Matching Items (12)

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Importance of Neutral Processes Varies in Time and Space: Evidence From Dryland Stream Ecosystems

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Many ecosystems experience strong temporal variability in environmental conditions; yet, a clear picture of how niche and neutral processes operate to determine community assembly in temporally variable systems remains elusive. In this study, we constructed neutral metacommunity models to assess

Many ecosystems experience strong temporal variability in environmental conditions; yet, a clear picture of how niche and neutral processes operate to determine community assembly in temporally variable systems remains elusive. In this study, we constructed neutral metacommunity models to assess the relative importance of neutral processes in a spatially and temporally variable ecosystem. We analyzed macroinvertebrate community data spanning multiple seasons and years from 20 sites in a Sonoran Desert river network in Arizona. The model goodness-of-fit was used to infer the importance of neutral processes. Averaging over eight stream flow conditions across three years, we found that neutral processes were more important in perennial streams than in non-perennial streams (intermittent and ephemeral streams). Averaging across perennial and non-perennial streams, we found that neutral processes were more important during very high flow and in low flow periods; whereas, at very low flows, the relative importance of neutral processes varied greatly. These findings were robust to the choice of model parameter values. Our study suggested that the net effect of disturbance on the relative importance of niche and neutral processes in community assembly varies non-monotonically with the severity of disturbance. In contrast to the prevailing view that disturbance promotes niche processes, we found that neutral processes could become more important when the severity of disturbance is beyond a certain threshold such that all organisms are adversely affected regardless of their biological traits and strategies.

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2017-05-09

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Agricultural Trade Networks and Patterns of Economic Development

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International trade networks are manifestations of a complex combination of diverse underlying factors, both natural and social. Here we apply social network analytics to the international trade network of agricultural products to better understand the nature of this network and

International trade networks are manifestations of a complex combination of diverse underlying factors, both natural and social. Here we apply social network analytics to the international trade network of agricultural products to better understand the nature of this network and its relation to patterns of international development. Using a network tool known as triadic analysis we develop triad significance profiles for a series of agricultural commodities traded among countries. Results reveal a novel network “superfamily” combining properties of biological information processing networks and human social networks. To better understand this unique network signature, we examine in more detail the degree and triadic distributions within the trade network by country and commodity. Our results show that countries fall into two very distinct classes based on their triadic frequencies. Roughly 165 countries fall into one class while 18, all highly isolated with respect to international agricultural trade, fall into the other. Only Vietnam stands out as a unique case. Finally, we show that as a country becomes less isolated with respect to number of trading partners, the country's triadic signature follows a predictable trajectory that may correspond to a trajectory of development.

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Date Created
2012-07-02

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Urban Economies and Occupation Space: Can They Get “There” From “Here”?

Description

Much of the socioeconomic life in the United States occurs in its urban areas. While an urban economy is defined to a large extent by its network of occupational specializations, an examination of this important network is absent from the

Much of the socioeconomic life in the United States occurs in its urban areas. While an urban economy is defined to a large extent by its network of occupational specializations, an examination of this important network is absent from the considerable body of work on the determinants of urban economic performance. Here we develop a structure-based analysis addressing how the network of interdependencies among occupational specializations affects the ease with which urban economies can transform themselves. While most occupational specializations exhibit positive relationships between one another, many exhibit negative ones, and the balance between the two partially explains the productivity of an urban economy. The current set of occupational specializations of an urban economy and its location in the occupation space constrain its future development paths. Important tradeoffs exist between different alternatives for altering an occupational specialization pattern, both at a single occupation and an entire occupational portfolio levels.

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Date Created
2013-09-09

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How Does a Divided Population Respond to Change?

