Browsing Gund Institute for Ecological Economics by Title

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  • van den Belt, M.; Forgie, V.; Farley, J. (Academic Press, Waltham.Waltham, 2011
      Valuation is about tradeoffs between alternative options, regardless of whether these tradeoffs are consciously made or not. Natural capital contributes substantially to societal and individual well-being by sustaining economies, generating life support functions and innumerable amenities, and assimilating waste. Societies that rely on the market system for resource allocation generally underestimate the contribution of natural capital to human welfare. Valuation exercises are about making these contributions more visible and thereby generate a better understanding of the way we assess, negotiate, measure, and use tradeoffs. Short-term, enduring, localized, individual tradeoffs are more easily perceived and estimated, and markets in many cases automatically calculate a monetary value or the market system can be simulated to provide a value. Tradeoffs and, therefore, valuation of more systemic ecosystem services, provided free by natural capital, require capturing long-term, risky and uncertain, global, and co-evolving community-oriented perceptions, and are much more difficult to make explicit. This chapter aims to cover a valuation continuum and first presents the approaches that fall in the realm of neoclassical economics valuation tools by providing examples of valuation from an ecological economics perspective.
  • Fisher, B.; Bateman, I. J.; Turner, K. (Routledge, London, U. K..London, U. K., 2010
  • Turner, K.; Georgiou, S.; Fisher, B. (Earthscan, London, UK.London, UK, 2008
      Ecosystem services can be broadly defined as the aspects of ecosystems that provide benefits to people. This book provides guidance on the valuation of ecosystem services, using the case of multifunctional wetlands to illustrate and make recommendations regarding the methods and techniques that can be applied to appraise management options. It provides a review of ecosystem service valuation rationale, including its importance from both a policy and project appraisal perspective, and a useful reference when considering policy and appraisal of ecosystem management options. It shows how legal obligations and other high-level management targets should be taken into account in valuation exercises, thus giving important policy context to the management options. The authors set out what they call an Ecosystem Services Approach to the full appraisal of the role of ecosystem services in the economy and society. Although concentrating on wetlands, the approaches suggested provide an assessment framework that can be applied to other types of ecosystem assets.
  • Dewoolkar, M. M.; George, L.; Hayden, N. J.; Rizzo, D. M. (International Journal of Engineering Education, 2009
      Department level reform efforts funded by the National Science Foundation were instituted for the civil and environmental engineering (CEE) programs at the University of Vermont. The overall goal of the reform was to educate and have students apply a systems approach to civil and environmental problems. A key strategy for practicing a systems approach was through service-learning (S-L) projects that were introduced into existing courses. The reform began in 2005 and now includes S-L projects in required courses in each of the four years of the programs. Students have worked with community partners (e. g. Vermont towns and non-profit organizations) on inquiry-based, open-ended, real-world S-L projects. Student work and assessments showed that the S-L projects provided ideal platforms for CEE undergraduate students to grasp systems concepts while accomplishing academic goals, civic engagement and improving personal/interpersonal skills. The S-L projects also contributed toward meeting the program accreditation criteria (ABET outcomes 3a-k).
  • Cianfrani, C. M.; Hession, W. C.; Rizzo, D. M. (JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN WATER RESOURCES ASSOCIATION, 2006
      Forty-six independent stream reaches in southeastern Pennsylvania were surveyed to assess the relationships between geomorphic and habitat variables and watershed total impervious area (TIA) and to test the ability of the impervious cover model (ICM) to predict the impervious category based on stream reach variables, Ten variables were analyzed using simple and multivariate statistical techniques including scatterplots, Spearman's Rank correlations, principal components analysis (PICA), and discriminant analysis (DA). Graphical analysis suggested differences in the response to TIA between the stream reaches with less than 13 percent TIA and those with greater than 24 percent TIA. Spearman's Rank correlations showed significant relationships for large woody debris and sinuosity when analyzing the entire dataset and for depth diversity and the standard deviation of maximum pool depths when analyzing stream reaches with greater than 24 percent TIA. Classification into the ICM using DA was 49 percent accurate; however, the stream reaches did support the ICM in other ways. These results indicate that stream reach response to urbanization may not be consistent across geographical regions and that local conditions (specifically riparian buffer vegetation) may significantly affect channel response; and the ICM, used in the appropriate context, can aid in the management of stream reaches and watersheds.
