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Browsing Gund Institute for Ecological Economics by Title

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  • Koliba, C.; DeMenno, M.; Brune, N.; Zia, A. (Energy Policy, 2014
      Smart grid deployment unfolds within a diverse array of multi-institutional arrangements that may be too fragmented and decentralized to allow for the kind of large-scale and coordinated investments needed to properly deploy the smart grid. This case study provides an account of how one state arranged for and eventually deployed smart grid technology to over 85 percent of its resident. The study asks: does the deployment of the smart grid introduce new socio-political variables into the electricity distribution industry? To make sense of the socio-political variables shaping the industry and regulators, the Salience-Complexity Model is used to assess whether the smart grid raises or lowers the level of public scrutiny caste upon the industry (issue salience) and the level of technical capacity needed to execute and utilize the smart grid (technical complexity). The conclusions to be drawn from this study include: smart grid technology heightens the issue salience and the technical complexity of electricity distribution, but that the smart grid will likely not have a significant impact on the restructuring of electricity regulation. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Zia, A.; Koliba, C.; Meek, J.; Schulz, A. (Policy and PoliticsPolicy Polit., 2015
      Metropolitan planning organisations (MPOs) present a unique opportunity as real-world laboratories to investigate the dynamics of scale and performance management in polycentric governance networks. Using a 2009 Government Accountability Office survey of all 381 MPOs, this study examines whether the scale and intensity of collaboration of an MPO influences performance management; and tests two hypotheses: (1) small-scale MPOs have a significant performance management gap; (2) larger-scale MPOs with higher scale and intensity of collaboration have a smaller performance management gap. Regression models predict performance management gaps across 15 indicators. Theoretical implications concerning scale and collaboration in polycentric governance networks are discussed.
  • Kobos, P. H.; Erickson, J. D.; Drennen, T. E. (2003
      This article reports on a simulation and scenario analysis of Chinese passenger vehicle growth and resulting energy demand and CO2 emissions, Pie model includes provincial level logistic, growth functions with saturation levels representative of neighboring Asian economies, income growth measured in international dollars, and both estimated and literature-based income elasticities. Scenarios explore variation in key, parameters, including income and population growth rates, elasticity income ranges fuel economy, and vehicle saturation. Countrywide base case results estimate growth from 4.22 to 54.33 passenger vehicles per thousand people from 1995 to 2025, Resulting passenger vehicle oil demands and CO2 emissions increase nearly 17-fold.
  • Farley, J.; Miles, B. (2008
      While as scientists ecological economists pursue objectivity and empiricism, as problem solvers we strive to move our policy solutions to pressing problems onto the political agenda. To what extent is a rigorous scientific understanding of sustainability issues necessary and sufficient for creating more sustainable policies? If it is not, what are the obligations of scientists who understand the threats to sustainability to act on their understanding? We use a case study of Katrina to show that impartial science alone is inadequate to achieve our ends. Ecological economics and market fundamentalists are those currently receiving the most consideration, which exacerbates the problems as defined by ecological economists. As scientists and problem solvers, ecological economists must empirically study the public policy process to learn how to promote our policy solutions. We therefore assess two schools of thought concerning public policy - the market model and polis model. The market model of the public policy process assumes that policy makers rationally analyze the options available to achieve a specific goal then choose the one that maximizes utility. The polis model in contrast assumes that policy makers are not consistently rational but respond instead to the strategic presentation of situations using stories and symbols more than value-neutral facts. We argue that the polis model is a more accurate empirical interpretation of the policy process, and therefore, to be good scientific problem solvers, ecological economists must rely on emotionally charged stories that explain the significance of their scientific research instead of impartial presentation of empirical evidence.
