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Browsing Gund Institute for Ecological Economics by Title

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  • Costanza, R.; Fisher, B.; Ali, S.; Beer, C.; Bond, L.; Boumans, R.; Danigelis, N. L.; Dickinson, J.; Elliott, C.; Farley, J.; Gayer, D. E.; Glenn, L. M.; Hudspeth, T.; Mahoney, D.; McCahill, L.; McIntosh, B.; Reed, B.; Rizvi, S. A. T.; Rizzo, D. M.; Simpatico, T.; Snapp, R. (Ecological Economics, 2007
      Enhancing Quality of Life (QOL) has long been an explicit or implicit goal for individuals, communities, nations, and the world. But defining QOL and measuring progress toward meeting this goal have been elusive. Diverse "objective" and "subjective" indicators across a range of disciplines and scales, and recent work on subjective well-being (SWB) surveys and the psychology of happiness have spurred interest. Drawing from multiple disciplines, we present an integrative definition of QOL that combines measures of human needs with subjective well-being or happiness. QOL is proposed as a multi-scale, multi-dimensional concept that contains interacting objective and subjective elements. We relate QOL to the opportunities that are provided to meet human needs in the forms of built, human, social and natural capital (in addition to time) and the policy options that are available to enhance these opportunities. Issues related to defining, measuring, and scaling these concepts are discussed, and a research agenda is elaborated. Policy implications include strategies for investing in opportunities to maximize QOL enhancement at the individual, community, and national scales. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Beard, K. H.; Wang, D.; Waite, C. E.; Decker, K. L. M.; Hawley, G. J.; DeHayes, D. D.; Hughes, J. W.; Cumming, J. R. (Ecosystems, 2005
      The complexity of natural ecosystems makes it difficult to compare the relative importance of abiotic and biotic factors and to assess the effects of their interactions on ecosystem development. To improve our understanding of ecosystem complexity, we initiated an experiment designed to quantify the main effects and interactions of several factors that are thought to affect nutrient export from developing forest ecosystems. Using a replicated 2 x 2 x 4 factorial experiment, we quantified the main effects of these factors and the factor interactions on annual calcium, magnesium, and potassium export from field mesocosms over 4 years for two Vermont locations, two soils, and four different tree seedling communities. We found that the main effects explained 56%-97% of total variation in nutrient export. Abiotic factors (location and soil) accounted for a greater percentage of the total variation in nutrient export (47%-94%) than the biotic factor (plant community) (2%-15%). However, biotic control over nutrient export was significant, even when biomass was minimal. Factor interactions were often significant, but they explained less of the variation in nutrient export (1%-33%) than the main effects. Year-to-year fluctuations influenced the relative importance of the main effects in determining nutrient export and created factor interactions between most of the explanatory variables. Our study suggests that when research is focused on typically used main effects, such as location and soil, and interactions are aggregated into overall error terms, important information about the factors controlling ecosystem processes can be lost.
  • Xu, Y. Y.; Schroth, A. W.; Isles, P. D. F.; Rizzo, D. M. (Freshwater Biology, 2015
      Although commonly used by those tasked with lake management, the statistical approach of data averaging (DA) followed by ordinary least-squares regression (OLSR) to generate nutrient limitation models is outdated and may impede the understanding and successful management of lake eutrophication. Using a 21-year data set from Lake Champlain as a case study, the traditional DA-OLSR-coupled approach was re-evaluated and improved to quantify the cause-effect relationships between chlorophyll (Chl) and total nitrogen (TN) or total phosphorus (TP). We confirmed that the commonly used DA-OLSR approach results in misleading cause-effect nutrient limitation inferences by illustrating how the process of DA reduces the range of data distribution considered and masks meaningful temporal variation observed within a given period. Our model comparisons demonstrate that using quantile regression (QR) to fit the upper boundary of the response distribution (99th quantile model) is more robust than the OLSR analysis for generating eutrophication models and developing nutrient management targets, as this method reduces the effects of unmeasured factors that plague the OLSR-derived model. Because our approach is statistically in line with the ecological law of the minimum', it is particularly powerful for inferring resource limitation with broad potential utility to the ecological research community. By integrating percentile selection (PS) with QR-derived model output, we developed a PS-QR-coupled approach to quantify the relative importance of TN and TP reductions in a eutrophic system. Utilising this approach, we determined that the reduction in TP to meet a specific Chl target should be the first priority to mitigate eutrophication in Lake Champlain. The structure of this statistically robust and straightforward approach for developing nutrient reduction targets can be easily adopted as an individual lake-specific tool for the research and management of other lakes and reservoirs with similar water quality data sets. Moreover, the PS-QR-coupled approach developed here is also of theoretical importance to understanding and modelling the interacting effects of multiple limiting factors on ecological processes (e.g. eutrophication) with broad application to aquatic research.
