The goal of this project is to advance theory, methods, and practice in urban ecology. The project will use data from the long term Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) telephone survey in conjunction with existing social and environmental data to examine social theories about the role of social cohesion, social order, quality of life, environmental conditions, and the adoption of sustainability practices.
Check out our newest documentary video, Plants & Pests, part of SESYNC's Research in Action video series.
Zero-deforestation supply chain commitments are a promising strategy to reduce deforestation for globally traded commodities. While providing straightforward mechanism to eliminate deforestation from commodity production, processes of leakage displacing environmental effects between regions or commodities, may undermine their effectiveness in halting deforestation.
Flooding risk has been recognized as a societal hazard and documented for centuries, yet nations continue to progress without leveraging the full depth of our global scientific knowledge. Developing countries often exist within deserts of hydrologic and atmospheric data, leading to the growth of nations in the face of high risk uncertainty. Nations, with ample resources, continue to develop infrastructure with a focus on short-term economic gains and often fail to consider the reality of flooding.
Given the most recent climate change projections predicting a temperature increase of 1.5C with wetter and more intense rainfalls, the risks and exposure to stormwater related flooding and pollution will likely increase. While constructing pipes, reservoirs and other forms of grey infrastructure will be required, this option is not feasible for denser, urban communities.
My project, The Making of a Pandemic: Plague, Environment, and the End of Antiquity, examines the outbreak of the first great socio-ecological disaster in recorded human history: the first plague pandemic, commonly known as the Justinianic Plague (c. 541-750 CE). This plague occurred during a pivotal period in world history, which witnessed the fall of the Roman Empire, the rise of Islam, and the transformation of political, religious, economic, and cultural life.
The role of green infrastructure in regulating and modulating the effects of infectious disease is a commonly overlooked, but critical component of ecosystem services. In a time of rapidly increasing human-mediated changes to the environment, understanding the ramifications of habitat fragmentation, human disturbance, urbanization, and climate change on pathogen transmission is critical.
My SESYNC project proposal focuses on understanding gaps between ecological and socio-economic goals of conservation and current terrestrial protected areas. I will identify quantifiable metrics based on goals used in the conservation planning research literature. These goal-based metrics, ranging from ecological (e.g. endemic species, rare habitats) to socio-economic (e.g. human population density, agricultural expansion) will be a common thread through all stages of the project.
Waste produced by the food production, transport, and consumption process is a global problem. It is critical to quantify food waste and its environmental impacts throughout the food supply chain and across spatial scales, so that policymakers can determine how to prioritize reduction efforts.
My research project, Rugged Resilience, investigates the Late Roman cities in the Eastern Mediterranean during Late Antiquity (c. 400-700 CE). Over this period, which included the fall of the Roman Empire and the rise of Islam, the region saw major societal transformations in politics, culture, economics, and religion which coincided with increasing environmental stress in the form of climate change and natural hazards such as earthquakes and epidemics.