Protection vs. Commercial Management: Spatial and Temporal Analysis of Land Cover Changes in the Tropical Forests of Central India

Forest Ecology and Management, 259 (5), pp. 1009-1017, 2010

Pinki Mondal and Jane Southworth

“Tropical forests worldwide are undergoing rapid changes due to increasing human populations and varied land use practices. In an effort to protect these forests and their species, the number of protected areas has increased exponentially in recent decades. Clearly protected areas play a crucial role in conservation efforts and this strategy has been found to be successful in several studies. However, protected areas are often embedded within a matrix of other land cover types, including non-protected forests, agricultural fields, or urban areas. It is therefore critical for park management to think beyond the borders of their protected areas and work to maintain ecological integrity of the surrounding matrix and the connectivity between protected areas. This study integrates remote sensing, GIS and field observations to examine the effects of different management strategies on land cover changes. As a case study we examine a tiger reserve in Central India which is surrounded by commercially managed forests, representative of many protected areas throughout India. Findings of this study show that while protected areas play an important role in conservation, alternative approaches including favorable management policies could also be effective to extend conservation over larger areas.”

Sensor Web Adaptation to Dynamic Sensor Networks

Ninth Annual Communication Networks and Services Research Conference (CNSR), 02-05 May 2011

Gunita Saini and Bradford G. Nickerson

“As nodes appear and disappear in a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN), communication protocols acting in the data link, network and transport layers adapt dynamically to the new network structure. We present an extension of the dynamic nature of WSNs to the web via an adaptive communication protocol called the adaptive Sensor Web Language (SWL). Adaptive SWL provides a web application with a reliable mechanism for automatically tracking and displaying changes in sensor network architecture. New nodes automatically appear in web-based applications. A color fading mechanism is also provided to differentiate sensor nodes which have not communicated within the expected time frame. Two new message types, Request Announce and Announce are added to SWL to support this adaptation. All software layers, including sensor nodes, gateway, base station (including the database) and the web applications were updated. Two web applications were implemented to clearly demonstrate web application adaptation to dynamic WSNs. The Open Geospatial Consortium’s (OGC) standard Sensor Observation Service (SOS) was integrated with Google maps to show the spatial context of changing WSN structure. A test network was established using 6 sensor nodes and 10 sensors (6 battery voltage sensors, 2 air temperature sensors and 2 solar radiation sensors), and 1 gateway. Each node was added one by one over 4 hours in the network, then removed one by one from the network over 4 hours. Testing indicates appearance of a node in the web application within about 13 seconds of being added to the WSN with a system latency of 47.5 seconds averaged over 40 tests.”

Use of Spatial Analysis to Support Environmental Health Research and Practice

North Carolina Medical Journal, vol. 72, no. 2, 2011

Marie Lynn Miranda and Sharon E. Edwards

“Recent advances in spatial statistics and geographic information systems provide innovative platforms for diagnosing environmental health problems and for developing interventions. This article discusses when and where spatial techniques can most effectively be deployed to address environmental health issues, especially as they relate to environmental justice concerns.”

Nobel Laureates Hand Over Recommendations to UN High Level Panel on Global Sustainability

The Stockholm Memorandum concludes that the planet has entered a new geological age, the Anthropocene. It recommends a suite of urgent and far-reaching actions for decision makers and societies to become active stewards of the planet for future generations.

The verdict from the trial of humanity, which opened the 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium, has been incorporated into the Stockholm Memorandum: Tipping the Scales towards Sustainability [PDF]. In particular, the jury of Nobel Laureates concluded that humans are now the most significant driver of global change, and that our collective actions could have abrupt and irreversible consequences for human communities and ecological systems.

“We are the first generation with the insight of the new global risks facing humanity, that people and societies are the biggest drivers of global change. The basic analysis is not in question: we cannot continue on our current path and need to take action quickly. Science can guide us in identifying the pathway to global sustainability, provided that it also engages in an open dialogue with society, ” says Professor Mario Molina, who acted as judge and received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1995.

Some of the other key messages of the Stockholm Memorandum are:

  • Environmental sustainability is a precondition for poverty eradication, economic development, and social justice.
  • With almost a third of the world living on less than $2 per day, we must, as a priority, achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
  • Develop new welfare indicators that address the shortcomings of GDP.
  • Keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, implying a peak in global CO2 emissions no later than 2015 and carrying with it a very high risk of serious impacts and the need for major adaptation efforts.
  • Foster a new agricultural revolution where more food is produced in a sustainable way on current agricultural land.
  • Inspire and encourage scientific literacy especially among the young.

The Stockholm Memorandum will be signed by Nobel Laureates on May 18th and handed over in person to the UN High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, which is preparing the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro (Rio +20).

“The Nobel Laureate Symposium has answered this emergency call from the future: environment and development must go hand in hand. Human pressures are challenging the resilience of the planet, while inequalities remain high. The only way to move towards fair and lasting prosperity for present and future generations is along a pathway of environmental sustainability. The time for procrastination is over. We cannot afford the luxury of denial, ” says Professor Johan Rockström, Symposium chairperson and Executive Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).

You can download the Stockholm Nobel Laureate Memorandum here [PDF]


What’s the Value of a Geography Degree?

Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce has released a report titled “What’s It Worth? the Economic Value of College Majors”.

According to the report, “Median earnings for those with Bachelor’s degrees vary greatly—from $29,000 for Counseling Psychology majors to $120,000 for Petroleum Engineering majors.”

What about a Bachelor’s degree in Geography?

  • Full-time, full-year workers with a terminal Bachelor’s degree in Geography showed median earnings of $54,000 a year.
  • Gender composition of the Geography major was 30% female and 70% male.
  • 30% of Geography majors go on to obtain a graduate degree.

You can read the complete report here [PDF].

Spatial Analysis of the Propensity to Escort Children to School in Southern California

Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting 2011, Paper #11-2911

Yoon, Seo Youn; Doudnikoff, Marjorie; and Goulias, Konstadinos G

“Spatial travel behavior of children to school was analyzed from three perspectives that are: 1) commuting to school independently of parents, 2) commuting to school by active modes and 3) allocation of escorting tasks for children between parents. Accessibility measures and population density were introduced in the propensity regression models to account for the impact of spatial characteristics at school locations and to identify the spatial distribution of behavioral patterns. Each of the spatial patterns created a map combining the impact of all the significant spatial variables showing to display patterns of behavioral and intra-household interaction. These patterns are able to identify as an example the negative impact of a park area in the middle of the City of Los Angeles on children’s independent and active commute to school and the significantly different intra-household interaction patterns at different locations in the region. The results of this study show an opportunity to expand the microanalysis to a more comprehensive treatment of travel behavior in space and to contribute to the development of models integrating land use and transportation.”