My group leads a number of current projects under four research themes:
1. How will environmental changes (i.e., land use change, climate change, human population growth, invasive species) and alternative watershed management strategies impact the ecosystem goods and services provided by Hawaiian ahupuaʻa?
a. How do land management practices affecting erosion, groundwater recharge, and water quality impact ecosystem services across the watershed, from mountain ridge to coral reef? Where are there trade-offs and win-win opportunities? How can we apply decision science to make better decisions? (with Megan Barnes, Kim Falinski, Hla Htun, Tova Callender (West Maui Ridge to Reef), Crow White (Cal Poly SLO), Michelle Haynes (US Army Corps of Engineers))
b. How do land-based pollution and climate change affect coral reef ecosystem services, and what are the implications for human well-being and management? (with Becky Ingram, Mary Donovan, Alan Friedlander (UH-Fisheries Ecology Research Lab), Lindsay Veazey, Mariska Weijerman (NOAA-CREP), Susan Yee (– USEPA), Jamison Gove (NOAA Integrated Ecosystem Assessment))
c. Do models of cumulative human impact capture actual levels of degradation, and can we use these models to predict when human activities will cause tipping points in marine ecosystem condition? (with Joey Lecky, Kim Selkoe (NCEAS), Carrie Kappel (NCEAS), Mary Donovan, Alan Friedlander (UH Fisheries Ecology Research Lab), Malia Chow (NOAA – Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary) (this is part of the Ocean Tipping Points project)
2. What is the nature and value of coastal ecosystem goods and services?
a. What is the economic cost of coastal water quality decline and environmental degradation for recreationalists in Hawaiʻi? What makes a site attractive to snorkelers? (with Tamara Wong, Kenneth Bagstad (USGS), Marcus Peng)
b. How much Hawaiian reef fish is extracted, where does it go, how much is it worth, and who does it feed? (with Shanna Grafeld, Kaylyn McCoy, Alan Friedlander (UH – Fisheries Ecology Research Lab), Jack Kittinger (Conservation International)
3. What are the economic, social, ecological, cultural, and institutional mediators of success in community-based management of social-ecological systems?
a. How can local management and national policy be informed by the Total Economic Value of the ecosystem goods and services in the Velondriake locally managed marine area (Madagascar)? (with Bienvenue Zafindrasilivonona, Michele Barnes, Luke Brander, Pieter van Beukering)
b. What are the key system and institutional characteristics affecting ecological and social outcomes in the Velondriake locally managed marine area (Madagascar)? (with Michele Barnes, Kame Westerman, Shawn Peabody)
4. How can natural capital be captured in economic indicators of sustainability, and how can indicators of sustainability affect policy?
a. What is the true progress of Hawaii, measured using the Genuine Progress Indicator? (with Regina Ostergaard-Klem (Hawaiʻi Pacific University))