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Environmental Conservation

Total wetland area in the U.S. has been in precipitous decline since the 1900's, and although recent decades have slowed the decline and advocated strongly for the services and economic benefits (not to mention ecological benefits!) these lands provide, still much more work needs to be done to preserve existing wetlands and promote restoration of impaired ones.

With the rapid development and wide application of nanotechnology, the introduction of manufactured nanomaterials into both solid and liquid wastes (and to the environment) is inevitable through production, use, and disposal. It has been reported in 2008 that nano-TiO2 is leached out of house facades into receiving surface waters. Currently, there are over 800 products on the market containing nanomaterials such as lotions, sunscreens, paints, and socks. This research will determine the environmental behavior and process of several types of manufactured nanomaterials.

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.

Increased use of biomass fuels is a promising option for renewable fuels that could decrease our dependence on oil and reduce greenhouse gases. Unfortunately, we currently do not have clear knowledge about the plant traits that should be considered bioenergy traits and should be subjected to breeding and selection. We propose to use a grass energy model organism (Brachypodium distachyon), and treatment with two promising plant biomass transformation techniques (biological and thermochemical conversion) to examine the effect of natural diversity on biofuel production efficiency.

Our plan is to evaluate the role, causative mechanisms, and interaction effects of biotic stressors (i.e. parasitic mites, pests, andpathogens) and abiotic stressors ((i.e. exposure to pesticides, poor habitat and nutrition, management practices) on the survival,health and productivity of honey bee colonies as well as within pollinator communities.  Additionally we plan to develop and recommend "best practices" for beekeepers, growers, land managers and homeowners to promote health of honey bees and pollinator communities.

The red-backed salamander P. cinereus is an important component of forest ecosystems and, because they are widely distributed, occur at high densities, and are sensitive to environmental change and habitat disturbance/alteration, they are an ideal indicator species for assessing forest ecosystem health. However, the behavioral ecology of P.

Acid rain and atmospheric pollution continue to be regional and national problems. The site's data contributes to the accurate assessment of precipitation chemistry and the effectiveness of the nation's air pollution laws and regulations.

While most economists tout the benefits of using incentive-based policies (like emission taxes, emissions markets, and individual transferable quotas), many conceptual details concerning implementation and management of these policies have not been addressed. Recent research suggests that commonly-held notions of efficient incentive-based policies need to be modified to account for the costs of enforcing these policies.

Global climate change and nitrogen deposition are processes that will only increase as industrialization continues. The purpose of this study is to understand the response of the microbially driven soil nitrogen cycle to the combined effects of temperature increase and nitrogen amendments in forest soils of New England. Terrestrial cycling of nutrients is of particular importance due to the effects nutrient cycling can have on plant growth and climate change.

Rural landscapes around the world face intense development pressures from nearby urban areas. In the United States, rampant, low-density development at the urban fringe consumed approximately 800,000 ha of land in the last decade (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service 2004). New subdivision developments and new towns are blanketing the landscape, often with little or inadequate provision for green infrastructure. This is certainly the case in New England, one of the nation's most densely populated regions. For example, every day 16 ha.

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