The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)
1 Park Place, Suite 300
Annapolis, MD 21401
Dr. Bill Burnside is broadly interested in the economy of nature and in insights about human-environment interactions from different fields. His graduate research, at the University of New Mexico, examined how metabolic constraints affect ecological interaction rates in small ectotherms, foraging patterns in seed-harvester ants, and macroecological patterns in traditional and industrial human societies. At SESYNC, Bill researches ecological, economic, and social correlates of sustainability in socio-environmental systems. Sustainability efforts and understanding tends to focus on specific cases or regions, in part reflecting the relative youth of sustainability science. Nevertheless, common principles and practices should characterize systems that persist and thrive. In consultation with relevant stakeholders, Bill is assembling a database with a range of ecological and socioeconomic variables and sustainability metrics for a number of systems, from working biosphere reserves to cities, and test predictions about the influence of human population changes, connectedness, resource use, ongoing assessment, and background ecology on different aspects of sustainability. The resulting database and insights will inform the wise development and management of the coupled human and natural systems in which we all have a vital stake.