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Gund Institute for Ecological Economics

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Ecological Economics Events Calendar

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Vermont Climate Assessment Release

Time: 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Location: Silver Maple Ballroom, Davis Center, University of Vermont
Description: The Vermont Climate Assessment Release

Silver Maple Ballroom, Davis Center, University of Vermont

The Vermont Climate Assessment (VCA) is the first state-scale climate assessment in the country. It’s being released just 3 weeks after the National Climate Assessment and speaks directly to the results of climate change as they pertain to our rural towns, cities and communities including impacts on Vermont tourism and recreation, agriculture, water resources and energy. VCA paints a vivid picture of a changing climate in Vermont and calls for immediate strategic planning to sustain the social, economic and environmental fabric of our state.

More Information: Please join us in this exciting event as we release the final report and summarize key findings on how climate change has impacted and will impact Vermont. A panel of speakers will comment on the implications of the report, followed by a question & answer session with authors and panel members. The panel members include Deb Markowitz, Secretary of Natural Resources, David Blittersdorf, President and CEO All Earth Renewables, Win Smith, President and Owner of Sugarbush Resort, and Ray Allen, Owner of Allenholm Farm. A reception will follow at noon.

Ann Hoogenboom, Gund Graduate Fellow,
Gillian Galford, PhD, Research Assistant Professor,

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Seminar by Brendan Fisher: “Sustainable Human Welfare: from ecological functioning to human behavior and back again”

Time: 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Location: Johnson House, Conference Room

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Seminar by Laura Sonter: “Demand for minerals drives extensive land use change and impacts biodiversity”

Time: 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Location: Johnson House, Conference Room

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Seminar by Delphine Renard: “A historical perspective on ecosystem functioning and services”

Time: 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Location: Johnson House, Conference Room

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Measuring Streetscape Design for Livability Using Spatial Data and Methods by Chester Harvey

Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Location: Farrell Hall 107
Description: Seminar And
Masters Defense

Measuring Streetscape Design for Livability
Using Spatial Data and Methods

Chester Harvey

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Seminar: 10:00am, Farrell Hall 107
Defense: 11:00am, Farrell Hall 107


Lisa Aultman-Hall, Professor, RSENR, Advisor
Austin Troy, Adjunct Professor, RSENR, Co-Advisor
Stephanie Hurley, Assistant Professor, Plant and Soil Science, Chair


City streets are the most widely distributed and heavily trafficked urban public spaces. As cities strive to improve built environment livability, is it important for planners and designers to have a succinct understanding of what contributes to quality streetscapes. While variables contributing to streetscape design are overwhelmingly myriad, the proportions and scale of buildings and trees provide an enduring streetscape skeleton onto which a skin of design details-e.g. pavement markings, architectural styling, surface materials, fixtures-can be draped. This thesis investigates how streetscape skeletons can be measured and tested for appeal among human users.
The first of two research papers identifies a concise set of skeleton variables that urban design theorists have described as influential to streetscape appeal, and which are practical to measure using widely available spatial data and an automated GIS-based method. Such an approach allows measurement of tens of thousands of street segments precisely and efficiently, a dramatically larger sample than can be feasibly collected using the auditing techniques of previous streetscape design researchers. Further, it examines clustering patterns among skeleton variables for street segments throughout Boston, New York, and Baltimore, identifying four streetscape skeleton types that describe a ranking of enclosure from surrounding buildings-upright, compact, porous, and open. The types are identifiable in all three cities, demonstrating regional consistency in streetscape design. Moreover, the types are poorly associated with roadway functional classifications-arterial, collector, and local-indicating that streetscapes are a distinct component of street design and must receive separate planning and design attention.
The second paper assesses relationships between skeleton variables and crowdsourced judgments of streetscape visual appeal throughout New York City. Regression modeling indicates that streetscapes with greater tree canopy coverage, lined by a greater number of buildings, and with more upright cross-sections, are more visually appealing. Building and tree canopy geometry accounts for more than 40% of variability in perceived safety, which is used as an indicator of appeal. While unmeasured design details undoubtedly influence overall streetscape appeal, basic skeletal geometry may contribute important baseline conditions for appealing streetscapes that are enduring and can be retrofitted to meet a broad variety of needs.

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Exploring Relationships Between Building and Transportation Energy Use of Residents in U.S. Metropolitan Areas by Timothy Pede

Time: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Location: 107 Farrell Hall
Description: Seminar


Master’s Defense

Exploring relationships between building and transportation

energy use of residents in U.S. metropolitan areas


Timothy Pede

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Seminar: 10:30am, 107 Farrell Hall

Defense: 11:30am, 107 Farrell Hall


Brian Lee, Assistant Professor, RSENR, Advisor

Austin Troy, Adjunct Faculty, Co-Advisor

Brian Voigt, Faculty, RSENR

Asim Zia, Assistant Professor, CDAE, Chair


There is much potential to decrease energy consumption in the U.S. by focusing on where people live. Although many studies have examined the extent to which built environment and demographic factors are related to household energy consumption, few have considered both building and transportation energy together.