Description

Most studies on the response of socioeconomic systems to a sudden shift focus on long-term equilibria or end points. Such narrow focus forgoes many valuable insights. Here we examine the transient dynamics of regime shift on a divided population, exemplified

Most studies on the response of socioeconomic systems to a sudden shift focus on long-term equilibria or end points. Such narrow focus forgoes many valuable insights. Here we examine the transient dynamics of regime shift on a divided population, exemplified by societies divided ideologically, politically, economically, or technologically. Replicator dynamics is used to investigate the complex transient dynamics of the population response. Though simple, our modeling approach exhibits a surprisingly rich and diverse array of dynamics. Our results highlight the critical roles played by diversity in strategies and the magnitude of the shift. Importantly, it allows for a variety of strategies to arise organically as an integral part of the transient dynamics-as opposed to an independent process-of population response to a regime shift, providing a link between the population's past and future diversity patterns. Several combinations of different populations' strategy distributions and shifts were systematically investigated. Such rich dynamics highlight the challenges of anticipating the response of a divided population to a change. The findings in this paper can potentially improve our understanding of a wide range of socio-ecological and technological transitions.

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2015-07-10

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Perceptions of climate trends among mexican maize farmers

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Perceptions of climate variability and change reflect local concerns and the actual impacts of climate phenomena on people's lives. Perceptions are the bases of people's decisions to act, and they determine what adaptive measures will be taken. But perceptions of

Perceptions of climate variability and change reflect local concerns and the actual impacts of climate phenomena on people's lives. Perceptions are the bases of people's decisions to act, and they determine what adaptive measures will be taken. But perceptions of climate may not always be aligned with scientific observations because they are influenced by socio-economic and ecological variables. To find sustainability solutions to climate-change challenges, researchers and policy makers need to understand people's perceptions so that they can account for likely responses. Being able to anticipate responses will increase decision-makers' capacities to create policies that support effective adaptation strategies. I analyzed Mexican maize farmers' perceptions of drought variability as a proxy for their perceptions of climate variability and change. I identified the factors that contribute to the perception of changing drought frequency among farmers in the states of Chiapas, Mexico, and Sinaloa. I conducted Chi-square tests and Logit regression analyses using data from a survey of 1092 maize-producing households in the three states. Results showed that indigenous identity, receipt of credits or loans, and maize-type planted were the variables that most strongly influenced perceptions of drought frequency. The results suggest that climate-adaptation policy will need to consider the social and institutional contexts of farmers' decision-making, as well as the agronomic options for smallholders in each state.

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Created

Date Created
2015

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Bioeconomic models and sustainable use of marine resources: three case studies

Description

This dissertation consists of three substantive chapters. The first substantive chapter investigates the premature harvesting problem in fisheries. Traditionally, yield-per-recruit analysis has been used to both assess and address the premature harvesting of fish stocks. However, the fact that fish

This dissertation consists of three substantive chapters. The first substantive chapter investigates the premature harvesting problem in fisheries. Traditionally, yield-per-recruit analysis has been used to both assess and address the premature harvesting of fish stocks. However, the fact that fish size often affects the unit price suggests that this approach may be inadequate. In this chapter, I first synthesize the conventional yield-per-recruit analysis, and then extend this conventional approach by incorporating a size-price function for a revenue-per-recruit analysis. An optimal control approach is then used to derive a general bioeconomic solution for the optimal harvesting of a short-lived single cohort. This approach prevents economically premature harvesting and provides an "optimal economic yield". By comparing the yield- and revenue-per-recruit management strategies with the bioeconomic management strategy, I am able to test the economic efficiency of the conventional yield-per-recruit approach. This is illustrated with a numerical study. It shows that a bioeconomic strategy can significantly improve economic welfare compared with the yield-per-recruit strategy, particularly in the face of high natural mortality. Nevertheless, I find that harvesting on a revenue-per-recruit basis improves management policy and can generate a rent that is close to that from bioeconomic analysis, in particular when the natural mortality is relatively low.

