- Corben Andrews
Project: Analyzing Turfgrass as a Pretreatment for Prairie Restoration
Description: There is a growing consensus among urban planners and developers that green infrastructure is necessary to mitigate the impacts of global warming and climate change on the health of cities. An emerging form of green infrastructure in cities is micro-prairie reconstruction projects as a sustainable landscape technique. Most projects involve converting once vacant lots into biologically rich ecosystems. Infestations by exotic invasive species are common challenges in these systems. Current pre-treatment methods involve different mixtures and methods of herbicide application to suppress weeds. Large applications of pesticides necessary for many of these projects can be detrimental to people and urban wildlife and can contaminate urban streams. Turfgrass forms a dense blanket of roots, and pilot tests and published literature suggests it can suppress weeds and invasive species. Therefore, turfgrass might be a useful pre-treatment for converting weedy urban plots into rich native prairie. Research will be conducted on the inhibitory effects of a conventional residential turfgrass mix on invasive species. Experimental approaches will include laboratory, field and greenhouse experiments. Surveys of micro-prairie projects in other Midwest communities will also be conducted to gather further data and information on organic site preparation techniques.
- Jordan Blekking
Project: Dryland Food Security Through Diversification
Description: A complex relationship exists between smallholder farmers, their farming systems and local climate in drought-prone rainfed agricultural systems, such as those in Southern Province, Zambia. Continuous maize production has dominated Zambian agricultural landscapes for decades and maize is often produced with little or no agriculture inputs. While the prevalence of maize production is driven largely by longstanding cultural preferences amongst smallholder farmers (Sitko, 2008), goverment incentive programs such as the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), which subsidizes agricultural inputs (namely hybrid maize seed and fertilizer) for utilization by farmers, also play pivotal roles. Over the past year, FISP has begun piloting the use of electronic vouchers, which farmers redeem for their choice of a wide range of agricultural inputs. I aim to research how varying levels of access to improved seed carieties affects on-farm crop diversification by farmers in rainfed systems within southern Zambia. I will investigate whether farmers that previously utilized FISP packages in maize-dominated farming systems diversify their crop selection with the advent of the electronic voucher system, or continue maize-dominated farming systems in light of changing precipitation patterns and increasing drough events.
- Martin Delaroche
Project: Environmental Management: Decision-Making Processes Among Large-Scale Landowners in Brazil
Description: As Brazilian Amazon deforestration rates finally shrank between 2004 and 2011, the contribution to deforestation occurring on small-scale farms increased whereas that of large-scale landholdings decreased dramatically. Such a behavioral change from the category of large-scale landowners remains unexplained in most parts of the Amazon. For instance, in the northern-central part of Mato Grosso, a powerful group of large-scale, highly capitalized landowners located along the BR-163 highway has been driving the soybean production boom starting in the 1990s, causing major deforestation in the area. However, these landowners seem to have changed their attitude toward the environment in recent years, perhaps following the strengthened enforcement of environmental policies and pressures from commodity traders who signed a moratorium in 2006 on soybean purchases coming from land cleared after 2006. Why do we observe such a behavioral change from the category of large-scale landowners.
- Paolo Dos Santos Massoca
Project: Fighting Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon: Environmental Policy Effects on Landowners' Decision-Making and on Land-Use and Land-Cover Change
Description: I am analyzing the effects of environmental policies in curbing deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. At the same time the region has accommodated several developmental initiatives, environmental regulations have consistently failed in governing land-use and land-cover change in Amazonia. The result goes beyond impacts related to deforestation and forest degradation, threatening the sustainability of the whole system both in socioeconomic and ecological aspects. However, specific environmental regulations have successfully reverted that picture, pushing landowners towards compliance with the law and controlling LULCC in some municipalities. One interesting example occurred in 2008, when the Brazilian government released what was called the deforestation blacklist, sanctioning municipalities with higher deforestation rates in the region. Grounded on the methodological framework developed in the Ostrom Workshop, my research proposal is to deepen my analysis about what led a different set of actors to collectively engage and craft strategies to curb deforestation in such areas, making these successful arrangements a model that has currently been followed at larger scales in the whole region.
