M.; Gregory-Eaves, I.. (2010) Phosphorus and land-use changes are significant drivers of cladoceran community composition and diversity: an analysis over spatial and temporal scales. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 67(8) 1262-1273
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We conducted paleolimnological studies over spatial and temporal gradients to define the responses of subfossil cladoceran community composition and diversity to changes in land use and phosphorus concentrations in shallow lakes. We predicted that watershed disturbance by humans, through its impact on water quality, would explain significant variation in cladoceran diversity and composition. Across lakes, water-column total phosphorus concentration was a significant (p < 0.05) predictor of the subfossil cladoceran community composition. Chydorid diversity was also found to be related significantly to phosphorus concentration (r = -0.55, p < 0.05) and the proportion of disturbed land in the watershed (r = -0.47, p < 0.05). However, net load of phosphorus to the watershed rather than proportion of watershed disturbance was a significant predictor of chydorid diversity (r = -0.86, p < 0.001) in our temporal analysis of an eutrophying lake. Given that phosphorus loading to surface waters is often related to phosphorus concentrations in soils, we suggest that the net phosphorus load to the watershed is a more sensitive metric of land-use change and necessary for detecting ecological responses in time series data.
Aronson, J.; Blignaut, J. N.; de Groot, R. S.; Clewell, A.; Lowry, P. P.; Woodworth, P.; Cowling, R. M.; Renison, D.; Farley, J.; Fontaine, C.; Tongway, D.; Levy, S.; Milton, S. J.; Rangel, O.; Debrincat, B.; Birkinshaw, C.. (2010) The road to sustainability must bridge three great divides. 1185 225-236
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The world's large and rapidly growing human population is exhausting Earth's natural capital at ever-faster rates, and yet appears mostly oblivious to the fact that these resources are limited. This is dangerous for our well-being and perhaps for our survival, as documented by numerous studies over many years. Why are we not moving instead toward sustainable levels of use? We argue here that this disconnection between our knowledge and our actions is largely caused by three "great divides": an ideological divide between economists and ecologists; an economic development divide between the rich and the poor; and an information divide, which obstructs communications between scientists, public opinion, and policy makers. These divides prevent our economies from responding effectively to urgent signals of environmental and ecological stress. The restoration of natural capital (RNC) can be an important strategy in bridging all of these divides. RNC projects and programs make explicit the multiple and mutually reinforcing linkages between environmental and economic well-being, while opening up a promising policy road in the search for a sustainable and desirable future for global society. The bridge-building capacity of RNC derives from its double focus: on the ecological restoration of degraded, overexploited natural ecosystems, and on the full socio-economic and ecological interface between people and their environments.
Bateman, I. J.; Fisher, B.; Fitzherbert, E.; Glew, D.; Naidoo, R.. (2010) Tigers, markets and palm oil: market potential for conservation. Oryx 44(2) 230-234
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Increasing demand for cooking oil and biofuels has made palm oil, > 80% of which is grown in South-east Asia, the dominant globally traded vegetable oil However, this region is host to some of the world's most biodiverse and threatened tropical forests Strategic engagement with commercial operations is increasingly recognized to be an essential part of the solution for raising funds for conservation initiatives, raising consumer consciousness and potentially stemming environmental degradation Linking market incentives towards conservation is also of critical importance because it is becoming widely recognized that conservation needs to begin to address the wider countryside (outside protected areas) where human-wildlife interactions are frequent and impacts are large. Using the Sumatran tiger Panthera tigris sumatrae as both a threatened species in its own right and emblematic for wider species diversity, we show that western consumers are willing to pay a significant premium for products using palm oil grown in a manner that reduces impacts on such species. Results suggest that the price premium associated with a 'tiger-friendly' accreditation may provide a useful additional tool to raise conservation funds and, within the right institutional context, serve as an inducement to address the problem of habitat and species loss
Batker, D.; de la Torre, I.; Costanza, R.; Swedeen, P.; Day, J.; Boumans, R.; Bagstad, K.. (2010) Gaining Ground: Wetlands, Hurricanes, and the Economy: The Value of Restoring the Mississippi River Delta. Environmental Law Reporter 40(11) 11106-11110
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Economies need nature. Natural systems provide foundational economic goods and services, including oxygen, water, land, food, climate stability, storm and flood protection, recreation, aesthetic value, raw materials, minerals, and energy. All built capital is made of natural capital, including cars, buildings, and food. The coastal economy of the Mississippi River Delta also requires hurricane protection, a stable climate, waste assimilation, and other natural services. No economy can function without nature's provision of economic goods and services. This is most apparent in North America's largest river delta. This Article is a brief synthesis of a more extensive report we carried out to evaluate the value of ecosystem services of the Mississippi Delta. That report--the most comprehensive measure of the economic value of Mississippi River Delta natural systems to date--is available at www.eartheconomics.org.
Besaw, L. E.; Rizzo, D. M.; Bierman, P. R.; Hackett, W. R.. (2010) Advances in ungauged streamflow prediction using artificial neural networks. Journal of Hydrology 386(1-4) 27-37
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In this work, we develop and test two artificial neural networks (ANNs) to forecast streamflow in ungauged basins. The model inputs include time-lagged records of precipitation and temperature. In addition, recurrent feedback loops allow the ANN streamflow estimates to be used as model inputs. Publically available climate and US Geological Survey streamflow records from sub-basins in Northern Vermont are used to train and test the methods. Time-series analysis of the climate-flow data provides a transferable and systematic methodology to determine the appropriate number of time-lagged input data. To predict streamflow in an ungauged basin, the recurrent ANNs are trained on climate-flow data from one basin and used to forecast streamflow in a nearby basin with different (more representative) climate inputs. One of the key results of this work, and the reason why time-lagged predictions of steamflow improve forecasts, is these recurrent flow predictions are being driven by time-lagged locally-measured climate data. The successful demonstration of these flow prediction methods with publicly available USGS flow and NCDC climate datasets shows that the ANNs, trained on a climate-discharge record from one basin, prove capable of predicting streamflow in a nearby basin as accurately as in the basin on which they were trained. This suggests that the proposed methods are widely applicable, at least in the humid, temperate climate zones shown in this work. A scaling ratio, based on a relationship between bankfull discharge and basin drainage area, accounts for the change in drainage area from one basin to another. Hourly streamflow predictions were superior to those using daily data for the small streams tested due the loss of critical lag times through upscaling. The ANNs selected in this work always converge, avoid stochastic training algorithms, and are applicable in small ungauged basins. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Blakeslee, A. M. H.; McKenzie, C. H.; Darling, J. A.; Byers, J. E.; Pringle, J. M.; Roman, J.. (2010) A hitchhiker's guide to the Maritimes: anthropogenic transport facilitates long-distance dispersal of an invasive marine crab to Newfoundland. 16(6) 879-891
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Aim To determine timing, source and vector for the recent introduction of the European green crab, Carcinus maenas (Linnaeus, 1758), to Newfoundland using multiple lines of evidence. Location Founding populations in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, Canada and potential source populations in the north-west Atlantic (NWA) and Europe. Methods We analysed mitochondrial and microsatellite genetic data from European and NWA populations sampled during 1999-2002 to determine probable source locations and vectors for the Placentia Bay introduction discovered in 2007. We also analysed Placentia Bay demographic data and shipping records to look for congruent patterns with genetic analyses. Results Demographic data and surveys suggested that C. maenas populations are established and were in Placentia Bay for several years (c. 2002) prior to discovery. Genetic data corroboratively suggested central/western Scotian Shelf populations (e.g., Halifax) as the likely source area for the anthropogenic introduction. These Scotian Shelf populations were within an admixture zone made up of genotypes from both the earlier (early 1800s) and later (late 1900s) introductions of the crab to the NWA from Europe. Placentia Bay also exhibited this mixed ancestry. Probable introduction vectors included vessel traffic and shipping, especially vessels carrying ballast water. Main conclusions Carcinus maenas overcame considerable natural barriers (i.e., coastal and ocean currents) via anthropogenic transport to become established and abundant in Newfoundland. Our study thus demonstrates how non-native populations can be important secondary sources of introduction especially when aided by human transport. Inference of source populations was possible owing to the existence of an admixture zone in central/western Nova Scotia made up of southern and northern genotypes corresponding with the crab's two historical introductions. Coastal vessel traffic was found to be a likely vector for the crab's spread to Newfoundland. Our study demonstrates that there is considerable risk for continued introduction or reintroduction of C. maenas throughout the NWA.
Bonebrake, T. C.; Boggs, C. L.; McNally, J. M.; Ranganathan, J.; Ehrlich, P. R.. (2010) Oviposition behavior and offspring performance in herbivorous insects: consequences of climatic and habitat heterogeneity. Oikos 119(6) 927-934
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The preference-performance hypothesis predicts that when female herbivorous insects determine where to position offspring of low mobility, they will select sites that maximize development and survival of those offspring. How this critical relationship responds to variation in climatic and habitat conditions remains untested, however, despite its important consequences for population and evolutionary dynamics. Here we report on 13 years of data totaling 1348 egg clusters of the montane Gillette's checkerspot butterfly Euphydryas gillettii (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). We used these data to test the hypothesis that, in environments with climatic and habitat heterogeneity, the oviposition behavior-offspring performance relationship should vary in both space and time. Orientation of egg clusters for maximum morning sun exposure is known to affect developmental rate. We therefore predicted female preference for morning sun orientation to be variable and a function of climatic and habitat conditions. We found that preference for egg cluster orientation on the leaf tracked the phenology of the start of the female flight season but that seasonal temperatures drove most of the variation in egg cluster development time. The relationship between behavior and performance was also dependent upon the climatic effects on survival; sun-oriented egg clusters had higher survivorship in the coldest year of the four years for which measurements were made. We also examined how conifer cover affected larval survival and female oviposition behavior in one year. Females selected oviposition sites in more open habitat. However, when egg clusters were oriented to intercept morning sun, conifer cover increased survivorship to diapause. Finally, we found that predator activity was lower for morning sun-oriented egg clusters suggesting that predation patterns may further influence habitat selection for oviposition. This study exemplifies how the relationship between oviposition behavior and offspring performance is context-dependent: habitat and climate interact to determine preference-performance outcomes.
Bonebrake, T. C.; Christensen, J.; Boggs, C. L.; Ehrlich, P. R.. (2010) Population decline assessment, historical baselines, and conservation. Conservation Letters 3(6) 371-378
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Scientific and historical knowledge of worldwide animal-population decline is fragmentary at best. However, understanding historical population trends is essential for informing best efforts to preserve species. We reviewed the literature of long-term studies of population declines across a set of animal taxa and found that only 15% of the studies used data older than 100 years, and 58% of the studies lacked continuous data. Based on our review, we describe five general approaches to studying population declines: counting, correlative, evolutionary, geochemical, and historical. The most common method of population assessment was a census/counting approach (75% of studies) followed by a range mapping/correlative approach (17% of studies). Evolutionary, geochemical, and historical approaches are used less often but, in combination with traditional counting and correlative methods, they hold great potential as tools for conservation. The multidisciplinary approaches we identify and advocate here will be useful for understanding and potentially reversing population declines and ultimately stemming the tide of extinctions currently underway.
Bonebrake, T. C.; Ponisio, L. C.; Boggs, C. L.; Ehrlich, P. R.. (2010) More than just indicators: A review of tropical butterfly ecology and conservation. Biological Conservation 143(8) 1831-1841
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Roughly 90% of butterfly species live in the tropics. Despite this, we know very little about tropical butterfly ecology particularly when compared to temperate butterfly systems. The relative scarcity of data on tropical butterfly populations hampers our ability to effectively conserve them. In this review we summarize recurring themes from ecological research on tropical butterflies to serve as a framework for understanding their conservation. Key themes include: (1) the tropics represent the evolutionary origins of butterfly diversity, (2) while some tropical butterflies exhibit relatively stable population dynamics, longer-lived adult stages, and more continuous age-specific reproduction compared to temperate zone species, the generality of these patterns is debatable, and (3) complex species interactions (e.g. mimicry, parasitism and predation) can have significantly greater influences on ecological and evolutionary processes in tropical butterflies than in temperate ones. This state of ecological knowledge, combined with scarce resources, has traditionally constrained tropical butterfly conservation efforts to habitat level approaches, unlike the species- and population-specific approaches familiar in North America and Europe. Consequently, much conservation research on butterflies in the tropics has focused on the relationship between habitat quality (e.g. forest fragmentation) and butterfly diversity, though predictive patterns even in this regard remain elusive. We argue that with the increasing threats of habitat destruction, fragmentation and climate change, it is necessary to move beyond this diversity and habitat relationship if we are to improve predictive capabilities when evaluating anthropogenic impacts on tropical butterfly communities. Tropical butterflies are more than just useful indicator species. They represent some of the most spectacular and visually appealing organisms in the world and play many vital roles in tropical ecosystems. We hope that this synthesis will lay the groundwork for future ecological studies of tropical butterfly populations, species, communities and conservation. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Buchholz, T.; Da Silva, I.. (2010) Potential of distributed wood-based biopower systems serving basic electricity needs in rural Uganda. Energy for Sustainable Development 14(1) 56-61
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Current efforts to improve electricity services in Uganda evolve around satisfying growing urban demand as well as stabilizing and boosting a low electricity supply. Although virtually non-existent, rural electrification is receiving very little attention. This paper investigates the potential of wood-based biopower fueled from coppicing shrubs on its feasibility to provide affordable basic electricity services to rural Ugandan households. Gasification was the specific technology we assessed. In the calculations, a worst case scenario was chosen for wood-based biopower to compete with alternative sources of electricity: Cost and land use estimates assumed a rather high household consumption (30 kWh/month), a low household size (8 persons), a low area productivity (3 oven-dried tons per ha per year), a low electrical conversion efficiency (15%) and a high demand competing for fertile land with the biopower system. Cost estimates considered a high biomass price (18.5 US$/odt), a low capacity factor for the biopower system of 0.5 (therefore requiring installation of a larger unit) and high capital costs of 2300 US$ per kW installed. Additional pressure on fertile land would be negligible. Such biopower systems can outcompete other sources of electricity from a micro and macro-economic standpoint when looking at the local scale. Results indicate that biopower can deliver better and more energy services at 47 US$/yr and household or 0.11 US$/kWh which is below current average costs for e. g. off-grid lighting in rural Ugandan households. Additionally, only this biopower option offers the ability to households, sell wood to the biopower system and contribute at least four times as much to the local economy than the other electricity options used as terms of comparison. Further research has to focus on developing business plans and loan schemes for such biopower options including sustainable fuelwood supply chains based on coppicing shrubs which have the ability to contribute to agricultural site improvements. The approach outlined in this paper can further serve as a general framework to compare different options of electricity production across technologies and fuel sources especially for rural development purposes incorporating a multitude of aspects. (C) 2010 International Energy Initiative. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Buchholz, T.; Weinreich, A.; Tennigkeit, T.. (2010) Modeling heliotropic tree growth in hardwood tree species-A case study on Maesopsis eminii. Forest Ecology and Management 260(10) 1656-1663
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There are many impacts during a tree's life that affect bole development. In Maesopsis eminii, a high-potential timber species in Uganda, studies have shown that the occurrence of strongly bent boles is the overwhelming reason that boles fail quality criteria. This observation is incongruous with the tree architecture model of Roux, which describes M. eminii as a tree with a strong apical dominance, meaning that it has a strong genetically based preference for vertical growth of the terminal sprout relative to side branches. As external causes for bent boles could be excluded, we demonstrate in this study the proof of heliotropic growth. i.e. an active bending towards light, for M. eminii beyond the sapling stage. We develop a model used to describe the effects of competition on bole quality using bole form parameters and basic information about the neighbouring trees, and without having to incorporate crown parameters. By means of calculated bole parameters and a mathematical equation to calculate the intensity and direction of competition, we prove the existence of a heliotropic growth reaction. However, we are not able to predict the intensity of this reaction. Finally, general silvicultural recommendations are discussed for tree species with strong heliotropic growth. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Burkhard, B.; Petrosillo, I.; Costanza, R.. (2010) Ecosystem services - Bridging ecology, economy and social sciences. Ecological Complexity 7(3) 257-259
Cornell, S.; Costanza, R.; Sorlin, S.; van der Leeuw, S.. (2010) Developing a systematic "science of the past" to create our future. Global Environmental Change-Human and Policy Dimensions 20(3) 426-427
Costanza, R.; Batker, D.; Day, J. W.; Feagin, R. A.; Martinez, M. L.; Roman, J.. (2010) The Perfect Spill: Solutions for Averting the Next Deepwater Horizon. Solutions 1(5) 42-43
Costanza, R.; Farley, J.. (2010) What Should Be Done With the Revenues From a Carbon-Cap-and-Auction System?. Solutions 1(1) 33
Costello, C. J.; Neubert, M. G.; Polasky, S. A.; Solow, A. R.. (2010) Bounded uncertainty and climate change economics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107(18) 8108-8110
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It has been argued recently that the combination of risk aversion and an uncertainty distribution of future temperature change with a heavy upper tail invalidates mainstream economic analyses of climate change policy. A simple model is used to explore the effect of imposing an upper bound on future temperature change. The analysis shows that imposing even a high bound reverses the earlier argument and that the optimal policy, as measured by the willingness to pay to avoid climate change, is relatively insensitive to this bound over a wide range.
Cox, G.; Woods, A.; Holmes, T.; Porter, W.; Erickson, J. D.. (2010) Survey of Public Priorities as a Guide for Future Sustainable Investment Strategies in the Northern Forest. Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies 16
Curzon, M. T.; Keeton, W. S.. (2010) Spatial characteristics of canopy disturbances in riparian old-growth hemlock - northern hardwood forests, Adirondack Mountains, New York, USA. Canadian Journal of Forest Research-Revue Canadienne De Recherche Forestiere 40(1) 13-25
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Gap dynamics in temperate, late-successional forests influence important riparian functions, including organic matter recruitment and light environments over streams. However, controls on gap dynamics specific to riparian forests are poorly understood. We hypothesized that (i) gaps are larger and more frequent nearer streams, (ii) gaps cluster at within-stand scales, and (iii) tree damage type and gap fraction vary among riparian landforms. All gaps within four 6-9 ha plots in riparian old-growth eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carriere) - northern hardwood forest in the Adirondack Mountains, New York, USA, were mapped and measured. We recorded species, damage type, and diameter at breast height for gapmakers and dominant perimeter trees. Spatial distribution was assessed with Ripley's K. Spatial autocorrelation in gap area and tree damage type were assessed using Moran's I. Linear regression analysis defined relationships between proximity to streams and gap area and frequency. Expanded gap fraction ranged from 28.3% to 47.6%. Gaps were randomly distributed at scales 525 m and clustered at scales of 63-122 in. Distribution patterns were not consistent at other scales. Convergent and divergent landforms significantly influenced gap fraction, tree damage type, and species distributions. Positive correlations between convergent topography and gap area suggest ail interaction between low-order riparian landforms and gap formation dynamics in late-successional forests.
Daniels, A. E.; Bagstad, K.; Esposito, V.; Moulaert, A.; Rodriguez, C. M.. (2010) Understanding the impacts of Costa Rica's PES: Are we asking the right questions?. Ecological Economics 69(11) 2116-2126
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PES is an increasingly mainstream tool for influencing land-use decisions on private land and Costa Rica's experience provides critical insight. We review findings of PES impacts on forest cover, a proxy for forest-based ecosystem services. National studies conclude that PES has not lowered deforestation rates. Yet in northern Costa Rica, there is evidence of additionality for PH-related avoided deforestation. Moreover, sub-national studies of bi-directional forest cover change, along with farm-level interview data and an understanding of ground-based operations, demonstrate that avoided deforestation is an incomplete measure of PES impact. Sub-national case studies suggest PES is associated with agricultural abandonment and net gains in forest cover via forest regeneration and plantation establishment. Explanations include that forest regeneration has always been an accepted PES modality for some regions. Also, early PES cohorts have an implicit spatial correlation with pre-PES incentives focusing exclusively on reforestation. Without understanding de facto PES implementation, it is impossible to appropriately evaluate PES impacts or discern whether PES outcomes positive or negative are due to PES design or its implementation. This distinction is critical in refining our understanding of both the utility and limitations of PES and has some practical implications for PES-style REDD initiatives. Published by Elsevier B.V.
De Groot, R.; Fisher, B.; Christie, M.; Aronson, J.; Braat, L.; Haines-Young, R.; Gowdy, J.; Maltby, E.; Neuville, A.; Polasky, S.; Portela, R.; Ring, I.. (2010) Integrating the ecological and economic dimensions in biodiversity and ecosystem service valuation. Earthscan, London. Pages 400;
Echelle, A. A.; Hackler, J. C.; Lack, J. B.; Ballard, S. R.; Roman, J.; Fox, S. F.; Leslie, D. M., Jr.; Van Den Bussche, R. A.. (2010) Conservation genetics of the alligator snapping turtle: cytonuclear evidence of range-wide bottleneck effects and unusually pronounced geographic structure. 11(4) 1375-1387
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A previous mtDNA study indicated that female-mediated gene flow was extremely rare among alligator snapping turtle populations in different drainages of the Gulf of Mexico. In this study, we used variation at seven microsatellite DNA loci to assess the possibility of male-mediated gene flow, we augmented the mtDNA survey with additional sampling of the large Mississippi River System, and we evaluated the hypothesis that the consistently low within-population mtDNA diversity reflects past population bottlenecks. The results show that dispersal between drainages of the Gulf of Mexico is rare (F (STmsat) = 0.43, I broken vertical bar(STmtDNA) = 0.98). Past range-wide bottlenecks are indicated by several genetic signals, including low diversity for microsatellites (1.1-3.9 alleles/locus; H (e) = 0.06-0.53) and mtDNA (h = 0.00 for most drainages; pi = 0.000-0.001). Microsatellite data reinforce the conclusion from mtDNA that the Suwannee River population might eventually be recognized as a distinct taxonomic unit. It was the only population showing fixation or near fixation for otherwise rare microsatellite alleles. Six evolutionarily significant units are recommended on the basis of reciprocal mtDNA monophyly and high levels of microsatellite DNA divergence.
Edwards, D. P.; Fisher, B.; Boyd, E.. (2010) Protecting degraded rainforests: enhancement of forest carbon stocks under REDD. Conservation Letters 3(5) 313-316
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The likely Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) mechanism includes strategies for the enhancement of forest carbon stocks. Recent concerns have been expressed that such enhancement, or restoration, of forest carbon could be counterproductive to biodiversity conservation, because forests are managed as "carbon farms" with the application of intensive silvicultural management that could homogenize diverse degraded rainforests. Restoration increases regeneration rates in degraded forest compared to naturally regenerating forest, and thus could yield significant financial returns for carbon sequestered. Here, we argue that such forest restoration projects are, in fact, likely to provide a number of benefits to biodiversity conservation including the retention of biodiversity, the prevention of forest conversion to agriculture, and employment opportunities for poor local communities. As with other forms of forest-based carbon offsets, there are possible moral hazard and leakage problems with restoration. However, due to the multiple benefits, we urge that enhancement of forest carbon stocks be detailed as a major component in the future negotiations of REDD+.
Ehrlich, P. R.. (2010) The MAHB, the Culture Gap, and Some Really Inconvenient Truths. Plos Biology 8(4)
Ellis, A. M.; Vaclavik, T.; Meentemeyer, R. K.. (2010) When is connectivity important? A case study of the spatial pattern of sudden oak death. Oikos 119(3) 485-493
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Although connectivity has been examined from many different angles and in many ecological disciplines, few Studies have tested in which systems and tinder what conditions connectivity is important in determining ecological dynamics. Identifying general rules governing when connectivity is important is crucial not only for basic ecology, but also for our ability to manage natural systems, particularly as increasing fragmentation may change the degree to which connectivity influences ecological dynamics. In this study, we used statistical regression, least-cost path analysis, and model selection techniques to test the relative importance of potential connectivity in determining the spatial pattern of sudden oak death, a tree disease that is killing millions of oak and tanoak trees along coastal forests of California and Oregon. We hypothesized that potential connectivity, in addition to environmental conditions, is important in determining the spatial distribution Of Sudden oak death, the importance of connectivity is more apparent when measured using biologically meaningful metric's that account for the effects of landscape structure on disease spread, and the relative importance of environmental variables and connectivity is approximately equal. Results demonstrate that potential connectivity was important in determining the spatial pattern of sudden oak death, though it was relatively less important than environmental variables. Moreover, connectivity was important only when using biologically meaningful metrics as opposed to simple distance-based metrics that ignore landscape structure. These results demonstrate that connectivity can be important in systems not typically considered in connectivity Studies - high-lighting the importance of examining connectivity in a variety of different systems - and demonstrate that the manner in which connectivity is measured may govern our ability to detect its importance.
Farley, J.; Aquino, A.; Daniels, A.; Moulaert, A.; Lee, D.; Krause, A.. (2010) Global mechanisms for sustaining and enhancing PES schemes. Ecological Economics 69(11) 2075-2084
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An international payment for ecosystem service (IPES) schemes may be one of the only mechanisms available to stimulate the provision of vital non-marketed ecosystem services at the global level, as those nations that benefit from global ecosystem services (GES) cannot readily force other sovereign nations to provide them. Currently, international trade offers trillions of dollars in incentives for countries to convert natural capital into marketable goods and services, and few payments to entice countries to conserve natural capital in order to sustain critical non-marketed ecosystem services. We examine the biophysical characteristics of climate change and biodiversity to understand the obstacles to developing effective IPES schemes. We find that none of the existing schemes for providing GES are adequate, given the scale of the problem. A cap and auction scheme for CO(2) emissions among wealthy nations could fund IPES and simultaneously deter carbon emissions. To disburse funds, we should adapt Brazil's ICMS ecologic, and apportion available funds to targeted countries in proportion to how well they meet specific criteria designed to measure the provision of GES. Individual countries can then develop their own policies for increasing provision of these services, ensured of compensation if they do so. Indirect IPES should include funding for freely available technologies that protect or provide GES, such as the low carbon energy alternatives that will be essential for curbing climate change. Markets rely on the price mechanism to generate profits, which rations technology to those who can afford it, reducing adoption rates, innovation and total value. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Farley, J.; Batker, D.; de la Torre, I.; Hudspeth, T.. (2010) Conserving Mangrove Ecosystems in the Philippines: Transcending Disciplinary and Institutional Borders. Environmental Management 45(1) 39-51
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Humans are rapidly depleting critical ecosystems and the life support functions they provide, increasing the urgency of developing effective conservation tools. Using a case study of the conversion of mangrove ecosystems to shrimp aquaculture, this article describes an effort to develop a transdisciplinary, transinstitutional approach to conservation that simultaneously trains future generations of environmental problem solvers. We worked in close collaboration with academics, non-government organizations, local government and local communities to organize a workshop in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines. The primary objectives of the workshop were to: (1) train participants in the basic principles of ecological economics and its goals of sustainable scale, just distribution and efficient allocation; (2) learn from local community stakeholders and participating scientists about the problems surrounding conversion of mangrove ecosystems to shrimp aquaculture; (3) draw on the skills and knowledge of all participants to develop potential solutions to the problem; and (4) communicate results to those with the power and authority to act on them. We found that the economic and ecological benefits of intact mangroves outweigh the returns to aquaculture. Perversely, however, private property rights to mangrove ecosystems favor inefficient, unjust and unsustainable allocation of the resource-a tragedy of the non-commons. We presented the workshop results to the press and local government, which shut down the aquaculture ponds to conserve the threatened ecosystem. Effective communication to appropriate audiences was essential for transforming research into action. Our approach is promising and can be readily applied to conservation research and advocacy projects worldwide, but should be improved through adaptive management-practitioners must continually build on those elements that work and discard or improve those that fail.
Farley, J.; Costanza, R.. (2010) Payments for ecosystem services: From local to global. Ecological Economics 69(11) 2060-2068
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Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) is becoming increasingly popular as a way to manage ecosystems using economic incentives. The environmental economics approach to PES tries to force ecosystem services into the market model, with an emphasis on efficiency. The ecological economics approach, in contrast, seeks to adapt economic institutions to the physical characteristics of ecosystem services prioritizing ecological sustainability and just distribution and requiring a transdisciplinary approach. This paper summarizes the results of a participatory "atelier" workshop held in Costa Rica. We developed a set of principles (the Heredia Declaration) for PES systems and report on evolving initiatives in several countries. We discuss how the distinction between ecosystem goods (which are stock-flow resources) and ecosystem services (which are fund-service resources) and the physical characteristics of the fund-services affect the appropriate institutional form for PES. We conclude that PES systems represent an important way to effectively manage fund-service resources as public goods, and that this represents a significant departure from conventional market institutions. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Farley, J.. (2010) Conservation Through the Economics Lens. Environmental Management 45(1) 26-38
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Although conservation is an inherently transdisciplinary issue, there is much to be gained from examining the problem through an economics lens. Three benefits of such an approach are laid out in this paper. First, many of the drivers of environmental degradation are economic in origin, and the better we understand them, the better we can conserve ecosystems by reducing degradation. Second, economics offers us a when-to-stop rule, which is equivalent to a when-to-conserve rule. All economic production is based on the transformation of raw materials provided by nature. As the economic system grows in physical size, it necessarily displaces and degrades ecosystems. The marginal benefits of economic growth are diminishing, and the marginal costs of ecological degradation are increasing. Conceptually, we should stop economic growth and focus on conservation when the two are equal. Third, economics can help us understand how to efficiently and justly allocate resources toward conservation, and this paper lays out some basic principles for doing so. Unfortunately, the field of economics is dominated by neoclassical economics, which builds an analytical framework based on questionable assumptions and takes an excessively disciplinary and formalistic approach. Conservation is a complex problem, and analysis from individual disciplinary lenses can make important contributions to conservation only when the resulting insights are synthesized into a coherent vision of the whole. Fortunately, there are a number of emerging transdisciplines, such as ecological economics and environmental management, that are dedicated to this task.
Feagin, R. A.; Martinez, M. L.; Mendoza-Gonzalez, G.; Costanza, R.. (2010) Salt Marsh Zonal Migration and Ecosystem Service Change in Response to Global Sea Level Rise: A Case Study from an Urban Region. Ecology and Society 15(4)
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Coastal wetland plants are expected to respond to global sea level rise by migrating toward higher elevations. Housing, infrastructure, and other anthropogenic modifications are expected to limit the space available for this potential migration. Here, we explore the ecological and economic effects of projected Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 report sea level changes at the plant community scale using the highest horizontal (1 m) and vertical (0.01 m) resolution data available, using a 6 x 6 km area as an example. Our findings show that salt marshes do not always lose land with increasing rates of sea level rise. We found that the lower bound of the IPCC 2007 potential rise (0.18 m by 2095) actually increased the total marsh area. This low rise scenario resulted in a net gain in ecosystem service values on public property, whereas market-based economic losses were predicted for private property. The upper rise scenario (0.59 m by 2095) resulted in both public and private economic losses for this same area. Our work highlights the trade-offs between public and privately held value under the various IPCC 2007 climate change scenarios. We conclude that as wetlands migrate inland into urbanized regions, their survival is likely to be dependent on the rate of return on property and housing investments.
Fisher, B.; Bateman, I. J.; Turner, K.. (2010) Valuing Ecosystem Services: benefits, values, space and time.. Routledge, London, U. K.. Pages 256;
Fisher, B.; Kulindwa, K.; Mwanyoka, I.; Turner, R. K.; Burgess, N. D.. (2010) Common pool resource management and PES: Lessons and constraints for water PES in Tanzania. Ecological Economics 69(6) 1253-1261
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Research into common pool resources from the field and in the laboratory has provided a series of insights for the successful management of such resources. The consequences of action and inaction in managing common pool resources are often most strongly felt (gains or losses) by local people. Several ecosystem services can be considered CPRs but in some cases the benefits of (mis)management are enjoyed by one group while the costs are levied on another group. Here we discuss some of the key findings of the CPR literature and how these relate to key considerations for using PES as a management tool. We focus on the role that ecosystems play in regulating water flows in two basins in Tanzania where feasibility studies have been conducted for the potential implementation of PES for water. We find that the lessons from CPR research shed light on some of the key implementation problems for PES mechanisms, and provide a useful guide for highlighting important user-resource considerations especially in contexts similar to East Africa, (C) 2010 Published by Elsevier B.V.
