Faculty Research

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Globalization and border security in the United States, Israel, and India

In the first decade of the new millennium, despite predictions of an increasingly borderless world through the process of globalization, the United States, Israel and India built a combined total of 5700 km of security barriers on their political borders. This research project analyzes how these previously controversial border security projects were justified in each country; what consequences these physical barriers have on the lives of people who live in these newly securitized spaces; and what long-term effects the process of locking down and closing political borders will have on the concepts of freedom and openness in these societies. More information…

marsh

Climate, disturbance and land carbon

Regions of the Arctic have warmed more than other locations in recent decades, and amplified northern warming is expected to continue. The fate of large amounts of land carbon in the Arctic, most of which is concentrated belowground, remains a large question mark with regard to global change feedbacks to climate. A number of ongoing projects, from Svalbard to Kamchatka, seek to better understand Arctic carbon-climate connections by investigating past wetland behavior and responses to climate variation and change.  Beilman lab.

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Climate and ecohydrology

Global climate change is the most important environmental challenge facing humanity. Understanding and predicting regional and local effects of global warming on natural ecosystems, water resources, agriculture, and other human endeavors is a critically important responsibility for the scientific community. Human impacts on land cover, through land use change and introduction of alien plants and animals is another important driver of environmental change with a myriad of negative consequences for natural and human systems. Several on-going research projects address climate change, land cover change, and alien species invasion in the tropics.More information…

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Recreation Management-by-Objectives

Hawai`i hosts approximately seven million visitors each year and more than 80% of these individuals participate in activities in Hawaii’s coastal and marine areas. As the popularity of Hawaii’s coastal resources continues to increase, impacts such as coral reef degradation, declining user experiences, and conflict among user groups have emerged. Regulatory agencies are increasingly faced with the difficult challenge of determining sustainable use thresholds, and require planning and management tools which can protect fragile coastal resources. The recreation management-by-objectives project is attempting to develop a rapid, cost effective; and accurate framework for assessing recreation impacts using minimal data sets. The framework will also attempt to link indicators and standards to clear management objectives, and will consider the multiple underlying impacts to allow for the selection of appropriate management actions.

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Vegetation, Environmental Change, and Lidar Remote Sensing

Vegetation is critical to our planet by generating products for our daily life, providing habitat for wildlife and maintaining biodiversity, regulating the mass (such as water, carbon, and nitrogen) and energy exchanges between atmosphere and biosphere. However, vegetation is being altered at an alarming rate due to deforestation, climate change, urbanization, species invasion, etc. at the global scale. Several projects are ongoing to 1) characterize vegetation structure with state-of-the-art LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) remote sensing systems from the ground, airplanes, and satellites, 2) model forest ecosystem functions to better understand the causes and consequences of climate and land use changes, and 3) quantify wildlife-habitat relationships to preserve endangered species. More information…

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Agrarian Change and Rural Land Use

Today we are witnessing a reconfiguration of forces that shape agriculture and rural land use. Place-based characteristics, agro-ecology, and social relationships intersect with increasing flow of power, information, capital, as well as goods around the globe. Research projects seek to understand how these different forces are contested and negotiated to shape contemporary agro-food systems and rural landscapes. These issues are examined in the context of international political economy, emphasizing the interaction of technological innovation, institutional change, and world-scale processes.
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Community-Based Natural Resource Management

The poor track record of top-down centralized management and regulation of natural resources by states and governments has led to an increased emphasis on the notion of "community management." Research projects by doctoral students critically examine the implications of decentralized management of natural resources, especially when confronted with contemporary political economic forces and the need to address global objectives such as conservation of biodiversity, or reducing / compensating the release of carbon into the atmosphere.

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