- Shree Harsha Sridharamurthy & Ian Ford
Project: Water Works: A Game to Teach Water Systems Thinking
Description: Water is the elixer of life. Although 71% of our planet's surface is covered by water, only 2.5% of this water is accessible as fresh water. A lack of deep systems understanding of how water needs to be treated to be delivered to the home and what happens to the water once it leaves the home can pose severe sustainability and adaptation challenges. Our game, called WaterWorks, simulates a localized region where the player is responsible for building and maintaining a water system. We aim to test whether increased understanding of water related risks leads to fostering water conservation.
- Jennifer Huang
Project: Group Formation and Stewardship of Renewable Energy Resources: A Case Study of Iceland
Description: This research project aims to explore the ways in which individuals form stakeholder groups based on shared environmental, economic, and cultural values and how these groups engage in the stewardship of Iceland's renewable energy resources, including abundant geothermal and hydropower resources.
- Emma McDonell
Project: Creating Local Quinoa for a Global Marketplace: Geographic Indications and Collective Action in Peru's Quinoa Bust
Description: In the past decade, quinoa transformed from a derided "Indian food," produced and consumed almost exclusively in the Andean highlands, into a global "superfood" found on supermarket shelves worldwide. My dissertation research uses Quinua Puneño as a case study to examine the semiotic and material work that goes into creating and maintaining value and meaning for a "local" food in flobal markets, and the ways the Quinua Puneño project affects on-farm production practices.
- Jacob Mills
Project: Cultural Competency in the Sustainable Agriculture Movement
Description: In many metropolitan areas of the United States, populations of immigrants and refugees live with high instances of poverty and food insecurity. Those among this population whosurvived as subsistence farmers in their home countries often hold a wealth of knowledgeregarding agricultural practices that have practical application on a localized level. Issues suchas food insecurity are commonly addressed by urban sustainable agriculture projects seeking amore just, and environmentally sound approach to food production. This research seeks tostudy migrant populations from the Global South who have applied their traditional farmingtechniques and knowledge to their new midwestern home as a culturally appropriate adaptationto the contemporary sustainable agriculture movement.
- Olivia Ranseen
Project: Sustainable Production in Theatre
Description: Through this new project, we endeavor to choose one musical or play and intimately study the productions development “from page to stage” and develop sustainable strategies. We will attempt to implement these approaches and identify impediments – i.e. artistic concerns, limited funding, and behavioral norms. From this case study, we aim to develop a green certification program,which can be implemented across an entire season of plays and apply to other academic and regional theatres. Launching a green certification program will help bring sustainability to the forefront of theatrical production.
- Tyler Schlachter
Project: Linking Household Perceptions and Ecosystem Impacts
Description: More than three-quarters of households in Sub Saharan Africa rely on fuelwood, either firewood or char-coal, as their primary source of energy. Funds will go toward an integrated approach in measuring trends of savanna quality and extent as they relate to household energy resource needs in the miombo woodlands of southern Zambia. In part, the project will make use of a weekly ‘text-message’ survey to gather information on the seasonal and spatial characteristics of household fuelwood harvesting. Spatial measurements of forest quality and household use characteristics will highlight how household perceptions and practices differ from observed ecosystem quality. The work will provide insight for potential practical policy approaches toward improving the relationship between the multifaced resource needs of households and ecosystem health in African savannas.
- Clair Wright
Project: Soundscape Analysis of Human-Environment Interactions in the Cloud Forests to Ecuador
Description: The objective of this study is to understand the role of sound in coupled human-environment interactions. Specifically, this project will focus on how sound is used and understood by community members on a private conservation reserve and sustainable farm in the cloud forests of Ecuador.
- Jacob Bower-Bir & Ursula Kreitmair
Project: Groups, Dictators, and Natural Resources: An Experimental Study of Collective Action among Heterogeneous Groups
Description: We aim to study, in a laboratory setting, how groups of individuals interact when managing a shared resource. Natural resources are finite, and individuals often overexploit these when they encounter other individuals that also have access to the resources in question. Collaboration and teamwork may help individuals overcome this overexploitation, allowing more individuals to enjoy resources equitably. But what happens when there are multiple teams; teams that do not necessarily have the same values or capabilities? It is possible that the benefits of teamwork might be undone when groups of cooperating individuals encounter other group. Our experimental treatments will allow us to better understand the limits of cooperation and the behavior of groups in strategic settings.
