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  • Erickson, D. L.; Lovell, S. T.; Mendez, V. E. (Landscape and Urban Planning, 2013
      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.
  • Kraft, C. E.; Warren, D. R.; Keeton, W. S. (Geomorphology, 2011
      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.
  • Lodh, N.; Rizzo, D. M.; Kerans, B. L.; McGinnis, S.; Fytilis, N.; Stevens, L. (Freshwater ScienceFreshw. Sci., 2015
      Genetic studies are recognized increasingly as important for understanding naturally occurring disease dynamics and are used to predict host genetic diversity and coevolutionary processes and to identify species composition in ecological communities. Tubifex tubifex, the definitive host of the whirling disease parasite Myxobolus cerebralis, comprises 6 known lineages that vary widely in parasite susceptibility. We used 16S ribosomal DNA (16S rDNA) to identify relationships among genetic variability of 3 oligochaete genera (T. tubifex, Rhyacodrilus spp., and Ilyodrilus spp.; Oligochaeta: Tubificidae), oligochaete assemblage composition, and the presence of whirling disease in 9 locations across 4 watersheds in Montana, USA. We assessed genetic variability among 183 tubificid worms from locations classified as positive or negative for whirling disease based on 5 to 8 y of monitoring by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. Within genera, we found 2 groups of T. tubifex (lineages I and III), 2 groups of Rhyacodrilus spp., and 4 groups of Ilyodrilus spp., possibly suggesting cryptic species. The maximum genetic variability within taxa was relatively high (similar to 10% sequence divergence) for all 3 genera, but haplotype diversity within groups with >5% sequence divergence was greater for Ilyodrilus spp. (0.719) than for Tubifex spp. (0.246) and Rhyacodrilus spp. (0.143). The variation was nonrandomly distributed over the landscape. Oligochaete genetic composition was more similar among locations in the same watershed than among locations with or without whirling disease. Thus, oligochaete assemblage composition did not appear to be related to the presence of the disease at this watershed spatial scale.
  • Zencey, Eric (The North American ReviewUniversity of Northern Iowa, New York, NY., 2009
  • Pailler, S.; Naidoo, R.; Burgess, N. D.; Freeman, O. E.; Fisher, B. (PloS One, 2015
      Community-based natural resource management (CBNRM) is a major global strategy for enhancing conservation outcomes while also seeking to improve rural livelihoods; however, little evidence of socioeconomic outcomes exists. We present a national-level analysis that empirically estimates socioeconomic impacts of CBNRM across Tanzania, while systematically controlling for potential sources of bias. Specifically, we apply a difference-indifferences model to national-scale, cross-sectional data to estimate the impact of three different CBNRM governance regimes on wealth, food security and child health, considering differential impacts of CBNRM on wealthy and poor populations. We also explore whether or not longer-standing CBNRM efforts provide more benefits than recently-established CBNRM areas. Our results show significant improvements in household food security in CBNRM areas compared with non-CBNRM areas, but household wealth and health outcomes in children are generally not significantly different. No one CBNRM governance regime demonstrates consistently different welfare outcomes than the others. Wealthy households benefit more from CBNRM than poor households and CBNRM benefits appear to increase with longer periods of implementation. Perhaps evidence of CBNRM benefits is limited because CBNRM hasn't been around long enough to yield demonstrable outcomes. Nonetheless, achieving demonstrable benefits to rural populations will be crucial for CBNRM's future success in Tanzania.
  • Tsai, Yushiou; Zia, Asim; Koliba, Christopher; Guilbert, Justin; Bucini, Gabriela; Beckage, Brian (IEEE, Bogor, Indonesia., 2013
  • Stryker, J. J.; Bomblies, A. (Ecohealth, 2012
      Changes in land use and climate are expected to alter the risk of malaria transmission in areas where rainfall limits vector abundance. We use a coupled hydrology-entomology model to investigate the effects of land use change on hydrological processes impacting mosquito abundance in a highland village of Ethiopia. Land use affects partitioning of rainfall into infiltration and runoff that reaches small-scale topographic depressions, which constitute the primary breeding habitat of Anopheles arabiensis mosquitoes. A physically based hydrology model isolates hydrological mechanisms by which land use impacts pool formation and persistence, and an agent-based entomology model evaluates the response of mosquito populations. This approach reproduced observed interannual variability in mosquito abundance between the 2009 and 2010 wet seasons. Several scenarios of land cover were then evaluated using the calibrated, field-validated model. Model results show variation in pool persistence and depth, as well as in mosquito abundance, due to land use changes alone. The model showed particular sensitivity to surface roughness, but also to root zone uptake. Scenarios in which land use was modified from agriculture to forest generally resulted in lowest mosquito abundance predictions; classification of the entire domain as rainforest produced a 34% decrease in abundance compared to 2010 results. This study also showed that in addition to vegetation type, spatial proximity of land use change to habitat locations has an impact on mosquito abundance. This modeling approach can be applied to assess impacts of climate and land use conditions that fall outside of the range of previously observed variability.