The second substantive chapter explores the conservation potential of a whale permit market under bounded economic uncertainty. Pro- and anti-whaling stakeholders are concerned about a recently proposed, "cap and trade" system for managing the global harvest of whales. Supporters argue that such an approach represents a novel solution to the current gridlock in international whale management. In addition to ethical objections, opponents worry that uncertainty about demand for whale-based products and the environmental benefits of conservation may make it difficult to predict the outcome of a whale share market. In this study, I use population and economic data for minke whales to examine the potential ecological consequences of the establishment of a whale permit market in Norway under bounded but significant economic uncertainty. A bioeconomic model is developed to evaluate the influence of economic uncertainties associated with pro- and anti- whaling demands on long-run steady state whale population size, harvest, and potential allocation. The results indicate that these economic uncertainties, in particular on the conservation demand side, play an important role in determining the steady state ecological outcome of a whale share market. A key finding is that while a whale share market has the potential to yield a wide range of allocations between conservation and whaling interests - outcomes in which conservationists effectively "buy out" the whaling industry seem most likely.

The third substantive chapter examines the sea lice externality between farmed fisheries and wild fisheries. A central issue in the debate over the effect of fish farming on the wild fisheries is the nature of sea lice population dynamics and the wild juvenile mortality rate induced by sea lice infection. This study develops a bioeconomic model that integrates sea lice population dynamics, fish population dynamics, aquaculture and wild capture salmon fisheries in an optimal control framework. It provides a tool to investigate sea lice control policy from the standpoint both of private aquaculture producers and wild fishery managers by considering the sea lice infection externality between farmed and wild fisheries. Numerical results suggest that the state trajectory paths may be quite different under different management regimes, but approach the same steady state. Although the difference in economic benefits is not significant in the particular case considered due to the low value of the wild fishery, I investigate the possibility of levying a tax on aquaculture production for correcting the sea lice externality generated by fish farms.

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Created

Date Created
2014

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Managing for urban ecosystem services: the Yongding River ecological corridor

Description

Sustainability requires developing the capacity to manage difficult tradeoffs to advance human livelihoods now and in the future. Decision-makers are recognizing the ecosystem services approach as a useful framework for evaluating tradeoffs associated with environmental change to advance decision-making towards

Sustainability requires developing the capacity to manage difficult tradeoffs to advance human livelihoods now and in the future. Decision-makers are recognizing the ecosystem services approach as a useful framework for evaluating tradeoffs associated with environmental change to advance decision-making towards holistic solutions. In this dissertation I conduct an ecosystem services assessment on the Yongding River Ecological Corridor in Beijing, China. I developed a `10-step approach' to evaluate multiple ecosystem services for public policy. I use the 10-step approach to evaluate five ecosystem services for management from the Yongding Corridor. The Beijing government created lakes and wetlands for five services (human benefits): (1) water storage (groundwater recharge), (2) local climate regulation (cooling), (3) water purification (water quality), (4) dust control (air quality), and (5) landscape aesthetics (leisure, recreation, and economic development).

The Yongding Corridor is meeting the final ecosystem service levels for landscape aesthetics, but the new ecosystems are falling short on meeting final ecosystem service levels for water storage, local climate regulation, water purification, and dust control. I used biophysical models (process-based and empirically-based), field data (biophysical and visitor surveys), and government datasets to create ecological production functions (i.e., regression models). I used the ecological production functions to evaluate how marginal changes in the ecosystems could impact final ecosystem service outcomes. I evaluate potential tradeoffs considering stakeholder needs to recommend synergistic actions for addressing priorities while reducing service shortfalls.

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Created

Date Created
2014

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Applying distributional approaches to understand patterns of urban differentiation

Description

Urban scaling analysis has introduced a new scientific paradigm to the study of cities. With it, the notions of size, heterogeneity and structure have taken a leading role. These notions are assumed to be behind the causes for why cities

Urban scaling analysis has introduced a new scientific paradigm to the study of cities. With it, the notions of size, heterogeneity and structure have taken a leading role. These notions are assumed to be behind the causes for why cities differ from one another, sometimes wildly. However, the mechanisms by which size, heterogeneity and structure shape the general statistical patterns that describe urban economic output are still unclear. Given the rapid rate of urbanization around the globe, we need precise and formal mathematical understandings of these matters. In this context, I perform in this dissertation probabilistic, distributional and computational explorations of (i) how the broadness, or narrowness, of the distribution of individual productivities within cities determines what and how we measure urban systemic output, (ii) how urban scaling may be expressed as a statistical statement when urban metrics display strong stochasticity, (iii) how the processes of aggregation constrain the variability of total urban output, and (iv) how the structure of urban skills diversification within cities induces a multiplicative process in the production of urban output.

