Ecosystem Services Program News

Putting America's Forests to Work on Climate Change

Putting America's Forests to Work on Climate Change

America's nearly 1.3 million square miles of forests absorb about 15 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions annually, storing carbon in growing trees, ecosystems, and wood products. By maintaining and expanding this forest carbon "sink," America can reduce greenhouse gas emissions more effectively and for less money, write Robert Bonnie, a Duke University Rubenstein fellow and former undersecretary of Natural Resources and Environment at USDA, and Jad Daley, president and CEO of American Forests, in an op-ed for The Hill.

Six Duke Research Projects Awarded Catalyst Program Funding

Six Duke Research Projects Awarded Catalyst Program Funding

The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University has awarded funding to six research projects for Fiscal Year 2019–20 through the institute's Catalyst Program.*

Now in its third year, the Catalyst Program aims to build on the Nicholas Institute’s mission by increasing engagement with Duke faculty to incubate and advance new partnerships, enhance policy-relevant knowledge, and create innovative policy solutions based on new creative synergies.

The 2019–20 awardees are:

The Drive to Embed 'Planetary Health' Impacts Within Corporate Sustainability Strategy

The Drive to Embed 'Planetary Health' Impacts Within Corporate Sustainability Strategy

The nexus between changing environmental conditions and health outcomes is not well understood by many businesses. To break down this barrier, the United Nations Global Compact's "Health is Everyone’s Business" action platform, which facilitates collaboration between companies, has made the case for integrating health and environmental solutions one of its priorities.

News Tip: Environmental Policy Experts Available for Comment on China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Chinese President Xi Jinping will convene an international forum on April 25-27 in Beijing to discuss next steps for the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s plan to strengthen ties with other countries in its region through infrastructure investments. The forum will include sessions on addressing BRI’s environmental impacts.

The Deforestation Risks of China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Environmental risks vary both among and within different economic corridors of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s initiative to strengthen regional cooperation through infrastructure and investment. Identifying the most environmentally sensitive areas during the planning of transport routes can help avoid environmental damage while availing of economic benefits that come from the improved infrastructure.

Required Rethink on What is Evidence

Evidence-based approaches to sustainability challenges must draw on knowledge from the environment, development, and health communities. To be practicable, this requires an approach to evidence that is broader and less hierarchical than the standards often applied within disciplines says a new article in Nature Sustainability. It mentions the work of the Bridge Collaborative (which Duke and our own Lydia Olander helped found with the Nature Conservancy, PATH, and IFPRI), explicitly to develop new approaches to cross-sector challenges. 

National Academies Keck Futures Initiative Announces Winners of the NAKFI Challenge

Lydia Olander, director of the Ecosystem Services Program at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, is among the recipients of one of three National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) Challenge awards. The project, "Institutionalizing Interdisciplinarity: A Cross-Institutional Network to Synthesize What is Working (and Not) in the Pursuit of Transformative Sustainability Science," aims to create a cross-university network to review and synthesize three central challenges to institutionalizing interdisciplinarity: measuring impact, supporting students, and fostering co-development. The models will be drawn from sustainability science—an emerging field that spans natural and social sciences.

Students walking in Kunshan, China - Cui Liu

Course Gives Students Chance to Participate in China Conservation Planning

Duke Kunshan University (DKU) administrators received some help from their own students as they planned the second phase of the Kunshan, China, campus expansion this spring. Three students used skills learned in a course on conservation planning and monitoring led by Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions senior fellow Elizabeth Losos to develop biodiversity recommendations that will be used in the expansion, slated for completion in 2021.

National Academies’ Gulf Research Program Awards $5.3 Million to Enhance Environmental Restoration Outcomes and Improve Oil Spill Risk Assessment

The Gulf Research Program (GRP) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine today announced grant awards for seven new projects totaling $5.3 million, including an award to a team of researchers led by Lydia Olander of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Five of the projects involve developing or testing new technologies or methods for monitoring or evaluating environmental restoration projects to improve future restoration efforts.

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