  • Villa, Ferdinando; Bagstad, Ken; Johnson, Gary; Voigt, Brian (Economía Agraria y Recursos Naturales (Agricultural and Resource Economics), 2011
  • Ruggiero, Peter; Kaminsky, George M; Gelfenbaum, Guy; Voigt, Brian (Journal of Coastal Research, 2005
  • Edwards, D. P.; Magrach, A.; Woodcock, P.; Ji, Y. Q.; Lim, N. T. L.; Edwards, F. A.; Larsen, T. H.; Hsu, W. W.; Benedick, S.; Khen, C. V.; Chung, A. Y. C.; Reynolds, G.; Fisher, B.; Laurance, W. F.; Wilcove, D. S.; Hamer, K. C.; Yu, D. W. (Ecological Applications, 2014
      Strong global demand for tropical timber and agricultural products has driven large-scale logging and subsequent conversion of tropical forests. Given that the majority of tropical landscapes have been or will likely be logged, the protection of biodiversity within tropical forests thus depends on whether species can persist in these economically exploited lands, and if species cannot persist, whether we can protect enough primary forest from logging and conversion. However, our knowledge of the impact of logging and conversion on biodiversity is limited to a few taxa, often sampled in different locations with complex land-use histories, hampering attempts to plan cost-effective conservation strategies and to draw conclusions across taxa. Spanning a land-use gradient of primary forest, once- and twice-logged forests, and oil palm plantations, we used traditional sampling and DNA metabarcoding to compile an extensive data set in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo for nine vertebrate and invertebrate taxa to quantify the biological impacts of logging and oil palm, develop cost-effective methods of protecting biodiversity, and examine whether there is congruence in response among taxa. Logged forests retained high species richness, including, on average, 70% of species found in primary forest. In contrast, conversion to oil palm dramatically reduces species richness, with significantly fewer primary-forest species than found on logged forest transects for seven taxa. Using a systematic conservation planning analysis, we show that efficient protection of primary-forest species is achieved with land portfolios that include a large proportion of logged-forest plots. Protecting logged forests is thus a cost-effective method of protecting an ecologically and taxonomically diverse range of species, particularly when conservation budgets are limited. Six indicator groups (birds, leaf-litter ants, beetles, aerial hymenopterans, flies, and true bugs) proved to be consistently good predictors of the response of the other taxa to logging and oil palm. Our results confidently establish the high conservation value of logged forests and the low value of oil palm. Cross-taxon congruence in responses to disturbance also suggests that the practice of focusing on key indicator taxa yields important information of general biodiversity in studies of logging and oil palm.
  • Mondal, P.; Jain, M.; DeFries, R. S.; Galford, G. L.; Small, C. (Journal of Environmental Management, 2015
      Crop productivity in India varies greatly with inter-annual climate variability and is highly dependent on monsoon rainfall and temperature. The sensitivity of yields to future climate variability varies with crop type, access to irrigation and other biophysical and socio-economic factors. To better understand sensitivities to future climate, this study focuses on agro-ecological subregions in Central and Western India that span a range of crops, irrigation, biophysical conditions and socioeconomic characteristics. Climate variability is derived from remotely-sensed data products, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM - precipitation) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS temperature). We examined green-leaf phenologies as proxy for crop productivity using the MODIS Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) from 2000 to 2012. Using both monsoon and winter growing seasons, we assessed phenological sensitivity to inter-annual variability in precipitation and temperature patterns. Inter-annual EVI phenology anomalies ranged from -25% to 25%, with some highly anomalous values up to 200%. Monsoon crop phenology in the Central India site is highly sensitive to climate, especially the timing of the start and end of the monsoon and intensity of precipitation. In the Western India site, monsoon crop phenology is less sensitive to precipitation variability, yet shows considerable fluctuations in monsoon crop productivity across the years. Temperature is critically important for winter productivity across a range of crop and management types, such that irrigation might not provide a sufficient buffer against projected temperature increases. Better access to weather information and usage of climate-resilient crop types would play pivotal role in maintaining future productivity. Effective strategies to adapt to projected climate changes in the coming decades would also need to be tailored to regional biophysical and socio-economic conditions. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Jha, Shalene; Bacon, Christopher M.; Philpott, Stacy M.; Ernesto Méndez, V.; Läderach, Peter; Rice, Robert A. (Bioscience, 2014
      In the past three decades, coffee cultivation has gained widespread attention for its crucial role in supporting local and global biodiversity. In this synthetic Overview, we present newly gathered data that summarize how global patterns in coffee distribution and shade vegetation have changed and discuss implications for biodiversity, ecosystem services, and livelihoods. Although overall cultivated coffee area has decreased by 8% since 1990, coffee production and agricultural intensification have increased in many places and shifted globally, with production expanding in Asia while contracting in Africa. Ecosystem services such as pollination, pest control, climate regulation, and nutrient sequestration are generally greater in shaded coffee farms, but many coffee-growing regions are removing shade trees from their management. Although it is clear that there are ecological and socioeconomic benefits associated with shaded coffee, we expose the many challenges and future research priorities needed to link sustainable coffee management with sustainable livelihoods.