Fisher, B.. (2010) African exception to drivers of deforestation. 3 375-376
Fisher, B.. (2010) Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein: Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Environmental & Resource Economics 47(1) 149-150
Foster, B.; Wang, D.; Keeton, W.S.; Ashton, M.S.. (2010) Implementing sustainable forestry using six management concepts in an adaptive management framework.. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 29 79-108
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Certification and principles, criteria and indicators (PCI) describe desired ends for sustainable forest management (SFM) but do not address potential means to achieve those ends. As a result, forest owners and managers participating in certification and employing PCI as tools to achieving SFM may be doing so inefficiently: achieving results by trial-and-error rather than by targeted management practices; dispersing resources away from priority objectives; and passively monitoring outcomes rather than actively establishing quantitative goals. In this literature review, we propose six concepts to guide SFM implementation. These concepts include: Best Management Practices (BMPs)/Reduced Impact Logging (RIL), biodiversity conservation, forest protection, multi-scale planning, participatory forestry, and sustained forest production. We place these concepts within an iterative decision-making framework of planning, implementation, and assessment, and provide brief definitions of and practices delimited by each concept. A case study describing SFM in the neo-tropics illustrates a potential application of our six concepts. Overall our paper offers an approach that will help forest owners and managers implement the ambiguous SFM concept.
Galford, G. L.; Melillo, J. M.; Kicklighter, D. W.; Cronin, T. W.; Cerri, C. E. P.; Mustard, J. F.; Cerri, C. C.. (2010) Greenhouse gas emissions from alternative futures of deforestation and agricultural management in the southern Amazon. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107(46) 19649-19654
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The Brazilian Amazon is one of the most rapidly developing agricultural areas in the world and represents a potentially large future source of greenhouse gases from land clearing and subsequent agricultural management. In an integrated approach, we estimate the greenhouse gas dynamics of natural ecosystems and agricultural ecosystems after clearing in the context of a future climate. We examine scenarios of deforestation and postclearing land use to estimate the future (2006-2050) impacts on carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from the agricultural frontier state of Mato Grosso, using a process-based biogeochemistry model, the Terrestrial Ecosystems Model (TEM). We estimate a net emission of greenhouse gases from Mato Grosso, ranging from 2.8 to 15.9 Pg CO2-equivalents (CO2-e) from 2006 to 2050. Deforestation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions over this period, but land uses following clearing account for a substantial portion (24-49%) of the net greenhouse gas budget. Due to land-cover and land-use change, there is a small foregone carbon sequestration of 0.2-0.4 Pg CO2-e by natural forests and cerrado between 2006 and 2050. Both deforestation and future land-use management play important roles in the net greenhouse gas emissions of this frontier, suggesting that both should be considered in emissions policies. We find that avoided deforestation remains the best strategy for minimizing future greenhouse gas emissions from Mato Grosso.
Galford, G. L.; Melillo, J.; Mustard, J. F.; Cerri, C. E. P.; Cerri, C. C.. (2010) The Amazon Frontier of Land-Use Change: Croplands and Consequences for Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Earth Interactions 14
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The Brazilian Amazon is one of the most rapidly developing agricultural frontiers in the world. The authors assess changes in cropland area and the intensification of cropping in the Brazilian agricultural frontier state of Mato Grosso using remote sensing and develop a greenhouse gas emissions budget. The most common type of intensification in this region is a shift from single-to double-cropping patterns and associated changes in management, including increased fertilization. Using the enhanced vegetation index (EVI) from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor, the authors created a green-leaf phenology for 2001-06 that was temporally smoothed with a wavelet filter. The wavelet-smoothed green-leaf phenology was analyzed to detect cropland areas and their cropping patterns. The authors document cropland extensification and double-cropping intensification validated with field data with 85% accuracy for detecting croplands and 64% and 89% accuracy for detecting single-and double-cropping patterns, respectively. The results show that croplands more than doubled from 2001 to 2006 to cover about 100 000 km(2) and that new double-cropping intensification occurred on over 20% of croplands. Variations are seen in the annual rates of extensification and double-cropping intensification. Greenhouse gas emissions are estimated for the period 2001-06 due to conversion of natural vegetation and pastures to row-crop agriculture in Mato Grosso averaged 179 Tg CO(2)-e yr(-1),over half the typical fossil fuel emissions for the country in recent years.
Granek, E. F.; Polasky, S.; Kappel, C. V.; Reed, D. J.; Stoms, D. M.; Koch, E. W.; Kennedy, C. J.; Cramer, L. A.; Hacker, S. D.; Barbier, E. B.; Aswani, S.; Ruckelshaus, M.; Perillo, G. M. E.; Silliman, B. R.; Muthiga, N.; Bael, D.; Wolanski, E.. (2010) Ecosystem Services as a Common Language for Coastal Ecosystem-Based Management. Conservation Biology 24(1) 207-216
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Ecosystem-based management is logistically and politically challenging because ecosystems are inherently complex and management decisions affect a multitude of groups. Coastal ecosystems, which lie at the interface between marine and terrestrial ecosystems and provide an array of ecosystem services to different groups, aptly illustrate these challenges. Successful ecosystem-based management of coastal ecosystems requires incorporating scientific information and the knowledge and views of interested parties into the decision-making process. Estimating the provision of ecosystem services under alternative management schemes offers a systematic way to incorporate biogeophysical and socioeconomic information and the views of individuals and groups in the policy and management process. Employing ecosystem services as a common language to improve the process of ecosystem-based management presents both benefits and difficulties. Benefits include a transparent method for assessing trade-offs associated with management alternatives, a common set of facts and common currency on which to base negotiations, and improved communication among groups with competing interests or differing worldviews. Yet challenges to this approach remain, including predicting how human interventions will affect ecosystems, how such changes will affect the provision of ecosystem services, and how changes in service provision will affect the welfare of different groups in society. In a case study from Puget Sound, Washington, we illustrate the potential of applying ecosystem services as a common language for ecosystem-based management.
Haight, R. G.; Polasky, S.. (2010) Optimal control of an invasive species with imperfect information about the level of infestation. Resource and Energy Economics 32(4) 519-533
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The presence of invasive species is often not realized until well after the species becomes established. Discovering the location and extent of infestation before the invasive species causes widespread damage typically requires intensive monitoring efforts. In this paper, we analyze the problem of controlling an invasive species when there is imperfect information about the degree of infestation. We model the problem as a partially observable Markov decision process in which the decision-maker receives an imperfect signal about the level of infestation. The decision-maker then chooses a management action to minimize expected costs based on beliefs about the level of infestation. We apply this model to a simple application with three possible levels of infestation where the decision-maker can choose to take no action, only monitor, only treat, or do both monitoring and treatment jointly. We solve for optimal management as a function of beliefs about the level of infestation. For a case with positive monitoring and treatment costs, we find that the optimal policy involves choosing no action when there is a sufficiently large probability of no infestation, monitoring alone with intermediate probability values and treatment alone when the probability of moderate or high infestation is large. We also show how optimal management and expected costs change as the cost or quality of information from monitoring changes. With costless and perfect monitoring, expected costs are 20-30% lower across the range of belief states relative to the expected costs without monitoring. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Holdo, R. M.; Galvin, K. A.; Knapp, E.; Polasky, S.; Hilborn, R.; Holt, R. D.. (2010) Responses to alternative rainfall regimes and antipoaching in a migratory system. Ecological Applications 20(2) 381-397
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Migratory ungulates may be particularly vulnerable to the challenges imposed by growing human populations and climate change. These species depend on vast areas to sustain their migratory behavior, and in many cases come into frequent contact with human populations outside protected areas. They may also act as spatial coupling agents allowing feedbacks between ecological systems and local economies, particularly in the agropastoral subsistence economies found in the African savanna biome. We used HUMENTS, a spatially realistic socioecological model of the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem in East Africa, to explore the potential impacts of changing climate and poaching on the migratory wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) population, the fire regime, and habitat structure in the ecosystem. as well as changes in the size and economic activities of the human population outside the protected area. Unlike earlier models, the HUMENTS model predicted only moderate declines in the wildebeest population associated with an increasing human population over the next century. with a gradual expansion of agriculture, more poaching. and increases, in fire frequency and reduced tree density. Changes in rainfall were predicted to have strong asymmetric effects on the size and economic activity of the human population and on livestock, and more moderate effects on wildlife and other ecological indicators. Conversely, antipoaching had a stronger effect on the ecological portion of the system because of its effect on wildebeest (and therefore on fire and habitat structure). and a weaker effect on the socioeconomic component, except in areas directly adjacent to the protected-area boundary. which were affected by crop-raiding and the availability of wildlife as a source of income. The results highlight the strong direct and indirect effects of rainfall on the various components of socioecological systems in semiarid environments, and the key role of mobile wildlife populations as agents of spatial coupling between the human-dominated and natural portions of ecosystems. They also underscore the fundamental importance of considering the spatial configuration of hunting refuges across the landscape in relation to human populations.
Hollender, Jeffrey; Alperovitz, Gar; Asquith, Christina; Becker, Bill; Costanza, Robert; Hoffman, Elliot; Kahler, Ellen; Levine, David; Lovins, Hunter; Rapaport, David. (2010) Creating a Game Plan for the Transition to a Sustainable U.S. Economy. Solutions 1(3) 36-41
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The Obama administration should take advantage of the economic crisis to redefine the country’s social goals to prioritize sustainable human well-being and not just grow the economy. We should strive for a future that has full employment and more leisure time to spend with friends and family, thereby reducing conspicuous consumption and poverty. This article envisions what that society might look like with redefined goals, and includes specific ideas as to how to achieve this vision.
Jacobs, Katharine; Lebel, Louis; Buizer, James; Addams, Lee; Matson, Pamela; McCullough, Ellen; Garden, Po; Saliba, George; Finan, Timothy. (2010) Linking knowledge with action in the pursuit of sustainable water-resources management. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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Managing water for sustainable use and economic development is both a technical and a governance challenge in which knowledge production and sharing play a central role. This article evaluates and compares the role of participatory governance and scientific information in decision-making in four basins in Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, and the United States. Water management institutions in each of the basins have evolved during the last 10–20 years from a relatively centralized water-management structure at the state or national level to a decision structure that involves engaging water users within the basins and the development of participatory processes. This change is consistent with global trends in which states increasingly are expected to gain public acceptance for larger water projects and policy changes. In each case, expanded citizen engagement in identifying options and in decision-making processes has resulted in more complexity but also has expanded the culture of integrated learning. International funding for water infrastructure has been linked to requirements for participatory management processes, but, ironically, this study finds that participatory processes appear to work better in the context of decisions that are short-term and easily adjusted, such as water-allocation decisions, and do not work so well for longer-term, high-stakes decisions regarding infrastructure. A second important observation is that the costs of capacity building to allow meaningful stakeholder engagement in water-management decision processes are not widely recognized. Failure to appreciate the associated costs and complexities may contribute to the lack of successful engagement of citizens in decisions regarding infrastructure.
Jansson, A.; Polasky, S.. (2010) Quantifying Biodiversity for Building Resilience for Food Security in Urban Landscapes: Getting Down to Business. Ecology and Society 15(3)
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A steady stream of ecosystem services is essential for human welfare and survival, and it has been convincingly shown that these flows are being eroded. Compelling theoretical knowledge about essential connections between ecosystem service generation, biodiversity, and resilience in social-ecological systems already exists; however, we still, to a great extent, lack spatially explicit quantitative assessments for translating this theoretical knowledge into practice. We propose an approach for measuring the change in flow and resilience of a regulating ecosystem service on a landscape scale over time when the landscape is exposed to both land use change due to urban expansion, and change in a large-scale economic driver. Our results quantitatively show that there can be a substantial decrease in resilience due to negative effects on response diversity without detecting any major decrease in ecosystem service generation over time, thus generating a sense of false security and sustainability.
Keeton, W. S.; Chernyavskyy, M.; Gratzer, G.; Main-Knorn, M.; Shpylchak, M.; Bihun, Y.. (2010) Structural characteristics and aboveground biomass of old-growth spruce-fir stands in the eastern Carpathian mountains, Ukraine. Plant Biosystems 144(1) 148-159
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Temperate old-growth forests are known to have ecological characteristics distinct from younger forests, but these have been poorly described for the remaining old-growth Picea abies-Abies alba forests in the eastern Carpathian mountains. In addition, recent studies suggest that old-growth forests may be more significant carbon sinks than previously recognized. This has stimulated interest in quantifying aboveground carbon stocks in primary forest systems. We investigated the structural attributes and aboveground biomass in two remnant old-growth spruce-fir stands and compared these against a primary (never logged) mature reference stand. Our sites were located in the Gorgany Nature Reserve in western Ukraine. Overstory data were collected using variable radius plots; coarse woody debris was sampled along line intercept transects. Differences among sites were assessed using non-parametric statistical analyses. Goodness-of-fit tests were used to evaluate the form of diameter distributions. The results strongly supported the hypothesis that old-growth temperate spruce-fir forests have greater structural complexity compared to mature forests, including higher densities of large trees, more complex horizontal structure, and elevated aboveground biomass. The late-successional sites we sampled exhibited rotated sigmoid diameter distributions; these may reflect natural disturbance dynamics. Old-growth Carpathian spruce-fir forests store on average approximately 155-165 Mg ha-1 of carbon in aboveground tree parts alone. This is approximately 50% higher than mature stands. Given the scarcity of primary spruce-fir forests in the Carpathian region, remaining stands have high conservation value, both as habitat for late-successional species and as carbon storage reservoirs.
Kemkes, R. J.; Farley, J.; Koliba, C. J.. (2010) Determining when payments are an effective policy approach to ecosystem service provision. Ecological Economics 69(11) 2069-2074
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There are several policy tools available for the provision of ecosystem services. The economic characteristics of the ecosystem service being provided, such as rivalry and excludability, along with the spatial scale at which benefits accrue can help determine the appropriate policy approach. In this paper we provide a brief introduction to ecosystem services and discuss the policy tools available for providing them along with the dimensions, political feasibility and appropriateness of each tool. Throughout the paper we focus primarily on payments as a mechanism for ecosystem service provision. We present a framework for determining the characteristics of an ecosystem service and when payments are a viable policy tool option based on the characteristics. Additionally, we provide examples of when payments do not provide a socially desirable level of ecosystem benefits. We conclude with a summary of policy recommendations, specifically desirable property rights and payment types based on the particular classification of an ecosystem service. We also discuss the advantages of creating monopsony power to reduce transaction costs, delineating and bundling ecosystem services and utilizing existing intermediaries. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Knapp, E. J.; Rentsch, D.; Schmitt, J.; Lewis, C.; Polasky, S.. (2010) A tale of three villages: choosing an effective method for assessing poaching levels in western Serengeti, Tanzania. Oryx 44(2) 178-184
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Poaching for bushmeat is a major problem for conservation of wildlife populations in many parts of Africa, including the Serengeti ecosystem in Tanzania However, the severity of the poaching problem is often unclear because of a lack of accurate data Directly asking people to self-report illegal activity faces the obvious problem of under-reporting Use of arrest records from anti-poaching patrols may reflect levels of poaching activity but could also be driven by funding and quality of anti-poaching efforts. A third method, assessing poaching by asking about bushmeat consumption, is indirect, possibly subject to under-reporting, and also subject to limits on the accuracy of memory of respondents. We compare rates of poaching derived by self-assessment of poaching activities (based on household interviews), dietary recall of bushmeat consumption over a variety of time frames, and arrest records from anti-poaching units. We apply these three methods to assess poaching activities in three villages bordering protected areas on the western boundary of Serengeti National Park. Our results showed that dietary recall of bushmeat consumption and arrest records indicated similar patterns of poaching across the three villages but self-reporting differed significantly. There appear to be significant advantages to coupling results from dietary recall of bush meat consumption and arrest records to estimate the level of poaching activity In situations where reliable data from anti-poaching units are unavailable, cost-effective data collection of bush meat consumption will provide a viable alternative to assess levels of poaching involvement of villages that border protected areas
Koliba, C.; Meek, J.; Zia, A.. (2010) Governance Networks in Public Administration and Public Policy.. CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, FL.
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What do public administrators and policy analysts have in common? Their work is undertaken within networks formed when different organizations align to accomplish some kind of policy function. To be effective, they must find ways to navigate complexity and generate effective results. Governance Networks in Public Administration and Public Policy describes a variety of trends and movements that have contributed to the complexity of these systems and the challenges that must be faced as a result. Providing a theoretical and empirical foundation in governance networks, the book offers a conceptual framework for describing governance networks and provides a holistic way to conceive their construction. The text details the skills and functions of public administrators in the context of networked relationships and presents the theoretical foundations to analyze governance networks. It identifies the reforms and trends in governing that led to governance networks, explains the roles that various actors take on through networked relationships, highlights the challenges involved in the failure of networked activities, and illustrates how policy tools are mobilized by these relationships. Be a part of building governance networks 2.0! The authors website contains support materials such as PowerPoint presentations, writable case study templates, and other useful items related to building the fields capacity to describe, evaluate, and design governance networks using the framework of this book. You can post case studies of governance networks, draw on others case study materials, and learn about research and educational opportunities. Based on research and real-life experience, the book highlights the interplay between public actors and policy tools. The authors demystify this complex topic of governance networks and explore the practical applications of the conceptual framework. Practical and accessible, the book presents concepts in such a way that readers can engage in these ideas, apply them, and deepen their understanding of the dynamics unfolding around them.
Kubiszewski, I.; Farley, J.; Costanza, R.. (2010) The production and allocation of information as a good that is enhanced with increased use. Ecological Economics 69(6) 1344-1354
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Information has some unique characteristics. Unlike most other goods and services, it is neither rival (use by one prevents use by others) nor non-rival (use by one does not affect use by others), but is enhanced with increased use, or 'additive'. Therefore a unique allocation system for both the production and consumption of information is needed. Under the current market-based allocation system, production of information is often limited through the exclusive rights produced by patents and copyrights. This limits scientists' ability to share and build on each other's knowledge. We break the problem down into three separate questions: (1) do markets generate the type of information most important for modern society? (2) are markets the most appropriate institution for producing that information? and (3) once information is produced, are markets the most effective way of maximizing the social value of that information? We conclude that systematic market failures make it unlikely that markets will generate the most important types of information, while the unique characteristics of information reduce the cost-effectiveness of markets in generating information and in maximizing its social value. We then discuss alternative methods that do not have these shortcomings, and that would lead to greater overall economic efficiency, social justice and ecological sustainability. These methods include monetary prizes, publicly funded research from which the produced information is released into the public domain, and status driven incentive structures like those in academia and the "open-source" community. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Kubiszewski, Ida; Cleveland, Cutler J; Endres, Peter K. (2010) Meta-analysis of net energy return for wind power systems. Renewable energy 35(1) 218-225
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This analysis reviews and synthesizes the literature on the net energy return for electric power generation by wind turbines. Energy return on investment (EROI) is the ratio of energy delivered to energy costs. We examine 119 wind turbines from 50 different analyses, ranging in publication date from 1977 to 2007. We extend on previous work by including additional and more recent analyses, distinguishing between important assumptions about system boundaries and methodological approaches, and viewing the EROI as function of power rating. Our survey shows an average EROI for all studies (operational and conceptual) of 25.2 (n = 114; std. dev = 22.3). The average EROI for just the operational studies is 19.8 (n = 60; std. dev = 13.7). This places wind in a favorable position relative to fossil fuels, nuclear, and solar power generation technologies in terms of EROI.
Lee, M. S.; Drizo, A.; Rizzo, D. M.; Druschel, G. K.; Hayden, N.; Twohig, E.. (2010) Evaluating the efficiency and temporal variation of pilot-scale constructed wetlands and steel slag phosphorus removing filters for treating dairy wastewater. Water Research 44(14) 4077-4086
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The performance and temporal variation of three hybrid and three integrated, saturated flow, pilot-scale constructed wetlands (CWs) were tested for treating dairy farm effluent. The three hybrid systems each consisted of two CWs in-series, with horizontal and vertical flow. Integrated systems consisted of a CW (horizontal and vertical flow) followed by a steel slag filter for removing phosphorus. Time series temporal semivariogram analyses of measured water parameters illustrated different treatment efficiencies existed over the course of one season. As a result, data were then divided into separate time period groups and CW systems were compared using ANOVA for parameter measurements within each distinct time period group. Both hybrid and integrated CWs were efficient in removing organics; however, hybrid systems had significantly higher performance ( p < 0.05) during peak vegetation growth. Compared to hybrid CWs, integrated CWs achieved significantly higher DRP reduction ( p < 0.05) throughout the period of investigation and higher ammonia reduction ( p < 0.05) in integrated CWs was observed in late summer. Geochemical modeling demonstrates hydroxyapatite and vivianite minerals forming on steel slag likely control the fate of phosphate ions given the reducing conditions prevalent in the system. The model also demonstrates how the wastewater:slag ratio can be adjusted to maximize phosphorus removal while staying at a near-neutral pH. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Liu, S.; Costanza, R.; Farber, S.; Troy, A.. (2010) Valuing ecosystem services Theory, practice, and the need for a transdisciplinary synthesis. 1185 54-78
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The concept of ecosystem services has shifted our paradigm of how nature matters to human societies. Instead of viewing the preservation of nature as something for which we have to sacrifice our well-being, we now perceive the environment as natural capital, one of society's important assets. But ecosystem services are becoming increasingly scarce. In order to stop this trend, the challenge is to provoke society to acknowledge the value of natural capital. Ecosystem services valuation (ESV) is the method to tackle such a challenge. ESV is the process of assessing the contributions of ecosystem services to sustainable scale, fair distribution, and efficient allocation. It is a tool that (1) provides for comparisons of natural capital to physical and human capital in regard to their contributions to human welfare; (2) monitors the quantity and quality of natural capital over time with respect to its contribution to human welfare; and (3) provides for evaluation of projects that will affect natural capital stocks. This review covers: (1) what has been done in ESV research in the last 50 years; (2) how it has been used in ecosystem management; and (3) prospects for the future. Our survey of the literature has shown that over time, there has been movement toward a more transdisciplinary approach to ESV research which is more consistent with the nature of the problems being addressed. On the other hand, the contribution of ESV to ecosystem management has not been as significant as hoped nor as clearly defined. Conclusions drawn from the review are as follows: first, ESV researchers will have to transcend disciplinary boundaries and synthesize tools, skills, and methodologies from various disciplines; second, ESV research has to become more problem-driven rather than tool-driven because ultimately the success of ESV will be judged on how well it facilitates real-world decision making and the conservation of natural capital.
Liu, S.; Costanza, R.; Troy, A.; D'Aagostino, J.; Mates, W.. (2010) Valuing New Jersey's Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital: A Spatially Explicit Benefit Transfer Approach. Environmental Management 45(6) 1271-1285
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We intend to estimate the value of ecosystem services in the U.S. State of New Jersey using spatially explicit benefit transfer. The aggregated net rent, a conservative underestimate for the total economic value of the state's natural environment, ranged from $11.6 to $19.6 billion/year, conditional on how inclusive we were in selecting the primary studies used to calculate the central tendency values to transfer. In addition to calculating the range, mean, and standard deviation for each of 12 ecosystem services for 11 Land Use/Land Cover (LULC) types, we also conduct a gap analysis of how well ecosystem service values are represented in the literature. We then map these values by assuming a mean value for each LULC and apply this to spatial data. As to sensitivity analysis, we calculate the net present value of New Jersey's natural environment utilizing three different methods of discounting. These research results provide a useful, albeit imperfect, basis for assessing the value of ecosystem services and natural capital, and their comparison with the value of conventional human and built capitals.
Liu, S.; Costanza, R.. (2010) Ecosystem services valuation in China. Ecological Economics 69(7) 1387-1388
Lovell, S. T.; DeSantis, S.; Nathan, C. A.; Olson, M. B.; Mendez, V. E.; Kominami, H. C.; Erickson, D. L.; Morris, K. S.; Morris, W. B.. (2010) Integrating agroecology and landscape multifunctionality in Vermont: An evolving framework to evaluate the design of agroecosystems. 103(5) 327-341
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Agroecosystems cover vast areas of land worldwide and are known to have a large impact on the environment, yet these highly modified landscapes are rarely considered as candidates for landscape design. While intentionally-designed agricultural landscapes could serve many different functions, few resources exist for evaluating the design of these complex landscapes, particularly at the scale of the whole-farm. The objective of this paper is to introduce an evolving framework for evaluating the design of agroecosystems based on a critical review of the literature on landscape rnultifunctionality and agroecology. We consider how agroecosystems might be designed to incorporate additional functions while adhering to agroecology principles for managing the landscape. The framework includes an assessment tool for evaluating farm design based on the extent of fine-scale land use features and their specific functions, to consider the present state of the farm, to plan for future conditions, or to compare alternative futures for the design of the farm. We apply this framework to two farms in Vermont that are recognized locally as successful, multifunctional landscapes. The Intervale Center, an agricultural landscape located within the city limits, serves as an incubator for new farm startups and provides unique cultural functions that benefit the local community. Butterworks Farm, a private operation producing organic yogurt and other food products, achieves important ecological functions through an integrated crop-livestock system. These farms and many others in Vermont serve as models of a framework that integrates landscape multifunctionality and agroecology in the design of the landscape. In the discussion section, we draw from the literature and our work to propose a set of important themes that might be considered for future research. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Lovell, S. T.; Mendez, V. E.; Erickson, D. L.; Nathan, C.; DeSantis, S.. (2010) Extent, pattern, and multifunctionality of treed habitats on farms in Vermont, USA. 80(2) 153-171
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Agroecosystems can serve as multifunctional landscapes when treed habitats such as woodlots, hedgerows, riparian buffers, windbreaks, and orchards, are conserved on farms. We investigated the extent, pattern, and multifunctionality of on-farm treed habitats for 16 Vermont farms in the Lamoille watershed of the Lake Champlain Basin. The site was selected because the land use pattern is representative of the region, containing a mixture of agriculture and forest in different habitat types. We used a GIS-based approach to delineate treed habitats on farms and conducted semi-structured interviews with farmers to explore their perception of the functions of treed habitats. Through an evaluation of the relationship between farm characteristics and spatial attributes of treed habitats, we found farm size to be an important variable. Larger farms had more land in treed habitats, while the pattern of these habitats was more complex on smaller farms. Average elevation of the farm, an indicator of biophysical conditions, was a stronger predictor of the extent of treed habitats than farm characteristics. From interviews, we found that farmers benefited from alternative forest products, both for direct consumption and sale, including firewood, timber, maple sugar, edible fruits and nuts, and wood crafts. Most farmers also recognized cultural and ecological functions provided by treed habitats. These results have implications for developing policies to promote the conservation of treed habitats, considering the preferences of the landowner or farmer.
Mascia, M. B.; Claus, C. A.; Naidoo, R.. (2010) Impacts of Marine Protected Areas on Fishing Communities. Conservation Biology 24(5) 1424-1429
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Marine protected areas (MPAs) are a popular conservation strategy, but their impacts on human welfare are poorly understood. To inform future research and policy decisions, we reviewed the scientific literature to assess MPA impacts on five indicators of human welfare: food security, resource rights, employment, community organization, and income. Following MPA establishment, food security generally remained stable or increased in older and smaller MPAs. The ability of most fishing groups to govern MPA resources changed. Increased resource rights were positively correlated with MPA zoning and compliance with MPA regulations. Small sample sizes precluded statistical tests of the impacts of MPAs on employment, community organization, and income. Our results demonstrate that MPAs shape the social well-being and political power of fishing communities; impacts (positive and negative) vary within and among social groups; and social impacts are correlated with some-but not all-commonly hypothesized explanatory factors. Accordingly, MPAs may represent a viable strategy for enhancing food security and empowering local communities, but current practices negatively affect at least a minority of fishers. To inform policy making, further research must better document and explain variation in the positive and negative social impacts of MPAs.
McBride, M.; Hession, W. C.; Rizzo, D. M.. (2010) Riparian reforestation and channel change: How long does it take?. Geomorphology 116(3-4) 330-340
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Repeated measurements of two small streams in northeastern Vermont document change in channel width and suggest variable rates of widening because of passive reforestation over four decades. Historic data on channel width are available for several tributaries to Sleepers River in Danville, VT, USA from the 1960s. In 2004 and 2008, we re-measured channel dimensions in two of these tributaries, in two reaches of upper Pope Brook and along seven reaches of an unnamed tributary (W12). Four reaches had reforested since 1966; two reaches remained nonforested. The other three reaches have been forested since at least the 1940s. Comparisons between 1966 and 2004 showed that reforested reaches widened significantly, and comparisons between 2004 and 2008 showed continued widening, but at a greater rate. Between 1966 and 2004, reforested reaches widened at an average rate of 4.1 cm/year, while the rate more than doubled for the last four years (8.7 cm/year). Additionally, turbulence data collected during five peak flows in the spring of 2005 showed significantly greater turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) in the reforested reach than in either the forested or nonforested reach. Our data add supporting information to the conceptual model of stream W12 that describes a process of incision, widening, and recovery of a stream reach transitioning from nonforested to forested riparian vegetation. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Mendez, V. E.; Bacon, C. M.; Olson, M. B.; Morris, K. S.; Shattuck, A.. (2010) Agrobiodiversity and Shade Coffee Smallholder Livelihoods: A Review and Synthesis of Ten Years of Research in Central America. 62(3) 357-376
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We used households as the primary unit of analysis to synthesize agrobiodiversity research in small-scale coffee farms and cooperatives of Nicaragua and El Salvador. Surveys, focus groups, and plant inventories were used to analyze agrobiodiversity and its contribution to livelihoods. Households managed high levels of agrobiodiversity, including 100 shade tree and epiphyte species, food crops, and medicinals. Small farms contained higher levels of agrobiodiversity than larger, collectively managed cooperatives. Households benefited from agrobiodiversity through consumption and sales. To better support agrobiodiversity conservation, our analysis calls for a hybrid approach integrating bottom-up initiatives with the resources from top-down projects.
Mendez, V. E.; Bacon, C. M.; Olson, M. B.; Petchers, S.; Herrador, D.; Carranza, C.; Trujillo, L.; Guadarrama-Zugasti, C.; Cordon, A.; Mendoza, A.. (2010) Effects of Fair Trade and organic certifications on small-scale coffee farmer households in Central America and Mexico. 25(3) 236-251
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We provide a review of sustainable coffee certifications and results from a quantitative analysis of the effects of Fair Trade, organic and combined Fair Trade/organic certifications on the livelihood strategies of 469 households and 18 cooperatives of Central America and Mexico. Certified households were also compared with a non-certified group in each country. To analyze the differences in coffee price, volume, gross revenue and education between certifications, we used the Kruskal-Wallis ( K-W) non-parametric test and the Mann-Whitney U non-parametric test as a post-hoc procedure. Household savings, credit, food security and incidence of migration were analyzed through Pearson's chi-square test. Our study corroborated the conditions of economic poverty among small-scale coffee farmer households in Central America and Mexico. All certifications provided a higher price per pound and higher gross coffee revenue than non-certified coffee. However, the average volumes of coffee sold by individual households were low, and many certified farmers did not sell their entire production at certified prices. Certifications did not have a discernable effect on other livelihood-related variables, such as education, and incidence of migration at the household level, although they had a positive influence on savings and credit. Sales to certified markets offer farmers and cooperatives better prices, but the contribution derived from these premiums has limited effects on household livelihoods. This demonstrates that certifications will not single-handedly bring significant poverty alleviation to most coffee-farming families. Although certified coffee markets alone will not resolve the livelihood challenges faced by smallholder households, they could still contribute to broad-based sustainable livelihoods, rural development and conservation processes in coffee regions. This can be done by developing more active partnerships between farmers, cooperatives, certifications and environmental and rural development organizations and researchers in coffee regions. Certifications, especially Fair Trade/organic, have proven effective in supporting capacity building and in serving as networks that leverage global development funding for small-scale coffee-producing households.
Mouser, P. J.; Rizzo, D. M.; Druschel, G. K.; Morales, S. E.; Hayden, N.; O'Grady, P.; Stevens, L.. (2010) Enhanced detection of groundwater contamination from a leaking waste disposal site by microbial community profiles. Water Resources Research 46
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Groundwater biogeochemistry is adversely impacted when municipal solid waste leachate, rich in nutrients and anthropogenic compounds, percolates into the subsurface from leaking landfills. Detecting leachate contamination using statistical techniques is challenging because well strategies or analytical techniques may be insufficient for detecting low levels of groundwater contamination. We sampled profiles of the microbial community from monitoring wells surrounding a leaking landfill using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) targeting the 16S rRNA gene. Results show in situ monitoring of bacteria, archaea, and the family Geobacteraceae improves characterization of groundwater quality. Bacterial T-RFLP profiles showed shifts correlated to known gradients of leachate and effectively detected changes along plume fringes that were not detected using hydrochemical data. Experimental sediment microcosms exposed to leachate-contaminated groundwater revealed a shift from a beta-Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria dominated community to one dominated by Firmicutes and delta-Proteobacteria. This shift is consistent with the transition from oxic conditions to an anoxic, iron-reducing environment as a result of landfill leachate-derived contaminants and associated redox conditions. We suggest microbial communities are more sensitive than hydrochemistry data for characterizing low levels of groundwater contamination and thus provide a novel source of information for optimizing detection and long-term monitoring strategies at landfill sites.