- Scott Breen
Project: Groups, Dictators, and Natural Resources: An Experimental Study of Collective Action among Heterogeneous Groups
Description: I am leveraging my internship in the Department of the Interior’s Office of Youth, Partnerships, and Service to interview those that work on partnerships at the departmental level and at the bureau level, mainly at the National Park Service. The plan is to interview solicitors, partnership coordinators, park superintendents, and others who can provide insight into my research question. The hope is to better understand what legal authority exists to make partnerships and if there are any holes in that legal authority that impede the National Park Service from making innovative partnerships that would help further its mission. If sufficient legal authority exists, this will be an important finding for lawmakers as then they will know that no further legal authority needs to be given and the National Park Service should focus on changing its culture to better take advantage of their legal authority to form partnerships. Further, I also want to understand if the legal authority to form partnerships is adequately explained to those at the field level. If it’s too complicated, it may be that those at the field level do not make partnerships because it’s too big a barrier to take the time to understand what partnerships the legal authorities allow them to establish and what is required of both sides when forming a partnership.
- Satoko Hirano
Project: Contamination, Risk, and Sustainability in Japan after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident
Description: This ethnographic study intends to examine how individuals and social groups conceptualize radioactive contamination and evaluate the environmental effect and impact of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) accident. The 2011 Northeast Japan Earthquake and tsunami severely damaged the Fukushima Daiichi NPP, and radioactive effluents reached and fell on farmlands in certain areas. In order to decontaminate the land, the city administration collected radioactive surface soil and forage grass. Concerned farmers and residents have been negotiating final disposal sites and processes for the collected wastes. This research aims to examine farmers’ on-going efforts to remedy the soil, ensure food safety, and sustain their livelihood in the time of uncertainty and ambiguity. It focuses on the complexity and dynamics of radiation risk assessment and communication at and between different levels of the Japanese society.
- Liz Koziol
Project: The impact of different arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal species on the establishment of rare tallgrass prairie plants
Description: My research will investigate whether different mycorrhizal fungal species vary in how they affect the establishment of a planted and seeded prairie community. My experiment will take place at Hilltop Gardens at Indiana University. Plots will be inoculated with one of six species of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi that have been isolated from natural prairie communities. Each plot will be planted with the same 23 native prairie plants that range from being easy to very difficult to establish in prairie restorations. Plots will also receive a diverse prairie seed mixture. Beginning in 2014 and continuing throughout my dissertation research, I will measure the survival and growth of planted species, the germination and growth of seeded species, and I will measure plot level community diversity. After multiple growing seasons, this research could provide insight as to whether mycorrhizal fungi aid the growth of difficult to establish prairie plant species. Additionally, this experiment could inform whether specific fungal species can be applied during restorations to increase the growth and survival of specific target plants.
- Paul McCord & Jampel Dell' Angelo
Project: Agricultural systems in the Mount Kenya region: Sustainable practices, adaptation, and participatory learning
Description: Environmental consequences stemming from climate change produce extensive livelihood adjustments, particularly for people in acutely vulnerable social-ecological systems. Water scarcity resulting from climate change is a major global sustainability challenge. Livelihood systems in the Mount Kenya region rely on small-scale agriculture and are directly dependent on water availability. However, climate change, population increase, and water scarcity make livelihoods particularly vulnerable. To cope with difficult environmental conditions, such as water-scarcity, poor soil quality, and high temperatures, farmers apply principles of sustainable agriculture, such as mulching and intercropping. Effective water governance within the Mount Kenya region is increasingly important as population pressures increase and irrigation becomes more prominent. Water management at the local and regional levels involves multiple actors and rules which ensure that water is used efficiently in times of both water scarcity and abundance. This research investigates the water governance structure as well as the sustainable agricultural practices throughout the Mount Kenya region in an effort to understand systems that may be better equipped to cope with changing water availability. The research takes a participatory approach where both researchers and farmers actively exchange ideas and knowledge through workshops, community meetings, and participatory video making initiatives.