  • Guilbert, J.; Beckage, B.; Winter, J. M.; Horton, R. M.; Perkins, T.; Bomblies, A. (Journal of Applied Meteorology and ClimatologyJ. Appl. Meteorol. Climatol., 2014
      The Lake Champlain basin is a critical ecological and socioeconomic resource of the northeastern United States and southern Quebec, Canada. While general circulation models (GCMs) provide an overview of climate change in the region, they lack the spatial and temporal resolution necessary to fully anticipate the effects of rising global temperatures associated with increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. Observed trends in precipitation and temperature were assessed across the Lake Champlain basin to bridge the gap between global climate change and local impacts. Future shifts in precipitation and temperature were evaluated as well as derived indices, including maple syrup production, days above 32.2 degrees C (90 degrees F), and snowfall, relevant to managing the natural and human environments in the region. Four statistically downscaled, bias-corrected GCM simulations were evaluated from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) forced by two representative concentration pathways (RCPs) to sample the uncertainty in future climate simulations. Precipitation is projected to increase by between 9.1 and 12.8 mm yr(-1) decade(-1) during the twenty-first century while daily temperatures are projected to increase between 0.43 degrees and 0.49 degrees C decade(-1). Annual snowfall at six major ski resorts in the region is projected to decrease between 46.9% and 52.4% by the late twenty-first century. In the month of July, the number of days above 32.2 degrees C in Burlington, Vermont, is projected to increase by over 10 days during the twenty-first century.
  • Fisher, B.; Bradbury, R. B.; Andrews, J. E.; Ausden, M.; Bentham-Green, S.; White, S. M.; Gill, J. A. (Biodiversity and Conservation, 2011
      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.; Lewis, S. L.; Burgess, N. D.; Malimbwi, R. E.; Munishi, P. K.; Swetnam, R. D.; Turner, R. K.; Willcock, S.; Balmford, A. (Nature Climate Change, 2011
      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).
  • Foster, B.; Wang, D.; Keeton, W.S.; Ashton, M.S. (Journal of Sustainable Forestry, 2010
      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.
  • Lee, J.; Martin, A.; Kristjanson, P.; Wollenberg, E. (Environment and Planning AEnviron. Plan. A, 2015
      Carbon market projects have focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, often at the expense of achieving sustainable development goals. A central pillar in sustainable development is equity, yet most projects pay little attention to equity implications for underrepresented farmers, especially women. Agricultural carbon market projects that explicitly seek to promote sustainable agricultural land management practices are quickly gaining attention worldwide for their promise to deliver the triple-win': adaptation, food security, and mitigation. Previous experience with other payment for ecosystem services projects indicate that women often are marginalized and their needs ignored. To address this gap, this case study examined the Kenya Agricultural Carbon Project with a focus on gender equity in access, decision making, and outcomes. Results show that women had less access to joining the project than men, because they did not have the same level of influence in decision making at a household level. At the project level, both men and women had little influence in establishing project requirements and potential benefits, as these were decided upon prior to farmer recruitment. Regarding outcomes, women tended to participate in more project activities, and would in return reap more nonmonetary benefits than men. However, the costs involved in achieving these benefits was nontrivial: women's farm labor time increased significantly due to the substantial time and effort required to implement sustainable agricultural land management practices. If agricultural soil carbon market projects are to achieve better outcomes by addressing equity issues, they need to pay special attention to gender and the differing needs of farmersmale, female, young, old, poor, and less poorby involving them at the project design stage. Our findings show the importance of additional project benefits unrelated to carbon income for addressing the requirements of equity perceived by both the implementing agency and women themselves.
  • Seltzer, Nicole; Wang, Deane (Springer US, Dordrecht, Netherlands., 2004
      The passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972 made maintaining and improving surface water quality a national goal. Much of the initial effort was levied against point sources of pollution (Puckett, 1995); however, controlling non-point pollution has become a priority as control of the remaining point source problems becomes increasingly less cost-effective. Non-point phosphorus (P) pollution, in particular, has received frequent public attention as it threatens many of our nation’s streams and rivers. Eutrophication, typically caused by high P levels, has been identified as the number one water quality problem in many regions (NYC DEP, 1999; LCBP, 1994).
  • Buchholz, T.; Volk, T. A. (Bioenergy Research, 2011
      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.
  • Hayden, N.; Rizzo, D.; Dewoolkar, M. M.; Neumann, M. D.; Lathem, S. A.; Sadek, A. W. (Advances in Engineering Education, 2011
      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.