We hypothesized that residents further from city-centers in metropolitan regions are less energy efficient and there is a positive relation between building and transportation uses. This hypothesis was tested with two sets of analyses. The first focused on New York City. Annual building energy for multi-family structures, calculated by dividing total building energy by the number of units, was compared to the average daily transportation energy use per household in traffic analysis zones (estimated with a regional travel demand model). Transportation energy showed a strong spatial pattern, with distance to urban core explaining 85% of variation in is. Portion of single family units for TAZs was also correlated with transportation energy.

For the second analysis, annual building and automobile energy use per household was estimated across the 50 most populous U.S. metropolitan regions with consumer expenditure data. Both forms of energy use were lowest for households located in inner-cities, and increased at greater distances from urban cores. Although there may be some error in our energy estimates, known determines of energy use, were significantly related to distance to urban core. Overall, this work suggests households furthest from city centers use the most building and transportation energy, and should be the target of efficiency measures.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Decision Support for Natural Resource Management,Seminar And PhDDissertation Defense By Jonathan W. Cummings

Time: 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location: Aiken 311
Description: Seminar And PhD Dissertation Defense

Decision Support for Natural Resource Management
By Jonathan W. Cummings

Thursday, August 21, 2014
Seminar: 3:00pm, Aiken 311
Defense: 4:00pm, Aiken 311

Dr. Therese (Terri) Donovan, Associate Professor, RSENR, Advisor
Dr. Ruth Mickey, Professor, CEMS, Chair
Dr. James (Jed) Murdoch, Assistant Professor, RSENR
Dr. Jennifer Pontius, Assistant Professor, RSENR

This research spans a variety of research topics with a common theme, providing decision support through the development and analysis of methods that assist decision making for natural resource and wildlife management. I used components of structured decision making and decision analysis to address natural resources management problems, specifically monitoring and estimating the status of harvested populations, as well as data collection decisions for landscape conservation.
My results have implications for the way populations are monitored and their status is estimated. I find that the inclusion of error in data collection can have a substantial impact of the performance of abundance and growth rate estimates of harvest species and that the selection of estimation methods depends on what management objectives are most important. For example, the Sex-Age-Kill population estimation method best estimates the size of populations, while the Downing population reconstruction method better estimates trends in population growth rates. I provide a framework to support selection of the best estimation method while considering a monitoring program as a whole. Based on this framework the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department will obtain the most benefits from a monitoring program including necropsy analysis that uses the Downing method to track population status. Finally, I demonstrate the use of value of information analysis as a tool to determine the relative expected benefits of addition spatial data collection for use in landscape mapping and conservation. This type of analysis can provide conservation agencies with a planning tool to direct budgets and mapping efforts.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

On the Cusp of a Renewable Energy Transition in Vermont? Seminar and Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal Defense By: Christopher E. Clement

Time: 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Location: Green Conference Room, Aiken 311
Description: Seminar and Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal Defense
Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis of Transition Policies and Pathways
By: Christopher E. Clement
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Seminar: 1pm, Green Conference Room, Aiken 311
Defense: 2pm, Green Conference Room, Aiken 311
Jon Erickson, Professor, RSENR, Co-Advisor
Asim Zia, Associate Professor, CDAE, Co-Advisor
Paul Hines, Assistant Professor, CEMS, Chair
Brian Voigt, Research Assistant Professor, RSENR
With the 2011 Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP), Vermont articulated an ambitious vision to transform the total energy system to support almost entirely renewable generation. The achievement of 90% renewable energy by 2050 will require a massive cross-scale and crosssector coordinated policy effort. My proposed research describes my plan to analyze this renewable energy transition through modeling and simulation, decision analysis, spatial
analysis, and qualitative methods.
Four studies comprise a multi-pronged approach to modeling, simulating, and analyzing policy scenarios and implementation pathways that are part of achieving this transition. (1) The topdown system dynamics model, Energy Futures Simulation, serves as a synthesis platform in which I will implement in-depth analyses of policy scenarios. (2) Using the quantitative outputs
of this system dynamics model in a multi-criteria decision analysis I will provide a more nuanced understanding of the various factors that will contribute toward the design of the carbon tax. (3) In developing a rationale and approach to regional energy shed planning, I will explore the spatial implications of in-state renewable energy generation. (4) Framing the CEP
implementation as a socio-technical transition, I will expand from the technical focus to analyze social, cultural, and normative factors that are critical to achieving a transition to renewables energy system. These efforts draw from diverse theoretical foundations and methods to make a
novel contribution to cross-scale energy systems analysis. I hope that my research will make significant analytical and rhetorical contributions to planning and policy design for an energy transition in Vermont.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"The World Heritage Program: A Laboratory for Linking Nature and Culture" By Tim Badman

Time: 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Location: Memorial Lounge, Waterman Building
Description: As Director of IUCN’s World Heritage Program, Tim is responsible for the assessment of nominations to the World Heritage List from countries throughout the world as well as periodic review and evaluation of management of World Heritage Sites. He works with a network of universities and scientific institutions to ensure these reviews are undertaken with academic rigor and has authored numerous publications that provide guidance and scholarship. Tim has first-hand knowledge of the implementation of the World Heritage Convention and an understanding of its challenges and potential. Currently, Tim is advancing initiatives to better recognize the inter-connection of natural and cultural values and the bio-social character of the world’s most significant landscapes and seascapes. One of these multi-disciplinary initiatives is defining new, integrated methods and practices to more fully acknowledge human rights and indigenous people and their knowledge in managing World Heritage Sites.