- RAIN Initiative
Project: RAIN Initiative - Examining the Efficacy of Green Infrastructure
Team: Maggie Messerschmidt, Tim Clark, Jeffrey Meek, Raija Bushnell, Valerie Lonneman, Rachael Bergman, Micky Leonard, Alexandra Aznar, Bridget Borowdale, Krista Manstch, Allen Reimer, Amari Malone (formerly The Cutters)
Description: The IU Championship Golf Course borders the IU Research and Teaching Preserve (IURTP) and large ravines and eroded areas have developed as a result of golf course runoff during rainstorm events. Our research tests the biodiversity-ecosystem functioning hypothesis that species diversity promotes enhanced functioning of ecological processes. We hypothesize that species-rich plantings will perform better than low richness plantings at trapping sediment, absorbing nutrients, and slowing flow velocity during storm events. Downstream water sampling sites will be established at each experimental ravine to monitor sediment yields, nutrient outfalls, and water flow as a function of diversity treatment.
- Chris Miller
Project: States as Pilots and Peers: the Path to Sustainable Energy Policy
Description: Issues of sustainability pose complex challenges to policymakers, and over the past two decades a majority of American states have enacted energy policy reforms attempting to address these issues. These reforms embody a wide range of innovative approaches to stewarding scarce resources, developing new ones, and averting unwanted environmental and economic impacts. At the same time, however, other states (including Indiana) have resisted this trend. Through a set of comparative state-level case studies, this research seeks to identify what characteristics identify states as “peers” most likely to facilitate the diffusion of one another’s energy policy innovations, and to identify the channels of communication through which policymakers inform themselves about the activities of those peers.
- Ryan Sullivan
Project: Understanding Spatiotemporal Variability of Fine Particulate Matter Concentrations and Human Exposure in Indianapolis, IN
Description: Both long-term and short-term exposure to elevated concentrations of atmospheric aerosol particles poses a significant threat to human health. Marion county (in which Indianapolis is based), was nonattainment for the national air quality standard for fine particulate matter (solid or liquid particles less than or equal to 2.5 micrometers in diameter, referred to as PM2.5) from 2005-2012. Our research objectives are to: analyze spatiotemporal variability of PM2.5 in an urban environment; investigate sources of PM2.5 in Indianapolis, Indiana, and specifically try to differentiate the impact of local versus distant or regional sources; investigate causes of observed extreme concentrations; quantify the exposure of residents of Indianapolis to harmful air quality; and identify neighborhoods at particular risk for exposure to air toxins. Our research comprises two key experimental components: Fixed site monitoring across the city and mobile sampling collected during bicycle transects of the city. Fixed monitoring can only be conducted at a few specific locations. Mobile sampling will help to better understand the degree to which particle concentrations (and human exposure) vary across a city. In the longer term – through our close collaborations with the IUPUI Center for Urban Health, our colleagues, and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, we hope to be able to identify measures that can be put in place to reduce human exposure to air toxins and thus to improve the sustainability of Indiana’s largest urban area.
- Jess Vogt
Project: Evaluating The Outcomes of Neighborhood Urban Forestry
Description: Our research evaluates the tree-planting programs of 5 nonprofit organizations in the eastern U.S. We're interested in discovering what types of ecological and social impacts collective tree planting and maintenance has on neighborhoods and individuals. For instance, our nonprofit partner organizations have noticed that some of the neighborhoods in which they plant trees then go on to do other types of group activities, like a neighborhood crime watch. But so far, these are just anecdotes; we're interested in putting real data behind the question to see what impacts tree planting has. Our project will collect data on the trees planted between 2009 and 2011 to measure survival rates and growth rates. We will also survey and interview people who live in neighborhoods where trees were planted as well as in neighborhoods that did not plant trees to measure the differences in neighborhood and individual characteristics such as trust and neighbor-to-neighbor familiarity. The IUOS grant funds will be added to almost $400K in existing project resources, and will specifically help increase the number of people we can survey in each city.
- Rinku Roy Chowdhury & Michael Perkins
Project: Management and Ecosystem Composition in Mexico's Agroforestry Systems Rinku
Description: Roy Chowdhury, assistant professor of geography, and Michael Perkins, Ph.D. student in geography, will study and characterize the diverse agroforestry management regimes in the community lands of southern Mexico, and document tree and associated soil microbiota species composition under the main management types. The research will lay the foundation for a larger, collaborative project investigating how landscape context and land manager decision-making shape agroforestry ecology and sustainability in southern Mexico and similar regions of the (sub) humid tropics.
