Managing Invasive Species: Examining Individual and Cooperative Approaches

Invasive species impose severe ecological and economic changes on their new ecosystems—the United States alone suffers billions of dollars’ worth of damage every year due to the introduction and proliferation of non-native species. Bioinvasions often are viewed as a problem to be tackled by a top-down central decisionmaker seeking to control invaders across large swaths […]

Ecosystem Services in the Southern Appalachian Mountains

In 1990, the Acid Rain Program introduced market-based environmental policy on the largest scale ever attempted. The program capped the total level of acid rain–causing sulfur dioxide emissions from the US electricity sector and allowed utilities to trade under that fixed cap—a so-called cap-and-trade system. Ironically, though much of the original motivation for that program […]

What Did the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling Moratorium Mean for the Workforce?

On April 20, 2010, the Transocean Deepwater Horizon suffered a catastrophic blowout while drilling in a BP lease in the Gulf of Mexico’s Macondo Prospect. This accident resulted in the largest oil spill in US history and an unprecedented spill response effort. Due to the ongoing spill and concerns about the safety of offshore oil […]

Conservation Return on Investment Analysis: Three Case Studies

An increasing number of conservation projects designed to address ecological management, protection, and restoration are being judged based on the investment returns they are able to produce. The costs, benefits, and risks of these projects can all be assessed using conservation return on investment (ROI) analysis, a method to help conservancies prioritize possible programs based […]

Managing Shoreline Retreat in the United States: A Three-Part Strategy

Sea-level rise will increasingly threaten coastal communities. Responses to the issue have generally been grouped into three broad categories: protect, accommodate, and retreat. All three of these strategies will be needed and deployed to varying degrees around the United States. Highly developed areas—think New York City—will require some structural protection. Certain facilities that need to […]

Valuing Conservation in the Context of Climate Change

In the twentieth century, flooding caused more deaths and property damage in the United States than any other natural disaster. Most climate models predict that flooding will worsen in the future, a prospect that is leading a growing number of communities to explore the use of natural areas as protection against extreme events. These areas […]

Resources Magazine: The Limits to Ingenuity

When is ingenuity likely to help solve ecological problems? Is humanity’s ability to innovate its way around environmental problems relevant to how we think about conservation? I tackle these questions and contemplate the limits to ingenuity in a piece for the latest issue of Resources. Read the full article here.

Water Smart—Dollar Smart

Each year, the US government spends billions of dollars to build, maintain, and manage water infrastructure and water resources. Federal principles directing how the US Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies assess, plan, and invest in flood control, water storage, navigation infrastructure, and other water resources date back to 1983. The realities of science, […]

Climate-Ready Coastal Development? A Model from Pelican Bay, Florida

Americans love the coast.  We live there.  We vacation there.  Coastal areas generate substantial economic activity.  But building on the coast is risky—storms and sea level rise threaten coastal development.  Is there a model of development that allows us to enjoy all the ocean has to offer and yet reduces the risks from these hazards? […]

Paying Ecuador to Protect the Rainforest

A recent episode of NPR’s Planet Money discussed Ecuador’s proposed solution to a national dilemma: the fact that a massive oil discovery and a national park happen to be in the same place. Ecuador’s proposal is to forswear drilling – but only if other countries donate half the value of the oil in aid (about $3.6 […]