Mulder, K.; Hagens, N.; Fisher, B.. (2010) Burning Water: A Comparative Analysis of the Energy Return on Water Invested. Ambio 39(1) 30-39
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While various energy-producing technologies have been analyzed to assess the amount of energy returned per unit of energy invested, this type of comprehensive and comparative approach has rarely been applied to other potentially limiting inputs such as water, land, and time. We assess the connection between water and energy production and conduct a comparative analysis for estimating the energy return on water invested (EROWI) for several renewable and non-renewable energy technologies using various Life Cycle Analyses. Our results suggest that the most water-efficient, fossil-based technologies have an EROWI one to two orders of magnitude greater than the most water-efficient biomass technologies, implying that the development of biomass energy technologies in scale sufficient to be a significant source of energy may produce or exacerbate water shortages around the globe and be limited by the availability of fresh water.
Murdoch, W.; Ranganathan, J.; Polasky, S.; Regetz, J.. (2010) Using return on investment to maximize conservation effectiveness in Argentine grasslands. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107(49) 20855-20862
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The rapid global loss of natural habitats and biodiversity, and limited resources, place a premium on maximizing the expected benefits of conservation actions. The scarcity of information on the fine-grained distribution of species of conservation concern, on risks of loss, and on costs of conservation actions, especially in developing countries, makes efficient conservation difficult. The distribution of ecosystem types (unique ecological communities) is typically better known than species and arguably better represents the entirety of biodiversity than do well-known taxa, so we use conserving the diversity of ecosystem types as our conservation goal. We define conservation benefit to include risk of conversion, spatial effects that reward clumping of habitat, and diminishing returns to investment in any one ecosystem type. Using Argentine grasslands as an example, we compare three strategies: protecting the cheapest land ("minimize cost"), maximizing conservation benefit regardless of cost ("maximize benefit"), and maximizing conservation benefit per dollar ("return on investment"). We first show that the widely endorsed goal of saving some percentage (typically 10%) of a country or habitat type, although it may inspire conservation, is a poor operational goal. It either leads to the accumulation of areas with low conservation benefit or requires infeasibly large sums of money, and it distracts from the real problem: maximizing conservation benefit given limited resources. Second, given realistic budgets, return on investment is superior to the other conservation strategies. Surprisingly, however, over a wide range of budgets, minimizing cost provides more conservation benefit than does the maximize-benefit strategy.
Nelson, E.; Sander, H.; Hawthorne, P.; Conte, M.; Ennaanay, D.; Wolny, S.; Manson, S.; Polasky, S.. (2010) Projecting Global Land-Use Change and Its Effect on Ecosystem Service Provision and Biodiversity with Simple Models. PloS One 5(12) 22
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Background: As the global human population grows and its consumption patterns change, additional land will be needed for living space and agricultural production. A critical question facing global society is how to meet growing human demands for living space, food, fuel, and other materials while sustaining ecosystem services and biodiversity [1]. Methodology/Principal Findings: We spatially allocate two scenarios of 2000 to 2015 global areal change in urban land and cropland at the grid cell-level and measure the impact of this change on the provision of ecosystem services and biodiversity. The models and techniques used to spatially allocate land-use/land-cover (LULC) change and evaluate its impact on ecosystems are relatively simple and transparent [2]. The difference in the magnitude and pattern of cropland expansion across the two scenarios engenders different tradeoffs among crop production, provision of species habitat, and other important ecosystem services such as biomass carbon storage. For example, in one scenario, 5.2 grams of carbon stored in biomass is released for every additional calorie of crop produced across the globe; under the other scenario this tradeoff rate is 13.7. By comparing scenarios and their impacts we can begin to identify the global pattern of cropland and irrigation development that is significant enough to meet future food needs but has less of an impact on ecosystem service and habitat provision. Conclusions/Significance: Urban area and croplands will expand in the future to meet human needs for living space, livelihoods, and food. In order to jointly provide desired levels of urban land, food production, and ecosystem service and species habitat provision the global society will have to become much more strategic in its allocation of intensively managed land uses. Here we illustrate a method for quickly and transparently evaluating the performance of potential global futures.
Nunery, J. S.; Keeton, W. S.. (2010) Forest carbon storage in the northeastern United States: Net effects of harvesting frequency, post-harvest retention, and wood products. Forest Ecology and Management 259(8) 1363-1375
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Temperate forests are an important carbon sink, yet there is debate regarding the net effect of forest management practices on carbon storage. Few studies have investigated the effects of different silvicultural systems on forest carbon stocks, and the relative strength of in situ forest carbon versus wood products pools remains in question. Our research describes (1) the impact of harvesting frequency and proportion of post-harvest structural retention on carbon storage in northern hardwood-conifer forests, and (2) tests the significance of including harvested wood products in carbon accounting at the stand scale. We stratified Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) plots to control for environmental, forest structural and compositional variables, resulting in 32 FIA plots distributed throughout the northeastern U.S. We used the USDA Forest Service's Forest Vegetation Simulator to project stand development over a 160 year period under nine different forest management scenarios. Simulated treatments represented a gradient of increasing structural retention and decreasing harvesting frequencies, including a "no harvest" scenario. The simulations incorporated carbon flux between aboveground forest biomass (dead and live pools) and harvested wood products. Mean carbon storage over the simulation period was calculated for each silvicultural scenario. We investigated tradeoffs among scenarios using a factorial treatment design and two-way ANOVA. Mean carbon sequestration was significantly (alpha = 0.05) greater for "no management" compared to any of the active management scenarios. Of the harvest treatments, those favoring high levels of structural retention and decreased harvesting frequency stored the greatest amounts of carbon. Classification and regression tree analysis showed that management scenario was the strongest predictor of total carbon storage, though site-specific variables were important secondary predictors. In order to isolate the effect of in situ forest carbon storage and harvested wood products, we did not include the emissions benefits associated with substituting wood fiber for other construction materials or energy sources. Modeling results from this study show that harvesting frequency and structural retention significantly affect mean carbon storage. Our results illustrate the importance of both post-harvest forest structure and harvesting frequency in carbon storage, and are valuable to land owners interested in managing forests for carbon sequestration. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Pace, M. L.; Hampton, S. E.; Limburg, K. E.; Bennett, E. M.; Cook, E. M.; Davis, A. E.; Grove, J. M.; Kaneshiro, K. Y.; LaDeau, S. L.; Likens, G. E.; McKnight, D. M.; Richardson, D. C.; Strayer, D. L.. (2010) Communicating with the public: opportunities and rewards for individual ecologists. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 8(6) 292-298
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Many ecologists are interested in communicating science to the public and addressing societal concerns about environmental issues. Individual ecologists need to consider whether, when, and how this should be done. We propose that public outreach activities can be beneficial for ecologists at all stages of their career. There are diverse opportunities for such involvement, and these can vary enormously in terms of time and expertise required. Trends within the science of ecology, especially research focused on social-ecological systems, are likely to promote increased interactions with stakeholders and policy makers. To be effective in these interactions, ecologists should consider new approaches to communication and be aware of the potential roles scientists can play in public policy debates. Professional ecologists need to engage with non-scientific audiences; a review of such activities should be included in considerations for promotion, recognition, and awards, while also acknowledging variations in the inclinations and abilities of individual scientists. There are, however, few current standards for how much time ecologists should commit to public outreach, how time allocation might change over a career, or how to evaluate the quality of such activities. We ask ecologists to consider ways to evaluate the quality of interactions with the public and how to reward these efforts appropriately.
Pearce, Andrea R; Bierman, Paul R; Druschel, Gregory K; Massey, Christine; Rizzo, Donna M; Watzin, Mary C; Wemple, Beverly C. (2010) Pitfalls and successes of developing an interdisciplinary watershed field science course. Journal of Geoscience Education 58(3) 145-154
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At the University of Vermont, an interdisciplinary faculty team developed an introductory watershed science field course. This course honed field skills and catalyzed communication across water-related disciplines without requiring specific prerequisites. Five faculty (geology, engineering, geography, natural resources) taught the four-credit course, highlighting interactions between the hydrosphere, biosphere, and solid Earth. The course, based in the Winooski River watershed, followed the river from its headwaters downstream to its outlet in Lake Champlain focusing on data collection and analysis methods, while exploring threats to this freshwater ecosystem. This course was offered as a summer field course in 2007. Student learning was assessed using weekly summative assignments and final presentations incorporating field data and acquired knowledge. Attitude and knowledge surveys, administered before and after this first year, documented increased self-assessed learning, affinity for the field learning environment, and that the course provided training relevant to various disciplines. The fiscally unsustainable summer model, and course evaluations guided major revisions to the course. The second offering, in 2009, met weekly during spring term to provide students with context before a two-week field component. This field component was held immediately after classes ended to avoid the need to pay faculty summer salaries.
Potter, P.; Ramankutty, N.; Bennett, E. M.; Donner, S. D.. (2010) Characterizing the Spatial Patterns of Global Fertilizer Application and Manure Production. Earth Interactions 14
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Agriculture has had a tremendous impact on soil nutrients around the world. In some regions, soil nutrients are depleted because of low initial soil fertility or excessive nutrient removals through intense land use relative to nutrient additions. In other regions, application of chemical fertilizers and manure has led to an accumulation of nutrients and subsequent water quality problems. Understanding the current level and spatial patterns of fertilizer and manure inputs would greatly improve the ability to identify areas that might be sensitive to aquatic eutrophication or to nutrient depletion. The authors calculated spatially explicit fertilizer inputs of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) by fusing national-level statistics on fertilizer use with global maps of harvested area for 175 crops. They also calculated spatially explicit manure inputs of N and P by fusing global maps of animal density and international data on manure production and nutrient content. Significantly higher application rates were found for both fertilizers and manures in the Northern Hemisphere, with maxima centered on areas with intensive cropland and high densities of livestock. Furthermore, nutrient use is confined to a few major hot spots, with approximately 10% of the treated land receiving over 50% of the use of both fertilizers and manures. The authors' new spatial disaggregation of the rich International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) fertilizer-use dataset will provide new and interesting avenues to explore the impact of anthropogenic activity on ecosystems at the global scale and may also have implications for policies designed to improve soil quality or reduce nutrient runoff.
Pyke, G. H.; Ehrlich, P. R.. (2010) Biological collections and ecological/environmental research: a review, some observations and a look to the future. Biological Reviews 85(2) 247-266
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The work remaining in systematics has been expanding as the estimated total number of species of organisms on Earth has risen over recent decades, as have estimated numbers of undescribed species. Despite this increasing task, support for taxonomic and systematic research, and biological collections upon which such research is based, has declined over the last 30-40 years, while other areas of biological research have grown considerably, especially those that focus on environmental issues. Reflecting increases in research that deals with ecological questions (e.g. what determines species distribution and abundance) or environmental issues (e.g. toxic pollution), the level of research attempting to use biological collections in museums or herbaria in an ecological/environmental context has risen dramatically during about the last 20 years. The perceived relevance of biological collections, and hence the support they receive, should be enhanced if this trend continues and they are used prominently regarding such environmental issues as anthropogenic loss of biodiversity and associated ecosystem function, global climate change, and decay of the epidemiological environment. It is unclear, however, how best to use biological collections in the context of such ecological/environmental issues or how best to manage collections to facilitate such use. We demonstrate considerable and increasingly realized potential for research based on biological collections to contribute to ecological/environmental understanding. However, because biological collections were not originally intended for use regarding such issues and have inherent biases and limitations, they are proving more useful in some contexts than in others. Biological collections have, for example, been particularly useful as sources of information regarding variation in attributes of individuals (e.g. morphology, chemical composition) in relation to environmental variables, and provided important information in relation to species' distributions, but less useful in the contexts of habitat associations and population sizes. Changes to policies, strategies and procedures associated with biological collections could mitigate these biases and limitations, and hence make such collections more useful in the context of ecological/environmental issues. Haphazard and opportunistic collecting could be replaced with strategies for adding to existing collections that prioritize projects that use biological collections and include, besides taxonomy and systematics, a focus on significant environmental/ecological issues. Other potential changes include increased recording of the nature and extent of collecting effort and information associated with each specimen such as nearby habitat and other individuals observed but not collected. Such changes have begun to occur within some institutions. Institutions that house biological collections should, we think, pursue a mission of 'understanding the life of the planet to inform its stewardship' (Krishtalka & Humphrey, 2000), as such a mission would facilitate increased use of biological collections in an ecological/environmental context and hence lead to increased appreciation, encouragement and support from the public for these collections, their associated research, and the institutions that house them.
Raudsepp-Hearne, C.; Peterson, G. D.; Tengo, M.; Bennett, E. M.; Holland, T.; Benessaiah, K.; MacDonald, G. K.; Pfeifer, L.. (2010) Untangling the Environmentalist's Paradox: Why Is Human Well-being Increasing as Ecosystem Services Degrade?. Bioscience 60(8) 576-589
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Environmentalists have argued that ecological degradation will lead to declines in the well-being of people dependent on ecosystem services. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment paradoxically found that human well-being has increased despite large global declines in most ecosystem services. We assess four explanations of these divergent trends: (1) We have measured well-being incorrectly; (2) well-being is dependent on food services, which are increasing, and not on other services that are declining; (3) technology has decoupled well-being from nature; (4) time lags may lead to future declines in well-being. Our findings discount the first hypothesis, but elements of the remaining three appear plausible. Although ecologists have convincingly documented ecological decline, science does not adequately understand the implications of this decline for human well-being. Untangling how human well-being has increased as ecosystem conditions decline is critical to guiding future management of ecosystem services; we propose four research areas to help achieve this goal.
Reynolds, T. W.; Farley, J.; Huber, C.. (2010) Investing in human and natural capital: An alternative paradigm for sustainable development in Awassa, Ethiopia. Ecological Economics 69(11) 2140-2150
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Ethiopia remains underdeveloped due to limitations in natural, human, social and built capital. A 2006 scientific atelier conducted in the city of Awassa. Ethiopia investigated investments in human and natural capital as a sustainable development strategy. Local stakeholders identified firewood shortages, degradation of croplands, rising lake levels encroaching on croplands and poor water quality as major impediments to development. They further identified ecological degradation as a key component of these problems, and they acknowledged multiple vicious cycles compounding the environmental and economic threats to the Awassa community. Proposed solutions included investment in natural capital in the form of reforestation activities, investment in human capital in the form of promoting more efficient wood stoves along with increasing public awareness of environmental threats, and investments in social capital in the form of inter-institutional coordination to address environmental problems. All recommended investments rely primarily on national resources, in distinct contrast to the extensive imports required for most built capital investments. Unfortunately, Awassa lacks the surplus necessary for major capital investments of any kind. The atelier therefore helped local participants identify potential funders and write grant proposals for various projects, though none have been funded so far. Reversing the ecological degradation on the scale necessary for sustained economic development in Ethiopia however will require a steady flow of substantial investments, and cannot rely solely on the short term generosity of funders. International payments for carbon sequestration and other ecosystem services could help provide the necessary resources. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Ricketts, T. H.; Soares-Filho, B.; da Fonseca, G. A. B.; Nepstad, D.; Pfaff, A.; Petsonk, A.; Anderson, A.; Boucher, D.; Cattaneo, A.; Conte, M.; Creighton, K.; Linden, L.; Maretti, C.; Moutinho, P.; Ullman, R.; Victurine, R.. (2010) Indigenous lands, protected areas, and slowing climate change. Plos Biology 8(3) e1000331-e1000331
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Recent climate talks in Copenhagen reaffirmed the crucial role of reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). Creating and strengthening indigenous lands and other protected areas represents an effective, practical, and immediate REDD strategy that addresses both biodiversity and climate crises at once.
Roman, J.; Ehrlich, P. E.; Pringle, R.; Avise, J. A.. (2010) Facing extinction: Nine steps to save biodiversity. Solutions 1(1) 32-45
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Human history has followed a pattern—which began in Africa but is now global in scope—of exploiting nature and depleting resources. As we have expanded our influence over the world, we have also extinguished species and populations at an alarming rate. Despite attempts to reduce biodiversity loss, the trend is likely to continue: nearly 20% of all humans—more than a billion—now live within biodiversity hotspots, and their growth rate is faster than the population at large. This article presents nine steps to reduce biodiversity loss, with a goal of categorizing human-caused extinctions as wrongs, such as the slave trade and child labor, that are unacceptable to society. These steps include developing a system of parks that highlight the planet’s biological legacy, much as historical landmarks celebrate human history. Legal prohibitions that are fairly and capably enforced will also be essential in protecting rare and declining species. Biodiversity endowments—from national governments, nongovernmental organizations, and private enterprises—can help support parks and native species in perpetuity. Like a good sports team, conservationists need to defend extant wilderness areas, but they also need to play offense by restoring ecosystems, reclaiming keystone and umbrella species, and making human landscapes more hospitable to biodiversity. In the long run, the most effective forms of conservation will be those that engage local stakeholders; the cultivation of sustainable ecosystems and their services must be promoted along with conservation of endangered species and populations. The emerging field of ecological economics can unite these goals by revealing the connections between human well-being and conservation.
Roman, J.; McCarthy, J. J.. (2010) The Whale Pump: Marine Mammals Enhance Primary Productivity in a Coastal Basin. PloS One 5(10)
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It is well known that microbes, zooplankton, and fish are important sources of recycled nitrogen in coastal waters, yet marine mammals have largely been ignored or dismissed in this cycle. Using field measurements and population data, we find that marine mammals can enhance primary productivity in their feeding areas by concentrating nitrogen near the surface through the release of flocculent fecal plumes. Whales and seals may be responsible for replenishing 2.3x10(4) metric tons of N per year in the Gulf of Maine's euphotic zone, more than the input of all rivers combined. This upward "whale pump" played a much larger role before commercial harvest, when marine mammal recycling of nitrogen was likely more than three times atmospheric N input. Even with reduced populations, marine mammals provide an important ecosystem service by sustaining productivity in regions where they occur in high densities.
Roman, J.. (2010) Aquatic invasive species. Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment, Washington, DC.
Sander, H.; Polasky, S.; Haight, R. G.. (2010) The value of urban tree cover: A hedonic property price model in Ramsey and Dakota Counties, Minnesota, USA. Ecological Economics 69(8) 1646-1656
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Urban tree cover benefits communities. These benefits' economic values, however, are poorly recognized and often ignored by landowners and planners. We use hedonic property price modeling to estimate urban tree cover's value in Dakota and Ramsey Counties, MN, USA, predicting housing value as a function of structural, neighborhood, and environmental variables, including tree cover, using a spatial simultaneous autoregressive (SAR) error model. We measure tree cover as percent tree cover on parcels, and within 100, 250, 500, 750. and 1000 m. Results show that tree cover within 100 and 250 m is positive and statistically significant. A 10% increase in tree cover within 100 m increases average home sale price by $1371 (0.48%) and within 250 m increases sale price by $836 (0.29%). In a model including both linear and squared tree cover terms, tree cover within 100 and 250 m increases sale price to 40-60% tree cover. Beyond this point increased tree cover contributes to lower price. Tree cover beyond 250 m did not contribute significantly to sale price. These results suggest significant positive effects for neighborhood tree cover, for instance, for the shading and aesthetic quality of tree-lined streets, indicating that tree cover provides positive neighborhood externalities. Published by Elsevier B.V.
Shammin, Md R.; Herendeen, Robert A.; Hanson, Michelle J.; Wilson, Eric J. H.. (2010) A multivariate analysis of the energy intensity of sprawl versus compact living in the US for 2003. Ecological Economics 69(12) 2363-2373
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We explore the energy intensity of sprawl versus compact living by analyzing the total energy requirements of U.S. households for the year 2003. The methods used are based on previous studies on energy cost of living. Total energy requirement is calculated as a function of individual energy intensities of goods and services derived from economic input-output analysis and expenditures for those goods and services. We use multivariate regression analysis to estimate patterns in household energy intensities. We define sprawl in terms of location in rural areas or in areas with low population size. We find that even though sprawl-related factors account for about 83% of the average household energy consumption, sprawl is only 17-19% more energy intensive than compact living based on how people actually lived. We observe that some of the advantages of reduced direct energy use by people living in high density urban centers are offset by their consumption of other non-energy products. A more detailed analysis reveals that lifestyle choices (household type, number of vehicles, and family size) that could be independent of location play a significant role in determining household energy intensity. We develop two models that offer opportunities for further analysis. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Sikor, T.; Stahl, J.; Enters, T.; Ribot, J.C.; Singh, N.M.; Sunderlin, W.D.; Wollenberg, E. (2010) REDD-plus, forest people's rights and nested climate governance. Global Environmental Change 20(3)
Sodhi, N. S.; Lee, T. M.; Sekercioglu, C. H.; Webb, E. L.; Prawiradilaga, D. M.; Lohman, D. J.; Pierce, N. E.; Diesmos, A. C.; Rao, M.; Ehrlich, P. R.. (2010) Local people value environmental services provided by forested parks. Biodiversity and Conservation 19(4) 1175-1188
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Garnering support from local people is critical for maintaining ecologically viable and functional protected areas. However, empirical data illustrating local people's awareness of the importance of nature's services is limited; hence possibly impeding effective ecosystem (environmental)-services based conservation efforts. Using data from five protected forests in four developing Southeast Asian countries, we provide evidence that local people living near parks value a wide range of environmental services, including cultural, provisioning, and regulating services, provided by the forests. Local people with longer residency valued environmental services more. Educated as well as poor people valued forest ecosystem services more. Conservation education has some influence on people's environmental awareness. For conservation endeavors to be successful, large-scale transmigration programs should be avoided and local people must be provided with alternative sustenance opportunities and basic education in addition to environmental outreach to reduce their reliance on protected forests and to enhance conservation support.
Springate-Baginski, O.; Wollenberg, E.. (2010) REDD, forest governance and rural livelihoods: the emerging agenda. Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor, Indonesia. Pages VI, 279p.;
Turner, R. K.; Morse-Jones, S.; Fisher, B.. (2010) Ecosystem valuation A sequential decision support system and quality assessment issues. 1185 79-101
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Understanding the economic value of nature and the services it provides to humanity has become increasingly important for local, national, and global policy and decision making. It has become obvious that quantifying and integrating these services into decision making will be crucial for sustainable development. Problems arise in that it is difficult to obtain meaningful values for the goods and services that ecosystems provide and for which there is no formal market. A wide range of ecosystem services fall into this category. Additional problems arise when economic methods are applied inappropriately and when the importance of ecosystem maintenance for human welfare is underestimated. In this article we identify a place for monetary valuation within the pluralistic approach supported by ecological economics and assess progress to date in the application of environmental valuation to ecosystem service provision. We first review definitions of ecosystem services in order to make an operational link to valuation methods. We then discuss the spatially explicit nature of ecosystem services provision and benefits capture. We highlight the importance of valuing marginal changes and the role for macroscale valuation, nonlinearities in service benefits, and the significance of nonconvexities (threshold effects). We also review guidance on valuation studies quality assurance, and discuss the problems inherent in the methodology as exposed by the findings of behavioral economics, as well as with benefits transfer-the most common way valuation studies are applied in the policy process. We argue for a sequential decision support system that can lead to a more integrated and rigorous approach to environmental valuation and biophysical measurement of ecosystem services. This system itself then needs to be encompassed within a more comprehensive multicriteria assessment dialogue and process.
Vermeulen, Sonja Joy; Aggarwal, PK; Ainslie, A; Angelone, C; Campbell, Bruce Morgan; Challinor, AJ; Hansen, J; Ingram, JSI; Jarvis, A; Kristjanson, P. (2010) Agriculture, food security and climate change: Outlook for knowledge, tools and action.
Westdijk, K.; Koliba, C.; Hamshaw, K.. (2010) Collecting Data to Inform Decision Making and Action:. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement 14(2) 5-33
Wu, N.; Gao, J.; Sudebilige; Ricketts, T. H.; Olwero, N.; Luo, Z.. (2010) Evaluation of ecosystem provisioning service and its economic value. 21(2) 409-414
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Aiming at the fact that the current approaches of evaluating the efficacy of ecosystem provisioning service were lack of spatial information and did not take the accessibility of products into account, this paper established an evaluation model to simulate the spatial distribution of ecosystem provisioning service and its economic value, based on ArcGIS 9. 2 and taking the supply and demand factors of ecosystem products into account. The provision of timber product in Laojunshan in 2000 was analyzed with the model. In 2000, the total physical quantity of the timber' s provisioning service in Laojunshan was 11. 12 x 10(4) m(3) . a(-1), occupying 3.2% of the total increment of timber stock volume. The total provisioning service value of timber was 6669. 27 x 10(4) yuan, among which, coniferous forest contributed most (90. 41%). Due to the denser distribution of populations and roads in the eastern area of Laojunshan, some parts of the area being located outside of conservancy district, and forests being in scattered distribution, the spatial distribution pattern of the physical quantity of timber' s provisioning service was higher in the eastern than in the western area.
Zia, A.; Todd, A. M.. (2010) Evaluating the effects of ideology on public understanding of climate change science: How to improve communication across ideological divides?. Public Understanding of Science 19(6) 743-761
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While ideology can have a strong effect on citizen understanding of science, it is unclear how ideology interacts with other complicating factors, such as college education, which influence citizens' comprehension of information. We focus on public understanding of climate change science and test the hypotheses: [H(1)] as citizens' ideology shifts from liberal to conservative, concern for global warming decreases; [H(2)] citizens with college education and higher general science literacy tend to have higher concern for global warming; and [H(3)] college education does not increase global warming concern for conservative ideologues. We implemented a survey instrument in California's San Francisco Bay Area, and employed regression models to test the effects of ideology and other socio-demographic variables on citizen concern about global warming, terrorism, the economy, health care and poverty. We are able to confirm H(1) and H(3), but reject H(2). Various strategies are discussed to improve the communication of climate change science across ideological divides.
2009
Ali, S. H.. (2009) Islam and Education: Conflict and Conformity in Pakistan's Madrassahs. Oxford University Press, New Haven, CT.
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Islamic educational institutions have come under intense public scrutiny in recent years because of their perceived linkage to militancy. However, much of the research thus far has relied upon anecdotal accounts and investigative journalism. In particular, Pakistani madrassahs (or seminaries), have been the focus of much media coverage. Islam and Education aims to provide an empirically-grounded analysis of madrassahs in Pakistan, thereby informing the larger discussion of the role of Islamic education in conflict causality. Unlike earlier works that have focused primarily on the curriculum of madrassahs, this book provides a comprehensive examination of Islamic education as an integrated social movement. The ultimate aim of Islam and Education is to prevent the escalation of existing regional conflict as well as the perceived conflict between Islam and the West, while providing guidance to policymakers regarding their attempt to reform educational institutions.
Ali, S. H.. (2009) PAKISTAN’S MADRASSAS: THE NEED FOR INTERNAL REFORM AND THE ROLE OF INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE. Brookings Doha Center (August 2009)
Ali, S.. (2009) Better environmental treaties. Issues in Science and Technology (Winter) 9
Ali, S.. (2009) Treasures of the Earth: Need, Greed and a Sustainable Future.. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT. Pages 304;
Armitage, D. R.; Plummer, R.; Berkes, F.; Arthur, R. I.; Charles, A. T.; Davidson-Hunt, I. J.; Diduck, A. P.; Doubleday, N. C.; Johnson, D. S.; Marschke, M.; McConney, P.; Pinkerton, E. W.; Wollenberg, E. K.. (2009) Adaptive co-management for social-ecological complexity. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7(2) 95-102
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Building trust through collaboration, institutional development, and social learning enhances efforts to foster ecosystem management and resolve multi-scale society-environment dilemmas. One emerging approach aimed at addressing these dilemmas is adaptive co-management. This method draws explicit attention to the learning ( experiential and experimental) and collaboration ( vertical and horizontal) functions necessary to improve our understanding of, and ability to respond to, complex social-ecological systems. Here, we identify and outline the core features of adaptive co-management, which include innovative institutional arrangements and incentives across spatiotemporal scales and levels, learning through complexity and change, monitoring and assessment of interventions, the role of power, and opportunities to link science with policy.
Baker, D; Koliba, C; Kolodinsky, J; Liang, K; McMahon, E; Patterson, T; Wang, Q. (2009) Moving toward a transdisciplinary approach in the land-grant system: A case study. NACTA Journal 53(2) 34-42
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The complexity of problems facing contemporary society requires an approach to knowledge creation that synthesizes solutions from multiple disciplinary perspectives. Traditional disciplinary structures functioning individually can inhibit the integration and application of useful knowledge. In response, many funding agencies and some universities have promoted multi-disciplinary collaboration and even interdisciplinary approaches, where faculty from different disciplines work together as a unit. This article takes the discussion a step further by examining the evolution of the Community Development and Applied Economics (CDAE) department at the University ofVermont. It provides an illustrative case study of a move beyond interdisciplinarity into transdisciplinarity, where faculty coheres as a team in teaching, researching, identifying and solving problems. The experience of this department suggests that the development of a transdiciplinary approach is not easy or simple. It cuts against the grain of the traditional culture of the Academy, which continues to incentivize and place high premiums on traditional disciplinary structures. The article concludes with an examination of the difficulties experienced in the building of a transdiciplinary program. It reveals the importance of maintaining openness to the stakeholder participation and collaboration that is vital in attracting scholars and students accustomed to the security of orthodox disciplinary identities.
Balmford, A.; Beresford, J.; Green, J.; Naidoo, R.; Walpole, M.; Manica, A.. (2009) A Global Perspective on Trends in Nature-Based Tourism. Plos Biology 7(6) 6
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Reports of rapid growth in nature-based tourism and recreation add significant weight to the economic case for biodiversity conservation but seem to contradict widely voiced concerns that people are becoming increasingly isolated from nature. This apparent paradox has been highlighted by a recent study showing that on a per capita basis, visits to natural areas in the United States and Japan have declined over the last two decades. These results have been cited as evidence of "a fundamental and pervasive shift away from nature-based recreation''-but how widespread is this phenomenon? We address this question by looking at temporal trends in visitor numbers at 280 protected areas (PAs) from 20 countries. This more geographically representative dataset shows that while PA visitation (whether measured as total or per capita visit numbers) is indeed declining in the United States and Japan, it is generally increasing elsewhere. Total visit numbers are growing in 15 of the 20 countries for which we could get data, with the median national rate of change unrelated to the national rate of population growth but negatively associated with wealth. Reasons for this reversal of growth in the richest countries are difficult to pin down with existing data, but the pattern is mirrored by trends in international tourist arrivals as a whole and so may not necessarily be caused by disaffection with nature. Irrespective of the explanation, it is clear that despite important downturns in some countries, nature-related tourism is far from declining everywhere, and may still have considerable potential both to generate funds for conservation and to shape people's attitudes to the environment.
Beddoe, R.; Costanza, R.; Farley, J.; Garza, E.; Kent, J.; Kubiszewski, I.; Martinez, L.; McCowen, T.; Murphy, K.; Myers, N.; Ogden, Z.; Stapleton, K.; Woodward, J.. (2009) Overcoming systemic roadblocks to sustainability: The evolutionary redesign of worldviews, institutions, and technologies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106(8) 2483-2489
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A high and sustainable quality of life is a central goal for humanity. Our current socio-ecological regime and its set of interconnected worldviews, institutions, and technologies all support the goal of unlimited growth of material production and consumption as a proxy for quality of life. However, abundant evidence shows that, beyond a certain threshold, further material growth no longer significantly contributes to improvement in quality of life. Not only does further material growth not meet humanity's central goal, there is mounting evidence that it creates significant roadblocks to sustainability through increasing resource constraints (i.e., peak oil, water limitations) and sink constraints (i.e., climate disruption). Overcoming these roadblocks and creating a sustainable and desirable future will require an integrated, systems level redesign of our socio-ecological regime focused explicitly and directly on the goal of sustainable quality of life rather than the proxy of unlimited material growth. This transition, like all cultural transitions, will occur through an evolutionary process, but one that we, to a certain extent, can control and direct. We suggest an integrated set of worldviews, institutions, and technologies to stimulate and seed this evolutionary redesign of the current socio-ecological regime to achieve global sustainability.