  • Goodall, K. E.; Bacon, C. M.; Mendez, V. E. (Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 2015
      Coffee smallholder management practices have received attention for their potential to conserve biodiversity and sequester carbon by maintaining structural complexity, high canopy diversity, and minimal external inputs. We conducted shade tree surveys on 95 1000 m(2) research plots over a 10-year period to identify patterns of shade tree density and diversity, epiphyte presence, and carbon stocks within smallholder shade coffee systems of northern Nicaragua. We also analyzed each of these parameters with respect to management by comparing collectively-and individually-managed farms. Our results indicate that the overall shade tree density has decreased over time (F = 42.597, p < 0.001), but that diversity remained constant. Carbon stocks in coffee systems also showed a decreasing trend over time (F = 2.981, p = 0.056), most likely due to the decreasing tree densities. Epiphytic plant presence increased over time despite decreased host tree densities, suggesting either a change in management or improved habitat conditions for epiphytes. Research plots on individually-managed coffee farms generally had higher shade tree densities than those on collectively managed farms (t = 2.141, p = 0.037), but we found no differences in shade tree species richness or carbon stocks (t = 0.573, p = 0.568). We conclude that smallholder coffee farmers continue to conserve both shade tree diversity and epiphyte communities. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
  • Dutton, A. L.; Loague, K.; Wemple, B. C. (Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 2005
      Forest management practices often result in significant changes to hydrologic and geomorphic responses at or near the earth's surface. A well-known, but not fully tested, hypothesis in hilislope hydrology/geomorphology is that a near-surface permeability contrast, caused by the surface compaction associated with forest roads, can result in diverted subsurface flow paths that produce increased up-slope pore pressures and slope failure. The forest road focused on in this study is located in a steep forested, zero-order catchment within the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest (Oregon). A three-phase modelling effort was employed to test the aforementioned hypothesis: (i) two-dimensional (vertical slice), steady-state, heterogeneous, saturated subsurface flow simulations at the watershed scale for establishing the boundary conditions for the catchment-scale boundary-value problem in (ii); (ii) two-dimensional (vertical slice), transient, heterogeneous, variably saturated subsurface flow simulations at the catchment scale for estimating near-surface hydrologic response and pore pressure distributions; and (iii) slope stability analyses, using the infinite slope approach, driven by the pore pressure distributions simulated in (ii), for assessing the impact of the forest road. Both observed and hypothetical rainfall events are used to drive the catchment-scale simulations. The results reported here support the hypothesis that a forest road can have an effect on slope stability. The permeability contrast associated with the forest road in this study led to a simulated altering of slope-parallel subsurface flow with increased pore pressures up-slope of the road and, for a large rainfall event, a slope failure prediction. Copyright (c) 2005 John Wiley F Sons, Ltd.
  • Mirus, B. B.; Ebel, B. A.; Loague, K.; Wemple, B. C. (Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 2007
      In the work reported here the comprehensive physics-based Integrated Hydrology Model (InHM) was employed to conduct both three- and two-dimensional (3D and 2D) hydrologic-response simulations for the small upland catchment known as C3 (located within the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon). Results from the 3D simulations for the steep unchannelled C3 (i) identify subsurface stormflow as the dominant hydrologic-response mechanism and (ii) show the effect of the down-gradient forest road on both the surface and subsurface flow systems. Comparison of the 3D results with the 2D results clearly illustrates the importance of convergent subsurface How (e.g. greater pore-water pressures in the hollow of the catchment for the 3D scenario). A simple infinite-slope model, driven by subsurface pore-water pressures generated from the 3D and 2D hydrologic-response simulations, was employed to estimate slope stability along the long-profile of the C3 hollow axis. As expected, the likelihood of slope failure is underestimated for the lower pore pressures from the 2D hydrologic-response simulation compared, in a relative sense, to the higher pore pressures from the 3D hydrologic response simulation. The effort reported herein provides a firm quantitative foundation for generalizing the effects that forest roads can have on near-surface hydrologic response and slope stability at the catchment scale. Copyright (c) 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  • Waichler, S. R.; Wemple, B. C.; Wigmosta, M. S. (Hydrological Processes, 2005
      The distributed hydrology soil-vegetation model (DHSVM) was applied to the small watersheds WS1, 2, 3 in H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, Oregon, and tested for skill in simulating observed forest treatment effects on streamflow. These watersheds, located in the rain-snow transition zone, underwent road and clearcut treatments during 1959-66 and subsequent natural regeneration. DHSVM was applied with 10 m and 1 h resolution to 1958-98, most of the period of record. Water balance for old-growth WS2 indicated that evapotranspiration and streamflow were unlikely to be the only loss terms, and groundwater recharge was included to account for about 12% of precipitation; this term was assumed zero in previous studies. Overall efficiency in simulating hourly streamflow exceeded 0.7, and mean annual error was less than 10%. Model skill decreased at the margins, with overprediction of low flows and underprediction of high flows. However, statistical analyses of simulated and observed peakflows yielded similar characterizations of treatment effects. Primary simulation weaknesses were snowpack accumulation, snowmelt under rain-on-snow conditions, and production of quickflow. This was the first test of DHSVM against observations of both control and treated watersheds in a classic paired-basin study involving a long time period of forest regrowth and hydrologic recovery. Copyright (c) 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  • Koenigs, Clark; Suri, Mudita; Kreiter, Amelia; Elling, Caroline; Eagles, Julia; Peterson, Tarla; Stephens, Jennie; Wilson, Elizabeth (Challenges, 2013
