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Tippecanoe Soundscape Studies, Indiana Life Story Interviews and Social Networks Along Climate Gradients of Mt. Kenya, Kenya Muskegon River Watershed Mega Model Ecosystem Project Tipping Points of Land Use on Ecosystem Integrity NSF Chicago ULTRA Project - Balancing Ecosystem Services in Urban Areas NSF Climate-Land Interaction Project (CLIP) in East Africa (Mt. Kilimanjaro) USGS Fish Habitat Assessment Project - Assessing Impacts of Climate Change and Land Use Change on Nation's Fisheries NSF III-XT: Tropical Soundscapes, Land Use and Biodiversity La Selva, Costa Rica
  • Tippecanoe Soundscape Studies, Indiana
  • Life Story Interviews and Social Networks Along Climate Gradients of Mt. Kenya, Kenya
  • Muskegon River Watershed Mega Model Ecosystem Project
  • Tipping Points of Land Use on Ecosystem Integrity
  • NSF Chicago ULTRA Project - Balancing Ecosystem Services in Urban Areas
  • NSF Climate-Land Interaction Project (CLIP) in East Africa (Mt. Kilimanjaro)
  • USGS Fish Habitat Assessment Project - Assessing Impacts of Climate Change and Land Use Change on Nation's Fisheries
  • NSF III-XT: Tropical Soundscapes, Land Use and Biodiversity La Selva, Costa Rica
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HEMA Theme 5: Sustainable Landscapes

 

We are interested in sustainable land use systems in a variety of contexts.  Land use impacts ecosystem services.  How might we sustain these ecosystem services over time?  We address this general question using a diversity of approaches including:

 

Footprints
Human consumption patterns can be translated into areal amounts.  For example, as fossil fuels become a more limited resource, how much of our land will need to be devoted to renewable natural resources, such as ethanol production.

 

Tipping Points
As humans continue to modify ecosystems, a challenging question becomes when does an ecosystem “tip” from being “good” to “bad”?  Thresholds of certain land use patterns could potentially create a situation where one key ecosystem component (e.g., nutrient loading) cascades through to other components (e.g., fish distribution, local recreational economics) to create a system of components that are no longer desirable.  This tipping point could also create a condition where the ecosystem comes to rest in a “trap”, where moving it back into a positive state is not possible.

 

Legacies
It is becoming better known that past land uses impact current and future ecosystem services.  Many of these legacies are created from large time lags that occur between the time land use creates an event or situation and the time it is manifested in the ecosystem.  For example, our land use legacy work on the impacts of past land use on surface water quality is likely influenced by the long-travel times that occur in glacial lake areas of the Midwest United States. This work has required us to develop a Backcast land use change model that is coupled to a ground water travel time model.

 

Balancing Ecosystem Services
Often, natural resource managers focus on improving one ecosystem service (e.g., forest production) at a time.  How might such a singular focus impact other ecosystem services that might be important to preserve (e.g., wildlife diversity, water quality)?  A key question of our NSF ULTRA-Ex project is to determine how one can balance these ecosystem services within a urban environment.

 

Data Democratization
Decisions are often made at the local level of government without the necessary information to determine how new policies would impact ecosystems. We are interested in connecting scientific discoveries with decisions makers through online decision support systems. The PLUS (Partnering for Land Use Sustainability) project attempts to connect research being conducted in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Agricultural Economics and the Purdue Center Regional Economic Development with Local Decision Maker (LDM).  Our Tipping Points Project also utilizes online decisions support tools for decision making occurring at regional scales.

 

 

 

Last updated March 6, 2011