Beddoe, R.; Costanza, R.; Farley, J.; Garza, E.; Kent, J.; Kubiszewski, I.; Martinez, L.; McCowen, T.; Murphy, K.; Myers, N.; Ogden, Z.; Stapleton, K.; Woodward, J.. (2009) Reply to Knecht: Achieving sustainable health. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106(28) E81-E81
Beier, C. M.; Lovecraft, A. L.; Chapin, F. S.. (2009) Growth and Collapse of a Resource System: an Adaptive Cycle of Change in Public Lands Governance and Forest Management in Alaska. Ecology and Society 14(2)
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Large-scale government efforts to develop resources for societal benefit have often experienced cycles of growth and decline that leave behind difficult social and ecological legacies. To understand the origins and outcomes of these failures of resource governance, scholars have applied the framework of the adaptive cycle. In this study, we used the adaptive cycle as a diagnostic approach to trace the drivers and dynamics of forest governance surrounding a boom-bust sequence of industrial forest management in one of the largest-scale resource systems in U. S. history: the Tongass National Forest in southeastern Alaska. Our application of the adaptive cycle combined a historical narrative tracing dynamics in political, institutional, and economic subsystems and a longitudinal analysis of an indicator of overall system behavior (timber harvests). We found that federal policies in concert with global market changes drove transformative change in both forest governance (policy making) and forest management (practices), through creation and dissolution of subsidized long-term lease contracts. Evidence of the systemic resilience provided by these leases was found in the analysis of industry responses to market volatility before and after Tongass-specific federal reforms. Although the lease contracts stabilized the Tongass system for a period of time, they fostered a growing degree of rigidity that contributed to a severe industrial collapse and the subsequent emergence of complex social traps. Broader lessons from the Tongass suggest that large-scale changes occurred only when the nested economic and policy cycles were in coherence, and a systemic effort to minimize social and ecological variability ultimately resulted in catastrophic collapse of governance. This collapse resulted in a pervasive and challenging legacy that prevents Tongass reorganization and limits the adaptive capacity of the larger social-ecological system of southeastern Alaska. Although this legacy has inhibited system renewal for two decades, recent trends indicate the emergence of new opportunities for progress toward sustainable governance of the Tongass National Forest.
Bennett, Elena M; Peterson, Garry D; Gordon, Line J. (2009) Understanding relationships among multiple ecosystem services. Ecology Letters 12(12) 1394-1404
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Ecosystem management that attempts to maximize the production of one ecosystem service often results in substantial declines in the provision of other ecosystem services. For this reason, recent studies have called for increased attention to development of a theoretical understanding behind the relationships among ecosystem services. Here, we review the literature on ecosystem services and propose a typology of relationships between ecosystem services based on the role of drivers and the interactions between services. We use this typology to develop three propositions to help drive ecological science towards a better understanding of the relationships among multiple ecosystem services. Research which aims to understand the relationships among multiple ecosystem services and the mechanisms behind these relationships will improve our ability to sustainably manage landscapes to provide multiple ecosystem services.
Besaw, L. E.; Rizzo, D. M.; Kline, M.; Underwood, K. L.; Doris, J. J.; Morrissey, L. A.; Pelletier, K.. (2009) Stream classification using hierarchical artificial neural networks: A fluvial hazard management tool. Journal of Hydrology 373(1-2) 34-43
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Watershed managers and planners have long sought decision-making tools for forecasting changes in stream-channels over large spatial and temporal scales. In this research, we apply non-parametric, clustering and classification artificial neural networks to assimilate large amounts of disparate data types for use in fluvial hazard management decision-making. Two types of artificial neural networks (a counter-propagation algorithm and a Kohonen self-organizing map) are used in hierarchy to predict reach-scale stream geomorphic condition, inherent vulnerability and sensitivity to adjustments using expert knowledge in combination with a variety of geomorphic assessment field data. Seven hundred and eighty-nine Vermont stream reaches (+7500 km) have been assessed by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources' geomorphic assessment protocols, and are used in the development of this work. More than 85% of the reach-scale stream geomorphic condition and inherent vulnerability predictions match expert evaluations. The method's usefulness as a QA/QC tool is discussed. The Kohonen self-organizing map clusters the 789 reaches into groupings of stream sensitivity (or instability). By adjusting the weight of input variables, experts can fine-tune the classification system to better understand and document similarities/differences among expert opinions. The use of artificial neural networks allows for an adaptive watershed management approach, does not require the development of site-specific, physics-based, stream models (i.e., is data-driven), and provides a standardized approach for classifying river network sensitivity in various contexts. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Buchholz, T.; Luzadis, V. A.; Volk, T. A.. (2009) Sustainability criteria for bioenergy systems: results from an expert survey. Journal of Cleaner Production 17 S86-S98
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Environmental impacts associated with the use of fossil fuels, rising prices, potential limitations in supply and concerns about regional and national security are driving the development and use of biomass for bioenergy, biofuels and bioproducts. However, the use of biomass does not automatically imply that its production, conversion and use are sustainable. In order to operationalize sustainability assessments of biomass systems, it is crucial to identify critical criteria, but keep their number and measurement at a manageable level. The selection of these criteria can vary depending on individual's expertise, geographical region where they work, and spatial scale they are focused on. No clear consensus has yet emerged on what experts consider as critical indicators of sustainability. Objectives of this paper were to analyze how key experts perceive the 35 sustainability criteria for bioenergy found in emerging sustainability assessment frameworks and to identify levels of agreement and uncertainty. Experts were asked to rate the criteria for attributes of relevance, practicality, reliability, and importance. Perceptions of the importance of the 35 criteria varied among the experts surveyed. Only two criteria, energy balance and greenhouse gas balance, were perceived as critical by more than half of the respondents. Social criteria and locally applied criteria were generally ranked low for all four attributes. Seven of the 12 criteria scored as most important focused on environmental issues, four were social and only one was economic. Of the 12 most important criteria, seven were ranked low in practicality and reliability indicating that mechanisms to assess a number of important criteria need to be developed. The spatial scale the experts worked at and their profession explained most of the differences in importance ranking between experts, while regional focus had minimal effect. Criteria that were ranked low for importance, were characterized by a lack of consensus, suggesting the need for further debate regarding their inclusion in sustainability assessments. Outcomes of the survey provide a foundation for further discussions and development of sustainability assessments for bioenergy systems and may also provide a basis for assessing individual bioenergy projects within their specific geographic, ecological, societal, and technological context and scale. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Buchholz, T.; Rametsteiner, E.; Volk, T. A.; Luzadis, V. A.. (2009) Multi Criteria Analysis for bioenergy systems assessments. Energy Policy 37(2) 484-495
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Sustainable bioenergy systems are, by definition, embedded in social, economic, and environmental contexts and depend on support of many stakeholders with different perspectives. The resulting complexity constitutes a major barrier to the implementation of bioenergy projects. The goal of this paper is to evaluate the potential of Multi Criteria Analysis (MCA) to facilitate the design and implementation of sustainable bioenergy projects. Four MCA tools (Super Decisions, DecidelT, Decision Lab, NAIADE) are reviewed for their suitability to assess sustainability of bioenergy systems with a special focus on multi-stakeholder inclusion. The MCA tools are applied using data from a multi-stakeholder bioenergy case study in Uganda. Although contributing to only a part of a comprehensive decision process, MCA can assist in overcoming implementation barriers by (i) structuring the problem, (ii) assisting in the identification of the least robust and/or most uncertain components in bioenergy systems and (iii) integrating stakeholders into the decision process. Applying the four MCA tools to a Ugandan case study resulted in a large variability in outcomes. However, social criteria were consistently identified by all tools as being decisive in making a bioelectricity project viable. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Ceballos, G.; Ehrlich, P. R.. (2009) Discoveries of new mammal species and their implications for conservation and ecosystem services. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106(10) 3841-3846
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In light of recent discoveries of many new species of poorly-studied organisms, we examine the biodiversity of mammals, a well known "charismatic" group. Many assume that nearly all mammal species are known to scientists. We demonstrate that this assumption is incorrect. Since 1993, 408 new mammalian species have been described, approximate to 10% of the previously known fauna. Some 60% of these are "cryptic" species, but 40% are large and distinctive. A substantial number persist only in areas undergoing rapid habitat destruction. Our findings suggest global animal and plant species diversity is badly underestimated even in well studied taxa. This implies even greater threats to ecosystem services and human well-being than previously assumed, and an increased need to explore, understand, and conserve Earth's living resources.
Coe, M. T.; Costa, M. H.; Soares-Filhoc, B. S.. (2009) The influence of historical and potential future deforestation on the stream flow of the Amazon River - Land surface processes and atmospheric feedbacks. Journal of Hydrology 369(1-2) 165-174
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In this study, results from two sets of numerical simulations are evaluated and presented: one with the land surface model IBIS forced with prescribed climate and another with the fully coupled atmospheric general circulation and land surface model CCM3-IBIS. The results illustrate the influence of historical and potential future deforestation on local evapotranspiration and discharge of the Amazon River system with and without atmospheric feedbacks and clarify a few important points about the impact of deforestation on the Amazon River. In the absence of a continental scale precipitation change, large-scale deforestation can have a significant impact on large river systems and appears to have already done so in the Tocantins and Araguaia Rivers, where discharge has increased 25% with little change in precipitation. However, with extensive deforestation (e.g. >30% of the Amazon basin) atmospheric feedbacks, brought about by differences in the physical structure of the crops and pasture replacing natural vegetation, cause water balance changes of the same order of magnitude as the changes due to local land surface processes, but of opposite sign. Additionally, changes in the water balance caused by atmospheric feedbacks are not limited to those basins where deforestation has occurred but are spread unevenly throughout the entire Amazon by atmospheric circulation. As a result, changes to discharge and aquatic environments with future deforestation of the Amazon will likely be significant and a complex function of how much vegetation has been removed from that particular watershed and how much has been removed from the entire Amazon Basin. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Costanza, R.. (2009) A Blueprint for a Safer Planet: How to Manage Climate Change and Create a New Era of Progress and Prosperity. Nature 458(7242) 1107-1108
Costanza, R.. (2009) A New Development Model for a 'Full' World. Development 52 369-376
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Robert Costanza argues that we need to understand what really does contribute to sustainable human well-being, and recognize the substantial contributions of natural and social capitals, which are now the limiting factors to sustainable human well-being in many countries. We have to be able to distinguish between real poverty in terms of low quality of life, and merely low monetary income. He underlines that we have to create a new vision of what the economy is and what it is for, and a new model of development that acknowledges this new full world context and vision.
Costanza, R.. (2009) Down to the Wire: Confronting Climate Collapse. Nature 461(7261) 174-175
Costanza, R.. (2009) Evolution is intelligent design. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 24(8) 414-415
Costanza, Robert. (2009) Science and Ecological Economics: Integrating of the Study of Humans and the Rest of Nature. Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society 29(5) 358-373
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Ecological economics is a transdisciplinary field that seeks to integrate the study of humans and the rest of nature as the basis for the creation of a sustainable and desirable future. It seeks to dissolve the barriers between the traditional disciplines and achieve a true consilience of all the sciences and humanities. This consilient, transdisciplinary science represents a rebalancing of analysis and synthesis; a recognition of the central role of envisioning in science; a pragmatic philosophy built on complex systems theory, thermodynamics, and modeling; a multiscale approach; and a consistent integration of cultural and biological coevolution. It will allow us to build a world that is both sustainable and desirable and that recognizes our fundamental partnership with the rest of nature. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society is the property of Sage Publications Inc. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
Daily, G. C.; Polasky, S.; Goldstein, J.; Kareiva, P. M.; Mooney, H. A.; Pejchar, L.; Ricketts, T. H.; Salzman, J.; Shallenberger, R.. (2009) Ecosystem services in decision making: time to deliver. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7(1) 21-28
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Over the past decade, efforts to value and protect ecosystem services have been promoted by many as the last, best hope for making conservation mainstream - attractive and commonplace worldwide. In theory, if we can help individuals and institutions to recognize the value of nature, then this should greatly increase investments in conservation, while at the same time fostering human well-being. In practice, however, we have not yet developed the scientific basis, nor the policy and finance mechanisms, for incorporating natural capital into resource- and land-use decisions on a large scale. Here, we propose a conceptual framework and sketch out a strategic plan for delivering on the promise of ecosystem services, drawing on emerging examples from Hawai'i. We describe key advances in the science and practice of accounting for natural capital in the decisions of individuals, communities, corporations, and governments.
Dewoolkar, M. M.; George, L.; Hayden, N. J.; Rizzo, D. M.. (2009) Vertical Integration of Service-Learning into Civil and Environmental Engineering Curricula. International Journal of Engineering Education 25(6) 1257-1269
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Department level reform efforts funded by the National Science Foundation were instituted for the civil and environmental engineering (CEE) programs at the University of Vermont. The overall goal of the reform was to educate and have students apply a systems approach to civil and environmental problems. A key strategy for practicing a systems approach was through service-learning (S-L) projects that were introduced into existing courses. The reform began in 2005 and now includes S-L projects in required courses in each of the four years of the programs. Students have worked with community partners (e. g. Vermont towns and non-profit organizations) on inquiry-based, open-ended, real-world S-L projects. Student work and assessments showed that the S-L projects provided ideal platforms for CEE undergraduate students to grasp systems concepts while accomplishing academic goals, civic engagement and improving personal/interpersonal skills. The S-L projects also contributed toward meeting the program accreditation criteria (ABET outcomes 3a-k).
Ehrlich, P. R.. (2009) Cultural evolution and the human predicament. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 24(8) 409-412
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For decades, scientists have been calling for action to halt environmental degradation, and there has been a substantial (but variable) response from the ecological and evolutionary research communities. Nonetheless, the degradation continues more rapidly than ever, by almost any biophysical measure. Here I briefly summarize and frame the situation, and suggest some major research thrusts for our community to accelerate the needed cultural responses, given that accumulating human impacts could threaten the collapse of global civilization.
Ehrlich, P. R.. (2009) Ecoethics: Now Central to All Ethics. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 6(4) 417-436
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A few years ago, I wrote on the need for expansion of the environmental areas of bioethics, and covered some of the topics touched on here. Sadly, although it is possible to find some notable exceptions, bioethics does not provide much of an ethical base for considering human-nature relationships. Here I'm not going to deal with these philosophical issues or others about the nature of ethical decision-making. The rapid worsening of the human predicament means that applied ethical issues with a significant environmental connection (what I call "ecoethics"), must be dealt with without waiting for the more interesting theoretical issues to be resolved. I define ecoethics very broadly to deal with dilemmas over a vast range of scales, and believe they now should penetrate virtually all areas of human activities. Ecoethics must struggle with issues of intra-generational (and interperson/group/nation) equity and the dilemmas of discounting by distance (valuing distant persons/events/costs/benefits less than those closer to the observer in physical or mental distance). Ecoethics also deals with the difficult dilemma of inter-generational equity-of discounting the future. That is especially troublesome when actions today can have significant environmental consequences 50 or more generations from now. Here I would like to highlight the ubiquity of those questions and the importance of seeking answers.
Ellis, A.; Focks, D.; Garcia, A.; Scott, T.. (2009) TRANSFORMING MODELS INTO USER-FRIENDLY PROGRAMS FOR EVALUATING DISEASE CONTROL STRATEGIES AT THE LOCAL SCALE. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 81(5) 122-122
Fisher, B.; Balmford, A.; Green, R. E.; Trevelyan, R.. (2009) Conservation science training: the need for an extra dimension. Oryx 43(3) 361-363
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Because of the complex interactions between socio-economic systems and remaining natural systems, conservation biology will need to be better integrated within a wider discipline of conservation science that is inherently integrated with the social sciences. Key to this progress will be the graduate training given to conservation scientists. We surveyed graduate students at the annual Student Conference on Conservation Science at Cambridge University in March 2007 to look at how current conservation science students view this need for integration. Our survey indicates that students want social science training alongside that in biology or ecology and that their current training in social science is inadequate for their future work in conservation.
Fisher, B.; Bolt, K.; Bradbury, R. B.; Gardner, T. A.; Green, J. M. H.; Hole, D. G.; Naidoo, R.. (2009) Two Cultures of Conservation. Conservation Biology 23(5) 1069-1071
Fisher, B.; Turner, R. K.; Morling, P.. (2009) Defining and classifying ecosystem services for decision making. Ecological Economics 68(3) 643-653
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The concept of ecosystems services has become an important model for linking the functioning of ecosystems to human welfare. Understanding this link is critical for a wide-range of decision-making contexts. While there have been several attempts to come up with a classification scheme for ecosystem services, there has not been an agreed upon, meaningful and consistent definition for ecosystem services. In this paper we offer a definition of ecosystem services that is likely to be operational for ecosystem service research and several classification schemes. We argue that any attempt at classifying ecosystem services should be based on both the characteristics of the ecosystems of interest and a decision context for which the concept of ecosystem services is being mobilized. Because of this there is not one classification scheme that will be adequate for the many contexts in which ecosystem service research may be utilized. We discuss several examples of how classification schemes will be a function of both ecosystem and ecosystem service characteristics and the decision-making context. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Hill, J.; Polasky, S.; Nelson, E.; Tilman, D.; Huo, H.; Ludwig, L.; Neumann, J.; Zheng, H. C.; Bonta, D.. (2009) Climate change and health costs of air emissions from biofuels and gasoline. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106(6) 2077-2082
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Environmental impacts of energy use can impose large costs on society. We quantify and monetize the life-cycle climate-change and health effects of greenhouse gas (GHG) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emissions from gasoline, corn ethanol, and cellulosic ethanol. For each billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of fuel produced and combusted in the US, the combined climate-change and health costs are $469 million for gasoline, $472-952 million for corn ethanol depending on biorefinery heat source ( natural gas, corn stover, or coal) and technology, but only $123-208 million for cellulosic ethanol depending on feedstock ( prairie biomass, Mis-canthus, corn stover, or switchgrass). Moreover, a geographically explicit life-cycle analysis that tracks PM2.5 emissions and exposure relative to U. S. population shows regional shifts in health costs dependent on fuel production systems. Because cellulosic ethanol can offer health benefits from PM2.5 reduction that are of comparable importance to its climate-change benefits from GHG reduction, a shift from gasoline to cellulosic ethanol has greater advantages than previously recognized. These advantages are critically dependent on the source of land used to produce biomass for biofuels, on the magnitude of any indirect land use that may result, and on other as yet unmeasured environmental impacts of biofuels.
Hong, B.; Limburg, K. E.; Erickson, J. D.; Gowdy, J. M.; Nowosielski, A. A.; Polimeni, J. M.; Stainbrook, K. M.. (2009) Connecting the ecological-economic dots in human-dominated watersheds: Models to link socio-economic activities on the landscape to stream ecosystem health. Landscape and Urban Planning 91(2) 78-87
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We present an interdisciplinary modeling framework to investigate how human socio-economic activities influence the spatial pattern of urbanization, and how consequent changes inland use affect water quality and stream ecosystem condition. The framework is composed of three submodels considering (1) the social and economic structures based upon a social accounting matrix, (2) land use change and urban sprawl based upon a binary logit regression, and (3) stream ecosystem condition in the catchment area based upon the NAWQA (National Water Quality Assessment) dataset. We applied our integrated model to Dutchess County, New York, USA, as a case study. Our study, in spite of its limitations and uncertainties, demonstrates the importance of a quantitative holistic approach in linking human and natural systems and estimating tradeoffs between economic benefits and environmental quality. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Horton, J. L.; Clinton, B. D.; Walker, J. F.; Beier, C. M.; Nilsen, E. T.. (2009) Variation in Soil and Forest Floor Characteristics Along Gradients of Ericaceous, Evergreen Shrub Cover in the Southern Appalachians. 74(4) 340-352
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Ericaceous shrubs can influence soil properties in many ecosystems. In this study, we examined how soil and forest floor properties vary among sites with different ericaceous evergreen shrub basal area in the southern Appalachian mountains. We randomly located plots along transects that included open understories and understories with varying amounts of Rhododendron maximum (rosebay rhododendron) and Kalmia latifolia (mountain laurel) at three sites. The three sites were a mid-elevation ridge, a low-elevation cove, and a high-elevation southwest-facing slope. Basal area of R. maximum was more correlated with soil properties of the forest floor than was K. latifolia. Increasing R. maximum basal area was correlated with increasing mass of lower quality litter and humus as indicated by higher C:N ratios. Moreover, this correlation supports our prediction that understory evergreen shrubs may have considerable effect on forest floor resource heterogeneity in mature stands.
Koch, E. W.; Barbier, E. B.; Silliman, B. R.; Reed, D. J.; Perillo, G. M. E.; Hacker, S. D.; Granek, E. F.; Primavera, J. H.; Muthiga, N.; Polasky, S.; Halpern, B. S.; Kennedy, C. J.; Kappel, C. V.; Wolanski, E.. (2009) Non-linearity in ecosystem services: temporal and spatial variability in coastal protection. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7(1) 29-37
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Natural processes tend to vary over time and space, as well as between species. The ecosystem services these natural processes provide are therefore also highly variable. It is often assumed that ecosystem services are provided linearly (unvaryingly, at a steady rate), but natural processes are characterized by thresholds and limiting functions. In this paper, we describe the variability observed in wave attenuation provided by marshes, mangroves, seagrasses, and coral reefs and therefore also in coastal protection. We calculate the economic consequences of assuming coastal protection to be linear. We suggest that, in order to refine ecosystem-based management practices, it is essential that natural variability and cumulative effects be considered in the valuation of ecosystem services.
Koliba, C.; Gajda, R.. (2009) “Communities of Practice” as an Analytical Construct: Implications for Theory and Practice. International Journal of Public Administration 32(2) 97-135
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The “community of practice” (CoP) has emerged as a potentially powerful unit of analysis linking the individual and the collective because it situates the role of learning, knowledge transfer, and participation among people as the central enterprise of collective action. The authors?uo; surface tensions and highlight unanswered questions regarding CoP theory, concluding that it relies on a largely normative and under-operationalized set of premises. Avenues for theory development and the empirical testing of assertions are provided.
Koliba, C.; Meek, J. W.; Zia, A.. (2009) Gordian Knot or Integrated Theory? Critical Conceptual Considerations for Governance Network Analysis. Rutgers, Newark, NJ. Pages 277-300;
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In recent decades, theorists and researchers have begun to shift emphasis away from the analysis and descriptions of government roles and responsibilities to processes of governance unfolding amidst complex networks of individuals, organizations and institutions. Observing this trend, George Frederickson observes that the current status of theory development of network governance is “neither theoretically tidy nor parsimonious,” and “at this point there isn’t a single theory that puts its arms around third party governance” (Frederickson, 2007, p. 11). Despite efforts to define critical characteristics of “policy subsystems,” “policy networks,” “public management networks,” and “governance networks,” we are left to conclude that the development of a theoretical framework through which to describe, evaluate and analyze governance networks is a particularly ambitious undertaking, possessing several kinds of “Gordian knot” dilemmas. In this chapter, the authors frame these challenges in terms of questions concerning the differentiation of macro-level forms (markets, hierarchies and networks), accounting for the possibilities of mixed administrative authorities (combinations of vertical and horizontal relations), multi-sector relationships, and multiple policy functions, and challenges associated with mixed social scales. The current ambiguities around these questions are explored and related propositions for addressing each is offered.
Koliba, C.; Zia, A.. (2009) Dispelling the Myth of the Invisible Hand: An Argument for Democratically Legitimate Inter-Organizational Governance Networks.. Administrative Theory & Praxis 31(3) 417-423
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The legitimacy of democratic governments hinges on the capacity of public institutions and their elected and appointed leaders to successfully fulfill their sovereign obligations. Dating back to Alexander Hamilton’s insistence on creating the Department of Treasury, these sovereign obligations have presumably been extended into matters pertaining to the health of the national economy. Since the Great Depression, national economic policies have been designed and implemented with regularity. These policies have ranged from large scale public works projects of the New Deal, to the creation of economic regulation subsystems during the post WWII era, , to the de-regulation and privatization movements of the re-reinventing governments era.. Economic policies have often been framed in terms of certain philosophies, political ideologies and governance theories that run the gamut from Keynesian, Neo-classical, Real Business Cycle, and New Public Management conceptions of government and market relationships. We argue that this recent history needs to be taken into consideration as questions about the implications of the economic crisis for the democratic legitimacy of governments are raised. We conclude that the current economic crisis is leading to the repudiation of certain assumptions concerning markets, democracies, and the role of government. However, we assert that, any critique of neo-classical economic and market theory needs to be grounded in certain assumptions regarding governance and the “polycentric” governance networks that have emerged over the course of the past forty years. We suggest that as a result of an increasing reliance on indirect and third party governance structures (Salamon, 2002), the roles and responsibilities of democratic governments in addressing pressing public problems have been drastically altered. We argue that the question of democratic legitimacy has shifted focus from being a matter solely relevant to governments to being an attribute of governance processes (Cleveland, 1973; Frederickson, 1999). Grounded in a now three decades-old body of literature that views governances processes as unfolding in inter-organizational policy or governance networks (Heclo, 1978; Rhodes, 1997; Milward and Provan, 199-; Agronoff and McGuire, 2003; Sorenson and Torfing, 2008), we suggest that the question of how and to what extent the legitimacy of the public sector thrives or suffers depends on the capabilities of government actors to reassert their capacity to regulate regulatory subsystems, including both market and non-market transactions, to effectively manage contracts, and infuse governance processes with sufficient “democratic anchorage” (Sorensen and Torfing, 2005).
Kuemmerle, T.; Chaskovskyy, O.; Knorn, J.; Radeloff, V. C.; Kruhlov, I.; Keeton, W. S.; Hostert, P.. (2009) Forest cover change and illegal logging in the Ukrainian Carpathians in the transition period from 1988 to 2007. Remote Sensing of Environment 113(6) 1194-1207
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Illegal logging is a major environmental and economic problem, and exceeds in some countries the amounts of legally harvested timber. In Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, illegal logging increased and reforestation on abandoned farmland was widespread after the breakdown of socialism, and the region's forest cover trends remain overall largely unclear. Our goal here was to map forest cover change and to assess the extent of illegal logging and reforestation in the Ukrainian Carpathians. We used Landsat TM/ETM+ images and Support Vector Machines (SVM) to derive forest change trajectories between 1988 and 2007 for the entire Ukrainian Carpathians. We calculated logging and reforestation rates, and compared Landsat-based forest trends to official statistics and inventory maps. Our classification resulted in reliable forest/nonforest maps (overall accuracies between 97.1%-98.01%) and high clear cut detection rates (on average 89.4%). Forest cover change was widespread in the Ukrainian Carpathians between 1988 and 2007. We found forest cover increase in peripheral areas, forest loss in the interior Carpathians, and increased logging in remote areas. Overall, our results suggest that unsustainable forest use from socialist times likely persisted in the post-socialist period, resulting in a continued loss of older forests and forest fragmentation. Landsat-based forest trends differed substantially from official forest resource statistics. Illegal logging appears to have been at least as extensive as documented logging during the early 1990s and so-called sanitary clear-cuts represent a major loophole for overharvesting and logging in restricted areas. Reforestation and illegal logging are frequently not accounted for in forest resource statistics, highlighting limitations of these data. Combating illegal logging and transitioning towards sustainable forestry requires better monitoring and up-to-date accounting of forest resources, in the Carpathians and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, and remote sensing can be a key technology to achieve these goals. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Lonsdorf, E.; Kremen, C.; Ricketts, T. H.; Winfree, R.; Williams, N.; Greenleaf, S.. (2009) Modelling pollination services across agricultural landscapes. 103(9) 1589-1600
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Crop pollination by bees and other animals is an essential ecosystem service. Ensuring the maintenance of the service requires a full understanding of the contributions of landscape elements to pollinator populations and crop pollination. Here, the first quantitative model that predicts pollinator abundance on a landscape is described and tested. Using information on pollinator nesting resources, floral resources and foraging distances, the model predicts the relative abundance of pollinators within nesting habitats. From these nesting areas, it then predicts relative abundances of pollinators on the farms requiring pollination services. Model outputs are compared with data from coffee in Costa Rica, watermelon and sunflower in California and watermelon in New Jersey-Pennsylvania (NJPA). Results from Costa Rica and California, comparing field estimates of pollinator abundance, richness or services with model estimates, are encouraging, explaining up to 80 % of variance among farms. However, the model did not predict observed pollinator abundances on NJPA, so continued model improvement and testing are necessary. The inability of the model to predict pollinator abundances in the NJPA landscape may be due to not accounting for fine-scale floral and nesting resources within the landscapes surrounding farms, rather than the logic of our model. The importance of fine-scale resources for pollinator service delivery was supported by sensitivity analyses indicating that the model's predictions depend largely on estimates of nesting and floral resources within crops. Despite the need for more research at the finer-scale, the approach fills an important gap by providing quantitative and mechanistic model from which to evaluate policy decisions and develop land-use plans that promote pollination conservation and service delivery.
MacDonald, Graham K; Bennett, Elena M. (2009) Phosphorus accumulation in Saint Lawrence River watershed soils: a century-long perspective. Ecosystems 12(4) 621-635
Mazet, J. A. K.; Clifford, D. L.; Coppolillo, P. B.; Deolalikar, A. B.; Erickson, J. D.; Kazwala, R. R.. (2009) A "One Health" Approach to Address Emerging Zoonoses: The HALI Project in Tanzania. 6(12)
Mendez, V. E.; Shapiro, E. N.; Gilbert, G. S.. (2009) Cooperative management and its effects on shade tree diversity, soil properties and ecosystem services of coffee plantations in western El Salvador. 76(1) 111-126
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We compared how management approaches affected shade tree diversity, soil properties, and provisioning and carbon sequestration ecosystem services in three shade coffee cooperatives. Collectively managed cooperatives utilized less diverse shade, and pruned coffee and shade trees more intensively, than individual farms. Soil properties showed significant differences among the cooperatives, with the following properties contributing to differentiation: N, pH, P, K, and Ca. Higher tree richness was associated with higher soil pH, CEC, Ca, and Mg, and lower K. Higher tree densities were associated with lower N, K, and organic matter. Although we found differences in the incidence of provisioning services (e.g., fruit), all plantations generated products other than coffee. No differences were observed between C-stocks. The history and institutional arrangements of cooperatives can influence management approaches, which affect ecosystem properties and services. Our study corroborates that interdisciplinary investigations are essential to understand the socio-ecological context of tropical shade coffee landscapes.
Moeliono, M.; Wollenberg, E.; Limberg, G.; eds. (2009) The decentralization of forest governance: politics, economics and the fight for control of forests in Indonesian Borneo. Earthscan Publications, London, UK. Pages 320 p.;
Moore, S.; Wallington, T.; Hobbs, R.; Ehrlich, P.; Holling, C.; Levin, S.; Lindenmayer, D.; Pahl-Wostl, C.; Possingham, H.; Turner, M.; Westoby, M.. (2009) Diversity in Current Ecological Thinking: Implications for Environmental Management. Environmental Management 43(1) 17-27
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Current ecological thinking emphasizes that systems are complex, dynamic, and unpredictable across space and time. What is the diversity in interpretation of these ideas among today's ecologists, and what does this mean for environmental management? This study used a Policy Delphi survey of ecologists to explore their perspectives on a number of current topics in ecology. The results showed general concurrence with nonequilibrium views. There was agreement that disturbance is a widespread, normal feature of ecosystems with historically contingent responses. The importance of recognizing multiple levels of organization and the role of functional diversity in environmental change were also widely acknowledged. Views differed regarding the predictability of successional development, whether "patchiness" is a useful concept, and the benefits of shifting the focus from species to ecosystem processes. Because of their centrality to environmental management, these different views warrant special attention from both managers and ecologists. Such divergence is particularly problematic given widespread concerns regarding the poor linkages between science (here, ecology) and environmental policy and management, which have been attributed to scientific uncertainty and a lack of consensus among scientists, both jeopardizing the transfer of science into management. Several suggestions to help managers deal with these differences are provided, especially the need to interpret broader theory in the context of place-based assessments. The uncertainty created by these differences requires a proactive approach to environmental management, including clearly identifying environmental objectives, careful experimental design, and effective monitoring.