  • Wright, E. L.; Erickson, J. D. (Climatic Change, 2003
      Incorporating potential catastrophic consequences into integrated assessment models of climate change has been a top priority of policymakers and modelers alike. We review the current state of scientific understanding regarding three frequently mentioned geophysical catastrophes, with a view toward their implications for integrated assessment modeling. This review finds inadequacies in widespread model assumptions regarding the nature of catastrophes themselves and climate change impacts more generally. The possibility of greatly postponed consequences from near- and medium-term actions suggests that standard discounting practices are inappropriate for the analysis of climate catastrophe. Careful consideration of paleoclimate and geophysical modeling evidence regarding the possibility of changes in ocean circulation suggests a reframing of the source of climate change damages in economic models, placing changes in climate predictability, rather than gradual changes in mean values, at the focus of economic damage assessments. The implications of decreases in predictability for the modeling of adaptation are further discussed.
  • 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. (Plos Biology, 2010
      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.
  • McBride, M.; Hession, W. C.; Rizzo, D. M.; Thompson, D. M. (Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 2007
      Measurements from a fixed-bed, Froude-scaled hydraulic model of a stream in northeastern Vermont demonstrate the importance of forested riparian vegetation effects on near-bank turbulence during overbank flows. Sections of the,prototype stream, a tributary to Sleepers River, have increased in channel width within the last 40 years in response to passive reforestation of its riparian zone. Previous research found that reaches of small streams with forested riparian zones are commonly wider than adjacent reaches with non-forested, or grassy, vegetation; however, driving mechanisms for this morphologic difference are not fully explained. Flume experiments were performed with a 1:5 scale, simplified model of half a channel and its floodplain, mimicking the typical non-forested channel size. Two types of riparian vegetation were placed on the constructed floodplain: non-forested, with synthetic grass carpeting; and forested, where rigid, randomly distributed, wooden dowels were added. Three-dimensional velocities were measured with an acoustic Doppler velocimeter at 41 locations within the channel and floodplain at near-bed and 0.6-depth elevations. Observations of velocity components and calculations of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE), Reynolds shear stress and boundary shear stress showed significant differences between forested and non-forested runs. Generally, forested runs exhibited a narrow band of high turbulence between the floodplain and main channel, where TKE was roughly two times greater than TKE in non-forested runs. Compared to non-forested runs, the hydraulic characteristics of forested runs appear to create an environment with higher erosion potential. Given that sediment entrainment and transport can be amplified in flows with high turbulence intensity and given that mature forested stream reaches are wider than comparable non-forested reaches, our results demonstrated a possible driving mechanism for channel widening during overbank flow events in stream reaches with recently reforested riparian zones. Copyright (c) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  • Costanza, R.; Stern, D.; Fisher, B.; He, L. N.; Ma, C. B. (Ecological Economics, 2004
      We assessed the degree of influence of selected papers and books in ecological economics using citation analysis. We looked at both the internal influence of publications on the field of ecological economics and the external influence of those same publications on the broader academic community. We used four lists of papers and books for the analysis: (1) 92 papers nominated by the Ecological Economics (EE) Editorial Board; (2) 71 papers that were published in EE and that received 15 or more citations in all journals included in the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) Citation Index; (3) 57 papers that had been cited in EE 15 or more times; and (4) 77 monographs and edited books that had been cited in EE 15 or more times. In all, we analyzed 251 unique publications. For each publication, we counted the total number of ISI citations as well as the total number of citations in EE. We calculated the average number of citations per year to each paper since its publication in both the IST database and in EE, along with the percentage of the total ISI citations that were in EE. Ranking the degree of influence of the publications can be done in several ways, including using the number of I SI citations, the number of EE citations or both. We discuss both the internal and external influence of publications and show how these influences might be considered jointly. We display and analyze the results in several ways. By plotting the ISI citations against the EE citations, we can identify those papers that are mainly influential in EE with some broader influence, those that are mainly influential in the broader literature but have also had influence on EE and other patterns of influence. There are both overlaps and interesting lacunae among the four lists that give us a better picture of the real influence of publications in ecological economics vs. perceptions of those publications' importance. By plotting the number of citations vs. dates of publication, we can identify those publications that are projected to be most influential. Plots of the time series of citations over the 1990-2003 period show a generally increasing trend (contrary to what one would expect for an "average" paper) for the top papers. We suggest that this pattern of increasing citations (and thus influence) over time is one hallmark of a "foundational" paper. Data used in the analysis is available for download from the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) web site to allow further analysis by interested readers. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Koliba, C. J.; Lathrop, J. (Administration & Society, 2007
      Social science can be practiced as a decidedly action-oriented and applied phenomenon, in particular within the context of organizational change and development. These practices are often prefaced by assumptions concerning the social construction of reality, the role of the researcher as an active agent for change, and the capacity of organizations to learn. This article recounts the attempts of social science researchers to employ an action research process to promote and support organizational learning within a public school setting. Addressing concerns with regard to the methodological challenges of translating individual perceptions into organizational themes or problems, the authors discuss the use of intersubjectively constructed accounts to support organizational learning.

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