People and Biodiversity

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Award Year: 
Principal Investigator: 
Neil Carter

Protecting biodiversity while simultaneously meeting the resource needs of a growing human population requires a better understanding of the spatiotemporal linkages between people and nature, as well as the underlying mechanisms (e.g., individual behaviors, global forces) that influence those linkages. This project will focus on a globally endangered, conservation flagship wildlife species in a global biodiversity hotspot to explore and explain complex human-environment dynamics. The four interrelated objectives are to:

  • Design and implement a systems model of human-environment interactions that uses state-of-the-art agent-based approaches.
  • Create new methodologies to empirically calibrate and validate model behavior based on synthesized datasets from disparate disciplines (e.g., data on wildlife occurrence, human attitudes, natural resource consumption, and forest dynamics).
  • Assess the impacts of different socioeconomic and climate change scenarios on future system dynamics.
  • Examine future socioeconomic and ecological impacts of different conservation policy scenarios (e.g., payments for ecosystem services).

The project will explore substantive questions such as:

  • To what extent do emergent properties (e.g., feedbacks, non-linearities, thresholds) shape human-environment dynamics?
  • Which interactions or group of interactions have the largest effect(s) on system stability and resilience?
  • Do some conservation policy scenarios lead to counter-productive outcomes?
  • What conservation policy scenario best reaches wildlife conservation targets and supports livelihoods?

The innovative systems approach to data analysis and integration proposed in this research will advance socio-environmental systems science, and help inform decision making in regions around the world (i.e., those similar to the focal site) where the social, environmental, and institutional contexts are rapidly changing.


Resource Title Brief Summary
Assessing spatiotemporal changes in tiger habitat across different land management regimes Oct 18, 2013

Article published in the October 2013 issue of Ecosphere.

Coupled human and natural systems approach to wildlife research and conservation Sep 12, 2014

Article published in the journal Ecology and Society.

Impacts of people and tigers on leopard spatiotemporal activity patterns in a global biodiversity hotspot Dec 09, 2014

Article published in the journal Global Ecology and Conservation.

Modeling tiger population and territory dynamics using an agent-based approach Jun 24, 2015

Article published in Ecological Modelling.

Realizing Coexistence Between People & Large Carnivores in Shared Landscapes Aug 06, 2015

Poster presented at the 27th International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) and the 4th European Congress for Conservation Biology (ECCB), held on August 2–6, 2015 in Montpellier, France.

Associated SESYNC Researcher(s): 
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