Mwakalila, S.; Burgess, N.; Ricketts, T.; Olwero, N.; Swetnam, R. D.; Mbilinyi, B. P.; Marchant, R.; Mtalo, F.; White, S.; Munishi, P. K.; Marshall, A.; Malimbwi, R. E.; Smith, C. M.; Jambiya, G.; Madoffe, S.; Fisher, B.; Kajembe, G.; Morse-Jones, S.; Kulindwa, K.; Green, J. M. H.; Balmford, A.. (2009) Linking Science with Stakeholders to Sustain Natural Capital.. 23 22-27
Naidoo, R.; Malcolm, T.; Tomasek, A.. (2009) Economic benefits of standing forests in highland areas of Borneo: quantification and policy impacts. Conservation Letters 2(1) 35-44
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There exist thousands of valuation studies for environmental goods and services, but the degree to which these have influenced policy is uncertain, especially in developing countries. Here, we demonstrate that a rapid assessment of the benefits of standing forests in the highlands of Borneo is feasible and can provide useful and timely information for conservation policy decisions. We used existing biophysical and economic information to characterize values associated with forests in areas proposed for oil palm plantation development. We focused on three classes of benefits: avoided damages associated with increased greenhouse gas emissions (carbon storage), avoided damages associated with increased fires, and the economic benefits of forest-agriculture mosaics. Carbon storage values dominated the overall value of standing forests and were of similar magnitude to benefits from oil palm plantations. Other values were smaller but nevertheless important to different stakeholder groups. We document how the results were used to influence the Indonesian government's policy on oil palm plantations in the highlands of Borneo. While we cannot quantify the precise policy impact of the valuation work, it appears to have played a role in the decision to shelve the oil palm project.
Nelson, E.; Mendoza, G.; Regetz, J.; Polasky, S.; Tallis, H.; Cameron, D. R.; Chan, K. M. A.; Daily, G. C.; Goldstein, J.; Kareiva, P. M.; Lonsdorf, E.; Naidoo, R.; Ricketts, T. H.; Shaw, M. R.. (2009) Modeling multiple ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation, commodity production, and tradeoffs at landscape scales. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7(1) 4-11
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Nature provides a wide range of benefits to people. There is increasing consensus about the importance of incorporating these "ecosystem services" into resource management decisions, but quantifying the levels and values of these services has proven difficult. We use a spatially explicit modeling tool, Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST), to predict changes in ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation, and commodity production levels. We apply InVEST to stakeholder-defined scenarios of land-use/land-cover change in the Willamette Basin, Oregon. We found that scenarios that received high scores for a variety of ecosystem services also had high scores for biodiversity, suggesting there is little tradeoff between biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services. Scenarios involving more development had higher commodity production values, but lower levels of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services. However, including payments for carbon sequestration alleviates this tradeoff. Quantifying ecosystem services in a spatially explicit manner, and analyzing tradeoffs between them, can help to make natural resource decisions more effective, efficient, and defensible.
O'Neil-Dunne, J.; Pelletier, K.; MacFaden, S.; Troy, A.; Grove, J. M.. (2009) Object-based high-resolution land-cover mapping: operational considerations. Pages 6 pp.-6 pp.;
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There has been a marked increase in availability of high-resolution remotely-sensed datasets over the past eight years. The ability to efficiently extract accurate and meaningful land-cover information from these datasets is crucial if the full potential of these datasets is to be harnessed. Land-cover datasets, particularly high-resolution ones, must be statistically accurate and depict a realistic representation of the landscape if they are to be used by decision makers and trusted by the general public. Furthermore, if such datasets are to be accessible and relevant, mechanisms must exist that facilitate cost-effective and timely production. Object-based image analysis (OBIA) techniques offer the greatest potential for generating accurate and meaningful land-cover datasets in an efficient manner. They overcome the limitations of traditional pixel-based classification methods by incorporating not only spectral data but also spatial and contextual information, and they offer substantial efficiency gains compared to manual interpretation. Drawing on our experience in applying OBIA techniques to high-resolution data, we believe any automated approach to land-cover mapping must: 1) effectively replicate the human image analyst; 2) incorporate datasets from multiple sources; and 3) be capable of processing large datasets. To meet this functionality, an operational OBIA system should: 1) employ expert systems; 2) support vector and raster datasets; and 3) leverage enterprise computing architecture.
Polasky, S.; Segerson, K.. (2009) Integrating Ecology and Economics in the Study of Ecosystem Services: Some Lessons Learned. Annual Review of Resource Economics 1 409-434
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This paper discusses both the opportunities for and the challenges associated with integrating economics and ecology in the study of ecosystem services. We distinguish between integration in positive versus normative analysis. There is rapid growth in positive research that combines the two disciplines to provide insight and better understanding of the bidirectional linkage between economic and ecological systems. This research is a crucial part of addressing growing large-scale environmental challenges. This integration is equally important, but potentially much more difficult, in normative analysis, especially when interdisciplinary groups include individuals with different views regarding appropriate normative criteria. In such cases, reaching consensus can be difficult and slow, even when the practical implications of the different perspectives (i.e., the general policy prescriptions they imply) are the same. We suggest an approach for increasing the scope for collaboration among economists and ecologists in normative analysis.
Polasky, Stephen. (2009) Conservation economics: economic analysis of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services. Environmental Economics & Policy Studies; Springer Science & Business Media B.V., Berkley, CA. 10(1) 1-20
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Economic analysis has much to contribute to understanding and analyzing the conservation of biological diversity and the provision of ecosystem services. These issues are vitally important and relatively understudied by economists to date. Application of economic tools is needed to understand the benefits and costs of conserving biodiversity and providing ecosystem services. Application of economic tools is needed to evaluate management and policy options both in terms of cost effectiveness and cost-benefit analysis. This article reviews recent developments in the area of conservation economics and discusses important challenges that remain. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Environmental Economics & Policy Studies is the property of Springer Science & Business Media B.V. and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)
Pollock, Noah; Horn, Eileen; Costanza, Robert; Sayre, Matt. (2009) Envisioning helps promote sustainability in academia: A case study at the University of Vermont. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 10(4) 343-353
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Purpose – Universities are increasingly aspiring to be both models and catalysts of change, leading the world to a more sustainable and desirable future. Yet complex and ineffective governance, traditional disciplinary boundaries, and the lack of a shared vision at academic institutions often hinder progress toward this goal. The purpose of this paper is to describe an approach to envisioning and engagement used by the University of Vermont (UVM) to overcome these barriers, and in the process, continue the university’s progress toward leadership in systems thinking, ecological design, and sustainability. Design/methodology/approach – The envisioning and engagement process involved 1,500 participants from the UVM campus and Burlington community. Participants’ visions of a sustainable and desirable university are gathered through two community events and three online surveys. Their responses are analyzed using a modified Q methodology, a survey method in which participants direct the formation of survey categories. The results of the analysis lead to the formation of a vision narrative, a sustainability charter, and guide the creation of a range of initiatives. Findings – The results of these efforts suggest that when provided with ample and well-structured opportunities, university community members will become active participants in initiatives aimed at fostering institutional change. By focusing on shared values and long-term goals, envisioning exercises can achieve a surprising amount of consensus while avoiding the divisiveness and polarization that often plague open-ended discussions and university governance. Originality/value – While envisioning exercises are sometimes conducted by local governments, institutions of higher education still rely predominantly on more traditional and hierarchical methods of planning. The innovative process outlined in this paper for adapting Q methodology for community envisioning appears to be an effective method of eliciting participants’ visions and establishing broad-based support for actions that promote sustainability planning and education.
Pongsiri, M. J.; Roman, J.; Ezenwa, V. O.; Goldberg, T. L.; Koren, H. S.; Newbold, S. C.; Ostfeld, R. S.; Pattanayak, S. K.; Salkeld, D. J.. (2009) Biodiversity Loss Affects Global Disease Ecology. Bioscience 59(11) 945-954
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Changes in the type and prevalence of human diseases have occurred during shifts in human social organization, for example, from hunting and gathering to agriculture and with urbanization during the Industrial Revolution. The recent emergence and reemergence of infectious diseases appears to be driven by globalization and ecological disruption. We propose that habitat destruction and biodiversity loss associated with biotic homogenization can increase the incidence and distribution of infectious diseases affecting humans. The clearest connection between biotic homogenization and infectious disease is the spread of nonindigenous vectors and pathogens. The loss of predators and hosts that dilute pathogen transmission can also increase the incidence of vectorborne illnesses. Other mechanisms include enhanced abiotic conditions for pathogens and vectors and higher host-pathogen encounter rates. Improved understanding of these causal mechanisms can inform decisionmaking on biodiversity conservation as an effective way to protect human health.
Porter, J.; Costanza, R.; Sandhu, H.; Sigsgaard, L.; Wratten, S.. (2009) The Value of Producing Food, Energy, and Ecosystem Services within an Agro-Ecosystem. Ambio 38(4) 186-193
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Agricultural ecosystems produce food, fiber, and non-marketed ecosystem services (ES). Agriculture also typically involves high negative external costs associated with, for example, fossil fuel use. We estimated, via field-scale ecological monitoring and economic value-transfer methods, the market and nonmarket ES value of a combined food and energy (CFE) agro-ecosystem that simultaneously produces food, fodder, and bioenergy. Such novel CFE agro-ecosystems can provide a significantly increased net crop, energy, and nonmarketed ES compared with conventional agriculture, and require markedly less fossil-based inputs. Extrapolated to the European scale, the value of nonmarket ES from the CFE system exceeds current European farm subsidy payments. Such integrated food and bioenergy systems can thus provide environmental value for money for European Union farming and nonfarming communities.
Ray, D. G.; Seymour, R. S.; Scott, N. A.; Keeton, W. S.. (2009) Mitigating Climate Change with Managed Forests: Balancing Expectations, Opportunity, and Risk. Journal of Forestry 107(1) 50-51
Richardson, D. M.; Hellmann, J. J.; McLachlan, J. S.; Sax, D. F.; Schwartz, M. W.; Gonzalez, P.; Brennan, E. J.; Camacho, A.; Root, T. L.; Sala, O. E.; Schneider, S. H.; Ashe, D. M.; Clark, J. R.; Early, R.; Etterson, J. R.; Fielder, E. D.; Gill, J. L.; Minteer, B. A.; Polasky, S.; Safford, H. D.; Thompson, A. R.; Vellend, M.. (2009) Multidimensional evaluation of managed relocation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106(24) 9721-9724
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Managed relocation (MR) has rapidly emerged as a potential intervention strategy in the toolbox of biodiversity management under climate change. Previous authors have suggested that MR (also referred to as assisted colonization, assisted migration, or assisted translocation) could be a last-alternative option after interrogating a linear decision tree. We argue that numerous interacting and value-laden considerations demand a more inclusive strategy for evaluating MR. The pace of modern climate change demands decision making with imperfect information, and tools that elucidate this uncertainty and integrate scientific information and social values are urgently needed. We present a heuristic tool that incorporates both ecological and social criteria in a multidimensional decision-making framework. For visualization purposes, we collapse these criteria into 4 classes that can be depicted in graphical 2-D space. This framework offers a pragmatic approach for summarizing key dimensions of MR: capturing uncertainty in the evaluation criteria, creating transparency in the evaluation process, and recognizing the inherent tradeoffs that different stakeholders bring to evaluation of MR and its alternatives.
Rockstrom, J.; Steffen, W.; Noone, K.; Persson, A.; Chapin, F. S., III; Lambin, E. F.; Lenton, T. M.; Scheffer, M.; Folke, C.; Schellnhuber, H. J.; Nykvist, B.; de Wit, C. A.; Hughes, T.; van der Leeuw, S.; Rodhe, H.; Sorlin, S.; Snyder, P. K.; Costanza, R.; Svedin, U.; Falkenmark, M.; Karlberg, L.; Corell, R. W.; Fabry, V. J.; Hansen, J. W.; Walker, B. D.; Liverman, D.; Richardson, K.; Crutzen, P.; Foley, J. A.. (2009) A safe operating space for humanity. Nature 461(7263) 472-475
Rockstrom, J.; Steffen, W.; Noone, K.; Persson, A.; Chapin, F. S., III; Lambin, E. F.; Lenton, T. M.; Scheffer, M.; Folke, C.; Schellnhuber, H. J.; Nykvist, B.; de Wit, C. A.; Hughes, T.; van der Leeuw, S.; Rodhe, H.; Sorlin, S.; Snyder, P. K.; Costanza, R.; Svedin, U.; Falkenmark, M.; Karlberg, L.; Corell, R. W.; Fabry, V. J.; Hansen, J. W.; Walker, B. D.; Liverman, D.; Richardson, K.; Crutzen, P.; Foley, J. A.. (2009) Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity. Ecology and Society 14(2)
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Anthropogenic pressures on the Earth System have reached a scale where abrupt global environmental change can no longer be excluded. We propose a new approach to global sustainability in which we define planetary boundaries within which we expect that humanity can operate safely. Transgressing one or more planetary boundaries may be deleterious or even catastrophic due to the risk of crossing thresholds that will trigger non-linear, abrupt environmental change within continental- to planetary-scale systems. We have identified nine planetary boundaries and, drawing upon current scientific understanding, we propose quantifications for seven of them. These seven are climate change (CO(2) concentration in the atmosphere <350 ppm and/or a maximum change of +1 W m(-2) in radiative forcing); ocean acidification (mean surface seawater saturation state with respect to aragonite >= 80% of pre-industrial levels); stratospheric ozone (<5% reduction in O(3) concentration from pre-industrial level of 290 Dobson Units); biogeochemical nitrogen (N) cycle (limit industrial and agricultural fixation of N(2) to 35 Tg N yr(-1)) and phosphorus (P) cycle (annual P inflow to oceans not to exceed 10 times the natural background weathering of P); global freshwater use (<4000 km(3) yr(-1) of consumptive use of runoff resources); land system change (<15% of the ice-free land surface under cropland); and the rate at which biological diversity is lost (annual rate of <10 extinctions per million species). The two additional planetary boundaries for which we have not yet been able to determine a boundary level are chemical pollution and atmospheric aerosol loading. We estimate that humanity has already transgressed three planetary boundaries: for climate change, rate of biodiversity loss, and changes to the global nitrogen cycle. Planetary boundaries are interdependent, because transgressing one may both shift the position of other boundaries or cause them to be transgressed. The social impacts of transgressing boundaries will be a function of the social-ecological resilience of the affected societies. Our proposed boundaries are rough, first estimates only, surrounded by large uncertainties and knowledge gaps. Filling these gaps will require major advancements in Earth System and resilience science. The proposed concept of "planetary boundaries" lays the groundwork for shifting our approach to governance and management, away from the essentially sectoral analyses of limits to growth aimed at minimizing negative externalities, toward the estimation of the safe space for human development. Planetary boundaries define, as it were, the boundaries of the "planetary playing field" for humanity if we want to be sure of avoiding major human-induced environmental change on a global scale.
Rogers, D. S.; Feldman, M. W.; Ehrlich, P. R.. (2009) Inferring population histories using cultural data. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 276(1674) 3835-3843
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The question as to whether cultures evolve in a manner analogous to that of genetic evolution can be addressed by attempting to reconstruct population histories using cultural data. As others have argued, this can only succeed if cultures are isolated enough to maintain and pass on a central core of traditions that can be modified over time. In this study we used a set of cultural data (canoe design traits from Polynesia) to look for the kinds of patterns and relationships normally found in population genetic studies. After developing new techniques to accommodate the peculiarities of cultural data, we were able to infer an ancestral region (Fiji) and a sequence of cultural origins for these Polynesian societies. In addition, we found evidence of cultural exchange, migration and a serial founder effect. Results were stronger when analyses were based on functional traits (presumably subject to natural selection and convergence) rather than symbolic or stylistic traits (probably subject to cultural selection for rapid divergence). These patterns strongly suggest that cultural evolution, while clearly affected by cultural exchange, is also subject to some of the same processes and constraints as genetic evolution.
Roman, J.. (2009) Whales and whaling. Univ of California Press, Washington, DC. (2) 975-981
Sander, H. A.; Polasky, S.. (2009) The value of views and open space: Estimates from a hedonic pricing model for Ramsey County, Minnesota, USA. Land Use Policy 26(3) 837-845
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We examined how environmental amenities, particularly views and open space access, impact residential home sales prices in Ramsey County, MN using a hedonic pricing model. Home sale prices increase with closer proximity to parks, trails, lakes, and streams. Proximity to lakes produced the greatest impact on home sale Value of these distance variables, followed by parks, trails, and streams. Increasing view areal extents as well as increasing the amount of water and grassy land covers in views also resulted in increased sale prices. Increased view richness in terms of the number of different land cover types in a view reduced home sale prices. These results illustrate the importance of these environmental amenities to single-family homeowners and can be used to inform land use planning and policy decisions aimed at their preservation. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Stager, J Curt; McNulty, Stacy; Beier, Colin; Chiarenzelli, Jeff. (2009) Historical patterns and effects of changes in Adirondack climates since the early 20th century. Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies 15(2) 22-38
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Analysis of weather data from seven United States Historical Climatology Network stations in the Adirondack region reveals statistically significant warming over the last 30 years during June and September, but no significant trends in the other months. The warmest intervals of the 1926-2005 period were the early 1930s, 1949-1954, and 1997-2003. These findings are consistent with similar analyses of northern New York weather data by Kathie Dello, but somewhat less so with earlier works by the first author and others. In this paper, we also discuss the effects of various interpretive methodologies on the study of regional climate and present new phenological data from the Adirondack region. We find little evidence of major biotic responses to weather trends in recent decades, perhaps because most such trends are still largely obscured by interannual variability, but a significant reduction in the duration of ice cover has occurred on local lakes. In addition, an increase of river discharge during the 20th century probably reflects a long-term increase in precipitation, particularly during fall.
Stickler, C. M.; Nepstad, D. C.; Coe, M. T.; McGrath, D. G.; Rodrigues, H. O.; Walker, W. S.; Soares, B. S.; Davidson, E. A.. (2009) The potential ecological costs and cobenefits of REDD: a critical review and case study from the Amazon region. Global Change Biology 15(12) 2803-2824
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The United Nations climate treaty may soon include a mechanism for compensating tropical nations that succeed in reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, source of nearly one fifth of global carbon emissions. We review the potential for this mechanism [reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD)] to provoke ecological damages and promote ecological cobenefits. Nations could potentially participate in REDD by slowing clear-cutting of mature tropical forest, slowing or decreasing the impact of selective logging, promoting forest regeneration and restoration, and expanding tree plantations. REDD could also foster efforts to reduce the incidence of forest fire. Potential ecological costs include the accelerated loss (through displaced agricultural expansion) of low-biomass, high-conservation-value ecosystems, and substitution of low-biomass vegetation by monoculture tree plantations. These costs could be avoided through measures that protect low-biomass native ecosystems. Substantial ecological cobenefits should be conferred under most circumstances, and include the maintenance or restoration of (1) watershed functions, (2) local and regional climate regimes, (3) soils and biogeochemical processes, (4) water quality and aquatic habitat, and (5) terrestrial habitat. Some tools already being developed to monitor, report and verify (MRV) carbon emissions performance can also be used to measure other elements of ecosystem function, making development of MRV systems for ecological cobenefits a concrete possibility. Analysis of possible REDD program interventions in a large-scale Amazon landscape indicates that even modest flows of forest carbon funding can provide substantial cobenefits for aquatic ecosystems, but that the functional integrity of the landscape's myriad small watersheds would be best protected under a more even spatial distribution of forests. Because of its focus on an ecosystem service with global benefits, REDD could access a large pool of global stakeholders willing to pay to maintain carbon in forests, thereby providing a potential cascade of ecosystem services to local stakeholders who would otherwise be unable to afford them.
Stovall, J. P.; Keeton, W. S.; Kraft, C. E.. (2009) Late-successional riparian forest structure results in heterogeneous periphyton distributions in low-order streams. Canadian Journal of Forest Research-Revue Canadienne De Recherche Forestiere 39(12) 2343-2354
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Late-successional riparian forests often regulate autotrophic microhabitats in low-order streams through shading provided by canopies. However, few studies have linked forest structure with periphyton microhabitat in adjoining streams. Our hypotheses were that (1) the heterogeneous horizontal structure in old-growth forests creates more spatially variable below-canopy light environments compared with mature forests and (2) site-specific light availability over streams correlates with spatial distributions of periphyton microhabitat. We surveyed 15 low-order stream reaches in late-successional northern hardwood-hem lock forests in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, USA. We measured forest structure and the below-canopy light environment at all reaches and the periphyton chlorophyll a concentration on artificial substrates in eight reaches. While stand age was not statistically significant, multivariate models of horizontal forest structure (e.g., gap distribution) and topography showed strong relationships (R(2) > 0.70) with the below-canopy light environment across all late-successional forests. Furthermore, metrics of below-canopy light availability explained a small but statistically significant proportion of the variation in chlorophyll a concentration. This variation in chlorophyll a indicates that complex late-successional riparian forests, both mature and old-growth, create a mosaic of heterotrophic (shaded) and autotrophic (lighted) microhabitats along low-order streams. These results reveal important and previously unrecognized links between stream habitat heterogeneity and the horizontal heterogeneous late-successional forest structure.
Strassburg, B.; Turner, R. K.; Fisher, B.; Schaeffer, R.; Lovett, A.. (2009) Reducing emissions from deforestation-The "combined incentives" mechanism and empirical simulations. Global Environmental Change-Human and Policy Dimensions 19(2) 265-278
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Despite accounting for 17-25% of anthropogenic emissions, deforestation was not included in the Kyoto Protocol. The UN Convention on Climate Change is considering its inclusion in future agreements and asked its scientific board to study methodological and scientific issues related to positive incentives to reduce emissions from deforestation. Here we present an empirically derived mechanism that offers a mix of incentives to developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation, conserve and possibly enhance their ecosystem's carbon stocks. We also use recent data to model its effects on the 20 most forested developing countries. Results show that at low CO(2) prices (similar to US$ 8/t CO(2)) a successful mechanism could reduce more than 90% of global deforestation at an annual cost of US$ 30 billion. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Tallis, H.; Polasky, S.. (2009) Mapping and Valuing Ecosystem Services as an Approach for Conservation and Natural-Resource Management. 1162 265-283
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Current approaches to conservation and natural-resource management often focus on single objectives, resulting in many unintended consequences. These outcomes often affect society through unaccounted-for ecosystem services. A major challenge in moving to a more ecosystem-based approach to management that would avoid such societal damages is the creation of practical tools that bring a scientifically sound, production function-based approach to natural-resource decision making. A new set of computer-based models is presented, the Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs tool (InVEST) that has been designed to inform such decisions. Several of the key features of these models are discussed, including the ability to visualize relationships among multiple ecosystem services and biodiversity, the ability to focus on ecosystem services rather than biophysical processes, the ability to project service levels and values in space, sensitivity to manager-designed scenarios, and flexibility to deal with data and knowledge limitations. Sample outputs of InVEST are shown for two case applications; the Willamette Basin in Oregon and the Amazon Basin. Future challenges relating to the incorporation of social data, the projection of social distributional effects, and the design of effective policy mechanisms are discussed.
Turner, K.; Fisher, B.. (2009) An ecosystem services approach: income inequality and poverty. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, U.K.. Pages 311;
Villa, F.; Athanasiadis, I. N.; Rizzoli, A. E.. (2009) Modelling with knowledge: A review of emerging semantic approaches to environmental modelling. Environmental Modelling & Software 24(5) 577-587
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Models, and to a lesser extent datasets, embody sophisticated statements of environmental knowledge. Yet, the knowledge they incorporate is rarely self-contained enough for them to be understood and used by humans or machines - without the modeller's mediation. This severely limits the options in reusing environmental models and connecting them to datasets or other models. The notion of "declarative modelling" has been suggested as a remedy to help design, communicate, share and integrate models. Yet, not all these objectives have been achieved by declarative modelling in its current implementations. Semantically aware environmental modelling is a way of designing, implementing and deploying environmental datasets and models based on the independent, standardized formalization of the underlying environmental science. It can be seen as the result of merging the rationale of declarative modelling with modern knowledge representation theory, through the mediation of the integrative vision of a Semantic Web. In this paper, we review the present and preview the future of semantic modelling in environmental science: from the mediation approach, where formal knowledge is the key to automatic integration of datasets, models and analytical pipelines, to the knowledge-cl riven approach, where the knowledge is the key not only to integration, but also to overcoming scale and paradigm differences and to novel potentials for model design and automated knowledge discovery. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Vitousek, P. M.; Naylor, R.; Crews, T.; David, M. B.; Drinkwater, L. E.; Holland, E.; Johnes, P. J.; Katzenberger, J.; Martinelli, L. A.; Matson, P. A.; Nziguheba, G.; Ojima, D.; Palm, C. A.; Robertson, G. P.; Sanchez, P. A.; Townsend, A. R.; Zhang, F. S.. (2009) Nutrient Imbalances in Agricultural Development. Science 324(5934) 1519-1520
Vitousek, P.; Matson, P.. (2009) Nutrient cycling and biogeochemistry. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
Voigt, B.; Troy, A.; Miles, B.; Reiss, A.. (2009) Testing an Integrated Land Use and Transportation Modeling Framework for a Small Metropolitan Area. (2133) 83-91
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This paper describes the implementation of a land use and transportation modeling framework developed for Chittenden County, Vermont, to test for differences in modeled output when employing a dynamically linked travel demand model (TDM) versus an assumption of static regional accessibilities over time. With the use of the land use model UrbanSim, two versions of a 40-year simulation for the county, one with a TDM and one without, were compared. In the first version, UrbanSim was integrated with the TransCAD four-step TDM; this allowed regional accessibilities to be recalculated at regularly scheduled intervals. In the second version, TransCAD was used to compute year 2000 accessibilities; these values were held constant for the duration of the model run. The results indicated some significant differences in the modeled outputs. In particular, although centrally located traffic analysis zones (TAZs) reveal relatively little difference between the two models, the differential within peripheral TAZs is both more pronounced and more heterogeneous. The pattern displayed suggests that some peripheral TAZs have higher modeled development with a TDM because the TDM accounts for the increased proximity of destinations, thereby making them amenable to development. Meanwhile, some peripheral TAZs have lower modeled development with a TDM because they already have good accessibility (e.g., access via Interstate), but the model without the TDM does not account for increased congestion.
Walker, B.; Barrett, S.; Polasky, S.; Galaz, V.; Folke, C.; Engstrom, G.; Ackerman, F.; Arrow, K.; Carpenter, S.; Chopra, K.; Daily, G.; Ehrlich, P.; Hughes, T.; Kautsky, N.; Levin, S.; Maler, K. G.; Shogren, J.; Vincent, J.; Xepapadeas, T.; de Zeeuw, A.. (2009) Looming Global-Scale Failures and Missing Institutions. Science 325(5946) 1345-1346
Warren, D. R.; Kraft, C. E.; Keeton, W. S.; Nunery, J. S.; Likens, G. E.. (2009) Dynamics of wood recruitment in streams of the northeastern US. Forest Ecology and Management 258(5) 804-813
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Wood is an important component of forested stream ecosystems, and stream restoration efforts often incorporate large wood. In most cases, however, stream restoration projects are implemented without information regarding the amount of wood that historically occurred or the natural rates of wood recruitment. This study uses a space-for-time analysis to quantify large wood loading to 28 streams in the northeastern US with a range of in-stream and riparian forest characteristics. We document the current volume and frequency of occurrence of large wood in streams with riparian forests varying in their stage of stand development as well as stream size and gradient. Linear models relating stream wood characteristics to stream geomorphic and forest characteristics were compared using Akaike's Information Criterion (AIC) model selection. The AIC analysis indicated that the volume and frequency of large wood and wood accumulations (wood jams) in streams was most closely associated with the age of the dominant canopy trees in the riparian forest (best models: log(10)(large wood volume (m(3) 100 m(-1))) = (0.0036 x stand age) - 0.2281, p < 0.001, r(2) = 0.80; and large wood frequency (number per 100 m) = (0.1326 x stand age) + 7.3952, p < 001, r(2) = 0.63). Bankfull width was an important factor accounting for wood volume per unit area (m(3) ha(-1)) but not the volume of wood per length of stream (100 m(-1)). The empirical models developed in this study were unsuccessful in predicting wood loading in other regions, most likely due to difference in forest characteristics and the legacy of forest disturbance. However, these models may be applicable in other streams in the northeastern US or in streams with comparable riparian forests, underlying geology, and disturbance regimes-factors that could alter long-term wood loading dynamics. Our results highlight the importance of understanding region-specific processes when planning stream restoration and stream management projects. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Weiqi, Z.; Troy, A.. (2009) Development of an object-based framework for classifying and inventorying human-dominated forest ecosystems. International Journal of Remote Sensing 30(23) 6343-60
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This paper presents the development of a framework for classifying and inventorying Eastern US forestland based on the level of anthropogenic disturbance and fragmentation using high spatial resolution remote sensing data and a multiscale object-based classification system. We implemented the framework using a suburban area in Baltimore County, Maryland, USA as a case study. We developed a three-level hierarchical scheme of image objects. The object-based, multiscale classification and inventory framework provides an effective and flexible way of showing different mixes of human development and forest cover in a hierarchical fashion for human-dominated forest ecosystems. At the finest scale (level 1), the classification nomenclature describes basic land cover feature types, which are divided up into trees and individual features that fragment forests. The overall accuracy of the classification was 91.25%. At level 2, forest patches were delineated and classified into different categories based on the degree of human disturbance. At level 3, major roads were used to segment the study area into larger objects, which were classified on the basis of relative composition and spatial arrangement of forests and fragmenting features. This study provides decision makers, planners and the public with a new methodological framework that can be used to more precisely classify and inventory forest cover. The comparisons of the estimates of forest cover from our analyses with those from the 2001 National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD) show that aggregated figures of forest cover are misleading and that much of what is mapped as forest is highly degraded and is more suburban than natural in its land use.
Wollenberg, E.; Campbell, B.; Dounias, E.; Gunarso, P.; Moeliono, M.; Sheil, D.. (2009) Interactive Land-Use Planning in Indonesian Rain-Forest Landscapes: Reconnecting Plans to Practice. Ecology and Society 14(1)
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Indonesia's 1999-2004 decentralization reforms created opportunities for land-use planning that reflected local conditions and local people's needs. We report on seven years of work in the District of Malinau in Indonesian Borneo that attempted to reconnect government land-use plans to local people's values, priorities, and practices. Four principles are proposed to support more interactive planning between government and local land users: Support local groups to make their local knowledge, experience, and aspirations more visible in formal land-use planning and decision making; create channels of communication, feedback, and transparency to support the adaptive capacities and accountability of district leadership and institutions; use system frameworks to understand the drivers of change and resulting scenarios and trade-offs; and link analysis and intervention across multiple levels, from the local land user to the district and national levels. We describe the application of these principles in Malinau and the resulting challenges.
Zencey, E.. (2009) Fixing Locke: Civil Liberties for a Finite Planet. Routledge, New York, NY. Pages 180-201;
Zencey, Eric. (2009) I left work early to buy snow tires. The North American Review; University of Northern Iowa, New York, NY. 294(6) 6-9
Zhou, W.; Troy, A.; Grove, J. M.; Jenkins, J. C.. (2009) Can Money Buy Green? Demographic and Socioeconomic Predictors of Lawn-Care Expenditures and Lawn Greenness in Urban Residential Areas. 22(8) 744-760
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It is increasingly important to understand how household characteristics influence lawn characteristics, as lawns play an important ecological role in human-dominated landscapes. This article investigates household and neighborhood socioeconomic characteristics as predictors of residential lawn-care expenditures and lawn greenness. The study area is the Gwynns Falls watershed, which includes portions of Baltimore City and Baltimore County, MD. We examined indicators of population, social stratification (income, education and race), lifestyle behavior, and housing age as predictors of lawn-care expenditures and lawn greenness. We also tested the potential of PRIZM market cluster data as predictors for these two dependent variables. Lawn greenness was found to be significantly associated with lawn-care expenditures, but with a relatively weak positive correlation. We also found lifestyle behavior indicators to be the best predictors for both dependent variables. PRIZM data, especially the lifestyle segmentation, also proved to be useful predictors for both.
