News - Ecosystem Services

Duke hosted The Coming Storm conference for journalists, policymakers, and community leaders to hear about ways to make North Carolina communities more resilient to hurricanes. The group of experts who spoke at the conference included Tim Profeta, director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, and Lydia Olander, the Nicholas Institute's Ecosystem Services Program director.

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.

Throughout April, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University hosted Dr. Paul Bolger, manager of the Environmental Research Institute at University College Cork in Ireland. Bolger is a 2019 Fulbright Irish Scholar who is investigating how interdisciplinary approaches are being utilized at four American universities—Duke, Arizona State, Columbia, and Cornell—to address global sustainability challenges.

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 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.

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.

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.

James Borton and the Nicholas Institute's Jackson Ewing say the devastation wrought by island building in the waters, mainly by China, is having a big impact on an already fragile ecosystem. Cooperation on scientific research and environmental management must be encouraged to limit the damage, and as a way to build trust.

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.

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.