George Perkins Marsh Institute


Clark Honors Undergraduates Who Served as NOAA Fellows

NOAA Fellows

Clark University's 2017 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fellows returned to campus this fall after a summer of research in Massachusetts and Maryland. Their faculty mentors and other attendees honored the four undergraduates at a luncheon on November 8, 2017 on campus. More »

The Society for Risk Analysis Presents Research Solidifying the Need for Reformed Climate Policies

WLOX 11/13/2017

"Four studies presented at the 2017 Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) Annual Meeting will conduct a critical review of approaches scientists are using to characterize the impacts of climate change and assess the resulting economic damages. Ultimately, these researchers conclude that the current state of climate policy needs to be revaluated based on most recent research. ... Elisabeth Gilmore from Clark University, Kevin J. Rennert, Ph.D., from Resources for the Future and Robert Kopp from Rutgers University will be available for media interviews at the 2017 SRA Annual Meeting." Ed Carr and Rob Goble also are scheduled panelists. More »

Chris Williams Selected for Top-level Carbon Research Program's Science Leadership Group

Professor Chris Williams, geography, Clark University

Chris Williams, associate professor of Geography and Marsh Institute researcher, will join the North American Carbon Program's (NACP) Science Leadership Group. The NACP is a multidisciplinary research program established to study how carbon cycles through ecosystems, oceans and the atmosphere and to provide tools for decision makers. Williams will help lead efforts to coordinate research programs within and across agencies, informing the solicitation, review and implementation of research proposals, providing an interface with the scientific community conducting carbon cycle research, updating needs assessments, working to secure resources for new activities, and reporting results and accomplishments. Williams will also serve as co-chair for the development of a high-level science implementation plan for the NACP. More »

Three New Researchers Join the George Perkins Marsh Institute (GPMI) this Fall

The Marsh Institute welcomes three researchers this fall: Lyndon Estes, a new assistant professor in Clark's Graduate School of Geography, studies agriculture as the dominant driver of terrestrial ecological change, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa; Kami Seo, a visiting scholar from Japan's Aoyama Gakuin University, is collaborating with GPMI research professor Rob Goble on research related to the risk and uncertainty associated with agricultural diversity; and Ulf Schrader, a visiting scholar from the Technical University of Berlin, is collaborating with Halina Brown and Philip Vergragt on research related to sustainable consumption.

Brown to Serve on Newton Municipal Electricity Task Force


Halina Brown, Marsh Institute Researcher and Professor Emerita of Environmental Science and Policy, has been invited by the Mayor of Newton, MA to serve on a task force which is developing a municipal electricity purchasing plan that will allow the city to procure better electricity prices and to increase the mix of locally produced renewable electricity. Currently, Massachusetts requires that public utilities provide 12% of their electricity from such sources. Newton activists within and outside the government are aiming to significantly increase that proportion. The proposal to go above the minimum state-required baseline is controversial because it would entail public acceptance of higher electricity prices and would require special protections for people on low income.

Hattis Appointed to EPA FIFRA Scientific Advisory Panel


Marsh Institute Research Professor Dale Hattis was recently appointed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an ad hoc member of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) for a three-year term. The FIFRA SAP is comprised of biologists, statisticians, toxicologists and other experts that provide independent scientific advice to the EPA on health and safety issues related to pesticides. Hattis also recently served on EPA's Science Advisory Board Risk and Technology Review Screening Methods Review Panel.

Researchers Explore Ecological Importance of Small Natural Features


Marsh Institute Assistant Director Dana Marie Bauer is part of an international group of researchers exploring the disproportionate ecological importance of small natural features--unique environmental elements that provide significant ecological and economic impacts. The 37 researchers from 11 countries recently published a Special Issue on Small Natural Features in the journal Biological Conservation. Examples of small natural features include temporary streams, rocky outcrops, desert springs, and single large trees, among others. Sometimes these features provide resources that limit key populations or processes that influence a much larger area. Sometimes they support unusual diversity, abundance, or productivity. While small natural features are often underappreciated, undocumented, and vulnerable to degradation and destruction, they also can involve small-scale, cost-effective protection because they are small enough to efficiently maintain or restore, while traditional land-use activities, such as forestry, fishing and grazing, can continue in close proximity.

