University of Vermont

Gund Institute for Ecological Economics

Three New Videos from Gund

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

The Conflict Between Ecosystem Services and Food Production

Dr. Josh Farley, Professor in the Community Development and Applied Economics department at UVM and Fellow at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, discusses the conflict between ecosystem services and food production. Both are essential for human survival and both are non-substitutable resources. Global food production has emerged as the biggest threat to ecological sustainability. Though humanity currently produces enough food to sustain nine billion people, nearly one billion people are currently malnourished, and the FAO warns that failure to increase agricultural output by 70% by 2050 in response to increasing demand could lead to catastrophic impacts on human welfare. At the same time, numerous studies warn that simply maintaining current levels of conventional agricultural production threatens catastrophic degradation of global ecosystems. How are we going to address this problem in an efficient, just, and ecologically appropriate manner?

Rooted both in this inherent conflict and in the parameters of desired solutions, Josh explains some of the research he's been working on in the Brazilian Atlantic Forests to implement agroforestry practices with farmers in the region.

Research on Adaptation to Climate Change in the Lake Champlain Basin

Dr. Asim Zia, Associate Professor in the Community Development and Applied Economics department at UVM and Fellow at the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, discusses his research as part of the UVM ESPCoR research project, "Research on Adaptation to Climate Change" (RACC) in the Lake Champlain Basin. Asim is leading the agent based modeling that will help answer question 3 of the project, "In the face of uncertainties about alternate climate change, land use and lake response scenarios, how can adaptive management interventions (e.g. regulation, incentives, treaties) be designed, valued and implemented in the multi-jurisdictional Lake Champlain Basin?"

The RACC project is a five-year, 20 million dollar NSF funded ESPCoR project. In addition to Asim, Gund Fellows Chris Koliba, Jon Erickson, Donna Rizzo, and Austin Troy are all part of the research team examining the overarching question of, "How will the interaction of climate change and land use alter hydrological processes and nutrient transport from the landscape, internal processing and eutrophic state within the lake and what are the implications for adaptive management strategies?".

Education for the Anthropocene

Dr. Peter Brown, Professor of Geography at McGill University, delivers a Gund tea on the "Education for the Anthropocene" and how we can reverse higher education's contribution to the decline of Earth's life support systems. He frames the problem with our current normative disciplines and discusses a new joint venture between UVM, McGill, and York to provide graduate level education that is grounded in Ecological Economics that rethinks finance, law, governance, ethics and religion to ensure an education system that is up to the challenge of the anthropocene.