- Lisa Bingham & Evan Ringquist
Project: Evaluation of the Gifts In Kind International/Home Depot Framing Hope Product Donation Program on Sustainability: Energy Savings and Landfill Impact
Description: SPEA professors Lisa Bingham and Evan Ringquist will evaluate whether Framing Hope has an impact on community sustainability by estimating material diverted from landfills and energy savings from this program.
- Heather Reynolds, Roger Hangarter & Jim Capshew
Project: Exotic Invasive Remediation in Dunn's Woods: Integrating Research, Teaching & Outreach for Sustainability
Description: Heather Reynolds, associate professor of biology, Roger Hangarter, Class of 1968 Chancellor's professor of biology, Jim Capshew, associate professor of history and philosophy of science, and Jonathan Bauer, biology master's student, supported by professional staff Mia Williams (University Architect's Office), Anthony Minich (Ph.D. student, Educational Psychology, IU Office of Sustainability) and Anita Bracalente (IU Art Museum), and community experts Ellen Jacquart (Nature Conservancy), Steve Cotter (City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation) and Spencer Goehl (EcoLogic Inc.), will develop an integrated program of research, teaching and outreach focused on mitigation of exotic invasive plant species and restoration of native biodiversity in IU's iconic Dunn's Woods, as a microcosm for promoting sustainable human-environment interactions.
- Rick Wilk, Peter Todd & Sara Minard
Project: Quantifying and Combating Food Waste at IU
Description: Rick Wilk, professor of anthropology and gender studies, Peter Todd, professor of cognitive science, informatics and psychology, and Sara Minard, anthropology Ph.D. student, will examine the institutional structures and individual choices that lead to food waste by student consumers on the IU Bloomington campus.
- Burney Fischer, Sarah Mincey & Richard Thurau
Project: Studying the Sustainability of Urban Social-Ecological Systems through the Urban Forest: Development of the Urban Forestry Resources and Institutions (UFRI) System
Description: SPEA clinical professor Burney Fischer and doctoral students Sarah Mincey and Richard Thurau will lead a project to develop and test a new methodology for assessing urban forest sustainability.
- Kenneth Richards, Miranda Hutten & Steven Rayner
Project: Third Party Sustainability Certification: Does the Forest Sustainability Certification (FSC) Program Deliver?
Description: SPEA associate professor Kenneth Richards and master's student Miranda Hutten, in collaboration with Steven Rayner of Oxford University, will investigate whether forestry certification programs increase the global application of credible sustainable forest practices.
- Eduardo Brondizio & Francisco deSouza
Project: Sustainable Development Strategies in Western Amazonia: A Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Land Use, Livelihood and Institutions
Description: Eduardo Brondizio, associate professor of anthropology, and SPEA doctoral student Francisco deSouza will evaluate changes in land use, livelihood and institutions under three land tenure types in Acre state, Brazil.
- J.C. Randolph & Catherine Tucker
Project: Sustainable Land Use: An Assessment of Technology Transfer Programs in Rural Honduras
Description: SPEA professor J.C. Randolph, assistant professor of anthropology Catherine Tucker, and SPEA doctoral students Monica Paulson Priebe and Carlos Gonzalez Jaimes will study the degree to which technology transfer initiatives by non-governmental organizations influence environmentally sustainable land-use practices, using the example of NGO interventions in the aftermath of Hurr.
- Diane Henshel & David Good
Project: Transportation Sustainability at Campus Level: Students' Residential Location Choice and Transportation Mode Shift
Description: SPEA associate professors Diane Henshel and David Good, master's students Yonghua Zou, Craig Harper, Max Jie Cui and Courtney Bonney, supported by adjunct advisers Kent McDaniel (IU Transportation Services), Rob Fischman (IU Maurer School of Law) and Nicole Schonemann (Office of Service Learning), will focus on the relationship between alternative transportation incentives and students' residential and behavioral choices and their impact on goals of transportation sustainability.