Researchers Warn of Wildlife at Risk Due to Expansion of Agriculture

An international team of scientists, including a Clark University geographer, has pinpointed the world regions most vulnerable to species loss due to intensified agricultural development. Their findings were reported in a recent Nature Ecology and Evolution article titled "Biodiversity at Risk Under Future Cropland Expansion and Intensification." More »

HERO Tree-restoration Efforts Take Root in Massachusetts' Gateway Cities

Hannah Cormey looks at a tree

For 18 years, more than 100 undergraduate students have received funding from the John T. O'Connor '78 Endowed Fund for Environmental Studies to participate in Clark University's HERO (Human-Environment Regional Observatory) program. In HERO, students conduct research on local environmental issues, gaining skills and experience to help them achieve their post-college goals. More »

Guidance for Stated Preference Valuation Published

George Perkins Marsh Institute director Robert Johnston is among the lead authors of the new article Contemporary Guidance for Stated Preference Studies, recently published by the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. This article proposes best-practice guidance for stated preference studies used to inform decision-making, grounded in extensive input from the profession and the accumulated body of research in this area. Stated preference (SP) methods such as contingent valuation and discrete choice experiments estimate measures of economic value using responses to survey questions. They are only known means to estimate values for changes in many public goods including environmental services, human health effects, and other outcomes for which observed behavioral (or revealed preference) data are not available. They are the only available means to estimate non-use values, or use values associated with changes that fall outside the range of currently observed conditions. Stated preference methods thus have a unique role in policy analysis. This article provides the most comprehensive set of recommendations for stated preference studies available.

The direct link to the article may be found at The University of Chicago Press Journals.

National Academy of Sciences Appoints Clark Geographer to International Arctic Group

Karen Frey in the Arctic

Karen E. Frey, associate professor in the Clark University Graduate School of Geography and research associate professor in the George Perkins Marsh Institute, has been appointed by the National Academy of Sciences to serve on the Marine Working Group of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC). Only two U.S. scientists were appointed to this prestigious group; Frey will serve at least one four-year term.

The IASC is a non-governmental, international scientific organization that encourages and facilitates collaboration on Arctic research. The IASC has five working groups (Atmosphere, Cryosphere, Marine, Social and Human, and Terrestrial); the United States can appoint up to two scientists to serve in each working group, with two additional delegates serving as team leaders. A complete list of appointees can be found online. More »

Anthony Bebbington Awarded 2017 Australian Laureate Fellowship


Professor Anthony Bebbington, Director of the Graduate School of Geography and Marsh Institute researcher, was recently awarded a $2.8 million Australian Laureate Fellowship from the Australian Research Council. The project entitled "Mining and Society in a Changing Environment: Pathways to Sustainability" will conduct a systematic comparative analysis of mining activities across Latin America, Australasia, and South-East Asia, drawing on political ecology, sustainability science, indigenous geography, and geographic information science.

Brown and Vergragt Publish New Book on Post-Consumer Society

Social Change and the Coming Post-Consumer Society cover

Halina Brown, Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, and Philip Vergragt, both Marsh Institute researchers, along with colleague Maurie Cohen of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, recently published the book Social Change and the Coming Post-Consumer Society, which explores the relevant processes of social change and identifies effective interventions for enabling a transition beyond the present energy and material-intensive consumer society.

Yuko Aoyama Publishes New Book on Collaborative Governance


Yuko Aoyama, Professor in the Graduate School of Geography and Marsh Institute researcher, with Balaji Parthasarathy of the International Institute of Information Technology, recently published the book The Rise of the Hybrid Domain: Collaborative Governance for Social Innovation, which explores possibilities for new governance structures that blend social and economic missions and advance the livelihoods of the poor in the Global South.