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Department of Environmental Conservation

Exploring Data, Information Needs and Existing Tools to Protect Forests and Forest Resources in a Variable Climate

To increase resistance and resiliency to climate change, forest management practices will need to change to ensure species and structural diversity, and adjust to emerging threats, such as invasive species, pests and diseases.  As a result of this need, there has been a flurry of development of science-based products and tools to incorporate the additional complexity of climate change and inform decisions about forest management and conservation.

Assessing Agricultural Productivity and Informing Adoption of Dual-Use Solar Arrays on Massachusetts Farmland

Dual-use systems are still novel, and to a degree experimental. What agricultural activities are most compatible with dual-use is not well understood, nor is whether the new incentive will be sufficient to spur significant adoption of dual-use cropping systems. UMass has important roles in the development and adoption of dual-use systems. First, UMass Extension will serve as a clearinghouse of information and an educational resource for the agricultural and solar energy communities regarding the new technology and new incentive program.

Examining and Improving Energy-Related Decision-Making Among Resource Constrained Massachusetts Households

Little research is available regarding energy use and sourcing decisions among lower-income households, particularly with respect to the efficacy of various behavioral interventions (e.g., providing social norms information; financial vs. social incentives). There is a similar lack of research that examines the barriers to and facilitators of lower-income households adopting small-scale renewable energy technologies (e.g., rooftop solar).

Disentangling the Predation Paradox: Human Food Subsidies, Elevated Predator Densities, and Non-lethal Effects of Predators Along an Urbanization Gradient

Predation is considered a key limiting process, and management actions for declining species, such as forest-dwelling songbirds, are often aimed at reducing impacts of predation. This is of particular concern in areas undergoing urbanization, since densities of potential predators tend to increase dramatically with urbanization.

Spatial and Temporal Management of Forest Cover and Urban Impacts for Water Resources Sustainability

Urbanizing watersheds in the northeastern United States face rapid changes in forest cover, urbanization, and conflicts in water use (USGS, 2002) that require careful evaluation of trends in components of the watershed system. This research will evaluate land use/land cover changes, assess their impacts on surface and groundwater supplies, and evaluate forest management strategies in a rapidly urbanizing watershed in southeastern Massachusetts.

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