Ecosystem Services: ecological processes delivering benefits to humans

We work on a range of issues with regard to how the condition and management of ecosystems affects human well-being and biodiversity. From the potential of carbon payments for forest conservation in the biodiversity hotspot of The Eastern Arc Mountains in Tanzania, through analyzing the links between ecosystem degradation and socioeconomic impacts in Colombia, to how nutrient runoff affects algal blooms and recreation benefits on Lake Champlain, Vermont, our work aims to connect rigorous data collection and modeling with respect to both the ecological and socioeconomic aspects of land use change and management.

Ecosystems and Human Health

A particular aspect of the ecosystem services research focus specifically on human health impacts of ecosystem change and governance. In the field, we are looking at how fisheries management and conservation agriculture affect both the biological conditions of fisheries and farms and the diet and health of coastal communities. Under this topic we also are using a big data approach through a grant from the NSF Synthesis Center SESYNC to link changes in watershed conditions, protected area status, and coastal conditions to human health measures of stunting, anemia, and diarrhea incidence. One core lens we use in these analyses is looking at disparities in health outcomes and access to capital based on gender.


Human Behavior and Sustainability

We know that the sustainability of our planet rests firmly on the aggregate decisions of humankind. We look to better understand processes of human decision making when confronted with consumption decisions and environmental behavior in general. We have been using insights from behavioral economics to test how people decide to purchase more sustainable products, decide how to dispose of their waste, decide to enjoy nature, or decide to act more pro-socially.