  • Decker, K. L.; Wang, D.; Waite, C.; Scherbatskoy, T. (2003
      We measured deciduous forest soil temperatures under control (unmanipulated) and snow-free (where snow is manually removed) conditions for four winters (at three soil depths) to determine effects of a snow cover reduction such as may occur as a result of climate change on Vermont forest soils. The four winters we studied were characterized as: 'cold and snowy', 'warm with low snow', 'cold with low snow', and 'cool with low snow'. Snow-free soils were colder than controls at 5- and 15-cm depth for all years, and at all depths in the two cold winters. Soil thermal variability generally decreased with both increased snow cover and soil depth. The effect of snow cover on soil freeze-thaw events was highly dependent on both the depth of snow and the soil temperature. Snow kept the soil warm and reduced soil temperature variability, but often this caused soil to remain near 0ºC, resulting in more freeze-thaw events under snow at one or more soil depths. During the 'cold snowy' wnter, soils under snow had daily averages consistently >0ºC, whereas snow-free soil temperatures commonly dropped below -3ºC. During the 'warm' year, temperatures of soil under snow were often lower than those of snow-free soils. The warmer winter resulted in less snow cover to insulate soild from freezing in the biologically active top cm. The possible consequences of increased soil freezing include more root mortatlity and nutrient loss, which would potentially alter ecosystem dynamics, decrease productivity of some tree species, and increase sugar maple (
  • Markusson, Nils; Ishii, Atsushi; Stephens, Jennie C. (Global Environmental Change-Human and Policy Dimensions, 2011
      Demonstration of a fully integrated power plant with carbon capture and storage (CCS) at scale has not yet been achieved, despite growing international political interest in the potential of the technology to contribute to climate change mitigation and calls from multiple constituents for more demonstration projects. Acknowledging the scale of learning that still must occur for the technology to advance towards deployment, multiple CCS demonstration projects of various scales are emerging globally. Current plans for learning and knowledge sharing associated with demonstration projects, however, seem to be limited and narrowly conceived, raising questions about whether the projects will deliver on the expectations raised. Through a comparison of the structure, framing and socio-political context of three very different CCS demonstration projects in different places and contexts, this paper explores the complexity of social learning associated with demonstration projects. Variety in expectations of the demonstration projects' objectives, learning processes, information sharing mechanisms, public engagement initiatives, financing and collaborative partnerships are highlighted. The comparison shows that multiple factors including the process of building support for the project, the governance context and the framing of the project matter for the learning in demonstration projects. This analysis supports a broader conceptualization of learning than that currently found in CCS demonstration plans a result with implications for both future research and practice. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Barki, E.; Comini, G.; Cunliffe, A.; Hart, S.; Rai, S. (Rae-Revista De Administracao De EmpresasRAE-Rev. Adm. Empres., 2015
  • Stephens, J. C.; Peterson, T. R.; Wilson, E. J. (Ucla Law Review, 2014
      Despite a growing sense of urgency to improve energy systems so as to reduce fossil-fuel dependency, energy system change has been slow, uncertain, and geographically diverse. Interestingly, this regionally heterogeneous evolution of energy system change is not merely a consequence of technological limitations but also and importantly a product of complex socio-political factors influencing the deployment of new energy technologies. The socio-political context for energy deployment differs on national, state, and even local levels, making cross-jurisdictional analysis of energy systems challenging. At the same time, understanding how social, legal, cultural, and political factors influence energy deployment across multiple jurisdictions is critical to developing effective policies for reducing fossil-fuel dependency. In response to such challenges, in 2008 we developed the Socio-Political Evaluation of Energy Deployment (SPEED) framework. SPEED is an interdisciplinary framework for analyzing how technological, social, and political conditions influence the development and deployment of specific energy technologies. SPEED has been applied to compare regional disparities in the deployment of multiple specific technologies. This Article illustrates how an enhanced version of the original SPEED framework can be used to characterize the socio-political factors influencing the development of energy systems across multiple regions. First, we describe the value of SPEED analysis in characterizing interactions among multiple factors-including cultural, political, environmental, legal, technical, and economic influences-that shape energy technology deployment and drive system change. Then, using smart grid development as an example of a system-wide energy initiative, we describe how the application of SPEED analysis could improve policy and regulatory effectiveness.

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