Evaluating relationships among human health & welfare, ecological condition & natural resource governance

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Award Year: 
2012
Principal Investigator: 
Brendan Fisher, World Wildlife Fund
Taylor Ricketts, University of Vermont

Here are two seemingly unrelated truisms that can be said about today. First, we have entered a world of big data – much of that big data is freely available. Second, much of human welfare and health is inextricably linked to the functioning of the world’s ecosystems. However, these two platitudes are not unrelated. The truth is that we can get a better understanding of how the condition and management of the world’s ecosystems affects human welfare by systematically analyzing and synthesizing some of these large, freely available datasets. This is what we intend to do here. We have the goal of using geo-referenced household, health, and agricultural surveys in combination with biophysical and governance data in order to better understand the relationship among human health and welfare, ecological condition, and natural resource governance. We leverage expertise in human health, development, conservation and social sciences in order to perform impact evaluations, explore characteristics of interventions that work, and forecast potential future outcomes under changing socio‐economic conditions. We focus on sub-Saharan Africa, and coastal fisheries in the developing world, because this is where the expertise of the participants lie and where our organizations have fieldwork ‘on the ground.’ The results of our work will yield implications for planning the governance of natural resources; preparing for potential areas of conflict between biodiversity, livelihoods, and health; and scoping adaptation projects based on an understanding of how changing populations will affect and be affected by changes in ecological conditions.

Participants: 
Diane Adams, USAID and Rutgers University
Barbara Best, USAID
Molly Brown, NASA
Charlanne Burke, Rockefeller Foundation
Mark Carroll, NASA
Alicia Ellis, University of Vermont
Christina Faust, Princeton University
Helen Fox, Rare
Drew Gerkey, Oregon State University
David Gill, SESYNC
Christopher Golden, Harvard University
Diego Herrera Garcia, University of Vermont
Dave Hole, Conservation International
Anila Jacob, USAID
Kiersten Johnson, Westat
Mark Mulligan, Kings College London
Samuel Myers, Harvard University
Robin Naidoo, World Wildlife Fund
Alex Pfaff, Duke University
Jasbir Sangha, Center for Disease Control
Elizabeth Selig, Conservation International
Timothy Treuer, Princeton University

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