University of Vermont

Gund Institute for Ecological Economics

Three New Gund Videos

The Gund Institute of Ecological Economics released three new Gund videos that capture the great work done at the Gund and UVM.

The Natural Capital Project:

Dr. Taylor Ricketts, Director of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics and Professor of Natural Resources at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at UVM, discusses his research with the Natural Capital Project. The Natural Capital Project is developing tools for quantifying the values of natural capital in clear, credible, and practical ways. Taylor discusses InVEST, a family of software-based tools that enable decision-makers to quantify the importance of natural capital, assess tradeoffs associated with alternative choices, and integrate conservation and human development. He explains his work examining the benefits of native pollinators for farmers in maximizing their crop production. His overall goal is to optimize the management of landscapes to allow farmers to make a living while species and biodiversity thrive. Taylor also explores how he is applying this work to the Vermont landscape by looking at the variety of locally important crops and farmer livelihoods that depend on pollination services.  

Towards a Holistic Forest Carbon Management Approach:

Dr. William Keeton, Professor of Forest Ecology and Forestry, UVM, discusses how the scientific community is divided on the question of which forest management strategies are most effective at increasing carbon sequestration and storage in forest ecosystems. There is an extensive literature showing that, despite increased rates of carbon uptake and flux to wood products, intensified forest management results in a net increase in carbon emissions. Others have argued the opposite in several recent papers, maintaining that intensified forest management actually maximizes net sequestration. Both views are supported by evidence, but are limited by uncertainties and assumptions in the carbon accounting. Are carbon management strategies mutually exclusive? In this Gund Tea, Bill argues that they are not. In fact, they are potentially complimentary if employed within a broader framework of landscape management, so long as net carbon storage increases and net emissions decrease. Within the near term scientific research may converge on a unified set of recommendations through improved carbon accounting and modeling.

Ecological and Socioeconomic Aspects of Community-based Conservation in Namibia:

Dr. Robin Naidoo, Senior Conservation Scientist, WWF-US, discusses ecological and socioeconomic aspects of community-based conservation in Namibia. The benefits of biodiversity conservation to the provision of ecosystem services have been inferred from many studies of systems in controlled laboratory conditions.  Research on how varying degrees of biodiversity affect tangible economic benefits in real-world socioeconomic systems is much more scarce.  In this Gund Tea Robin shows how biodiversity impacts income generation on communal conservancies in Namibia, both in terms of aggregate gains and efficiencies in production.