Food demand in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to triple by 2050. This puts Sustainable Development Goals 2 (ending hunger) and 15 (protect terrestrial ecosystems) at odds as conversion to agriculture is the primary driver of deforestation. Working in Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania and building on previous efforts by the International Institute for Environment and Development, this group combines spatial and political economy analysis to better reconcile these competing goals.
Despite improvements over the last 50 years, the Central Appalachian Coalfields region of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia, remain among the most impoverished areas in the United States. Once strongly focused on mining, forestry, agriculture and heavy/chemical industry, the region is well-positioned to embrace a vibrant, diverse economy including manufacturing, service industries, renewable energy development, tourism, and a revived forest products industry. This project will investigate how regional economic development in the Central Appalachian Coalfields can jointly benefit human well-being and environmental sustainability.
As more than half the world’s population lacks improved or adequate sanitation, the unsafe management of fecal waste and wastewater continues to present a major risk to public health and the environment. This working group aims to examine how wastewater utilities and their regulators can implement nature-based sanitation solutions into wastewater treatment facilities while also providing benefits to nature and biodiversity.
Infectious diseases at the livestock/wildlife interface threaten the health and well-being of wildlife, livestock, and human livelihoods. Using data from the recent Mongolian outbreak of peste des petits ruminants (PPR) that killed tens of thousands of livestock and more than half of the endangered saiga antelope population, the project will look at the potential for participatory epidemiology, or bottom-up surveillance by the pastoralists themselves, as the most effective way to prevent future outbreaks.
While source water protection programs are often implemented in response to hydrological shifts caused by climate change and land degradation, there is little empirical evidence about how these activities affect the quantity of water downstream. This project will investigate to what extent, and under what circumstances, source water protection activities can produce meaningful baseflow, groundwater recharge, and flood impacts.
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and a new scientific movement focused on the concept of “Planetary Health” are drawing increased attention to the links between human health and the environment. Unfortunately, the lack of objective scientific evaluation of these links — such as those between disease transmission and environmental change — makes it difficult to design interventions that promote healthy outcomes for both people and nature.
In the past other regions of Colombia experienced agricultural booms, with little or no planning for land-use changes and associated energy and communications infrastructure. This resulted in loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Right now, there is a unique opportunity to avoid a similar development path in the Orinoquia, the last great agricultural frontier in Colombia. Although the region is still relatively intact and has not undergone major development, it is experiencing a rapid expansion of large-scale agricultural development.
Ongoing industrial development is a reality, and, for many countries, an imperative. Increasingly, governments and others are turning to compensatory mechanisms, such as offsets, to counterbalance unavoidable biodiversity and ecosystem service impacts and provide urgently needed resources for underfunded environment programs. In such circumstances, how can people best harness the new push for compensatory conservation approaches, like offsets, to leverage the best outcomes for biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides?
Any viable approach to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) requires addressing soil, which is the foundation of both healthy natural and agricultural systems. Since soil organic matter (SOM) is considered a major arbiter of soil health and can be built up or broken down by land management, it is the most relevant target for human wellbeing and conservation interventions.
Coastal ecosystems play a critical ecological and societal role in coastal communities; yet natural and anthropogenic pressures have led to degradation of habitat quality and a reduction in the extent of wetlands, reefs and coastal forests worldwide. Currently billions of dollars are being put towards reducing the risks of disasters and climate change though coastal habitat restoration. New policies emphasize planning processes that work across sectors and jurisdictions to fund project that provide the greatest returns for people and nature.