  • Zia, A.; Norton, B. G.; Noonan, D. S.; Rodgers, M. O.; DeHart-Davis, L. (Transportation Research Part D-Transport and Environment, 2006
      A quasi-experimental evaluation is employed to assess the compliance behavior of high emitters in response to Atlanta's Inspection and Maintenance program between 1997 and 2001 and to predict the impact of compliance behavior on vehicular tailpipe emissions of ozone precursors, such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide. Remote sensing data of a sample of approximately 0.8 million observations of on-road vehicles are matched with IM program data and vehicle registration data to identify the compliant and non-compliant high emitters. A mixed-pool time-series regression analysis is carried out to predict changes in the vehicular tailpipe emissions due to the compliance and non-compliance of the high emitters in the Atlanta airshed. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Golev, A.; Scott, M.; Erskine, P. D.; Ali, S. H.; Ballantyne, G. R. (Resources Policy, 2014
      The unique properties of rare earth elements (REEs) and lack of alternatives for their application in modern technologies, especially electronics and fast growing green technologies such as renewable energy generation and storage, energy efficient lights, electric cars, and auto catalysts, as well as specific military and aerospace applications, underpin their strategic status. The absolute domination of China in the production of REEs, aggravated by a significant reduction in export quotas since 2010, raised severe concerns of securing REE supply in the USA, Japan, European Union and other countries. In 2010-2012 it resulted in skyrocketing prices and supply deficit for most REEs, leading to numerous new REE start-up companies around the world, with allocation of large investments in additional geological explorations and technology development. At the same time, the supply difficulties enforced the downstream users of REEs to invest in the development of recycling technologies and reuse options for these elements. The main focus of this paper is to overview existing and emerging REE supply chains outside of China up to date (end of 2013), define their environmental constraints and opportunities, as well as reflect on a broader range of technical, economic, and social challenges for both primary production and recycling of REEs. A better understanding of these factors could help to optimize the supply chain of virgin and recycled rare earths, minimise the environmental impacts arising from their processing, and be used as a prototype for a broader range of critical metals and commodities. (c) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Roman, J., Kraska, J. (Science, 2016
      What to do with Gitmo after it closes? “Reboot it,” says Joe Roman, an oceans expert in UVM’s Gund Institute — “for research diplomacy.” In Science magazine, Roman and a U.S. Naval War College scholar make the case for Guantanamo 2.0 as a way to improve conservation in the Caribbean — and build cooperation between the U.S. and Cuba. (Photo: Corbis)
  • Voinov, A.; Farley, J. (Ecological Economics, 2007
      Most definitions of sustainability imply that a system is to be maintained at a certain level, held within certain limits, into the indefinite future. Sustainability denies run-away growth, but it also avoids any decline or destruction. This sustainability path is hard to reconcile with the renewal cycle that can be observed in many natural systems developing according to their intrinsic mechanisms and in social systems responding to internal and external pressures. Systems are parts of hierarchies where systems of higher levels are made up of subsystems from lower levels. Renewal in components is an important factor of adaptation and evolution. If a system is sustained for too long, it borrows from the sustainability of a supersystern and rests upon lack of sustainability in subsystems. Therefore by sustaining certain systems beyond their renewal cycle, we decrease the sustainability of larger, higher-level systems. For example, Schumpeter's theory of creative destruction posits that in a capitalist economy, the collapse and renewal of firms and industries is necessary to sustain the vitality of the larger economic system. However, if the capitalist economic system relies on endless growth, then sustaining it for too long will inevitably borrow from the sustainability of the global ecosystem. This could prove catastrophic for humans and other species. To reconcile sustainability with hierarchy theory, we must decide which hierarchical level in a system we want to sustain indefinitely, and accept that lower level subsystems must have shorter life spans. In economic analysis, inter-temporal