2008
Ahrens, T. D.; Beman, J. M.; Harrison, J. A.; Jewett, P. K.; Matson, P. A.. (2008) A synthesis of nitrogen transformations and transfers from land to the sea in the Yaqui Valley agricultural region of Northwest Mexico. Water Resources Research 44
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Intensification of agricultural systems represents one of the most significant land use changes of the last century. High fertilizer inputs have been a key component of intensification and have contributed to increases in crop yield in most areas, but they can also cause profound alterations in the biogeochemical functioning of the soil, water, and air resources of these systems, particularly with regard to the nutrient nitrogen (N). Comprehensive studies linking field-scale fertilization with regional N fates and consequences for water resources are surprisingly sparse, particularly in the rapidly developing tropics and subtropics. Here we synthesize 15 years of research in wheat fields, drainage canals, estuaries, and coastal waters of the Yaqui Valley region of Sonora, Mexico. Although a relatively low proportion (<4%) of total N inputs are exported via surface water to the coast, the episodic nature of these losses can have significant ecological consequences. For instance, gaseous and dissolved N fluxes from agricultural fields are among the highest observed, and N-rich runoff from the Yaqui Valley fuels phytoplankton blooms in coastal waters. Reductions in N losses with improved timing of fertilizer application relative to crop demand are possible without negatively affecting crop yield or quality and may help to move this and similar regions closer to sustainability.
Allnutt, T. F.; Ferrier, S.; Manion, G.; Powell, G. V. N.; Ricketts, T. H.; Fisher, B. L.; Harper, G. J.; Irwin, M. E.; Kremen, C.; Labat, J. N.; Lees, D. C.; Pearce, T. A.; Rakotondrainibe, F.. (2008) A method for quantifying biodiversity loss and its application to a 50-year record of deforestation across Madagascar. Conservation Letters 1(4) 173-181
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Madagascar is a top global conservation priority for high rates of deforestation and endemism. Deforestation has been extensive, but impacts of forest loss on biodiversity have not been well quantified, especially for nonvertebrates. We use generalized dissimilarity modeling (GDM) as a basis for estimating forest biodiversity remaining at different points in time. We predict that 9.1% of species in Madagascar have been committed to extinction from deforestation between 1950 and 2000. This quantity is higher than losses expected from random deforestation of the same total area, indicating that deforestation has been biased towards environmentally and biologically distinct areas. In contrast to traditional area-based methods, these techniques allow one to estimate biodiversity loss based on the location of deforestation and thus can inform land-use policies that aim to minimize biodiversity impacts of deforestation or development.
Bacon, C. M.; Mendez, V. E.; Flores Gomez, M. E.; Stuart, D.; Diaz Flores, S. R.. (2008) Are Sustainable Coffee Certifications Enough to Secure Farmer Livelihoods? The Millenium Development Goals and Nicaragua's Fair Trade Cooperatives. 5(2) 259-274
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In December 2001, green coffee commodity prices hit a 30-year low. This deepened the livelihood crisis for millions of coffee farmers and rural communities. The specialty coffee industry responded by scaling up several sustainable coffee certification programs, including Fair Trade. This study uses household-and community-level research conducted in Nicaragua from 2000 to 2006 to assess the response to the post-1999 coffee crisis. A participatory action research team surveyed 177 households selling into conventional and Fair Trade markets in 2006. In an effort to dialogue with specialty coffee industry and mainstream development agencies, results are framed within the context of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Findings suggest that households connected to Fair Trade cooperatives experienced several positive impacts in education, infrastructure investment, and monetary savings. However, several important livelihoods insecurities, including low incomes, high emigration, and food insecurity, persisted among all small-scale producers.
Bagstad, Kenneth J; Ceroni, Marta. (2008) The Genuine Progress Indicator: a new measure of economic development for the Northern Forest. Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies 15(1)
Balogh-Brunstad, Z.; Keller, C. K.; Bormann, B. T.; O'Brien, R.; Wang, D.; Hawley, G. J.. (2008) Chemical weathering and chemical denudation dynamics through ecosystem development and disturbance. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 22(1)
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Mineral weathering and chemical denudation of terrestrial environments are understood by both geochemists and ecologists to be affected by rooted plant growth. We used unique 20-year "sandbox'' experiments to test the predictions of both disciplines regarding the influence of tree growth and harvest on chemical weathering and denudation of Ca(2+), Mg(2+) and K(+). Results showed 3 temporal phases: 1) weathering-dominated rapid uptake of mineral nutrients with retention in trees and soil, and low denudation; 2) biocycling-dominated nutrient uptake with slower tree growth, and chemical fluxes reduced to near zero; and 3) denudation-dominated loss of nutrient reserves after harvest by disruption of biotic regulation. Overall, a red pine sandbox used and retained its resources more effectively than a reference non-vascular system. The results suggest that disturbance may be an important factor controlling chemical denudation rates. Temporal variations of the fluxes highlight difficulties of extrapolating weathering and denudation rates over long timescales.
Barbier, E. B.; Koch, E. W.; Silliman, B. R.; Hacker, S. D.; Wolanski, E.; Primavera, J.; Granek, E. F.; Polasky, S.; Aswani, S.; Cramer, L. A.; Stoms, D. M.; Kennedy, C. J.; Bael, D.; Kappel, C. V.; Perillo, G. M. E.; Reed, D. J.. (2008) Coastal ecosystem-based management with nonlinear ecological functions and values. Science 319(5861) 321-323
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A common assumption is that ecosystem services respond linearly to changes in habitat size. This assumption leads frequently to an "all or none" choice of either preserving coastal habitats or converting them to human use. However, our survey of wave attenuation data from field studies of mangroves, salt marshes, seagrass beds, nearshore coral reefs, and sand dunes reveals that these relationships are rarely linear. By incorporating nonlinear wave attenuation in estimating coastal protection values of mangroves in Thailand, we show that the optimal land use option may instead be the integration of development and conservation consistent with ecosystem- based management goals. This result suggests that reconciling competing demands on coastal habitats should not always result in stark preservation- versus- conversion choices.
Barnes, P.; Costanza, R.; Hawken, P.; Orr, D.; Ostrom, E.; Umana, A.; Young, O.. (2008) Creating an Earth Atmospheric Trust. Science 319(5864) 724-724
Beier, C. M.; Patterson, T. M.; Chapin, F. S.. (2008) Ecosystem services and emergent vulnerability in managed ecosystems: A geospatial decision-support tool. Ecosystems 11(6) 923-938
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Managed ecosystems experience vulnerabilities when ecological resilience declines and key flows of ecosystem services become depleted or lost. Drivers of vulnerability often include local management actions in conjunction with other external, larger-scale factors. To translate these concepts to management applications, we developed a conceptual model of feedbacks linking the provision of ecosystem services, their use by society, and anthropogenic change. From this model we derived a method to integrate existing geodata at relevant scales and in locally meaningful ways to provide decision-support for adaptive management efforts. To demonstrate our approach, we conducted a case study assessment of southeast Alaska, where managers are concerned with sustaining fish and wildlife resources in areas where intensive logging disturbance has occurred. Individual datasets were measured as indicators of one of three criteria: ecological capacity to support fish/wildlife populations (provision); human acquisition of fish/wildlife resources (use); and intensity of logging and related land-use change (disturbance). Relationships among these processes were analyzed using two methods-a watershed approach and a high-resolution raster-to identify where provision, use and disturbance were spatially coupled across the landscape. Our results identified very small focal areas of social-ecological coupling that, based on post-logging dynamics and other converging drivers of change, may indicate vulnerability resulting from depletion of ecosystem services. We envision our approach can be used to narrow down where adaptive management might be most beneficial, allowing practitioners with limited funds to prioritize efforts needed to address uncertainty and mitigate vulnerability in managed ecosystems.
Beier, C. M.; Sink, S. E.; Hennon, P. E.; D'Amore, D. V.; Juday, G. P.. (2008) Twentieth-century warming and the dendroclimatology of declining yellow-cedar forests in southeastern Alaska. Canadian Journal of Forest Research-Revue Canadienne De Recherche Forestiere 38(6) 1319-1334
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Decline of yellow-ceder (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ((D. Don) Spach) has occured on 200 000 ha of temperate rainforests across southeastern Alaska. Because declining forests appeared soon after the Little lee Age and are limited mostly to low elevations (whereas higher elevation forests remain healthy), recent studies have hypothesized a climatic mechanism involving early dehardening, reduced snowpack, and freezing injury. This hypothesis assumes that a specific suite of microclimatic conditions occurs during late winter and declining cedar populations across the region have responded similarly to these conditions. Based on the first geographically extensive tree ring chronologies constructed for southeastern Alaska, we tested these assumptions by investigating regional climatic trends and the growth responses of declining cedar populations to this climatic variations. Warming winter trends were observed for southeastern Alaska, resulting in potentially injurious conditions for yellow-cedar due to reduced snowfall and frequent occurrence of severe thaw-freeze events. Declining cedar forests shared a common regional chronology for which late-winter weather was the best predictor of annual growth of surviving trees. Overall, our findings verify the influence of elevational gradients of temperature and snow cover on exposure to climatic stressors, support the climatic hypothesis across large spatical and temporal scales, and suggest cedar decline may expand with continued warming.
Beier, C. M.. (2008) Influence of Political Opposition and Compromise on Conservation Outcomes in the Tongass National Forest, Alaska. Conservation Biology 22(6) 1485-1496
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To understand how a highly contentious policy process influenced a major conservation effort, I examined the origins, compromises, and outcomes of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA) for the Tongass National Forest. Tongass wilderness designation was among the most controversial issues in the ANILCA debate, and it faced strong opposition from influential lawmakers, land managers, and Alaska residents. To investigate the influence of this opposition on Tongass conservation outcomes, I conducted a gap analysis of Tongass reserves and a policy analysis of the ANILCA debate and traced the influence of specific interests through the amendments, negotiations, and resulting compromises needed to enact ANILCA. Overall, I found that Tongass reserves comprise a broadly representative cross-section of ecosystems and species habitats in southeastern Alaska. Redrawn reserve boundaries, industry subsidies, and special access regulations reflected compromises to minimize the impact of wilderness conservation on mining, timber, and local stakeholder interests, respectively. Fragmentation of the Admiralty Island National Monument-the most ecologically valuable and politically controversial reserve-resulted from compromises with Alaskan Native (indigenous peoples of Alaska) corporations and timber interests. Despite language to accommodate "reasonable access" to wilderness reserves, ongoing access limitations highlight the concerns of Alaska residents that opposed ANILCA several decades ago. More broadly, the Tongass case suggests that early and ambitious conservation action may offset strong political opposition; compromises needed to establish key reserves often exacerbate development impacts in unprotected areas; and efforts to minimize social conflicts are needed to safeguard the long-term viability of conservation measures.
Bennett, E. M.; Carpenter, S. R.; Cardille, J. A.. (2008) Estimating the risk of exceeding thresholds in environmental systems. Water Air and Soil Pollution 191(1-4) 131-138
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Environmental regulations often rely on limits or thresholds to indicate an acceptable pollutant load. Estimates of the Risk of Exceeding such Thresholds (RET) are often based on a single model deemed to be the best for the particular pollutant or particular case. However, if many models make different predictions but explain the data almost equally well, predictions based on a single model may omit important information contained in other models that fit almost as well as the "best" single model. More accurate assessments of RET may result if multiple models are considered. We compared performance of the single best model relative to that of an ensemble of models estimated by bagging (Bootstrap AGGregatING) using the example of soil P concentrations and the risk of exceeding environmental limits of soil P concentrations in the watershed of Lake Mendota, Wisconsin, USA. Bagging yielded significantly better predictions of the risk of exceeding a threshold level of soil P (99.6% accuracy versus 74% for single-model prediction at a 20 mg kg(-1) threshold). Use of multiple model techniques can improve estimates of RET over a range of realistic thresholds in other management situations where thresholds are important including eutrophication, desertification, fisheries, and many types of pollution control.
Besaw, L. E.; Rizzo, D. M.. (2008) Counterpropagation neural network for stochastic conditional simulation: an application with Berea sandstone. ICDM Workshops. 2007 7th IEEE International Conference on Data Mining Workshops Pages 449-54;
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A neural network trained using the counterpropagation algorithm to produce stochastic conditional simulations is applied and evaluated on a real dataset. This type of network is a non-parametric clustering algorithm not constrained by assumptions (i.e. normal distributions) and is well suited for risk and uncertainty analysis given spatially auto-correlated data. Detailed geophysical measurements from a slab of Berea sandstone are used to allow comparison with a traditional geostatistical method of producing conditional simulations known as sequential Gaussian simulation. Equiprobable simulations and estimated fields of air permeability are generated using an anisotropic spatial structure extracted from a subset of observation data. Results from the counterpropagation network are statistically similar to the geostatistical methods and original reference fields. The combination of simplicity and computational speed make the method ideally suited for environmental subsurface characterization and other earth science applications with spatially auto-correlated variables.
Cadenasso, M. L.; Pickett, S. T. A.; Groffman, P. M.; Band, L. E.; Brush, G. S.; Galvin, M. E.; Grove, J. M.; Hagar, G.; Marshall, V.; McGrath, B. P.; Oneil-Dunne, J. P. M.; Stack, W. P.; Troy, A. R.. (2008) Exchanges across land-water-scape boundaries in urban systems - Strategies for reducing nitrate pollution. 1134 213-232
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Conservation in urban areas typically focuses on biodiversity and large green spaces.. However, opportunities exist throughout urban areas to enhance ecological functions. An important function of urban landscapes is retaining nitrogen thereby reducing nitrate pollution to streams and coastal waters. Control of nonpoint nitrate pollution in urban areas was originally based on the documented importance of riparian zones in agricultural and forested ecosystems. The watershed and boundary frameworks have been used to guide stream research and a riparian conservation strategy to reduce nitrate pollution in urban streams. But is stream restoration and riparian-zone conservation enough? Data from the Baltimore Ecosystem Study and other urban stream research indicate that urban riparian zones do not necessarily prevent nitrate from entering, nor remove nitrate from, streams. Based on this insight, policy makers in Baltimore extended the conservation strategy throughout larger watersheds, attempting to restore functions that no longer took place in riparian boundaries. Two urban revitalization projects are presented as examples aimed at reducing nitrate pollution to stormwater, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. An adaptive cycle of ecological urban design synthesizes the insights from the watershed and boundary frameworks, from new data, and from the conservation concerns of agencies and local communities. This urban example of conservation based on ameliorating nitrate water pollution extends the initial watershed-boundary approach along three dimensions: 1) from riparian to urban land-water-scapes; 2) from discrete engineering solutions to ecological design approaches; and 3) from structural solutions to inclusion of individual, household, and institutional behavior.
Carwardine, J.; Wilson, K. A.; Ceballos, G.; Ehrlich, P. R.; Naidoo, R.; Iwamura, T.; Hajkowicz, S. A.; Possingham, H. P.. (2008) Cost-effective priorities for global mammal conservation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105(32) 11446-11450
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Global biodiversity priority setting underpins the strategic allocation of conservation funds. In identifying the first comprehensive set of global priority areas for mammals, Ceballos et al. [Ceballos G, Ehrlich PR, Soberon J, Salazar I, Fay JP (2005) Science 309:603607] found much potential for conflict between conservation and agricultural human activity. This is not surprising because, like other global priority-setting approaches, they set priorities without socioeconomic objectives. Here we present a priority-setting framework that seeks to minimize the conflicts and opportunity costs of meeting conservation goals. We use it to derive a new set of priority areas for investment in mammal conservation based on (i) agricultural opportunity cost and biodiversity importance, (ii) current levels of international funding, and (iii) degree of threat. Our approach achieves the same biodiversity outcomes as Ceballos et al.'s while reducing the opportunity costs and conflicts with agricultural human activity by up to 50%. We uncover shortfalls in the allocation of conservation funds in many threatened priority areas, highlighting a global conservation challenge.
Clark, J. S.; Rizzo, D. M.; Watzin, M. C.; Hession, W. C.. (2008) Spatial distribution and geomorphic condition of fish habitat in streams: An analysis using hydraulic modelling and geostatistics. River Research and Applications 24(7) 885-899
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Reach-scale physical habitat assessment scores are increasingly used to make decisions about management. We characterized the spatial distribution of hydraulic habitat characteristics at the reach and sub-reach scales for four fish species using detailed two-dimensional hydraulic models and spatial analysis techniques (semi-variogram analyses). We next explored whether these hydraulic characteristics were correlated with commonly used reach-scale geomorphic assessment (RGA) scores, rapid habitat assessment (RHA) scores, or indices of fish biodiversity and abundance. River2D was used to calculate weighted usable areas (WUAs) at median flows, Q(50), for six Vermont streams using modelled velocity, depth estimates, channel bed data and habitat suitability curves for blacknose dace (Rhinichthys atratulus), brown trout (Salmo trutta), common shiner (Notropis cornutus) and white sucker (Catostomus commersoni) at both the adult and spawn stages. All stream reaches exhibited different spatial distributions of WUA ranging from uniform distribution of patches of high WUA to irregular distribution of more isolated patches. Streams with discontinuous, distinct patches of high score WUA had lower fish biotic integrity measured with the State of Vermont's Mixed Water Index of Biotic Integrity (MWIBI) than streams with a more uniform distribution of high WUA. In fact, the distribution of usable habitats may be a determining factor for fish communities. A relationship between predicted WUAs averaged at the reach scale and RGA or RHA scores was not found. Future research is needed to identify the appropriate spatial scales to capture the connections between usable patches of stream channel habitat. Copyright (C) 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Coe, M. T.; Costa, M. H.; Howard, E. A.. (2008) Simulating the surface waters of the Amazon River basin: impacts of new river geomorphic and flow parameterizations. Hydrological Processes 22(14) 2542-2553
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This paper describes the impacts of new river geomorphic and flow parameterizations on the simulated surface waters dynamics of the Amazon River basin. Three major improvements to a hydrologic model are presented: (1) the river flow velocity equation is expanded to be dependent on river sinuosity and friction in addition to gradient forces; (2) equations defining the morphological characteristics of the river, such as river height, width and bankfull volume, are derived from 31622 measurements of river morphology and applied within the model; (3) 1 km resolution topographic data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) are used to provide physically based fractional flooding of grid cells from a statistical representation of sub-grid-scale floodplain morphology. The discharge and floodplain inundation of the Amazon River is simulated for the period 1968-1998, validated against observations, and compared with results from a previous version of the model. These modifications result in considerable improvement in the simulations of the hydrological features of the Amazon River system. The major impact is that the average wet-season flooded area on the Amazon mainstem for the period 1983-1988 is now within 5% of satellite-derived estimates of flooded area, whereas the previous model overestimates the flooded area by about 80%. The improvements are a consequence of the new empirical river geomorphologic functions and the SRTM topography. The new formulation of the flow velocity equation results in increased river velocity on the mainstem and major tributaries and a better correlation between the mean monthly simulated and observed discharge. Copyright (c) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Costanza, R.; Fisher, B.; Ali, S.; Beer, C.; Bond, L.; Boumans, R.; Danigelis, N. L.; Dickson, J.; Elliott, C.; Farley, J.; Gayer, D. E.; Glenn, L. M.; Hudspeth, T. R.; Mahoney, D. F.; McCahill, L.; McIntosh, B.; Reed, B.; Rizvi, A. T.; Rizzo, D. M.; Simpatico, T.; Snapp, R.. (2008) An Integrative Approach to Quality of Life Measurement, Research, and Policy. SAPIENS 1(1) 17-21
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While Quality of Life (QOL) has long been an explicit or implicit policy goal, adequate definition and measurement have been elusive. Diverse “objective” and “subjective” indicators across a range of disciplines and scales, and recent work on subjective well-being (SWB) surveys and the psychology of happiness have spurred renewed interest. Drawing from multiple disciplines, we present an integrative definition of QOL that combines measures of human needs with subjective well-being or happiness. QOL is proposed as a multiscale, multi-dimensional concept that contains interacting objective and subjective elements. We relate QOL to the opportunities that are provided to meet human needs in the forms of built, human, social and natural capital (in addition to time) and the policy options that are available to enhance these opportunities. Issues related to defining, measuring, and scaling these concepts are discussed, and a research agenda is elaborated. Policy implications include strategies for investing in opportunities to maximize QOL enhancement at the individual, community, and national scales.
Costanza, R.; Perez-Maqueo, O.; Luisa Martinez, M.; Sutton, P.; Anderson, S. J.; Mulder, K.. (2008) The value of coastal wetlands for hurricane protection. Ambio 37(4) 241-248
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Coastal wetlands reduce the damaging effects of hurricanes on coastal communities. A regression model using 34 major US hurricanes since 1980 with the natural log of damage per unit gross domestic product in the hurricane swath as the dependent variable and the natural logs of wind speed and wetland area in the swath as the independent variables was highly significant and explained 60% of the variation in relative damages. A loss of 1 ha of wetland in the model corresponded to an average USD 33 000 (median = USID 5000) increase in storm damage from specific storms. Using this relationship, and taking into account the annual probability of hits by hurricanes of varying intensities, we mapped the annual value of coastal wetlands by 1 km x 1 km pixel and by state. The annual value ranged from USD 250 to USID 51 000 ha(-1) yr(-1) with a mean of USID 8240 ha(-1) yr(-1) (median = USID 230 ha(-1) yr(-1)) significantly larger than previous estimates. Coastal wetlands in the US were estimated to currently provide USID 23.2 billion yr(-1) in storm protection services. Coastal wetlands function as valuable, selfmaintaining "horizontal levees" for storm protection, and also provide a host of other ecosystem services that vertical levees do not. Their restoration and preservation is an extremely cost-effective strategy for society.
Costanza, R.. (2008) Ecosystem services: Multiple classification systems are needed. Biological Conservation 141(2) 350-352
Costanza, R.. (2008) Stewardship for a "Full" World. 107(705) 30-35
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"The mainstream model of development... is based on a number of assumptions [that] emerged during a period-the early industrial revolution-when the world was still relatively empty of humans and their built infrastructure.".
Costello, C.; Polasky, S.. (2008) Optimal harvesting of stochastic spatial resources. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 56(1) 1-18
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We characterize the optimal harvest of a renewable resource in a generalized stochastic spatially explicit model. Despite the complexity of the model, we are able to obtain sharp analytical results. We find that the optimal harvest rule in general depends upon dispersal patterns of the resource across space, and only in special circumstances do we find a modified golden rule of growth that is independent of dispersal patterns. We also find that the optimal harvest rule may include closure of some areas to harvest, either on a temporary or permanent basis (biological reserves). Reserves alone cannot correct open access, but may, under sufficient spatial heterogeneity and connectivity, increase profits if appropriate harvest controls are in place outside of reserves. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Daily, G. C.; Matson, P. A.. (2008) Ecosystem services: From theory to implementation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105(28) 9455-9456
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Around the world, leaders are increasingly recognizing ecosystems as natural capital assets that supply life-support services of tremendous value. The challenge is to turn this recognition into incentives and institutions that will guide wise investments in natural capital, on a large scale. Advances are required on three key fronts, each featured here: the science of ecosystem production functions and service mapping; the design of appropriate finance, policy, and governance systems; and the art of implementing these in diverse biophysical and social contexts. Scientific understanding of ecosystem production functions is improving rapidly but remains a limiting factor in incorporating natural capital into decisions, via systems of national accounting and other mechanisms. Novel institutional structures are being established for a broad array of services and places, creating a need and opportunity for systematic assessment of their scope and limitations. Finally, it is clear that formal sharing of experience, and defining of priorities for future work, could greatly accelerate the rate of innovation and uptake of new approaches.
Darling, John A.; Bagley, Mark J.; Roman, Joe; Tepolt, Carolyn K.; Geller, Jonathan B.. (2008) Genetic patterns across multiple introductions of the globally invasive crab genus Carcinus. 17(23) 4992-5007
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The European green crab Carcinus maenas is one of the world's most successful aquatic invaders, having established populations on every continent with temperate shores. Here we describe patterns of genetic diversity across both the native and introduced ranges of C. maenas and its sister species, C. aestuarii, including all known non-native populations. The global data set includes sequences from the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene, as well as multilocus genotype data from nine polymorphic nuclear microsatellite loci. Combined phylogeographic and population genetic analyses clarify the global colonization history of C. maenas, providing evidence of multiple invasions to Atlantic North America and South Africa, secondary invasions to the northeastern Pacific, Tasmania, and Argentina, and a strong likelihood of C. maenas x C. aestuarii hybrids in South Africa and Japan. Successful C. maenas invasions vary broadly in the degree to which they retain genetic diversity, although populations with the least variation typically derive from secondary invasions or from introductions that occurred more than 100 years ago.
Doris, J. J.; Rizzo, D. M.; Dewoolkar, M. M.. (2008) Forecasting vertical ground surface movement from shrinking/swelling soils with artificial neural networks. International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics 32(10) 1229-1245
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Artificial neural networks (ANNs) are used to estimate vertical ground surface movement when soils expand and contract due to changes in soil moisture content caused by changing climate conditions. Several counterpropagation ANN test cases were investigated to map climate data (i.e. temperature and rainfall) to vertical ground surface movement at field sites in Texas and Australia. Three of the four ANN test cases use a historical time series of climate data to forecast ground surface elevation relative to a specified datum. The fourth ANN test case predicts the rate of ground surface movement, and requires post-processing of the predicted rates to calculate ground surface elevation relative to a specified datum. The counterpropagation network has demonstrated a successful mapping of temperature and rainfall data to vertical ground surface movement at a field site when it is trained with a subset of data from the same field site (test cases 1 and 2). The results of training an ANN on one field site and testing it on another field site (test cases 3 and 4) demonstrate the ability of the ANN to capture trends in vertical ground surface movement. When compared with the predictions from a physics-based method (shrink test-water content method) that requires measurements/ estimates of changes in soil water content, the ANN-based predictions (based on climatic changes) captured the trends in the field measurements of shrinking-swelling soil surface movements equally well. These findings are promising and merit further investigation with data from additional field sites. Copyright (c) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Ehrlich, P. R.; Ehrlich, A. H.. (2008) Nature's economy and the human economy. Environmental & Resource Economics 39(1) 9-16
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Human beings and the human economy are entirely integrated into nature's economy-the biosphere and the ecosystems that comprise it. Society is therefore utterly dependent on the free services provided by ecosystems. But population growth, rising per capita consumption, and the use of environmentally malign technologies are steadily eroding those services. Projecting how long that process can continue without a global calamity depends on numerous uncertainties, many created by the existence of nonlinearities, thresholds, and lag times in ecological systems. A major problem is to determine how to allocate resources in various ways to solve the human predicament. Scientists have much of the information necessary for making those decisions, so the biggest problem is in the purview of social scientists. They must help to determine how best to move society from knowledge to action.
Ehrlich, P. R.; Pringle, R. M.. (2008) Where does biodiversity go from here? A grim business-as-usual forecast and a hopeful portfolio of partial solutions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105 11579-11586
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The threats to the future of biodiversity are many and well known. They include habitat conversion, environmental toxification, climate change, and direct exploitation of wildlife, among others. Moreover, the projected addition of 2.6 billion people by mid-century will almost certainly have a greater environmental impact than that of the last 2.6 billion. Collectively, these trends portend a grim future for biodiversity under a business-as-usual scenario. These threats and their interactions are formidable, but we review seven strategies that, if implemented soundly and scaled up dramatically, would preserve a substantial portion of global biodiversity. These are actions to stabilize the human population and reduce its material consumption, the deployment of endowment funds and other strategies to ensure the efficacy and permanence of conservation areas, steps to make human-dominated landscapes hospitable to biodiversity, measures to account for the economic costs of habitat degradation, the ecological reclamation of degraded lands and repatriation of extirpated species, the education and empowerment of people in the rural tropics, and the fundamental transformation of human attitudes about nature. Like the carbon "stabilization wedges" outlined by Pacala and Socolow [Pacala S, Socolow R (2004) Stabilization wedges: Solving the climate problem for the next 50 years with current technologies. Science 305:968-972] (1), the science and technologies needed to effect this vision already exist. The remaining challenges are largely social, political, and economic. Although academic conservation biology still has an important role to play in developing technical tools and knowledge, success at this juncture hinges more on a massive mobilization of effort to do things that have traditionally been outside the scope of the discipline.
Ehrlich, P. R.. (2008) Demography and policy: A view from outside the discipline. Population and Development Review 34(1) 103-+
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Scientists, individually and through their national academies, have often pointed to the major role of population growth in damaging humanity's life-support systems, emphasizing the overriding need for population stabilization. Demography and its practitioners, however, in focusing on technical analyses of population change and its components, have largely neglected these critical issues. Where they have taken an interest in population-environment relationships, their voices have been little heard in public debate and have had scant political impact. Demographers should promote their expertise more aggressively, in particular through a new environmental demography, modeled perhaps on environmental economics. This should be a collaborative enterprise with ecologists and other environmental scientists, concerned with issues of carrying capacity, encouraging and planning for future population reduction, and researching population policies that are humane and accord due attention to environmental sustainability.
Ehrlich, P. R.. (2008) Key issues for attention from ecological economists. Environment and Development Economics 13 1-20
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This paper gives an ecologist's overview of the deteriorating environmental situation. It then describes areas where the activities of ecological economists seem appropriate (e.g., ecosystem service valuation, trade) and others requiring more attention (e.g., definitions of utility, social discounting, preserving population diversity, global toxification, the epidemiological environment, overpopulation, overconsumption, the economic impacts of nuclear explosions, and the equilibration of opportunity costs when attempting to solve global dilemmas). A general problem is the failure of ecological economists adequately to communicate their results and concerns to the general public and to decision makers. In view of the demonstrable failure of traditional economics to focus its attention on what will be the central issues of the twenty-first century, it is clear that ecological economics is in a position to become the central subdiscipline of economics. In order to do so, it is important for ecological economists to always keep the 'big picture' in view.
Ehrlich, P. R.. (2008) Population, environment, war, and racism: Adventures of a public scholar. Antipode 40(3) 383-388
Ellis, A. M.. (2008) Incorporating density dependence into the oviposition preference - offspring performance hypothesis. 77(2) 247-256
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1. Although theory predicts a positive relationship between oviposition preferences and the developmental performance of offspring, the strength of this relationship may depend not only on breeding site quality, but also on the complex interactions between environmental heterogeneity and density-dependent processes. Environmental heterogeneity may not only alter the strength of density dependence, but may also fundamentally alter density-dependent relationships and the preference-performance relationship. 2. Here I present results from a series of field experiments testing the effects of environmental heterogeneity and density-dependent feedback on offspring performance in tree-hole mosquitoes. Specifically, I asked: (i) how do oviposition activity, patterns of colonization and larval density differ among habitats and among oviposition sites with different resources; and (ii) how is performance influenced by the density of conspecifics, the type of resource in the oviposition site, and the type of habitat in which the oviposition site is located? 3. Performance did not differ among habitats at low offspring densities, but was higher in deciduous forest habitats than in evergreen forest habitats at high densities. Oviposition activity and larval densities were also higher in deciduous forests, suggesting a weak preference for these habitats. 4. The observed divergence of fitness among habitats with increasing density may select for consistent but weak preferences for deciduous habitats if regional abundances vary temporally. This would generate a negative preference-performance relationship when population densities are low, but a positive relationship when population densities are high. 5. This study demonstrates that failure to recognize that fitness differences among habitats may themselves be density-dependent may bias our assumptions about the ecological and evolutionary processes determining oviposition preferences in natural systems.
Ellis, A. M.. (2008) Linking movement and oviposition behaviour to spatial population distribution in the tree hole mosquito Ochlerotatus triseriatus. 77(1) 156-166
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1. Researchers often use the spatial distribution of insect offspring as a measure of adult oviposition preferences, and then make conclusions about the consequences of these preferences for population growth and the relationship between life-history traits (e.g. oviposition preference and offspring performance). However, several processes other than oviposition preference can generate spatial patterns of offspring density (e.g. dispersal limitations, spatially heterogeneous mortality rates). Incorrectly assuming that offspring distributions reflect oviposition preferences may therefore compromise our ability to understand the mechanisms determining population distributions and the relationship between life-history traits. 2. The purpose of this study was to perform an empirical study at the whole-system scale to examine the movement and oviposition behaviours of the eastern tree hole mosquito Ochlerotatus triseriatus (Say) and test the importance of these behaviours in determining population distribution relative to other mechanisms. 3. A mark-release-recapture experiment was performed to distinguish among the following alternative hypotheses that may explain a previously observed aggregated distribution of tree hole mosquito offspring: (H-1) mosquitoes prefer habitats with particular vegetation characteristics and these preferences determine the distribution of their offspring; (H-2) mosquitoes distribute their eggs randomly or evenly throughout their environment, but spatial differences in developmental success generate an aggregated pattern of larval density; (H-3) mosquitoes randomly colonize habitats, but have limited dispersal capability causing them to distribute offspring where founder populations were established; (H-4) wind or other environmental factors may lead to passive aggregation, or spatial heterogeneity in adult mortality (H-5), rather than dispersal, generates clumped offspring distributions. 4. Results indicate that the distribution of tree hole mosquito larvae is determined in part by adult habitat selection (H-1), but do not exclude additional effects from passive aggregation (H-4), or spatial patterns in adult mortality (H-5). 5. This research illustrates the importance of studying oviposition behaviour at the population scale to better evaluate its relative importance in determining population distribution and dynamics. Moreover, this study demonstrates the importance of linking behavioural and population dynamics for understanding evolutionary relationships among life-history traits (e.g. preference and offspring performance) and predicting when behaviour will be important in determining population phenomena.
