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Human Dimensions of Ecological Forecasting
John Harrington, Jr.
Department of Geography
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506
[email protected]
Cultivated Systems cover 25%
of Earth’s terrestrial surface
From Dow Chemical:
“when you add the
human element,
the chemistry changes”
“Together, cropland and pastures have
become one of the largest terrestrial
biomes on the planet, rivaling forest
cover in extent and occupying ~ 40% of
the land surface” (Foley et al., 2005)
The Anthropocene
6.7 billion people
Another 2.5 billion
more by 2050
Foley et al., SCIENCE 309, 2005
Stephen Carpenter :
“We are now living in
a no analog World.”
In his 2002 book, The Future of Life,
E.O. Wilson uses a metaphor (“the
bottleneck”) to describe the current
situation –
a period of maximum stress on
natural resources and human
ingenuity resulting from overpopulation and over-consumption.
Land use change and related
socioeconomic feedbacks are
important drivers - that change
biodiversity and ecological
There is a need for both
curiosity-driven and applied
research on central US land
What might be the result of a
policy shift to support and
subsidize cellulosic ethanol?
Infrastructure development goals for the
human dimensions component:
- Add a new social science faculty member
- Help create a multi-disciplinary atmosphere for the
development of new research questions
- Meetings and more meetings
- Increase our collective understanding of the human
dimensions of land change
- Dr. Ruth DeFries in Sept 2006 (Provost-level funding)
- Train students in human dimensions aspects of global change
and ecological forecasting
A period of rapid and unprecedented global change:
Types, Rates, and Magnitudes of Change
Human Dimensions: Accomplishments To-Date
Bibliography development – Summer 2006
GRA (Mary Dobbs)
Geog seminar – Summer 2006
“Climate and Vulnerability” (12 students)
Geog seminar – Fall 2006
Social Science Aspects Of Land Change Science;
What Factors Influence A Change In Land-use Or Land-cover?
“Land Change Science” (8 students)
Poster presentation at LTER ASM – Sept 2006
Authors = Harrington (geog), Middendorf (soc), Blair (biol),
and Dodds (biol)
“Linking the Konza Prairie LTER Program to Coupled Human and
Natural Systems Research in the Flint Hills”
Two new human dimensions projects as a result of
conversations at the ASM
Human Dimensions: Accomplishments To-Date
Approval of and search for new faculty
“Land Change Science”
„ “geographer with research interests in the land change science
component of human dimensions of global and regional change”
Two new faculty were hired from the pool of applicants:
„ Dr. Kendra McLauchlan (now a post-doc at Dartmouth)
PhD from Minnesota
Brings paleo, soils, agriculture, and ecological perspectives
„ Dr. Marcellus Caldus (now finishing his 2nd
PhD at MSU)
PhD in Applied Economics from Univ. of São Paulo
Brings econ., remote sensing & GIS, and ag. applications perspectives
„ Both have extensive experience doing field work on land change
Proof of concept
Agrarian Transition
KNZ LTER project – a look at the environmental history related to
agricultural changes in the Flint Hills
Designing Resilience
Book chapter and journal article
Modest funding from Agrarian Transition pool of dollars
Working with Ken Sylvester (Univ of Michigan, environmental historian)
Beau Burkitt (GRA funded using Ecoforecasting dollars)
Social science and humanistic researchers using hydrologic models and GIS to
examine how changes in land management with impact water quality,
biodiversity, and economic returns
Ecosystem Services from Working Lands
Funding from LTER Network Office
LTER social/ecological project led by Scott Swinton (MSU Ag. Econ & KBS)
Judd Patterson (GRA funded using Ecoforecasting dollars)
Inventory ecosystem services at each of 6 sites and develop a typology of
ecosystem services
Examine how human managers can enhance ecosystem services and generate
hypotheses about factors limiting the provision of ecosystem services
Additional extramural funding
NSF HSD competition
“Collaborative Research: Understanding Social-ecological
Dynamics In Grassland Ecosystems Of North And South
Joint Global Change Research Institute at Battelle, K-State,
Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina
Support from Kansas NASA Space Grant
Supplemental funding to support GRAs (travel and GRA stipends)
Space grant funding for ½ of a GRA for this coming year
This summer:
Unstructured interviews of stakeholders throughout
the study area
Goals = to find out what types of information triggers a
change in land-use or land cover, and
what information sources are relied upon
3 GRAs (Beau Burkitt, Judd Patterson, and Matt Gerike)
Work on publication(s) from the Northern Flint Hills
Ecosystem Services effort
Additional watershed modeling for the Designing
Resilience effort