Developing the scientific foundation for the green economy
Spatial Informatics Group—Natural Assets Laboratory
The science and policy of natural assets and environmental markets are evolving rapidly and require nimble institutions to provide the innovations necessary to link economic and environmental interests. In 2012, the non-profit SIG-NAL was created to meet this need. SIG-NAL broadens the reach of the technical capacity and professional networks of Spatial Informatics Group (SIG) to create a more flexible entity with increased effectiveness in a dynamic economic and political context working for the public benefit.
New Publications from Spatial Informatics Group and Natural Assets Lab scientists and collaborators:
Bagstad, K. J., J.M. Reed, D.J. Semmens, B.C. Sherrouse, and A. Troy. (2015) Linking biophysical models and public preferences for ecosystem service assessments: a case study for the Southern Rocky Mountains. Regional Environmental Change, 1-14.
Dove, N.C and W.S. Keeton. 2015. Structural complexity enhancement increases fungi diversity in northern hardwood forests. Fungal Ecology 13: 181-192.
Kerchner, C. and W.S. Keeton. 2015. California’s regulatory forest carbon market: panacea or Pandora’s box for northeastern landowners? Forest Policy and Economics 50:70–81.
Matzek, V., C. Puleston, and J.S. Gunn. 2015. Can carbon credits fund riparian forest restoration? Restoration Ecology 23(1): 7-14.
Buchholz, T., P. Stephen, G. Marland, C. Canham, N. Sampson. 2014. Uncertainty in projecting greenhouse gas emissions from bioenergy. Nature Climate Change 4: 1045–1047.
New Spatial Informatics Group
SIG has updated its website to better reflect its current research focus, projects, and the current SIG research team. The site was designed by Matt Bansak with content provided by the SIG researchers and partners. Visit: Spatial Informatics Group
SERVIR Mekong Project Launched
March 3, 2015
IN OCTOBER, a consortium including the Spatial Informatics Group (SIG) was awarded funding to implement SERVIR Mekong, a five-year project that will promote the use of satellite imagery to help Asia’s Lower Mekong region better predict and cope with floods and other natural disasters and increase resilience to the negative effects of climate change. The global SERVIR program connects USAID’s development network in data-poor environments with NASA’s science, technology and extensive satellite data. Together with leading regional organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America, SERVIR has provided customized information products, tools and training to more than 30 countries. The implementing consortium is led by the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) with SIG providing the science and data management leadership for the project. Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and Deltares (a hydrological modeling and consulting organization based in the Netherlands) round out the implementation team.
SERVIR Mekong will help governments and other key decision-makers in Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam take advantage of publicly available satellite imagery, geospatial data and maps to make more informed decisions on issues such as water management, land use planning, disaster risk reduction, infrastructure development and natural resource management.
"The countries of the Greater Mekong are making concrete commitments to move toward greening their economies", notes Pete Cutter, a Senior Scientist with SIG and one of the Science and Data Co-Leads for SERVIR Mekong. "SIG's areas of expertise are a great fit for SERVIR and we are thrilled to play a part in accelerating this transition."
David Saah, SIG's Managing Principal and the other SERVIR Mekong Science and Data Co-Lead, sees the SERVIR project as a natural extension of SIG's long-term commitment to innovative problem-solving and to linking intellectual and information resources. "SIG has already established effective partnerships with many key natural resource agencies and academic institutions in the region", he reflects, "through the SERVIR Mekong program, we are now able to further leverage this network and the solutions we have developed together with these partners." Dr. Saah also directs the Geospatial Analysis Lab at the University of San Francisco where he is an Associate Professor.
Operating as a regional hub, SERVIR Mekong promotes collaboration between technical institutions in the region and develop analytical tools, services, and products that are tailored to the needs of the Lower Mekong region’s decision-makers.
More information on SERVIR is available at www.servirglobal.net.
Photo: Group photo from the SERVIR Mekong consortium 2015 work planning event at the Asia Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) in Bangkok, Thailand.
New Partnership Allows Remote Alaskan Villages to Mitigate Climate Change and Protect Forests
January 13, 2015
SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine – Native Alaskan villages will be soon be able to fight climate change while protecting native forests, thanks to a new partnership between the Maine-based National Indian Carbon Coalition (NICC) and the Alaska Carbon Exchange (ACE).
The partnership will develop verified carbon offsets from Alaska Native Corporation lands using state-of-the-art technology to quantify the carbon stocks on the remote tundra and forests of Alaska. The technical work will be led by the Spatial Informatics Group-Natural Assets Laboratory (SIG-NAL), a non-profit research organization with offices in Maine and California.
The NICC is a non‐profit program of the Indian Land Tenure Foundation and the Intertribal Agriculture Council. ACE is a program of the Alaska Village Initiatives, which facilitates economic development in rural Alaska.
Alaska Village Initiatives Executive Director, Charles Parker said the following about the partnership, “Alaska’s rural communities have been feeling the negative effects of climate change for years. With the Alaska Carbon Exchange we are looking to address this issue with a program which protects our traditions and culture, revives our rural economy, and helps protect and renew our land. Our land has sustained us for generations, and with programs like these it can continue to sustain us for generations to come.”
John Gunn, Executive Director for SIG‐NAL said that “Measuring and monitoring above‐ground carbon stocks can be costly and logistically challenging in remote landscapes. We’re excited to have this opportunity to test new approaches that will help remote villages gain access to global carbon offset markets.”
The Program Director for NICC, Erick Giles, said “We are honored for the opportunity to sustain indigenous communities and protect forest ecosystems. We believe this partnership with ACE will flourish and become a model of innovation that transforms environmental markets in Indian Country.”
The carbon credits will likely be sold in the voluntary carbon market, where organizations purchase the credits to reduce environmental impacts. NativeEnergy, a leading carbon project developer and retailer, believes the carbon credits generated by the ACE program will be very attractive to their credit buyers. “NativeEnergy’s first initiatives were renewable energy projects on tribal land. Our clients want to support Native American tribal efforts to protect their land and culture. The environmental benefits generated give us the mechanism to make the connection,” says Jeff Bernicke, CEO of NativeEnergy.
More information about the National Indian Carbon Coalition can be found at www.indiancarbon.org.