  • Galford, G. L.; Mustard, J. F.; Melillo, J. M.; Gendrin, A.; Cerri, C. C.; Cerri, C. E. P. (Remote Sensing of Environment, 2008
      Since 2000, the southwestern Brazilian Amazon has undergone a rapid transformation from natural vegetation and pastures to row-crop agricultural with the potential to affect regional biogeochemistry. The goals of this research are to assess wavelet algorithms applied to MODIS time series to determine expansion of row-crops and intensification of the number of crops grown. MODIS provides data from February 2000 to present, a period of agricultural expansion and intensification in the southwestern Brazilian Amazon. We have selected a study area near Comodoro, Mato Grosso because of the rapid growth of row-crop agriculture and availability of ground truth data of agricultural land-use history. We used a 90% power wavelet transform to create a wavelet-smoothed time series for five years of MODIS EVI data. From this wavelet-smoothed time series we determine characteristic phenology of single and double crops. We estimate that over 3200 km(2) were converted from native vegetation and pasture to row-crop agriculture from 2000 to 2005 in our study area encompassing 40,000 km(2). We observe an increase of 2000 km(2) of agricultural intensification, where areas of single crops were converted to double crops during the study period. (C) 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Alarcon, G. G.; Ayanu, Y.; Fantini, A. C.; Farley, J.; Schmitt, A.; Koellner, T. (Land Use Policy, 2015
      The Atlantic Forest is a global hotspot of biodiversity that may be on the verge of ecological collapse. Current changes in forest legislation have increased the debate concerning policy impacts on land-use and the consequences for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services provision. This paper evaluates the impact of three environmental policy options (National Forest Act from 1965-NFA65, Business as Usual-BAU, National Forest Act from 2012-NFA12) on land-use patterns and ecosystem services in the southern Atlantic Forest. InVEST (the Integrated Valuation of Environmental Services and Tradeoffs tool) was used to model ecosystem services. Synergies and tradeoffs between commodities, erosion regulation, carbon storage and habitat for biodiversity were assessed with the Spearman Correlation Test. The NFA65 produced the largest gains for forest ecosystem services, while BAU favored commodities expansion. The NFA12 approaches the baseline, contributing less to the provision of ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Roman, J. (Reaktion Books, London, UK.London, UK, 2006
  • Roman, J. (Environmental Information Coalition, National COuncil for Science and the Environment, Washington, DC.Washington, DC, 2008
  • Roman, J.; McCarthy, J. J. (PloS One, 2010
      It is well known that microbes, zooplankton, and fish are important sources of recycled nitrogen in coastal waters, yet marine mammals have largely been ignored or dismissed in this cycle. Using field measurements and population data, we find that marine mammals can enhance primary productivity in their feeding areas by concentrating nitrogen near the surface through the release of flocculent fecal plumes. Whales and seals may be responsible for replenishing 2.3x10(4) metric tons of N per year in the Gulf of Maine's euphotic zone, more than the input of all rivers combined. This upward "whale pump" played a much larger role before commercial harvest, when marine mammal recycling of nitrogen was likely more than three times atmospheric N input. Even with reduced populations, marine mammals provide an important ecosystem service by sustaining productivity in regions where they occur in high densities.
  • Roman, J. (Univ of California Press, Washington, DC., 2009
  • Roman, J.; Estes, J. A.; Morissette, L.; Smith, C.; Costa, D.; McCarthy, J.; Nation, J. B.; Nicol, S.; Pershing, A.; Smetacek, V. (Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2014
      Baleen and sperm whales, known collectively as the great whales, include the largest animals in the history of life on Earth. With high metabolic demands and large populations, whales probably had a strong influence on marine ecosystems before the advent of industrial whaling: as consumers of fish and invertebrates; as prey to other large-bodied predators; as reservoirs of and vertical and horizontal vectors for nutrients; and as detrital sources of energy and habitat in the deep sea. The decline in great whale numbers, estimated to be at least 66% and perhaps as high as 90%, has likely altered the structure and function of the oceans, but recovery is possible and in many cases is already underway. Future changes in the structure and function of the world's oceans can be expected with the restoration of great whale populations.
  • Roman, J.; Palumbi, S. R. (Science, 2003
      It is well known that hunting dramatically reduced all baleen whale populations, yet reliable estimates of former whale abundances are elusive. Based on coalescent models for mitochondrial DNA sequence variation, the genetic diversity of North Atlantic whales suggests population sizes of approximately 240,000 humpback, 360,000 fin, and 265,000 minke whales. Estimates for fin and humpback whales are far greater than those previously calculated for prewhaling populations and 6 to 20 times higher than present-day population estimates. Such discrepancies suggest the need for a quantitative reevaluation of historical whale populations and a fundamental revision in our conception of the natural state of the oceans.
