Environmental Science and Policy (ES&P)

Graduate Program Annual Symposium (2007)

The Environmental Science and Policy (ES&P) Graduate Program held its first annual ES&P Research Symposium on Wednesday, February 21, 2007 at the Marsh Institute. During this event, ES&P graduate students presented their research. Posters were on display all afternoon and students introduced their research in brief oral presentations to those in attendance that wanted to learn about student research in the ES&P graduate program.

Presentations with brief abstracts of research projects by:

Laurie Kennison
National Environmental Performance Track: Five Years of Environmental Progress
The United States Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of evaluating the results from the fifth reporting season for their National Environmental Performance Track program. Performance Track was established in 2000 to create a voluntary partnership between government and industry to promote environmental innovation. This thesis looks at the progress that the program has made to reduce the environmental impact of industry while also comparing the cost and benefits of membership.

Aaron Bouchane
Rural Electrification through Renewable Energy Technologies in India: A comparative analysis of public and private approaches

Providing electricity to India's rural population is essential to achieving national development goals. While the Government of India has implemented a multitude of electrification programs, 56% of the rural population stills lives without electricity. In the southern state of Karnataka, a private rural energy service company, SELCO, has distributed over 55,000 solar household systems by providing third-party financing options to its customers. If the Government of India hopes to achieve complete electrification by 2012, integrating these two approaches may be the key to their success.

Jia Liu
Linkages Between Climate Practices and Performance in U.S. Corporations

Based on responses to the "Carbon Disclosure Project," a climate change survey among global corporations, this paper examines the linkages between corporate climate practice and performance in S&P 500 companies. The paper also analyzes different climate responsivenesses across sectors.

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Devon Winkler
Sea Sprawl - Assessment of shoreline construction on shellfish resource areas in Three Bays, Barnstable, MA

Using GIS analytical techniques, a map will be produced for use by Barnstable Natural Resources that will identify sites for future shellfish relay areas. This map will account for the physical needs of the resource, access for its users, limitations on space based on shoreline development, and historical management decisions. Development of the map will be grounded in community based science and adaptive management.

Mukesh Gupta
Promoting self sufficiency through carbon credits - an example of Van Panchayats at Uttaranchal, India

This paper explores community based forest management practices and different issues with their integration with existing carbon market.

Amy Stout
Collaboration between environmental non-profit organizations in the James River Watershed in Virginia

This research investigates whether nonprofits that share similar organizational characteristics (such as mission, budget, and geographic coverage) are more or less likely to collaborate with each other. It also looks at whether the degree of similarity between two collaborating organizations plays a role in the perceived effectiveness of the collaboration. I am exploring these questions by conducting telephone interviews with the executive directors of 30 environmental nonprofits located within the study area.

Alex Krofta
Estimating Population of a State Endangered Rattlesnake: A Key Component of Successful Habitat Management

Passive open-space preservation is generally insufficient to protect early- or mid- successional species. As vegetation shift to climax communities, cutting and burning regimes are often employed to restore habitat. This approach is under consideration for the eastern massasauga in Cicero Swamp Wildlife Management Area in Cicero, NY. A population estimate for the target species is essential to any management plan in order to (1) assess the urgency for action and (2) serve as a baseline for post-management monitoring. Massasauga abundance at CSWMA was estimated using Program Distance, mark/recapture methods, and life history/demography parameters from the existing literature. 

Stephanie Parent
Environmental Sustainability in Higher Education: Stakeholder Perceptions and Reported Behavior at Clark University

This research examines perceptions of a culture of environmental sustainability in higher education using a case study of Clark University. It focuses on the areas of dialogue, sense of community and engagement, and reflection and how these elements might be needed to create a culture of environmental sustainability. This study includes interviews with members of the Clark University Environmental Sustainability (CUES) Task Force and a survey of students, faculty, staff and administrators to assess interests, values, and reported behavior. These findings provide insight as to how stakeholders perceive progress toward environmental sustainability in the Clark community.

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Dani Stehlik
Transportation costs associated with shipping agricultural products across the United States

This project focuses on the central role of transportation in the distribution system of agriculture products in the United States. Through analysis of data on transportation costs, distances, and fuel prices, this research highlights the energy intensity involved in produce transportation with a particular emphasis on food being transported to New England from the west coast of the U.S.

Melanie Sands 
From Cows to Coal Mines: The Formation of Risk Perceptions in Greene County, Pennsylvania

Risk perceptions and risk attenuation regarding environmental and health related risks are currently understudied. Utilizing the coal mining area of Greene County, Pennsylvania as a case study, this project establishes current day risk perceptions of residents as well as the context out of which risk perceptions emerge. An interdisciplinary approach, combining the fields of risk analysis, political ecology, and feminist geography, is used to look at how coal has shaped the people, places, and networks of Greene County throughout space-time, thereby shaping the risk perceptions of local residents.

Kelly Meiler 
Invasive Phalaris aquatica (Harding grass) in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

The study reported here investigates the ecological properties of the invasive species Harding grass (Phalaris aquatica) in the Mediterranean-type ecosystem of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) of Southern California. Although Harding grass is prevalent throughout the State of California, the objective of this study is to observe, measure and record its properties in its immediate habitat in a much smaller localized area, California’s SMMNRA Federally protected land. Patches and communities of Harding grass were located for observation each within three separate corridors of increasing distance from but parallel to the Pacific Coast. The goal of this study is to understand populations of Harding Grass in the Coastal, Mixed and Inland habitats of the SMMNRA. Gaining an understanding of the population of the grass will ultimately assist in better planning and management practices for the control of the spread or eradication of the plant.

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Ainiwaer Alimasi
Potential of Charcoal Carbon Sequestration

This paper will conduct an assessment to a new, innovative approach of carbon sequestration in soils, which is to add charcoal to soils to increase soils carbon content and to stimulate plant growth by increasing soil fertility. The application of charcoal (or biochar) to soils is proposed as a novel approach to provide a long term sink of atmospheric carbon dioxide in terrestrial ecosystems. The charcoal added soil can store much more carbon than unimproved soil. Growth of plants, in addition, increases plant biomass and carbon dioxide (CO2) removal through photosynthesis. In addition, charcoal application on soils will deliver immediate benefits through increasing crop yields and improving soil fertility while reducing greenhouse emissions. Conversion biomasss carbon to charcoal carbon leads to sequester large amounts initial carbon and will produce more stable soil carbon. Charcoal soil management system can be seen as a long term sink for carbon due to its recalcitrant character, and carbon sequestered is easily accountable and verifiable.

Meghan Moda
Current Environmental Justice Research: Where do we go from here?

This paper reviews a sample of current environmental justice research and recommends ways that current research could be improved upon to better represent the influences and outcomes that are associated with environmental justice neighborhoods. Geographic Information Systems are recommended as a tool for compiling a holistic environmental justice index.

View past ES&P Final M.A. project topics:

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