Fargione, J.; Hill, J.; Tilman, D.; Polasky, S.; Hawthorne, P.. (2008) Land clearing and the biofuel carbon debt. Science 319(5867) 1235-1238
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Increasing energy use, climate change, and carbon dioxide ( CO2) emissions from fossil fuels make switching to low- carbon fuels a high priority. Biofuels are a potential low- carbon energy source, but whether biofuels offer carbon savings depends on how they are produced. Converting rainforests, peatlands, savannas, or grasslands to produce food crop - based biofuels in Brazil, Southeast Asia, and the United States creates a "biofuel carbon debt" by releasing 17 to 420 times more CO2 than the annual greenhouse gas ( GHG) reductions that these biofuels would provide by displacing fossil fuels. In contrast, biofuels made from waste biomass or from biomass grown on degraded and abandoned agricultural lands planted with perennials incur little or no carbon debt and can offer immediate and sustained GHG advantages.
Farley, J.; Miles, B.. (2008) Science and Problem Solving in a Political World: Insights from Katrina. 11(S08) 3-20
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While as scientists ecological economists pursue objectivity and empiricism, as problem solvers we strive to move our policy solutions to pressing problems onto the political agenda. To what extent is a rigorous scientific understanding of sustainability issues necessary and sufficient for creating more sustainable policies? If it is not, what are the obligations of scientists who understand the threats to sustainability to act on their understanding? We use a case study of Katrina to show that impartial science alone is inadequate to achieve our ends. Ecological economics and market fundamentalists are those currently receiving the most consideration, which exacerbates the problems as defined by ecological economists. As scientists and problem solvers, ecological economists must empirically study the public policy process to learn how to promote our policy solutions. We therefore assess two schools of thought concerning public policy - the market model and polis model. The market model of the public policy process assumes that policy makers rationally analyze the options available to achieve a specific goal then choose the one that maximizes utility. The polis model in contrast assumes that policy makers are not consistently rational but respond instead to the strategic presentation of situations using stories and symbols more than value-neutral facts. We argue that the polis model is a more accurate empirical interpretation of the policy process, and therefore, to be good scientific problem solvers, ecological economists must rely on emotionally charged stories that explain the significance of their scientific research instead of impartial presentation of empirical evidence.
Farley, J.. (2008) The Role of Prices in Conserving Critical Natural Capital. Conservation Biology 22(6) 1399-1408
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Until recent decades, economic decision makers have largely ignored the nonmarket benefits provided by nature, resulting in unprecedented threats to ecological life-support functions. The economic challenge today is to decide how much ecosystem structure can be converted to economic production and how much must be conserved to provide essential ecosystem services. Many economists and a growing number of life scientists hope to address this challenge by estimating the marginal value of environmental benefits and then using this information to make economic decisions. I assessed this approach first by examining the role and effectiveness of the price mechanism in a well-functioning market economy, second by identifying the issues that prevent markets from pricing many ecological benefits, and third by focusing on problems inherent to valuing services generated by complex and poorly understood ecosystems subject to irreversible change. I then focus on critical natural capital (CNC), which generates benefits that are essential to human welfare and have few if any substitutes. When imminent ecological thresholds threaten CNC, conservation is essential and marginal valuation becomes inappropriate. Once conservation needs have been met, remaining ecosystem structure is potentially available for economic production. Demand for this available supply will determine prices. In other words, conservation needs should be price determining, not price determined. Conservation science must help identify CNC and the quantity and quality of ecosystem structure required to ensure its sustained provision.
Fischer, J.; Brosi, B.; Daily, G. C.; Ehrlich, P. R.; Goldman, R.; Goldstein, J.; Lindenmayer, D. B.; Manning, A. D.; Mooney, H. A.; Pejchar, L.; Ranganathan, J.; Tallis, H.. (2008) Should agricultural policies encourage land sparing or wildlife-friendly farming?. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 6(7) 382-387
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As the demands on agricultural lands to produce food, fuel, and fiber continue to expand, effective strategies are urgently needed to balance biodiversity conservation and agricultural production. "Land sparing" and "wildlife-friendly farming" have been proposed as seemingly opposing strategies to achieve this balance. In land sparing, homogeneous areas of farmland are managed to maximize yields, while separate reserves target biodiversity conservation. Wildlife-friendly farming, in contrast, integrates conservation and production within more heterogeneous landscapes. Different scientific traditions underpin the two approaches. Land sparing is associated with an island model of modified landscapes, where islands of nature are seen as separate from human activities. This simple dichotomy makes land sparing easily compatible with optimization methods that attempt to allocate land uses in the most efficient way. In contrast, wildlife-friendly farming emphasizes heterogeneity, resilience, and ecological interactions between farmed and unfarmed areas. Both social and biophysical factors influence which approach is feasible or appropriate in a given landscape. Drawing upon the strengths of each approach, we outline broad policy guidelines for conservation in agricultural landscapes.
Fisher, B.; Turner, K.; Zylstra, M.; Brouwer, R.; de Groot, R.; Farber, S.; Ferraro, P.; Green, R.; Hadley, D.; Harlow, J.; Jefferiss, P.; Kirkby, C.; Morling, P.; Mowatt, S.; Naidoo, R.; Paavola, J.; Strassburg, B.; Yu, D.; Balmford, A.. (2008) ECOSYSTEM SERVICES AND ECONOMIC THEORY: INTEGRATION FOR POLICY-RELEVANT RESEARCH. Ecological Applications 18(8) 2050-2067
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It has become essential in policy and decision-making circles to think about the economic benefits (in addition to moral and scientific motivations) humans derive from well-functioning ecosystems. The concept of ecosystem services has been developed to address this link between ecosystems and human welfare. Since policy decisions are often evaluated through cost -benefit assessments, an economic analysis can help make ecosystem service research operational. In this paper we provide some simple economic analyses to discuss key concepts involved in formalizing ecosystem service research. These include the distinction between services and bene. ts, understanding the importance of marginal ecosystem changes, formalizing the idea of a safe minimum standard for ecosystem service provision, and discussing how to capture the public bene. ts of ecosystem services. We discuss how the integration of economic concepts and ecosystem services can provide policy and decision makers with a fuller spectrum of information for making conservation -conversion trade-offs. We include the results from a survey of the literature and a questionnaire of researchers regarding how ecosystem service research can be integrated into the policy process. We feel this discussion of economic concepts will be a practical aid for ecosystem service research to become more immediately policy relevant.
Fisher, B.; Turner, R. K.. (2008) Ecosystem services: Classification for valuation. Biological Conservation 141(5) 1167-1169
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This letter is in response to an article by Ken Wallace titled "Classifications of ecosystem services: problems and solutions" (Biological Conservation 139, 2007). This letter discusses the points we see as problematic with Wallace's framework and sets out our conceptualization of linking ecosystem services with human welfare. In this letter we suggest that utilizing the terms intermediate services, final services and benefits should go a long way to clearing up much of the ambiguity in ecosystem services typologies, especially for economic valuation purposes. As Wallace points out, clearly defining and organizing the concept of ecosystem services is not just a semantic decision, but it is integral to operationalizing something that can clearly illuminate tradeoffs in natural resource management. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Fisher, B.. (2008) Deep economy: The wealth of communities and the durable future. 17(3) 422-424
Foster, B.; Wang, D.; Keeton, W.. (2008) An exploratory, post-harvest comparison of ecological and economic characteristics of FSC certified and uncertified northern hardwood stands.. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 26(3) 171-191
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As more forest entities worldwide consider pursuing Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, a critical question remains on whether stand-level management impacts differ between certified and uncertified forests. To begin to answer this question, we measured forest structure on three FSC-certified stands, three uncertified stands, and six adjacent unharvested reference stands (12 stands total) composed primarily of sugar maple (Acer saccharum) on non-industrial private properties in central Vermont, USA. The certified and uncertified partial harvests reduced total tree biomass and live tree carbon storage by one-third compared to reconstructed pre-harvest conditions. Both treatments also contained significantly lower densities of saplings and some mid-size trees compared to non-harvested references due to similar impacts from harvesting. The net present value of merchantable sugar maple over 10 year projections was consistently lower on certified than uncertified stands, but this difference was insignificant at discount rates from 4–8%. The certified stands contained significantly greater total residual volumes of coarse woody debris (standing and downed) than uncertified stands, although the debris was smaller than that found in unmanaged mature forests. Overall, our data suggest that FSC-certified harvested stands in northern hardwood forests have similar sugar maple timber value, aboveground live tree carbon storage value, similar live tree structure, and greater residual coarse woody debris than uncertified harvested stands.
Galford, G. L.; Mustard, J. F.; Melillo, J. M.; Gendrin, A.; Cerri, C. C.; Cerri, C. E. P.. (2008) Wavelet analysis of MODIS time series to detect expansion and intensification of row-crop agriculture in Brazil. Remote Sensing of Environment 112(2) 576-587
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Since 2000, the southwestern Brazilian Amazon has undergone a rapid transformation from natural vegetation and pastures to row-crop agricultural with the potential to affect regional biogeochemistry. The goals of this research are to assess wavelet algorithms applied to MODIS time series to determine expansion of row-crops and intensification of the number of crops grown. MODIS provides data from February 2000 to present, a period of agricultural expansion and intensification in the southwestern Brazilian Amazon. We have selected a study area near Comodoro, Mato Grosso because of the rapid growth of row-crop agriculture and availability of ground truth data of agricultural land-use history. We used a 90% power wavelet transform to create a wavelet-smoothed time series for five years of MODIS EVI data. From this wavelet-smoothed time series we determine characteristic phenology of single and double crops. We estimate that over 3200 km(2) were converted from native vegetation and pasture to row-crop agriculture from 2000 to 2005 in our study area encompassing 40,000 km(2). We observe an increase of 2000 km(2) of agricultural intensification, where areas of single crops were converted to double crops during the study period. (C) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Garcia-Montiel, D. C.; Coe, M. T.; Cruz, M. P.; Ferreira, J. N.; da Silva, E. M.; Davidson, E. A.. (2008) Estimating seasonal changes in volumetric soil water content at Landscape scales in a Savanna ecosystem using two-dimensional resistivity profiling. Earth Interactions 12
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Water distributed in deep soil reservoirs is an important factor determining the ecosystem structure of water-limited environments, such as the seasonal tropical savannas of South America. In this study a two-dimensional (2D) geoelectrical profiling technique was employed to estimate seasonal dynamics of soil water content to 10-m depth along transects of 275 m in savanna vegetation during the period between 2002 and 2006. Methods were developed to convert resistivity values along these 2D resistivity profiles into volumetric water content (VWC) by soil depth. The 2D resistivity profiles revealed the following soil and aquifer structure characterizing the underground environment: 0-4 m of permanently unsaturated and seasonally droughty soil, less severely dry unsaturated soil at about 4-7 m, nearly permanently saturated soil between 7 and 10 m, mostly impermeable saprolite interspaced with fresh bedrock of parent material at about 10-30 m, and a region of highly conductive water-saturated material at 30 m and below. Considerable spatial variation of these relative depths is clearly demonstrated along the transects. Temporal dynamics in VWC indicate that the active zone of water uptake is predominantly at 0-7 m, and follows the seasonal cycles of precipitation and evapotranspiration. Uptake from below 7 m may have been critical for a short period near the beginning of the rainy season, although the seasonal variations in VWC in the 7-10-m layer are relatively small and lag the surface water recharge for about 6 months. Calculations using a simple 1-box water balance model indicate that average total runoff was 15-25 mm month-1 in the wet season and about 6-9 mm month-1 in the dry season. Modeled ET was about 75-85 mm month-1 in the wet season and 20-25 mm month-1 in the dry season. Variation in basal area and tree density along one transect was positively correlated with VWC of the 0-3-m and 0-7-m soil depths, respectively, during the wettest months. These multitemporal measurements demonstrate that the along-transect spatial differences in soil moisture are quasi-permanent and influence vegetation structure at the scale of tens to hundreds of meters.
Gordon, L. J.; Peterson, G. D.; Bennett, E. M.. (2008) Agricultural modifications of hydrological flows create ecological surprises. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 23(4) 211-219
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Agricultural expansion and intensification have altered the quantity and quality of global water flows. Research suggests that these changes have increased the risk of catastrophic ecosystem regime shifts. We identify and review evidence for agriculture-related regime shifts in three parts of the hydrological cycle: interactions between agriculture and aquatic systems, agriculture and soil, and agriculture and the atmosphere. We describe the processes that shape these regime shifts and the scales at which they operate. As global demands for agriculture and water continue to grow, it is increasingly urgent for ecologists to develop new ways of anticipating, analyzing and managing nonlinear changes across scales in human-dominated landscapes..
Hermans, C.; Howarth, R. B.; Noordewier, T.; Erickson, J. D.. (2008) Constructing Preferences in Structured Group Deliberative Processes. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. Pages 50-79;
Keeton, W. S.. (2008) Evaluation of tree seedling mortality and protective strategies in riparian forest restoration. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry 25(3) 117-123
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Riparian forest restoration can be severely constrained by tree seedling mortality. I evaluated the effects of tree shelters and planting density on herbivory and seedling mortality at a restoration site in the Lake Champlain Basin of Vermont. Eighteen experimental units were established along a 5th-order stream and planted with bare-root seedlings of seven species associated with northern hardwood floodplain forests. Two treatments were applied in a factorial design: shelters versus no shelters and high versus low planting density. Mortality and herbivory data were collected over three growing seasons. Survivorship declined to 56.4% after three growing seasons and varied significantly by species. Planting density, presence/absence of shelters, and their interaction had significant effects on survival, browse, or girdling intensity when tested for all species combined. Browse rates were high (44%), whereas girdling rates were low (3.4%). Both browse (P < 0.001) and girdling (P = 0.022) contributed to seedling mortality. High rates of deer browse on seedlings in shelters were due, in part, to the short height (60 cm) of the shelters, suggesting a need for taller shelters. A large portion (39%) of dead seedlings were neither browsed nor girdled, signaling the importance of other mortality agents. An adaptive approach is recommended to compensate for high seedling mortality and the limited effectiveness of protective devices.
Kollat, J. B.; Reed, P. M.; Rizzo, D. M.. (2008) Addressing model bias and uncertainty in three dimensional groundwater transport forecasts for a physical aquifer experiment. Geophysical Research Letters 35(17)
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This work contributes a combination of laboratory-based aquifer tracer experimentation and bias-aware Ensemble Kalman Filtering (EnKF) to demonstrate that systematic modeling errors ( or bias) in source loading dynamics and the spatial distribution of hydraulic conductivity pose severe challenges for groundwater transport forecasting under uncertainty. The impacts of model bias were evaluated using an ammonium chloride tracer experiment conducted in a three dimensional laboratory tank aquifer with 105 near real-time sampling locations. This study contributes a bias-aware EnKF framework that (i) dramatically enhances the accuracy of concentration breakthrough forecasts in the presence of systematic, spatio-temporally correlated modeling errors, (ii) clarifies in space and time where transport gradients are maximally impacted by model bias, and (iii) expands the size and scope of flow- and-transport problems that can be considered in the future.
Kusters, K.; Ruiz Perez, M.; de Foresta, H.; Dietz, T.; Ros-Tonen, M.; Belcher, B.; Manalu, P.; Nawir, A.; Wollenberg, E.. (2008) Will agroforests vanish? The case of Damar agroforests in Indonesia. 36(3) 357-370
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Resin producing agroforestry in the Krui area of Sumatra in Indonesia is presented as an environmentally friendly, income generating land-use system which contributes to both development and conservation objectives. We studied the change in household income portfolios in three communities in the Krui area. The studies revealed that in the period 1995-2004 agroforestry remained the main source of income. We predict, however, that due to declining resin productivity per hectare, and rising price and demand for timber, an increasing number of farmers will cut their mature agroforests in the near future. At the same time our data suggests that farmers will continue tree planting activities. In result old agroforests may vanish while new ones will be established.
Loucks, C.; Ricketts, T. H.; Naidoo, R.; Lamoreux, J.; Hoekstra, J.. (2008) Explaining the global pattern of protected area coverage: relative importance of vertebrate biodiversity, human activities and agricultural suitability. 35(8) 1337-1348
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Aim Twelve per cent of the Earth's terrestrial surface is covered by protected areas, but neither these areas nor the biodiversity they contain are evenly distributed spatially. To guide future establishment of protected areas, it is important to understand the factors that have shaped the spatial arrangement of the current protected area system. We used an information-theoretic approach to assess the ability of vertebrate biodiversity measures, resource consumption and agricultural potential to explain the global coverage pattern of protected areas. Location Global. Methods For each of 762 World Wildlife Fund terrestrial ecoregions of the world, we measured protected area coverage, resource consumption, terrestrial vertebrate species richness, number of endemic species, number of threatened species, net primary production, elevation and topographic heterogeneity. We combined these variables into 39 a priori models to describe protected area coverage at the global scale, and for six biogeographical realms. Using the Akaike information criterion and Akaike weights, we identified the relative importance and influence of each variable in describing protected area coverage. Results Globally, the number of endemic species was the best variable describing protected area coverage, followed by the number of threatened species. Species richness and resource consumption were of moderate importance and agricultural potential had weak support for describing protected area coverage at a global scale. Yet, the relative importance of these factors varied among biogeographical realms. Measures of vertebrate biodiversity (species richness, endemism and threatened species) were among the most important variables in all realms, except the Indo-Malayan, but had a wide range of relative importance and influence. Resource consumption was inversely related to protected area coverage across all but one realm (the Palearctic), most strongly in the Nearctic realm. Agricultural potential, despite having little support in describing protected area coverage globally, was strongly and positively related to protection in the Palearctic and Neotropical realms, as well as in the Indo-Malayan realm. The Afrotropical, Indo-Malayan and Australasian realms showed no clear, strong relationships between protected area coverage and the independent variables. Main conclusions Globally, the existing protected area network is more strongly related to biodiversity measures than to patterns of resource consumption or agricultural potential. However, the relative importance of these factors varies widely among the world's biogeographical realms. Understanding the biases of the current protected area system may help to correct for them as future protected areas are added to the global network.
Luzadis, Valerie A; Volk, Timothy A; Buchholz, Thomas S. (2008) Using a systems approach to improve bioenergy sustainability assessment. Renewable Energy from Forest Resources in the United States 10 196
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The current focus on sustainable development and the goal to move from a fossil fuel to a renewable-based economy brings with it the challenge of assessing the sustainability of the wide array of diff erent potential bioenergy systems. Concern about the impact of growing biomass for energy on food security in the poorest regions of the world intensifi es the need for reliable, manageable, comprehensive approaches to assessing the sustainability of biomass systems at all scales. Efforts to develop, implement, and revise criteria and indicators to assess the sustainability of forest management provide a foundation for building strong bioenergy sustainability assessment approaches. However, the forest management eff ort encompasses only one type of feedstock, woody biomass, from one source, naturally occurring forests. It also focuses on only one portion of bioenergy systems, biomass production. While discussion continues, no clear consensus has yet been reached for how to assess bioenergy sustainability. The assessment must focus on all components of the system, from biomass production through useful energy products, and encompass social and economic values. In this paper, we propose a systems approach to more comprehensively inform the development of sustainability criteria and indicators, and to synthesize the many insights from wide-ranging research on biomass-to-energy as well as the associated ranges of social and economic values. Specifically, we present a five-step process for how to use a participatory, systems approach to assess bioenergy sustainability. We suggest that this approach is more comprehensive than the dominant economy environment-social assessment approach, which is largely ad hoc in nature.
McBride, M.; Hession, W. C.; Rizzo, D. M.. (2008) Riparian reforestation and channel change: A case study of two small tributaries to Sleepers River, northeastern Vermont, USA. Geomorphology 102(3-4) 445-459
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Measurements of two small streams in northeastern Vermont, collected in 1966 and 2004-2005, document considerable change in channel width following a period of passive reforestation. Channel widths of several tributaries to Sleepers River in Danville, VT, USA, were previously measured in 1966 when the area had a diverse patchwork of forested and nonforested riparian vegetation. Nearly 40 years later, we remeasured bed widths and surveyed large woody debris (LWD) in two of these tributaries, along 500 m of upper Pope Brook and along nearly the entire length (3 km) of an unnamed tributary (W12). Following the longitudinal survey, we collected detailed channel and riparian information for nine reaches along the same two streams. Four reaches had reforested since 1966: two reaches remained nonforested. The other three reaches have been forested since at least the 1940s. Results show that reforested reaches were significantly wider than as measured in 1966, and they are more incised than all other forested and nonforested reaches. Visual observations, cross-sectional surveys, and LWD characteristics indicate that reforested reaches continue to change in response to riparian reforestation. The three reaches with the oldest forest were widest for a given drainage area, and the nonforested reaches were Substantially narrower. Our observations culminated in a conceptual model that describes a multiphase process of incision, widening, and recovery following riparian reforestation of nonforested areas. Results from this case study may help inform stream restoration efforts by providing insight into potentially unanticipated changes in channel size associated with the replanting of forested riparian buffers adjacent to small streams. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Naidoo, R.; Balmford, A.; Costanza, R.; Fisher, B.; Green, R. E.; Lehner, B.; Malcolm, T. R.; Ricketts, T. H.. (2008) Global mapping of ecosystem services and conservation priorities. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105(28) 9495-9500
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Global efforts to conserve biodiversity have the potential to deliver economic benefits to people (i.e., "ecosystem services"). However, regions for which conservation benefits both biodiversity and ecosystem services cannot be identified unless ecosystem services can be quantified and valued and their areas of production mapped. Here we review the theory, data, and analyses needed to produce such maps and find that data availability allows us to quantify imperfect global proxies for only four ecosystem services. Using this incomplete set as an illustration, we compare ecosystem service maps with the global distributions of conventional targets for biodiversity conservation. Our preliminary results show that regions selected to maximize biodiversity provide no more ecosystem services than regions chosen randomly. Furthermore, spatial concordance among different services, and between ecosystem services and established conservation priorities, varies widely. Despite this lack of general concordance, "win-win" areas-regions important for both ecosystem services and biodiversity-can be usefully identified, both among ecoregions and at finer scales within them. An ambitious interdisciplinary research effort is needed to move beyond these preliminary and illustrative analyses to fully assess synergies and trade-offs in conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Nelson, E.; Polasky, S.; Lewis, D. J.; Plantinga, A. J.; Lonsdorf, E.; White, D.; Bael, D.; Lawler, J. J.. (2008) Efficiency of incentives to jointly increase carbon sequestration and species conservation on a landscape. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105(28) 9471-9476
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We develop an integrated model to predict private land-use decisions in response to policy incentives designed to increase the provision of carbon sequestration and species conservation across heterogeneous landscapes. Using data from the Willamette Basin, Oregon, we compare the provision of carbon sequestration and species conservation under five simple policies that offer payments for conservation. We evaluate policy performance compared with the maximum feasible combinations of carbon sequestration and species conservation on the landscape for various conservation budgets. None of the conservation payment policies produce increases in carbon sequestration and species conservation that approach the maximum potential gains on the landscape. Our results show that policies aimed at increasing the provision of carbon sequestration do not necessarily increase species conservation and that highly targeted policies do not necessarily do as well as more general policies.
North, M. P.; Keeton, W. S.. (2008) Emulating Natural Disturbance Regimes: an Emerging Approach for Sustainable Forest Management. Springer-Verlag, New York, NY. Pages 32;
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Sustainable forest management integrates ecological, social, and economic objectives. To achieve the former, researchers and practitioners are modifying silvicultural practices based on concepts from successional and landscape ecology to provide a broader array of ecosystem functions than is associated with conventional approaches. One such innovation is disturbance-based management. Under this approach, forest practices that emulate natural ecological processes, such as local disturbance regimes, are viewed as more likely to perpetuate the evolutionary environment and ecosystem functions of the forest matrix. We examine how this concept has been applied in three U.S. forest types: Pacific Northwest temperate coniferous, Western mixed-conifer, and Northeastern northern hardwood forests. In general, stand-level treatments have been widely used and often closely mimic historic disturbance because forest structure and composition guidelines have been well defined from reconstructive research. Disturbance-based landscape management, however, has not yet been closely approximated in the three forest types we examined. Landscape implementation has been constrained by economic, ownership, safety, and practical limitations. Given these constraints we suggest that disturbance-based management concepts are best applied as an assessment tool with variable implementation potential. Silviculture practices can be compared against the frequency, scale, and level of biological legacies characteristic of natural disturbance regimes to evaluate their potential impact on ecosystem sustainability.
O'Faircheallaigh, C.; Trebeck, K.; Haley, S.; Magdanz, J.; Coumans, C.; Howitt, R.; Lawrence, R.; Gibson, G.; Kemp, D.; Anglebeck, B.; Barker, T.; Filer, C.; Burton J.; Banks, G.; McAteer, E.; Ali, S. H.; Anguelovski, I.; Crate, S. A.; Yakovleva, N.. (2008) Earth Matters: Indigenous Peoples, the Extractive Industries and Corporate Social Responsibility. Greenleaf Publishing, Sheffield, United Kingdom . Pages 272;
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Indigenous peoples have historically gained little from large-scale resource development on their traditional lands, and have suffered from its negative impacts on their cultures, economies and societies. During recent decades indigenous groups and their allies have fought hard to change this situation: in some cases by opposing development entirely; in many others by seeking a fundamental change in the distribution of benefits and costs from resource exploitation. In doing so they have utilised a range of approaches, including efforts to win greater recognition of indigenous rights in international fora; pressure for passage of national and state or provincial legislation recognising indigenous land rights and protecting indigenous culture; litigation in national and international courts; and direct political action aimed at governments and developers, often in alliance with non-governmental organisations (NGOs). At the same time, and partly in response to these initiatives, many of the corporations that undertake large-scale resource exploitation have sought to address concerns regarding the impact of their activities on indigenous peoples by adopting what are generally referred to as corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies. This book focuses on such corporate initiatives. It does not treat them in isolation, recognising that their adoption and impact is contextual, and is related both to the wider social and political framework in which they occur and to the activities and initiatives of indigenous peoples. It does not treat them uncritically, recognising that they may in some cases consist of little more than exercises in public relations. However, neither does it approach them cynically, recognising the possibility that, even if CSR policies and activities reflect hard-headed business decisions, and indeed perhaps particularly if they do so, they can generate significant benefits for indigenous peoples if appropriate accountability mechanisms are in place. In undertaking an in-depth analysis of CSR and indigenous peoples in the extractive industries, the book seeks to answer the following questions. What is the nature and extent of CSR initiatives in the extractive industries and how should they be understood? What motivates companies to pursue CSR policies and activities? How do specific political, social and legal contexts shape corporate behaviour? What is the relationship between indigenous political action and CSR? How and to what extent can corporations be held accountable for their policies and actions? Can CSR help bring about a fundamental change in the distribution of benefits and costs from large-scale resource exploitation and, if so, under what conditions can this occur? Earth Matters gathers key experts from around the world who discuss corporate initiatives in Alaska, Ecuador, Australia, Canada, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Russia. The book explores the great diversity that characterises initiatives and policies under the name of corporate social responsibility , the highly contingent and contextual nature of corporate responses to indigenous demands, and the complex and evolving nature of indigenous corporate relations. It also reveals much about the conditions under which CSR can contribute to a redistribution of benefits and costs from large-scale resource development. Earth Matters will be essential reading for those working in and studying the extractive industry worldwide, as well as those readers looking for a state-of-the-art description of how CSR is functioning in perhaps its most difficult setting.
Polasky, S.; Nelson, E.; Camm, J.; Csuti, B.; Fackler, P.; Lonsdorf, E.; Montgomery, C.; White, D.; Arthur, J.; Garber-Yonts, B.; Haight, R.; Kagan, J.; Starfield, A.; Tobalske, C.. (2008) Where to put things? Spatial land management to sustain biodiversity and economic returns. Biological Conservation 141(6) 1505-1524
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Expanding human population and economic growth have led to large-scale conversion of natural habitat to human-dominated landscapes with consequent large-scale declines in biodiversity. Conserving biodiversity, while at the same time meeting expanding human needs, is an issue of utmost importance. In this paper we develop a spatially explicit landscape-level model for analyzing the biological and economic consequences of alternative land-use patterns. The spatially explicit biological model incorporates habitat preferences, area requirements and dispersal ability between habitat patches for terrestrial vertebrate species to predict the likely number of species that will be sustained on the landscape. The spatially explicit economic model incorporates site characteristics and location to predict economic returns for a variety of potential land uses. We apply the model to search for efficient land-use patterns that maximize biodiversity conservation objectives for given levels of economic returns, and vice versa. We apply the model to the Willamette Basin, Oregon, USA. By thinking carefully about the arrangement of activities, we find land-use patterns that sustain high levels of biodiversity and economic returns. Compared to the 1990 land-use pattern, we show that both biodiversity conservation and the value of economic activity could be increased substantially. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Ranganathan, J.; Daniels, R. J. R.; Chandran, M. D. S.; Ehrlich, P. R.; Daily, G. C.. (2008) Sustaining biodiversity in ancient tropical countryside. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105(46) 17852-17854
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With intensifying demands for food and biofuels, a critical threat to biodiversity is agricultural expansion into native tropical ecosystems. Tropical agriculture, particularly intensive agriculture, often supports few native organisms, and consequently has been largely overlooked in conservation planning; yet, recent work in the Neotropics demonstrates that tropical agriculture with certain features can support significant biodiversity, decades after conversion to farmland. It remains unknown whether this conservation value can be sustained for centuries to millennia. Here, we quantify the bird diversity affiliated with agricultural systems in southwest India, a region continuously cultivated for >2,000 years. We show that arecanut palm (Areca catechu) production systems retain 90% of the bird species associated with regional native forest. Two factors promote this high conservation value. First, the system involves intercropping with multiple, usually woody, understory species and, thus, has high vertical structural complexity that is positively correlated with bird species richness. Second, the system encompasses nearby forests, where large quantities of leaf litter are extracted for mulch. The preservation of these forests on productive land traces back to their value in supplying inputs to arecanut cultivation. The long-term biodiversity value of an agricultural ecosystem has not been documented in South and Southeast Asia. Our findings open a new conservation opportunity for this imperiled region that may well extend to other crops. Some of these working lands may be able to sustain native species over long-time scales, indicating that conservation investments in agriculture today could pay off for people and for nature.
Ricketts, T. H.; Regetz, J.; Steffan-Dewenter, I.; Cunningham, S. A.; Kremen, C.; Bogdanski, A.; Gemmill-Herren, B.; Greenleaf, S. S.; Klein, A. M.; Mayfield, M. M.; Morandin, L. A.; Ochieng, A.; Potts, S. G.; Viana, B. F.. (2008) Landscape effects on crop pollination services: are there general patterns? (vol 11, pg 499, 2008). Ecology Letters 11(10) 1121-1121
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Pollination by bees and other animals increases the size, quality, or stability of harvests for 70% of leading global crops. Because native species pollinate many of these crops effectively, conserving habitats for wild pollinators within agricultural landscapes can help maintain pollination services. Using hierarchical Bayesian techniques, we synthesize the results of 23 studies – representing 16 crops on five continents – to estimate the general relationship between pollination services and distance from natural or semi-natural habitats. We find strong exponential declines in both pollinator richness and native visitation rate. Visitation rate declines more steeply, dropping to half of its maximum at 0.6 km from natural habitat, compared to 1.5 km for richness. Evidence of general decline in fruit and seed set – variables that directly affect yields – is less clear. Visitation rate drops more steeply in tropical compared with temperate regions, and slightly more steeply for social compared with solitary bees. Tropical crops pollinated primarily by social bees may therefore be most susceptible to pollination failure from habitat loss. Quantifying these general relationships can help predict consequences of land use change on pollinator communities and crop productivity, and can inform landscape conservation efforts that balance the needs of native species and people.