Reception immediately following in Waterman Manor.

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Gund Tea - Jennie Stephens: Power Struggles: Social Dimensions ofElectricity System Change

Time: 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Location: Johnson House Conference Room
Description: As societal expectations for electricity systems evolve, individuals and organizations have different perspectives, priorities, and visions for change. For some, smart grid represents a revolutionary social and technical energy system transition motivated primarily by the urgent need for climate change mitigation and adaptation, while others view smart grid as incremental technical change that limits the need for social change in how electricity is used. Understanding the complexities of these power struggles offers insights on how to align different interests to move toward more sustainable and resilient energy systems.

Gund Teas are a weekly event at the Gund Institute. Each week there is a presenter(s) that will present on their research for 30 minutes, with the remainder of the time open for discussion amongst the group. Open to the public.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"The Future of Mountain Forests in a Changing World: Studies fromAfrica, Europe, and Asia" By: Dr. Georg Gratzer

Time: 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location: Billings North Lounge
Description: Dr. Gratzer is an internationally recognized expert on mountain
forest ecosystems. His highly regarded research on forest responses to global change and anthropogenic stress spans many continents, providing a unique global perspective. His talk will describe the critical ecosystem services provided by mountain forests and risks facing them. Dr. Gratzer will explore the complex interactions between climate change, shifting plant distributions, altered disturbance regimes and mountain cultures, land use, and conservation.

Reception immediately following in Billings Apse.

Hosted by Professor William Keeton, Forestry Program,
Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.

For more information, email Professor William Keeton at

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Gund Tea - Matthew Duveneck: Measuring and managing resilience under climate change in northern Great Lake forests

Time: 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Location: Johnson House Conference Room
Description: Some of the most dramatic climate change effects to forests may be a decline in resilience to acute disturbances. I assessed the interactions of climate change, resilience, and management alternatives of northern Great Lake forests using a simulation modeling approach using LANDIS-II. I assessed resilience as the recovery of forest identity represented by two axes (i.e. aboveground biomass and species composition) following simulated fire. Simulations of the high emission climate scenario resulted in a decline in resilience across management scenarios.

Gund Teas are a weekly event at the Gund Institute. Each week there is a presenter(s) that will present on their research for 30 minutes, with the remainder of the time open for discussion amongst the group. Open to the public.

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Fernando Funes Aguilar - Sustainable Agriculture and Resistance

Time: 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Location: Davis Center 403 (Williams Family Room)
Description: Sustainable Agriculture and Resistance: Transforming Food Production in Cuba

Fernando Funes Aguilar, Professor and Researcher at Agricultural Experimental Station Indio Hatuey, Matanzas, Cuba

For more than 20 years, Fernando Funes has maintained that his country’s future agricultural production lies in organic and urban farming. Prior to 1991, Cuba depended to a great extent on the Soviet Union, and since its collapse Fernando has worked hard to promote sustainable agriculture to help Cubans make a living. In 1999, he and Maria del Carmen Pérez received the Right Livelihood Award. He is the lead editor of Sustainable Agriculture and Resistance: Transforming Food Production in Cuba, published in 2002 by Food First.

Co-sponsors: Vermont Caribbean Institute, Plant and Soil Science, the Agroecology and Rural Livelihoods Group, Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, and UVM Food Systems Initiative

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Special Event: Methane leak mapping in US cities with the Google Car

Time: 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Location: Aiken Solarium
Description: Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has partnered with Google and Colorado State University on this project to detect and map methane leaks from natural gas distribution systems (

A Google street-view car, equipped with state of the art methane and meterological sensors, will be driven repeatedly along streets with natural gas pipelines, subsequently mapping the results. They will mapping in Burlington during the next month or so.

Steve Hamburg, Chief Scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), will bring the Google car and methane sensor to the Aiken Solarium for a presentation, discussion, and hands-on viewing of the Google car and methane sensor technology.

Cosponsored by Gund Institute, Rubenstein School, Transportation Research Center, VT Dept. of Environmental Conservation

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Gund Tea - Anna Stewart: Developing a dengue early warning systemin coastal urban Ecuador

Time: 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Location: Johnson House Conference Room
Description: Emerging mosquito-borne viral diseases, such as dengue fever and chikungunya, present a major global health threat. To improve the ability of the public health sector to predict and prevent epidemics, researchers are developing early warning systems that integrate seasonal climate forecasts with local epidemiological information. I will present research findings and lessons learned from our ongoing dengue surveillance study in Machala, Ecuador, where we are forming a US-Ecuador consortium to investigate climate and water-sensitive infectious diseases and develop early warning systems.

Gund Teas are a weekly event at the Gund Institute. Each week there is a presenter(s) that will present on their research for 30 minutes, with the remainder of the time open for discussion amongst the group. Open to the public.

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