Ecosystem Services Program News

Duke Environmental Economics Doctoral Scholars (DEEDS) Program. Photos by Sanjog Sahu and David Kaczan.

Research Program Melds Economics and Environment

For four years, the Duke Environmental Economics Doctoral Scholars (DEEDS) Program has sought to provide Ph.D. students with the opportunity to explore the intersection of policy, economics, environmental science, and management around environmental topics. DEEDS gives students a sense of what it is like to conduct an independent research project that is directly relevant to policy processes.

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Survey Gauges Top Leaders Views of Environmental Policy Landscape

In spring 2017, researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions set out to determine what and how a broad cross-section of thought leaders at private corporations, nonprofits, government agencies, and universities think about emerging environmental trends, risks, and opportunities. Through the Emerging Environmental Issues Survey, the researchers aimed to assess both the reach and the manageability of environmental change.

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Federal-University Partnerships, Renewed Funding Boost Climate Research

With five new university consortium partners and a renewed five-year funding award, North Carolina State University will continue to host the Department of the Interior's Southeast Climate Science Center, broadening its access to expertise and renewing its commitment to the science needs of the region. Duke University is among the new partners, with research led by Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Ecosystem Services Program director Lydia Olander.

Building a Blue Economy in North Carolina

The ocean economy contributed $2.1 billion and 43,385 jobs to North Carolina’s economy in 2013, according to a new report by North Carolina Sea Grant and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Ocean and coastal resources played an even larger role in the state’s coastal counties, providing 6.5 percent of gross domestic product, or GDP, and supporting 13 percent of employment. And according to “North Carolina’s Ocean Economy: A First Assessment and Transitioning to a Blue Economy” report co-author Tibor Vegh, these figures are most likely low. “Our estimates represent a snapshot in time only for the sectors where we could find economic data,” Vegh, a policy analyst with the Nicholas Institute, tells CoastWatch.

Bridging Gaps: Cross-Sector Collaboration is the Future of Sustainable Business

In a blog post for Thrive, the Nicholas Institute's Lydia Olander and her co-authors emphasize how cross-sector collaboration is the future of sustainable business. The Bridge Collaborative, co-led by four key organizations—Duke University, PATH, the International Food Policy Research Institute, and The Nature Conservancy—are connecting the health, environment, and development communities to develop the evidence for results that support shared solutions to global challenges. 

ACES: A Lesson in Storytelling and Breaking Down Silos

In a blog post, the Nicholas Institute’s Sara Mason writes about attending the A Community on Ecosystem Services (ACES) conference in Jacksonville, Florida. There, Mason says, the common theme was the absolute importance of telling engaging stories on ecosystem services that not only resonate with all types of, but are framed to engage communities no matter what their political views.

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Research Maps Countries that will be Most Impacted by Large-Scale Coral Reef Loss

New evidence from Duke environmental researchers points to the devastation coral reefs could face in the next few decades—which would affect human populations around the world. ”Some scientists have held out hope that there would be reef areas that could escape the harm of climate change, but we find that most reefs will be affected by either warmer seas or more acidic oceans,” said Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Linwood Pendleton. “2016 has been one of the worst years in memory for coral bleaching. This fact is demonstrated by this year’s bleaching event that affected nearly all of the Great Barrier Reef.”

Overcoming Barriers to Large-Scale Conservation

Work by Lydia Olander of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and Paul Trianosky of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative is shedding light on how to overcome barriers to large-scale conservation. 

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Transitioning to a 'Blue Economy' can Reshape the Ocean Landscape

In The Hill, the Nicholas Institute's John Virdin and the World Bank's Pawan Patil write that as we enter a period of uncertainty in both international and climate policy following the United States presidential election, identifying a concept that can help find the wins between the economy and the environment is even more important. In the ocean, policymakers are asking if this may be achieved, in part, under the new concept: Blue Economy. 

Coral Decay: Scientists Pinpoint Regions Where Declining Coral Reefs could Impact People the Most

Rising carbon dioxide levels amplify the risk of elevated sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification, and these two global stressors may severely harm warm-water coral reef ecosystems and the people who depend on them. PLOS One Research News features a Q&A with Linwood Pendleton, senior scholar at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, and lead author of a new study that uses an indicator approach to identify where coral reef-dependent people were most likely to be affected by rising CO2 levels by 2050.