"We are as gods and might as well get good at it." Stewart Brand, 1968. Despite the effects of relentless anthropogenic changes, we believe that science can help sustain people and landscapes around the world for today, tomorrow, and for future generations.
Our mission is to understand landscapes, their people, and their futures and, by doing so, improve landscape policy and management decisions. Questions that motivate our research include: What determines landscape trajectories? Will future landscapes be able to adapt to human-driven change? How will landscape management shape future landscapes? We particularly focus on the role of anthropogenic change (climate change, land use change) and management practices. We address the immediate concerns of society, providing insight for long-term landscape management and planning.
To address these questions and concerns, we seek to understand the primary drivers that influence landscape transformation. Therefore, we use concepts and theories from landscape ecology, ecosystem ecology, and landscape management. Social science substantially contributes to our research approach as local knowledge and actions and networks are pivotal to understanding potential futures.
We are future-oriented. We forecast landscape change, taking into consideration emerging threats to landscape health and sustainability. These threats include climate change, land use change and development, fragmentation, and novel disturbance regimes.
Our research is powered by data science. Data enable us to test concepts and theories and to capture the local variation that makes each landscape unique. We blend data from local, national, and global scales that come from satellite, social, and ecological sources.
The Dynamic Ecosystems and Landscapes Lab is located at North Carolina State University. Our lab includes faculty, research scientists, and graduate students. As a lab, we are committed to educating all people and promoting sustainability across all landscapes.
Now Available! Managing Landscape for Change, by lab director Dr. Robert Scheller.
This book discusses how future landscapes will be shaped by pervasive change and where, when, and how society should manage landscapes for change. Readers will learn about the major anthropogenic drivers of landscape change, including climate change and human induced disturbance regimes, and the unique consequences that multiple and simultaneously occurring change agents can have on landscapes. The author uses landscape trajectories as a guide to selecting the appropriate course of action, and considers how landscape position, inertia, and direction will determine landscape futures. The author introduces the concept of landscapes as socio-technical-ecological systems (STES), which combines ecological and technological influences on future landscape change and the need for society to acknowledge both when considering landscape management. Thinking beyond solutions, the author identifies barriers to managing landscapes for change including the cost, cultural identity of local populations, and the fear of taking action under uncertain conditions. Nevertheless, processes, tools, and technologies exist for overcoming social and ecological barriers to managing landscapes for change, and continued investment in social and scientific infrastructure holds out hope for maintaining our landscape values even as we enter an era of unprecedented change and disruption.
It is available directly from Springer (Available here, hardcover and e-book) and on Amazon.com.
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