discount rates essentially tell us how long we should care about sustaining any given system. Economists distinguish between discount rates for individuals based on personal time preference, lower discount rates for firms based on the opportunity cost of capital, and even lower discount rates for society. For issues affecting even higher-level systems, such as global climate change, many economists question the suitability of discounting future values at all. We argue that to reconcile sustainability with inter-temporal discounting, discount rates should be determined by the hierarchical level of the system being analyzed. (C) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Danks, C., M. Goebel, and K. Steer (Greenleaf Publishing, Sheffield, UK.Sheffield, UK, 2003
  • Springate-Baginski, O.; Wollenberg, E. (Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor, Indonesia.Bogor, Indonesia, 2010
  • Sikor, T.; Stahl, J.; Enters, T.; Ribot, J.C.; Singh, N.M.; Sunderlin, W.D.; Wollenberg, E (Global Environmental Change, 2010
  • Strassburg, B.; Turner, R. K.; Fisher, B.; Schaeffer, R.; Lovett, A. (Global Environmental Change-Human and Policy Dimensions, 2009
      Despite accounting for 17-25% of anthropogenic emissions, deforestation was not included in the Kyoto Protocol. The UN Convention on Climate Change is considering its inclusion in future agreements and asked its scientific board to study methodological and scientific issues related to positive incentives to reduce emissions from deforestation. Here we present an empirically derived mechanism that offers a mix of incentives to developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation, conserve and possibly enhance their ecosystem's carbon stocks. We also use recent data to model its effects on the 20 most forested developing countries. Results show that at low CO(2) prices (similar to US$ 8/t CO(2)) a successful mechanism could reduce more than 90% of global deforestation at an annual cost of US$ 30 billion. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Canham, C. D.; Rogers, N.; Buchholz, T. (Ecological Applications, 2013
      Logging is a larger cause of adult tree mortality in northeastern U.S. forests than all other causes of mortality combined. We used Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data to develop statistical models to quantify three different aspects of aggregate regional forest harvest regimes: (1) the annual probability that a plot is logged, as a function of total aboveground tree biomass, (2) the fraction of adult tree basal area removed if a plot was logged, and (3) the probability that an individual tree within a plot was removed, as a function of the fraction of basal area removed at the plot level, the species of tree, and its size. Results confirm that relatively frequent partial harvesting dominates the logging regimes, but with significant variation among different parts of the region and different forest types. The harvest regimes have similarities with natural disturbance regimes in imposing spatially and temporally dynamic mortality that varies predictably as a function of stand structure as well as tree species and size.
  • Russell-Roy, E. T.; Keeton, W. S.; Pontius, J. A.; Kerchner, C. D. (Canadian Journal of Forest Research-Revue Canadienne De Recherche Forestiere, 2014
      Decades of heavy-cutting and high-grading in the northeastern United States provide an opportunity for rehabilitation and increased carbon stores, yet few studies have examined the feasibility of using carbon markets to restore high-graded forests. We evaluated the effectiveness of rehabilitation on 391 ha of high-graded forest in Vermont, USA. Thirteen silvicultural scenarios were modeled over 100 years using the Forest Vegetation Simulator. Carbon offsets were quantified with the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) and American Carbon Registry (ACR) protocols and evaluated under voluntary and regulatory carbon price assumptions. Results indicate that management scenarios involving no harvest or low-intensity harvest yield the greatest incentives, yet these scenarios include a range of short-term rehabilitation options that provide flexibility for landowners. The choice of protocol also significantly influences results. Although ACR consistently generated more offsets than CAR for the same scenarios (p < 0.05), the protocols yielded similar net present values of US$121-US$256.ha(-1) under high offset price assumptions. These returns are comparable to those generated from timber harvest alone under more intensive management scenarios. While timber will continue to be a primary source of revenue for many landowners, carbon markets may increasingly appeal as a new incentive for restoring high-graded forests.