Rizzoli, A. E.; Donatelli, M.; Athanasiadis, I. N.; Villa, F.; Huber, D.. (2008) Semantic links in integrated modelling frameworks. 78(2-3) 412-423
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It is commonly accepted that modelling frameworks offer a powerful tool for modellers, researchers and decision makers, since they allow the management, re-use and integration of mathematical models from various disciplines and at different spatial and temporal scales. However, the actual re-usability of models depends on a number of factors such as the accessibility of the source code, the compatibility of different binary platforms, and often it is left to the modellers own discipline and responsibility to structure a complex model in such a way that it is decomposed in smaller re-usable sub-components. What reusable and interchangeable means is also somewhat vague; although several approaches to build modelling frameworks have been developed, little attention has been dedicated to the intrinsic re-usability of components, in particular between different modelling frameworks. In this paper, we focus on how models can be linked together to build complex integrated models. We stress that even if a model component interface is clear and reusable from a software standpoint, this is not a sufficient condition for reusing a component across different integrated modelling frameworks. This reveals the need for adding rich semantics in model interfaces. (C) 2008 IMACS. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Rogers, D. S.; Ehrlich, P. R.. (2008) Natural selection and cultural rates of change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 105(9) 3416-3420
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It has been claimed that a meaningful theory of cultural evolution is not possible because human beliefs and behaviors do not follow predictable patterns. However, theoretical models of cultural transmission and observations of the development of societies suggest that patterns in cultural evolution do occur. Here, we analyze whether two sets of related cultural traits, one tested against the environment and the other not, evolve at different rates in the same populations. Using functional and symbolic design features for Polynesian canoes, we show that natural selection apparently slows the evolution of functional structures, whereas symbolic designs differentiate more rapidly. This finding indicates that cultural change, like genetic evolution, can follow theoretically derived patterns.
Roman, J.. (2008) Whale communication and culture. Environmental Information Coalition, National COuncil for Science and the Environment, Washington, DC.
Santos-Barrera, G.; Pacheco, J.; Mendoza-Quijano, F.; Bolanos, F.; Chaves, G.; Daily, G. C.; Ehrlich, P. R.; Ceballos, G.. (2008) Diversity, natural history and conservation of amphibians and reptiles from the San Vito Region, southwestern Costa Rica. Revista De Biologia Tropical 56(2) 755-778
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We present an inventory of the amphibians and reptiles of the San Vito de Coto Brus region, including the Las Cruces Biological Station, in southern Costa Rica, which is the result of a survey of the herpetofauna occurring in mountain forest fragments, pastures, coffee plantations, and other disturbed areas. We found 67 species, included 26 species of amphibians and of 41of reptiles. We describe the distribution patterns of the community on the basis of the life zones, elevation, fragmentation, and degree of anthropogenic impact. We also provide some nouvelle data on the systematics of some select taxa, their geographical ranges, microhabitats, activity, and other relevant ecological and natural history features. Finally, we comment on the present conservation status of the herpetofauna in the region. Previous literature and collection records indicate a higher number of species occurring in this area, which suggests that some declines have occurred, especially of amphibians, in last decades.
Silvano, R. A. M.; Silva, A. L.; Ceroni, M.; Begossi, A.. (2008) Contributions of ethnobiology to the conservation of tropical rivers and streams. 18(3) 241-260
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1. This study aimed to link basic ethnobiological research on local ecological knowledge (LEK) to the conservation of Brazilian streams, based on two case studies: original data on LEK of fishermen about freshwater fish in the Negro River, Amazon, and previously published data about LEK of farmers on the ecological relationship between forest and streams in the Macabuzinho catchment, Atlantic Forest. 2. Information was obtained from fishermen through interviews using standard questionnaires containing open-ended questions. Informants for interview were selected either following some defined criteria or applying the 'snowball' method. 3. Fishermen's LEK about the diets and habitats of 14 fish species in the Negro River provided new biological information on plant species that are eaten by fish, in addition to confirming some ecological patterns from the biological literature, such as dependence of fish on forests as food sources. 4. In the Atlantic Forest, a comparison between farmers' LEK and a rapid stream assessment in the farmers' properties indicated that farmers tended to overestimate the ecological integrity of their streams. Farmers recognized at least 11 forest attributes that correspond to the scientific concept of ecosystem services. Such information may be useful to promote or enhance dialogue among farmers, scientists and managers. 5. These results may contribute to the devising of ecosystem management measures in the Negro River, aimed to conserve both rivers and their associated floodplain forests, involving local fishermen. In the Atlantic Forest, we proposed some initiatives, such as to allow direct economic use of their forests to conciliate conflicting perceptions of farmers about ecological benefits versus economic losses from reforestation. Despite their cultural, environmental and geographical differences, the two study cases are complementary and cost-effective and promising approaches to including LEK in the design of ecological research. Copyright (C) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Smith, K. J.; Keeton, W. S.; Twery, M. J.; Tobi, D. R.. (2008) Understory plant responses to uneven-aged forestry alternatives in northern hardwood-conifer forests. Canadian Journal of Forest Research-Revue Canadienne De Recherche Forestiere 38(6) 1303-1318
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The understory layer encompasses the majority of plain species diversity ill forested ecosystems and may be sensitive to timber harvest disturbance. We hypothesize that (i) uneven-aged, low-intensity silvicultural systems can maintain understory plant diversity and support late-successional species following harvest disturbance; (ii) retaining and enhancing stand structural complexity can increase understory plant diversity in northern hardwood-conifer forests; and (iii) plant responses are influenced by interactions among canopy structure, soils, and climate processes. Experimental treatments include single-tree selection and group selection, both modified to increase structural retention, and a third technique designed to promote late-successional forest structure and function, structural complexity enhancement. Four replications of each treatment were applied to 2 ha units in Vermont and New York, USA. Understory vegetation was monitered 2 years pre- and 4 years post-treatment. Results show that over time, understory responses were strongly affected by overstory treatment and less influenced by soils and drought. All treatments succeeded at maintaining overall composition and diversity. However, late-successional diversity increased significantly in structural complexity enhancement units compared with group selection units. These results indicate that while conventional uneven-aged systems can maintain understory plant diversity, variations that retain or enhance structural complexity may be effective at retaining late-successional species.
Smith, K. M.; Keeton, W. S.; Donovan, T. M.; Mitchell, B.. (2008) Stand-level forest structure and avian habitat: Scale dependencies in predicting occurrence in a heterogeneous forest. Forest Science 54(1) 36-46
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We explored the role of stand-level forest structure and spatial extent of forest sampling in models of avian occurrence in northern hardwood-conifer forests for two species: black-throated blue warbler (Dendroica caerulescens) and ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus). We estimated site occupancy from point counts at 20 sites and characterized the forest structure at these sites at three spatial extents (0.2, 3.0, and 12.0 ha). Weight of evidence was greatest for habitat models using forest stand structure at the 12.0-ha extent and diminished only slightly at the 3.0-ha extent, a scale that was slightly larger than the average territory size of both species. Habitat models characterized at the 0.2-ha extent had low support, yet are the closest in design to those used in many of the habitat studies we reviewed. These results suggest that the role of stand-level vegetation may have been underestimated in the past, which will be of interest to land managers who use habitat models to assess the suitability of habitat for species of concern.
Stevens, L.; Rizzo, D. M.. (2008) Local adaptation to biocontrol agents: A multi-objective datadriven optimization model for the evolution of resistance. Ecological Complexity 5(3) 252-259
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Spatial and temporal variability in the application of biological control agents such as parasites or pathogenic bacteria can cause the evolution of resistance in pest organisms. Because biocontrol will be more effective if organisms are not resistant, it is desirable to examine the evolution of resistance under different application strategies. We present a computational method that integrates a genetic algorithm with experimental data for predicting when local populations are likely to evolve resistance to biocontrol pathogens. The model incorporates parameters that can be varied as part of pest control measures such as the distribution and severity of the biocontrol agent (e.g., pathogenic fungi). The model predicts the evolution of pathogen defense as well as indirect selection on several aspects of the organism's genetic system. Our results show that both variability of selection within populations as well as mean differences among populations are important in the evolution of defenses against biocontrol pathogens. The mean defense is changed through the pest organism's genotype and the variance is affected by components of the genetic system, namely, the resiliency, recombination rate and number of genes. The data-driven model incorporates experimental data on pathogen susceptibility and the cost of defense. The results suggest that spatial variability rather than uniform application of biological control will limit the evolution of resistance in pest organisms. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Tajibaeva, L.; Haight, R. G.; Polasky, S.. (2008) A discrete-space urban model with environmental amenities. Resource and Energy Economics 30(2) 170-196
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This paper analyzes the effects of providing environmental amenities associated with open space in a discrete-space urban model and characterizes optimal provision of open space across a metropolitan area. The discrete-space model assumes distinct neighborhoods in which developable land is homogeneous within a neighborhood but heterogeneous across neighborhoods. Open space provides environmental amenities within the neighborhood it is located and may provide amenities in other neighborhoods (amenity spillover). We solve for equilibrium under various assumptions about amenity spillover effects and transportation costs in both open-city (with in- and out-migration) and closed-city (fixed population) versions of the model. Increasing open space tends to increase equilibrium housing density and price within a neighborhood. In an open-city model, open space provision also increases housing density and price in other neighborhoods if there is an amenity spillover effect. In a closed-city model, housing density and prices in other neighborhoods can decrease if the pull of the local amenity value is stronger than the push from reduced availability of developable land. We use numerical simulation to solve for the optimal pattern of open space in two examples: a simple symmetric case and a simulation based on the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, Minnesota, USA. With no amenity spillover, it is optimal to provide the same amount of open space in all neighborhoods regardless of transportation cost. With amenity spillover effects and relatively high transportation cost, it is optimal to provide open space in a greenbelt at the edge of the city. With low transportation cost, open space is provided throughout the city with the exception of neighborhoods on the periphery of the city, where the majority of the population lives. A greenbelt still occurs but its location is inside the city. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Tarui, N.; Mason, C. F.; Polasky, S.; Ellis, G.. (2008) Cooperation in the commons with unobservable actions. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 55(1) 37-51
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We model a dynamic common property resource game with unobservable actions and non-linear stock-dependent costs. We propose a strategy profile that generates a worst perfect equilibrium in the punishment phase, thereby supporting cooperation under the widest set of conditions. We show under what set of parameter values for the discount rate, resource growth rate, harvest price, and the number of resource users, this strategy supports cooperation in the commons as a subgame perfect equilibrium. The strategy profile that we propose, which involves harsh punishment after a defection followed by forgiveness, is consistent with human behavior observed in experiments and common property resource case studies. (c) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Troy, A.; Grove, J. M.. (2008) Property values, parks, and crime: A hedonic analysis in Baltimore, MD. Landscape and Urban Planning 87(3) 233-245
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While urban parks are generally considered to be a positive amenity, past research suggests that some parks are perceived as a neighborhood liability. Using hedonic analysis of property data in Baltimore, MD, we attempted to determine whether crime rate mediates how parks are valued by the housing market. Transacted price was regressed against park proximity, area-weighted robbery and rape rates for the Census block groups encompassing the parks, and an interaction term, adjusting for a number of other variables. Four models were estimated, including one where selling price was log-transformed but distance to park was not, one where both were log-transformed, a Box-Cox regression, and a spatially adjusted regression. All results indicate that park proximity is positively valued by the housing market where the combined robbery and rape rates for a neighborhood are below a certain threshold rate but negatively valued where above that threshold. Depending on which model is used, this threshold occurs at a crime index value of between 406 and 484 (that is, between 406% and 484% of the national average: the average rate by block group for Baltimore is 475% of the national average). For all models, the further the crime index value is from the threshold value for a particular property, the steeper the relationship is between park proximity and home value. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Turner, K.; Georgiou, S.; Fisher, B.. (2008) Valuing Ecosystem Services: The Case of Multi-functional Wetlands. Earthscan, London, UK. Pages 229;
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Ecosystem services can be broadly defined as the aspects of ecosystems that provide benefits to people. This book provides guidance on the valuation of ecosystem services, using the case of multifunctional wetlands to illustrate and make recommendations regarding the methods and techniques that can be applied to appraise management options. It provides a review of ecosystem service valuation rationale, including its importance from both a policy and project appraisal perspective, and a useful reference when considering policy and appraisal of ecosystem management options. It shows how legal obligations and other high-level management targets should be taken into account in valuation exercises, thus giving important policy context to the management options. The authors set out what they call an Ecosystem Services Approach to the full appraisal of the role of ecosystem services in the economy and society. Although concentrating on wetlands, the approaches suggested provide an assessment framework that can be applied to other types of ecosystem assets.
Turner, R. K.; Fisher, B.. (2008) Environmental economics - To the rich man the spoils. Nature 451(7182) 1067-1068
Vano, J. A.; Foley, J. A.; Kucharik, C. J.; Coe, M. T.. (2008) Controls of climatic variability and land cover on land surface hydrology of northern Wisconsin, USA. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences 113(G4)
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Ecosystem processes are strongly affected by the magnitude, timing, and variability of water flows. As such, our understanding of biogeochemical and ecological processes can be enhanced when our ability to track water flow and storage within ecosystems is improved. We assess how climatic variability and land cover change affect water flow and storage within a temperate forest region of the north central United States (46 degrees N, 89 degrees W). We use a well-validated process-based ecosystem model (IBIS) to investigate evapotranspiration, surface runoff, and drainage rates across a continuum of time scales. We found from 1951 to 2000, climatic variability imposed a large, detectable signal on both annual and seasonal surface water balance that resulted in changes in total runoff that ranged from 30% to 200% of the 50-year average. Conversely, land cover change resulted in subtler, persistent changes (i.e., forest to grassland changed total runoff by 10% annually), which were not detectable from year to year. If, however, changes in land cover persist, within 6 years the cumulative difference from land cover change became slightly more than two standard deviations of annual runoff variability, and within 15 years the accumulated differences were greater than changes between the largest and smallest runoff events within the 50-year period. As a result, in the context of this study, climatic variations typically had a strong effect on the surface water balance in the short term (season or year-to-year variations), but land cover change had influence on water balance over the long-term (6 years and beyond). These changes in hydrology from land cover were detectable as subtle, yet persistent differences that accumulate as changes in magnitude and shifts in seasonal cycles. Through this, we provide a process-based context for understanding the historical causes of water cycle variability, which allows us to better identify the hydrology of this system. Ultimately, this allows for improved understanding of how forested ecosystems could respond to multiple drivers of global change.
Voigt, B.; Troy, A.. (2008) Ecological models: Land use modelling. Elsevier Science, Princeton, NJ. Pages 2126-2132;
Warren, D. R.; Keeton, W. S.; Kraft, C. E.. (2008) A comparison of line-intercept and census techniques for assessing large wood volume in streams. Hydrobiologia 598 123-130
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Most surveys of large wood in streams are conducted by counting and measuring every piece of large wood within a reach, a technique that is effective but time-consuming. In this study we evaluated an alternative method that takes less time and can be employed in studies in which an estimate of total large wood volume along a stream reach is the primary metric of interest. In first- through third-order streams we estimated in-stream large wood volume and large wood frequency, comparing large wood census estimates to those from a modified a line-intercept technique that has been commonly used in terrestrial forest surveys. Estimates of large wood volume from line transects located in the geographic center of the stream (parallel to stream axis and equidistant from bankfull margins) were highly correlated with those from the wood census (P < 0.001, r(2) = 0.88, Pearson's r = 0.935), but produced slightly greater estimates of large wood volume (regression slope = 1.28, SE = 0.16). Line-intercept estimates of large wood frequency (number per 100 m of stream) were significantly correlated to the wood census counts, but the line-intercept method underestimated frequency by about 50% (P = 0.016). Differences in the estimated large wood volume between line-intercept and wood census surveys were associated with variability in the diameter of the large wood, but unrelated to stream bankfull width, for the range of stream sizes evaluated in this study (approximate to 2 to 11 m). Our results suggest that in small constrained streams, line-intercept surveys are an effective method for estimating in-stream large wood volume and that these estimates better approximate results from whole-stream census techniques where the diameter of in-stream wood is relatively consistent.
Weiqi, Z.; Troy, A.; Grove, M.. (2008) A comparison of object-based with pixel-based land cover change detection in the Baltimore metropolitan area using multitemporal high resolution remote sensing data. Pages IV:683-6;
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This paper presents the methods and results of two post-classification change detection approaches, using multitemporal high-spatial resolution Emerge aerial imagery in the Gwynns Falls watershed, which includes portions of Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Maryland, USA. The results indicated that the object-based approach provides a better means for change detection than a traditional pixel-based method because it provides an effective way to incorporate spatial information and expert knowledge into the change detection process. The overall accuracy of the change map produced by the object-based method was 90.0%, with Kappa statistic of 0.854, whereas the overall accuracy and Kappa statistic of that by the pixel-based method were 81.3% and 0.712, respectively.
Wollenberg, Eva; Iwan, Ramses; Limberg, Godwin; Moeliono, Moira. (2008) Locating social choice in forest comanagement and local governance: the politics of public decision making and interest. Public and Private in Natural Resource Governance: A False Dichotomy? Pages 27;
Wunder, Sven; Campbell, Bruce; Frost, Peter GH; Sayer, Jeffrey A; Iwan, Ramses; Wollenberg, Lini. (2008) When donors get cold feet: the community conservation concession in Setulang (Kalimantan, Indonesia) that never happened. Ecology and Society 13(1) 12
View Abstract
There is consensus that payments for biodiversity services are a promising conservation tool, yet the implementation of applied schemes has been lagging behind. This paper explores some reasons why potential biodiversity buyers may hesitate. It describes the case of an unsuccessful attempt to establish a community conservation concession in the village of Setulang (East Kalimantan, Indonesia) to safeguard a biologically valuable area from predatory logging. Potential biodiversity donors did not engage in this payments-for-environmental-services scheme mainly because of their limited time horizon and uneasiness about the conditionality principle. Other complicating factors included overlapping land claims, and the diagnosis of the externality at hand. We conclude that new investment modalities and attitudes are needed if potential biodiversity buyers are to exploit the advantages of this innovative tool. We also provide some tangible recommendations on factors to consider when designing a compensation scheme for conservation at the community level.
Zhou, W.; Troy, A.; Grove, M.. (2008) Modeling residential lawn fertilization practices: Integrating high resolution remote sensing with socioeconomic data. Environmental Management 41(5) 742-752
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This article investigates how remotely sensed lawn characteristics, such as parcel lawn area and parcel lawn greenness, combined with household characteristics, can be used to predict household lawn fertilization practices on private residential lands. This study involves two watersheds, Glyndon and Baisman's Run, in Baltimore County, Maryland, USA. Parcel lawn area and lawn greenness were derived from high-resolution aerial imagery using an object-oriented classification approach. Four indicators of household characteristics, including lot size, square footage of the house, housing value, and housing age were obtained from a property database. Residential lawn care survey data combined with remotely sensed parcel lawn area and greenness data were used to estimate two measures of household lawn fertilization practices, household annual fertilizer nitrogen application amount (N_yr) and household annual fertilizer nitrogen application rate (N_ha_yr). Using multiple regression with multi-model inferential procedures, we found that a combination of parcel lawn area and parcel lawn greenness best predicts N_yr, whereas a combination of parcel lawn greenness and lot size best predicts variation in N_ha_yr. Our analyses show that household fertilization practices can be effectively predicted by remotely sensed lawn indices and household characteristics. This has significant implications for urban watershed managers and modelers.
Zhou, W.; Troy, A.; Grove, M.. (2008) Object-based land cover classification and change analysis in the Baltimore metropolitan area using multitemporal high resolution remote sensing data. 8(3) 1613-1636
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Accurate and timely information about land cover pattern and change in urban areas is crucial for urban land management decision-making, ecosystem monitoring and urban planning. This paper presents the methods and results of an object-based classification and post-classification change detection of multitemporal high-spatial resolution Emerge aerial imagery in the Gwynns Falls watershed from 1999 to 2004. The Gwynns Falls watershed includes portions of Baltimore City and Baltimore County, Maryland, USA. An object-based approach was first applied to implement the land cover classification separately for each of the two years. The overall accuracies of the classification maps of 1999 and 2004 were 92.3% and 93.7%, respectively. Following the classification, we conducted a comparison of two different land cover change detection methods: traditional (i.e., pixel-based) post-classification comparison and object-based post-classification comparison. The results from our analyses indicated that an object-based approach provides a better means for change detection than a pixel based method because it provides an effective way to incorporate spatial information and expert knowledge into the change detection process. The overall accuracy of the change map produced by the object-based method was 90.0%, with Kappa statistic of 0.854, whereas the overall accuracy and Kappa statistic of that by the pixel-based method were 81.3% and 0.712, respectively.
Zhou, W.; Troy, A.. (2008) An object-oriented approach for analysing and characterizing urban landscape at the parcel level. International Journal of Remote Sensing 29(11) 3119-3135
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This paper presents an object-oriented approach for analysing and characterizing the urban landscape structure at the parcel level using high-resolution digital aerial imagery and LIght Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) data. Additional spatial datasets including property parcel boundaries and building footprints were used to both facilitate object segmentation and obtain greater classification accuracy. The study area is the Gwynns Falls watershed, which includes portions of Baltimore City and Baltimore County, MD. A three-level hierarchical network of image objects was generated, and objects were classified. At the two lower levels, objects were classified into five classes, building, pavement, bare soil, fine textured vegetation and coarse textured vegetation, respectively. The object-oriented classification approach proved to be effective for urban land cover classification. The overall accuracy of the classification was 92.3%, and the overall Kappa statistic was 0.899. Land cover proportions as well as vegetation characteristics were then summarized by property parcel. This exercise resulted in a knowledge base of rules for urban land cover classification, which could potentially be applied to other urban areas.
2007
Armsworth, P. R.; Chan, K. M. A.; Daily, G. C.; Ehrlich, P. R.; Kremen, C.; Ricketts, T. H.; Sanjayan, M. A.. (2007) Ecosystem-service science and the way forward for conservation. Conservation Biology 21(6) 1383-1384
Bagstad, Kenneth J; Ceroni, Marta. (2007) Opportunities and challenges in applying the Genuine Progress Indicator/Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare at local scales. International Journal of Environment, Workplace and Employment 3(2) 132-153
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The closely related Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) and Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) provide monetised estimates of societal well-being based on economic, social and environmental criteria. Although the first ISEW/GPI estimates were completed at the national scale, there has been recent interest in applying GPI locally and regionally. Similar to national policy decisions, local fiscal, environmental and land use choices can strongly influence well-being. Local GPI estimates present several challenges, including data quality and availability, interpretation of certain components and appropriate application of results. We present a case study from seven counties in northern Vermont, USA from 1950 to 2000. This case study facilitates comparison between county, state and national GPI, and across a small urban?rural gradient. The case study illustrates both the difficulties and value of applying GPI/ISEW at local scales. We find that for recent years in an industrialised nation, it is possible to construct robust GPI estimates that allow comparisons of well-being across regions.
Bennett, E. M.; Balvanera, P.. (2007) The future of production systems in a globalized world. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 5(4) 191-198
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Human life is ultimately dependent on ecosystem services supplied by the biosphere. These include food, disease regulation, and recreational opportunities. Over the past 50 years, humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than at any other time in human history primarily to meet our growing demands for provisioning ecosystem services (eg food, freshwater, and timber). These changes have impacted other ecosystem services (eg climate regulation and erosion control). Current demand for ecosystem services is growing rapidly. How these demands are met will play a major role in determining the ecological, economic, and cultural future of the planet. While much is known about improving management of production systems to be more sustainable, research gaps remain. Challenges for ecologists include understanding the connection between management regimes, ecosystem structures and provision of multiple types of ecosystem services, understanding interactions among ecosystem services, and exploring the role of thresholds and resilience in production systems. Understanding these systems and how to manage them to ensure resilient provision of multiple ecosystem services is a key challenge for ecology.
Besaw, L. E.; Rizzo, D. M.. (2007) Stochastic simulation and spatial estimation with multiple data types using artificial neural networks. Water Resources Research 43(11)
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A novel data-driven artificial neural network ( ANN) that quantitatively combines large numbers of multiple types of soft data is presented for performing stochastic simulation and/or spatial estimation. A counterpropagation ANN is extended with a radial basis function to estimate parameter fields that reproduce the spatial structure exhibited in autocorrelated parameters. Applications involve using three geophysical properties measured on a slab of Berea sandstone and the delineation of landfill leachate at a site in the Netherlands using electrical formation conductivity as our primary variable and six types of secondary data ( e. g., hydrochemistry, archaea, and bacteria). The ANN estimation fields are statistically similar to geostatistical methods ( indicator simulation and cokriging) and reference fields ( when available). The method is a nonparametric clustering/ classification algorithm that can assimilate significant amounts of disparate data types with both continuous and categorical responses without the computational burden associated with the construction of positive definite covariance and cross-covariance matrices. The combination of simplicity and computational speed makes the method ideally suited for environmental subsurface characterization and other Earth science applications with spatially autocorrelated variables.
Brosi, B. J.; Daily, G. C.; Ehrlich, P. R.. (2007) Bee community shifts with landscape context in a tropical countryside. Ecological Applications 17(2) 418-430
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The ongoing scienti. c controversy over a putative "global pollination crisis'' underscores the lack of understanding of the response of bees ( the most important taxon of pollinators) to ongoing global land- use changes. We studied the effects of distance to forest, tree management, and. oral resources on bee communities in pastures ( the dominant land- use type) in southern Costa Rica. Over two years, we sampled bees and. oral resources in 21 pastures at three distance classes from a large (similar to 230- ha) forest patch and of three common types: open pasture; pasture with remnant trees; and pasture with live fences. We found no consistent differences in bee diversity or abundance with respect to pasture management or. oral resources. Bee community composition, however, was strikingly different at forest edges as compared to deforested countryside only a few hundred meters from forest. At forest edges, native social stingless bees ( Apidae: Meliponini) comprised similar to 50% of the individuals sampled, while the alien honeybee Apis mellifera made up only similar to 5%. Away from forests, meliponines dropped to similar to 20% of sampled bees, whereas Apis increased to similar to 45%. Meliponine bees were also more speciose at forest edge sites than at a distance from forest, their abundance decreased with continuous distance to the nearest forest patch, and their species richness was correlated with the proportion of forest cover surrounding sample sites at scales from 200 to 1200 m. Meliponines and Apis together comprise the eusocial bee fauna of the study area and are unique in quickly recruiting foragers to high- quality resources. The diverse assemblage of native meliponine bees covers a wide range of body sizes and. ower foraging behavior not found in Apis, and populations of many bee species ( including Apis), are known to. uctuate considerably from year to year. Thus, the forest- related changes in eusocial bee communities we found may have important implications for: ( 1) sustaining a diverse bee fauna in tropical countryside; ( 2) ensuring the effective pollination of a diverse native plant community; and ( 3) the ef. ciency and stability of agricultural pollination, particularly for short- time- scale, mass. owering crops such as coffee.
Buchholz, T. S.; Volk, T. A.; Luzadis, V. A.. (2007) A participatory systems approach to modeling social, economic, and ecological components of bioenergy. Energy Policy 35(12) 6084-6094
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Availability of and access to useful energy is a crucial factor for maintaining and improving human well-being. Looming scarcities and increasing awareness of environmental, economic, and social impacts of conventional sources of non-renewable energy have focused attention on renewable energy sources, including biomass. The complex interactions of social, economic, and ecological factors among the bioenergy system components of feedstock supply, conversion technology, and energy allocation have been a major obstacle to the broader development of bioenergy systems. For widespread implementation of bioenergy to occur there is a need for an integrated approach to model the social, economic, and ecological interactions associated with bioenergy. Such models can serve as a planning and evaluation tool to help decide when, where, and how bioenergy systems can contribute to development. One approach to integrated modeling is by assessing the sustainability of a bioenergy system. The evolving nature of sustainability can be described by an adaptive systems approach using general systems principles. Discussing these principles reveals that participation of stakeholders in all components of a bioenergy system is a crucial factor for sustainability. Multi-criteria analysis (MCA) is an effective tool to implement this approach. This approach would enable decision-makers to evaluate bioenergy systems for sustainability in a participatory, transparent, timely, and informed manner. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Cardille, J. A.; Carpenter, S. R.; Coe, M. T.; Foley, J. A.; Hanson, P. C.; Turner, M. G.; Vano, J. A.. (2007) Carbon and water cycling in lake-rich landscapes: Landscape connections, lake hydrology, and biogeochemistry. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences 112(G2)
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[1] Lakes are low-lying connectors of uplands and wetlands, surface water and groundwater, and though they are often studied as independent ecosystems, they function within complex landscapes. One such highly connected region is the Northern Highland Lake District (NHLD), where more than 7000 lakes and their watersheds cycle water and carbon through mixed forests, wetlands, and groundwater systems. Using a new spatially explicit simulation framework representing these coupled cycles, the Lake, Uplands, Wetlands Integrator (LUWI) model, we address basic regional questions in a 72-lake simulation: ( 1) How do simulated water and carbon budgets compare with observations, and what are the implications for carbon stocks and fluxes? ( 2) How do the strength and spatial pattern of landscape connections vary among watersheds? ( 3) What is the role of interwatershed connections in lake carbon processing? Results closely coincide with observations at seasonal and annual scales and indicate that the connections among components and watersheds are critical to understanding the region. Carbon and water budgets vary widely, even among nearby lakes, and are not easily predictable using heuristics of lake or watershed size. Connections within and among watersheds exert a complex, varied influence on these processes: Whereas inorganic carbon budgets are strongly related to the number and nature of upstream connections, most organic lake carbon originates within the watershed surrounding each lake. This explicit incorporation of terrestrial and aquatic processes in surface and subsurface connection networks will aid our understanding of the relative roles of on-land, in-lake, and between-lake processes in this lake-rich region.
Ceroni, M.; Liu, S.; Costanza, R.. (2007) Ecological and economic roles of biodiversity in agroecosystems. Pages 446-472;
Chan, K. M. A.; Pringle, R. M.; Ranganathan, J.; Boggs, C. L.; Chan, Y. L.; Ehrlich, P. R.; Haff, P. K.; Heller, N. E.; Al-Krafaji, K.; Macmynowski, D. P.. (2007) When agendas collide: Human welfare and biological conservation. Conservation Biology 21(1) 59-68
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Conservation should benefit ecosystems, nonhuman organisms, and current and future human beings. Nevertheless, tension among these goals engenders potential ethical conflicts., conservationists' true motivations may differ from the justifications they offer for their activities, and conservation projects have the potential to disempower and oppress people. We reviewed the promise and deficiencies of integrating social, economic, and biological concerns into conservation, focusing on research in ecosystem services and efforts in community-based conservation. Despite much progress, neither paradigm provides a silver bullet for conservation's most pressing problems, and both require additional thought and modification to become maximally effective. We conclude that the following strategies are needed to make conservation more effective in our human-dominated world. (1) Conservation research needs to integrate with social scholarship in a more sophisticated manner (2) Conservation must be informed by a detailed understanding of the spatial, temporal, and social distributions of costs and benefits of conservation efforts. Strategies should reflect this understanding, particularly by equitably distributing conservation's costs, (3) We must better acknowledge the social concerns that accompany biodiversity conservation; accordingly, sometimes we must argue for conservation for biodiversity's sake, not for its direct human benefits.
Costanza, R.; Farley, J.. (2007) Ecological economics of coastal disasters: Introduction to the special issue. Ecological Economics 63(2-3) 249-253
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Coastal disasters are increasing in frequency and magnitude-measured in terms of human lives lost, destroyed infrastructure, ecological damage and disrupted social networks. Hurricane Katrina and the Indian ocean tsunami illustrate the severe and widespread impacts of such disasters on human well-being. The proximate cause of most of these disasters is "forces of nature". However, human decisions, driven largely by economic forces, do much to aggravate these natural disasters-for example, coastal mangroves and wetlands protect coastal communities from wave surges and winds, but are rapidly being converted for the production of market goods, and anthropogenic climate change driven by the energy use of our economy may exacerbate coastal disasters in several ways. The goal of economics should be to improve the sustainable well-being of humans. Our well-being is generated in part by the production of market goods and services, but also by the goods and services provided by nature, by social networks and norms, by knowledge and health-in short: built, natural, social and human capital, respectively. in seeking to increase human well-being solely, by maximizing the monetary value of market goods (built capital), our current economic system may be doing more to undermine our sustainable well-being than to improve it, a point made clear by the growing negative impacts of coastal disasters. An economic system should allocate available resources in a way that equitably and efficiently provides for the sustainable well-being of people by protecting and i