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 […]

RFF Feature: Evaluating Approaches for Financing State Parks

In new research, RFF’s Margaret Walls finds that financially struggling state park systems are in need of a fresh approach—but that there is no “one size fits all.” To read the full feature, click here.

Protecting Coastal Mangroves to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Preventing the release of “blue carbon” stored in mangroves, sea grasses, and salt marshes may be an effective way to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. A new RFF report details the possibilities. Click here to read the full feature.

Going Out…Was Really Going In.

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out ‘til sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” -John Muir It sounds a bit touchy-feely, but there is increasing evidence that time spent walking beneath trees, strolling beside a river, or lying in a park pays significant health and […]

Will Biotech Help Bring Back the American Chestnut?

Over a hundred years ago, in 1904, the chief forester Herman Merkel of New York Zoological Park grew concerned as the American chestnut trees under his watch were dying off. Chestnut blight had entered the United States. It is caused by a rapidly spreading airborne fungus, which was accidentally introduced with imported Asian chestnut trees. […]

RFF Report: An Assessment of U.S. Forest-Climate Assistance

While the impacts of climate change become more obvious almost by the day, comprehensive action by the international community and by the United States seem distant. At the same time, the window for diverting global greenhouse gas emissions towards a two degree Celsius pathway is quickly closing. In my view, one of the only ways […]