  • Makki, M.; Ali, S. H.; Van Vuuren, K. (Extractive Industries and Society-an International JournalExtr. Ind. Soc., 2015
      This paper examines the role of religious identity in the context of a coal development project in District Tharparkar, Pakistan. Research was conducted in six rural communities located in the vicinity of the coal project. The results obtained are important for two reasons. First, they provide insights into the heterogeneous composition of communities based on religious identity, which explains contrasting perceptions toward project development. Second, they entail a practical dimension that suggests that in the process of assessment, development and management of coal resources, differences related to religious and community identity must be recognized and taken into account to minimize community conflict. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Beddoe, R.; Costanza, R.; Farley, J.; Garza, E.; Kent, J.; Kubiszewski, I.; Martinez, L.; McCowen, T.; Murphy, K.; Myers, N.; Ogden, Z.; Stapleton, K.; Woodward, J. (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2009
  • Herendeen, R. A.; Wildermuth, T. (Ecological Economics, 2002
      We develop three quantitative indicators of the physical/biological aspect of sustainability. They are based on depletion of resources, dependence on outside subsidies, and disruption of natural cycles. We apply the indicators to an agricultural county in Kansas, using energy, water, soil, and nitrogen as numeraires. 9/10 of Chase County is dedicated to range beef cattle grazing and 1/10 to row-cropping and confinement animal feeding. Range production is relatively non-depleting, independent, and non-disrupting. Cropping is more depleting, dependent, and disrupting, but comparable with that in other agricultural areas. We discuss how this pattern, mediated by absentee land-holding and low human population density, trades off against economic income. With the exception of energy, all analyses are only in terms of direct flows (e.g. actual amounts crossing the county boundary). For energy, we also estimate the energy consumed elsewhere to produce imported non-energy goods and services. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B,V. All rights reserved.
  • Vatovec, C.; Jordan, N.; Huerd, S. (Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 2005
      Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are plant root symbionts that provide many benefits to crop production and agro-ecosystem function; therefore, management of AMF is increasingly seen as important to ecological farming. Agronomic weeds that form a symbiotic relationship with AMF can increase diversity and abundance of agronomically beneficial AMF taxa. Also, AMF can strongly affect plant community composition, and may thus provide some degree of biological control for weeds. Therefore, relationships between weeds and AMF have a dual significance in ecological farming, but are relatively unexamined. In glasshouse experiments, seedlings of 14 agronomic weed species were grown in the presence or absence of AMF inocula sampled from each of three types of cropping systems: organic, transitional-organic or high-input/conventional. For each weed species, AMF root colonization rates and growth responses to AMF were assessed. On the basis of observed colonization levels, the species were classified as strong hosts (five species), weak hosts (three) and non-host species (six). Among species, biomass responses to AMF were highly variable. Strong hosts showed more positive responses to AMF than weak hosts, although the range of responses was great. Non-hosts did not suffer consistent negative biomass responses to AMF, although strong biomass reductions were noted for certain species–inoculum combinations. Biomass responses to inocula from different cropping systems varied significantly among weed species in one of two experiments. Results suggest that weed–AMF interactions can affect weed community dynamics. We recommend investigation of these interactions in agro-ecosystems that use management methods likely to intensify weed–AMF interactions, such as conservation tillage and cover cropping.
  • Ribeiro de Freitas, N.; Farley, J. (Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.Thousand Oaks, CA, 2012

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