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Created

Date Created
2014

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Analysis of alfalfa production in a water-stressed region: a dynamical modeling approach

Description

Alfalfa is a major feed crop widely cultivated in the United States. It is the fourth largest crop in acreage in the US after corn, soybean, and all types of wheat. As of 2003, about 48% of alfalfa was produced

Alfalfa is a major feed crop widely cultivated in the United States. It is the fourth largest crop in acreage in the US after corn, soybean, and all types of wheat. As of 2003, about 48% of alfalfa was produced in the western US states where alfalfa ranks first, second, or third in crop acreage. Considering that the western US is historically water-scarce and alfalfa is a water-intensive crop, it creates a concern about exacerbating the current water crisis in the US west. Furthermore, the recent increased export of alfalfa from the western US states to China and the United Arab Emirates has fueled the debate over the virtual water content embedded in the crop. In this study, I analyzed changes of cropland systems under the three basic scenarios, using a stylized model with a combination of dynamical, hydrological, and economic elements. The three scenarios are 1) international demands for alfalfa continue to grow (or at least to stay high), 2) deficit irrigation is widely imposed in the dry region, and 3) long-term droughts persist or intensify reducing precipitation. The results of this study sheds light on how distribution of crop areas responds to climatic, economic, and institutional conditions. First, international markets, albeit small compared to domestic markets, provide economic opportunities to increase alfalfa acreage in the dry region. Second, potential water savings from mid-summer deficit irrigation can be used to expand alfalfa production in the dry region. Third, as water becomes scarce, farmers more quickly switch to crops that make more economic use of the limited water.

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Created

Date Created
2015

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Robustness of social-ecological system under global change: insights from community irrigation and forestry systems

Description

Social-ecological systems (SES) are replete with hard and soft human-made components (or infrastructures) that are consciously-designed to perform specific functions valued by humans. How these infrastructures mediate human-environment interactions is thus a key determinant of many sustainability problems in present-day

Social-ecological systems (SES) are replete with hard and soft human-made components (or infrastructures) that are consciously-designed to perform specific functions valued by humans. How these infrastructures mediate human-environment interactions is thus a key determinant of many sustainability problems in present-day SES. This dissertation examines the question of how some of the designed aspects of physical and social infrastructures influence the robustness of SES under global change. Due to the fragility of rural livelihood systems, locally-managed common-pool resource systems that depend on infrastructure, such as irrigated agriculture and community forestry, are of particular importance to address this sustainability question. This dissertation presents three studies that explored the robustness of communal irrigation and forestry systems to economic or environmental shocks. The first study examined how the design of irrigation infrastructure affects the robustness of system performance to an economic shock. Using a stylized dynamic model of an irrigation system as a testing ground, this study shows that changes in infrastructure design can induce fundamental changes in qualitative system behavior (i.e., regime shifts) as well as altered robustness characteristics. The second study explored how connectedness among social units (a kind of social infrastructure) influenced the post-failure transformations of large-N forest commons under economic globalization. Using inferential statistics, the second study argues that some attributes of the social connectedness that helped system robustness in the past made the system more vulnerable to undesirable transformations in the current era. The third study explored the question of how to guide adaptive management of SES for more robustness under uncertainty. This study used an existing laboratory behavioral experiment in which human-subjects tackle a decision problem on collective management of an irrigation system under environmental uncertainty. The contents of group communication and the decisions of individuals were analyzed to understand how configurations of learning-by-doing and other adaptability-related conditions may be causally linked to robustness under environmental uncertainty. The results show that robust systems are characterized by two conditions: active learning-by-doing through outer-loop processes, i.e., frequent updating of shared assumptions or goals that underlie specific group strategies, and frequent monitoring and reflection of past outcomes.

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Created

Date Created
2015