  • Campbell, B.; Hagmann, J.; Sayer, J.; Stroud, A.; Thomas, R.; Wollenberg, E. (2006
      This paper presents a set of principles and operational guide lines for research and development (R&D) to better address natural resource management problems distilled in a series of workshops with more than 150 experts and practitioners. The principles and guidelines, a number of which relate to scaling issues, are illustrated with case studies from Zimbabwe and Indonesia. The former included research on watershed management for improved small-scale irrigation, while the latter focused on work with communities that had confronted logging companies, partly because of the negative impact of logging on water quality. The principles are grouped as follows: (a) learning approaches; (b) systems approaches, and (c) organisational models. Eleven operational guidelines for implementing the approach are suggested, arranged in three clusters: (a) working together; (b) establishing the institutional and organisational framework; and (c) improving the approaches to suit the task. The elements and strategies for two of these cornerstones (collaborative partnerships and scaling-up and scaling-out) are illustrated to indicate the quality needed to achieve appropriate implementation of the R&D approach.
  • Wunder, Sven; Campbell, Bruce; Frost, Peter GH; Sayer, Jeffrey A; Iwan, Ramses; Wollenberg, Lini (Ecology and Society, 2008
      There is consensus that payments for biodiversity services are a promising conservation tool, yet the implementation of applied schemes has been lagging behind. This paper explores some reasons why potential biodiversity buyers may hesitate. It describes the case of an unsuccessful attempt to establish a community conservation concession in the village of Setulang (East Kalimantan, Indonesia) to safeguard a biologically valuable area from predatory logging. Potential biodiversity donors did not engage in this payments-for-environmental-services scheme mainly because of their limited time horizon and uneasiness about the conditionality principle. Other complicating factors included overlapping land claims, and the diagnosis of the externality at hand. We conclude that new investment modalities and attitudes are needed if potential biodiversity buyers are to exploit the advantages of this innovative tool. We also provide some tangible recommendations on factors to consider when designing a compensation scheme for conservation at the community level.
  • Fischlein, M.; Feldpausch-Parker, A. M.; Peterson, T. R.; Stephens, J. C.; Wilson, E. J. (Environmental Policy and Governance, 2014
      Wind power is an important low-carbon technology and the most rapidly growing renewable energy technology in the US, but there is significant state-by-state variation in wind power distribution. This variation cannot be explained solely by wind resource patterns or US state policy and points to the importance of both local and central governance. We outline the national context for wind deployment in the US and then explore the sub-national, state-level factors shaping wind deployment patterns. We probe the socio-political context across four US states by integrating multiple research methods. Through comparative state-level analysis of the energy system, energy policy, public discourse as represented in the media and state-level, energy policy stakeholders' perceptions we examine variation in the context for wind deployment in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana and Texas. Our results demonstrate that different patterns of wind deployment and different debates about wind power have emerged in each locale. Participants across the different states appear to frame the risks and benefits of wind power in significantly different ways. We discuss the impact of risks and benefit frames on energy policy outcomes. The comparative assessment highlights the complex interplay between central and local governance and explores the significant socio-political variation between states. The study contributes to the understanding of energy technology deployment processes, decision-making and energy policy outcomes. Copyright (c) 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.
  • Boyle, Mary-Ellen; Ross, Laurie; Stephens, Jennie C. (2011, 2011
      As universities attempt to expand their relevance by engaging with local and regional societal challenges, various kinds of partnerships are emerging. A broad range of stakeholders, from both the university and the community, are typically engaged in and influence the development, implementation and perpetuation of these partnerships. This paper juxtaposes analysis of three community-university partnerships in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA, paying particular attention to the partnerships’ stakeholders, and to their relative importance. This research builds upon current understandings of critical factors in partnership sustainability, as these three partnerships have different goals, involve different university and community stakeholders, and are at different points in their organisational history. The fact that they share the same context – the same city – offers a unique opportunity for comparative case study analysis. The theory of stakeholder salience is used to explain findings about partnership sustainability and to make suggestions for strengthening existing partnerships. Specifically, we argue that stakeholder power and legitimacy, along with stakeholder urgency, are key factors in sustaining community-university partnerships. Keywords Community-university partnerships; economic development; community development; stakeholder salience
  • Seguino, Stephanie (Social and Economic Studies, 2003
  • Crow, S.; Danks, C. (Small-Scale Forestry, 2010
      Despite documented challenges, many community-based forestry (CBF) initiatives pursue forest certification. This study asked community-based forestry practitioners in Vermont what influenced their decisions to seek or not seek certification and what outcomes were realized from certification. Relationships, public image, value alignment and feedback on management practices were most commonly cited as both motivations for and results of certification. Expectations for economic benefits were low and price premiums for products were only occasionally realized. Informants complained of the increasing cost, complexity and time commitment required of certification. Overall, however, certified CBF informants felt certification was worth the expense. Group certificates and external funding significantly reduced certification costs to grassroots CBF initiatives. This study highlights the importance of facilitating organizations that can provide outreach, secure funding, understand the rules, handle documentation and develop markets for certified products.

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