Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability logo

We've got a new name! Read the announcement. (A new website is under development.)

Publications

Developing a State-Level Natural and Working Lands Climate Action Plan

Natural and working lands—forests, wetlands, coastal, and agricultural lands—provide many benefits, including supporting key economic sectors, enhancing community resilience to hazards such as fires and floods, and contributing to climate mitigation by storing large amounts of carbon. This guide is aimed at states interested in developing plans for conserving, managing, and restoring these lands to preserve and enhance their benefits. The guide uses examples from North Carolina’s recently completed Natural and Working Lands Action Plan to walk through the planning process, helpful resources, and the tracking of plan implementation.

Guidebook for the Engaged University

The next phase of academic reforms must build toward the broad institutionalization of engaged scholarship, as demanded by students and the communities that surround and support universities. The Guidebook for the Engaged University gives the academy both a vision and a roadmap to a more impactful future, in which universities, including their scholars and staff, catalyze solutions for the world’s most pressing challenges.

Sea Level Rise Drives Carbon and Habitat Loss in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Coastal Zone

As the climate changes, marshes on the Atlantic coast will migrate inland and cause even more carbon to be released into the atmosphere, a new modeling study finds. Researchers developed a spatial model for predicting habitat and carbon changes due to SLR in six mid-Atlantic U.S. states likely to face coastal habitat loss. The modeling runs looked at land changes in coastal areas through the year 2104 in scenarios that predict intermediate sea level rise. In 16 out of the 19 runs of the model, inland marsh migration converted land from a net carbon sink to a net carbon source.

A Menu of State Actions to Promote Forest Carbon Sequestration and Storage

Across the U.S., states are developing policies and programs to help promote forest-based natural climate solutions. This effort is bolstered by a growth in forest carbon programs that aim to make entry into the voluntary carbon offset market accessible to all landowners. Here we present a “menu” of policy and program options (that we call action items) derived from existing state programs and policies that decision makers can leverage to promote forest carbon solutions.

Tracking the Benefits of Natural & Working Lands in the United States: Dataset Evaluation and Readiness Assessment

Natural and working lands (NWL) in the United States provide many benefits, including food, climate mitigation, recreational opportunities, jobs, and many more. There is currently no coordinated approach in the United States to track how provision of these benefits is changing over time. This project begins to fill this gap by identifying datasets that can be used to track the status and trends of NWL benefits (i.e., ecosystem services), assessing their readiness for use in the near-term, and highlighting data gaps and limitations that need to be addressed for a national assessment.

Infrastructure Investment Must Incorporate Nature’s Lessons in a Rapidly Changing World

The authors of this commentary in One Earth suggest that infrastructure must become more resilient as the global climate changes and also more affordable in the economic and political context of a post-COVID world, and that we can solve this dual challenge and drive global infrastructure investment into a more sustainable direction by taking our cues from Nature.

Global Climate Change and Human Health: From Science to Practice, 2nd Edition

This chapter from Global Climate Change and Human Health: From Science to Practice discusses how various ecosystem services affect human health and describes how climate change might disrupt or alter the delivery of those services.

Connecting Ecosystem Services Science and Policy in the Field

The authors outline the framework used to teach environmental policy instruments through the “Five P’s”: prescription, property, penalty, payment, and persuasion and then discuss the discrete ecosystem services research required to effectively implement each tool.

Integrating Programmatic Expertise from across the US and Canada to Model and Guide Leadership Training for Graduate Students in Sustainability

In this paper, the authors describe the integrative approach they took to synthesize their collective knowledge of Leadership Training for graduate students in Sustainability (LTS) with their diverse programmatic experiences and, ultimately, translate that work into concrete guidance for LTS implementation and design.

GEMS Phase II Report: Coastal Restoration

This Phase II report of the GEMS project identifies metrics available to monitor the social and economic outcomes of a wide variety of coastal projects funded in the Gulf, using ESLMs to illustrate how these projects’ impacts cascade through the biophysical system to result in social and economic outcomes. Phase II expands the focus to assess socioeconomic metrics for 16 coastal project types, including habitat restoration, recreational enhancement, and water quality improvement projects.