University of Vermont

Gund Institute for Ecological Economics

Research Projects

At the heart of the Gund Institute are a set of research programs that aim to develop new ideas, test existing theories, and put the best of both into real-world practice. The research programs below are a sample of those led by Gund fellows, post-docs, and students. All investigate the interactions among ecological, social, and economic systems, and all seek to use resulting insights to inform real-world policy and decisions.


Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES)
The Baltimore Ecosystem Study conducts research on metropolitan Baltimore as an ecological system. The program integrates biological, physical, and social sciences. As a part of the National Science Foundation's Long-Term Ecological Research Network, BES seeks to understand how Baltimore's ecosystems change over time. The ecological knowledge created by BES supports educational and community-based activities, and interactions with the Baltimore community.

Gund Contacts: Austin Troy | Learn more

Health for Animals and Livelihood Improvement (HALI)
HALI is facilitating the PREDICT project in Tanzania, part of USAID’s Emerging Pandemic Threats Program. In addition, HALI is continuing to investigate the zoonootic transmission of tuberculosis and other pathogens among wildlife, livestock, and people through funding provided by the US National Institutes of Health. In 2011, HALI received funding from the USAID Adapting Livestock Systems to Climate Change CRSP, to strengthen livestock health, and pastoralist nutrition and livelihoods in a changing climate.

Gund Contacts: Jon Erickson | Learn more

Health & Ecosystems: Analysis of Linkages (HEAL)
HEAL is a policy-linked research initiative designed to examine the cause and effect relationships between ecosystem alteration and public health outcomes. The HEAL applied research program addresses the current ecosystem-human health research gap, seeking to more comprehensively characterize how ecosystem change affects human health, and test whether and under what conditions health can be considered an ecosystem-derived benefit. Their purpose is to increase support for integrated public health and environmental conservation initiatives and improve resilience for some of the world’s poorest people while simultaneously conserving some of the most important landscapes and seascapes left on earth.

Gund Contacts: Taylor Ricketts | Learn more

Natural Capital Project
With many partners around the world, the Natural Capital Project is developing tools for quantifying the values of natural capital in clear, credible, and practical ways. In promising a return of societal benefits on investments in nature, the scientific community needs to deliver knowledge and tools to quantify and forecast this return. To meet this need, we are developing InVEST, a family of software-based tools for Integrated Valuation of Environmental Services and Tradeoffs that enable decision-makers to quantify the importance of natural capital, assess tradeoffs associated with alternative choices, and integrate conservation and human development.

Gund Contacts: Taylor Ricketts | Learn more


The Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI)
A sustainable economy needs a better basic indicator of progress and well-being than Gross Domestic Product. GDP doesn't deduct costs like ecosystem degradation and it ignores many positive contributions to well-being, like infrastructure or unpaid domestic work. The Genuine Progress Indicator is emerging as one standard methodology for including costs and benefits like these in our basic economic accounts.  The Gund Institute has been authorized by the state of Vermont to compile such an indicator set, and to report it regularly to the governor's office and the legislature for use in their decision making. 

Read the Vermont GPI Executive Summary

Read the Massachusetts Genuine Progress Indicator Report

Gund Contacts: Eric Zencey, Jon Erickson | Learn more

Steady State Economy Working Group
This working group of students, faculty and local citizens, aims to foster a dialogue about the need for new economic solutions. Their activities include research, writing workshops, teach-ins, and meetings related to monetary and fiscal policy.

Gund Contacts: Josh Farley, Gary Flomenhoft | Learn more

Vermont Green Tax and Common Assets Project
Our modern fiscal system creates incentives for industry to deplete our natural and social resources while preventing positive growth in wages, benefits, and hiring. The Common Asset and Green Tax project is a solution to these problems.

Gund Contacts: Gary Flomenhoft | Learn more


Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods Group (ARLG)
ARLG research and teaching efforts focus on the interactions between agriculture, livelihoods, and environmental conservation in tropical and temperate rural landscapes. We develop and apply interdisciplinary approaches that analyze these interactions. Most of our work also utilizes a Participatory Action Research Approach (PAR), in an effort to directly support conservation and rural development.

