Social and Biophysical Implications of Land Use Change in the Treasure Valley, Idaho

Rapid urbanization poses problems for community planners as they struggle to balance social, ecological, and economic values that often conflict with each other. While ecological and economic values, such as the annual crop yield from a farm field, are relatively easy to quantify and compare, social preferences, or the level of importance placed on different environmental resources, are often overlooked in favor of expert or influential opinions. Using results from a survey of residents in the Treasure Valley, Idaho, we explore how to better represent social preferences in a planning context.

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Map of the High Divide region

Large Landscape Conservation in The High Divide

Landowner decisions, like whether or not to participate in land conservation practices, affect the social and ecological systems in the High Divide. Using surveys and spatial analysis, we are trying to better understand factors that determine people’s attitudes and land management decisions, and to summarize and predict the spatial patterns of those decisions.

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Environmental Attitudes Across the Lifecourse

Much of the environmental degradation in the world today is the direct result of individual actions, which follow from people’s attitudes towards the environment. Little is known about how environmental attitudes develop and change over the lifespan. Using experimental tools and social network…

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Modeling Urban Growth in the Treasure Valley, Idaho

The future of farmland, forests and wetlands in the Treasure Valley depend directly on how much population grows, as well as the decisions made about housing density.
We projected urban growth from 2011 to 2100 based on nine different scenarios of population growth and population density.

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Tropical Forests and Industrial Logging

More than half of the world’s remaining old-growth forests are production forests, i.e. they are subject to industrial logging. Often, industrial logging is conducted by foreign corporations, in logging concessions. We measured the impacts of foreign logging concessions and forest management plans on deforestation and timber production in the Central Africa, which contains the second largest extent of tropical forests in the world.

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Alpine meadows

Old-growth forests, alpine meadows, and sacred birds in the Chinese Himalaya

In 2008, Jodi Brandt, now the leader of the Boise State Land Use Lab, landed one of the best PhD fellowships imaginable — exploring old-growth forests, trekking to remote alpine mountain-tops, and stalking threatened birds in the Himalayan mountains. Over four field seasons in China, she met many wonderful people and ate a lot delicious food! And along the way, she discovered important relationships between culture, economic development, and biodiversity conservation.

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Backhoe loading sand

Sand Sustainability – Are we running out of sand?

Sand is a key ingredient for urbanization, electronics, land-reclamation, coastal restoration and hydraulic fracturing. Sand mining has accelerated rapidly since 2000, and now rivals fossil fuels and biomass as the most exploited natural resource on earth. The demand for sand will inevitably increase as cities grow and per-capita consumption increases worldwide. However, there is currently no promising alternative to sand. Urgent, global action is necessary to prevent the looming “Tragedy of the Sand Commons”.

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Himalaya forests

Impacts of national-level forest policy in the Himalaya

The Himalayan temperate forest biome stretches across seven countries, and has among the highest rates of threatened and endemic species in the world. Deforestation rates vary widely among countries – from 1.7% in Myanmar, to 0.5% in Bhutan. Why this variation? Could national-level…

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Agricultural Decisions and Future Water Use

In many water-stressed areas of the world, the primary consumptive use of water is agricultural production. The decisions farmers make regarding what they grow on the landscape strongly influences how much water they consume. In this project, we are developing an integrative model…

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