Gund Contacts: Ernesto Mendez | Learn more

SeaPlan: Massachusetts Ocean Partnership
SeaPlan specializes in science-based, stakeholder-informed work that has helped develop the nation’s first integrated ocean management plan. Working with SeaPlan, Boston University, and other partners, researchers at the Gund Institute have developed a suite of models to support and implement the Massachusetts Ocean Plan; efforts are now underway to create a regional ocean plan in the Northeast. We integrate the best available science using tools developed at the Gund and conduct outreach to engage a broad range of stakeholders, from fishermen to whale watchers to supporters of offshore wind projects. With our partners, we seek to foster resilient ocean ecosystems that conserve native sea life and support sustainable economies.

Gund Contacts: Joe Roman | Learn more


The Vermont Climate Assessment
The Vermont Climate Assessment (VCA) is the nation’s first state-level climate assessment providing data similar to the National Climate Assessment. It presents information to help prepare for the impacts and opportunities from Vermont’s fast-changing climate—while noting the potential costs of inaction. The VCA seeks to address three main goals focused on the state of Vermont: 1) further scientific understanding of global change trends using local, historical data; 2) develop a deeper understanding of future impacts of climate change using simulations of future climate, and 3) communicate the current state of knowledge on global change impacts on Vermont, focusing on agricultural production, forests, water resources and recreation industries.

Gund Contacts: Gillian Galford | Learn more

Low Emissions Agricultural Development
The focus of this project is to identify climate change mitigation strategies that reduce poverty among the rural poor in developing countries. The project's objectives are to inform decision makers about the impacts of alternative agricultural development pathways, identify institutional arrangements and incentives that enable smallholder farmers and common-pool resource users to reduce GHG emissions and improve livelihoods, and test and identify desirable on-farm practices and their landscape-level implications.

Gund Contacts: Lini Wollenberg, Meryl Richards | Learn more

Research on Adaptation to Climate Change (RACC)
The project convenes scientists, stakeholders, students and teachers to determine how climate change and land use interact to alter hydrological processes and nutrient transport across the landscape, and to develop strategies for adaptive management.  Our focus is the Lake Champlain valley, where we have created a center for research to support transdisciplinary studies and complex systems modeling.

Gund Contacts: Chris Koliba | Learn more




Welcome to our archive of completed Gund Institute research projects. Below is a sample of past project titles with links to summaries and reports.

Research at the Institute for Ecological Economics, University of Maryland

The following are a sample of research projects that were completed at the University of Maryland before the Institute moved to the University of Vermont in 2002.

  • An International Workshop on the Ecological Economics of Sustainability: Making Local, Short-term and Global, Long-term Goals Consistent
    Inspired Ecological Economics: The Science and Management of Sustainability, edited by Robert Costanza and published by Columbia University Press.
  • Developing Ecological Economics at the Maryland International Institute for Ecological Economics
    Gund Contacts: Robert Costanza | 1993-2001
  • Ecological Economics Curriculum Development Workshop
    Funded by the Ford Foundation Workshop
  • Ecological Economics in South Africa: The Valuation and Management of Fynbos Ecosystems
    Gund Contacts: Robert Costanza | 1995
  • Economic Valuation and Modeling Simulation of Brazilian Amazon Mangrove Ecosystems
  • Landscape Modeling: The Synthesis of Ecological Processes over Large Geographic Regions and Long Time Scales
    Gund Contacts: Robert Costanza
  • Modeling Landscape Dynamics in the Everglades Basin
  • Spatial Modeling of Eelgrass Habitat Change in Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • Workshop on Ecosystem Health and Environmental Management
    Sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Maryland Sea Grant | Inspired Ecosystem Health: New Goals For Environmental Management, edited by Robert Costanza, Bryan Norton, and Benjamin Haskell, and published by Island Press in October 1992.

Last modified June 03 2016 02:15 PM