Land Use, Ecosystem Services and the Fate of Marginal Lands in a Globalized World

Director: Leah VanWey
Research Theme: Environmental Resources and Population Wellbeing
Funding: NSF

One of humanity's greatest contemporary challenges is producing enough food to sustain human populations in developing regions while preserving naturally functioning habitats that provide key ecosystem services such as clean drinking water, biodiversity, carbon storage, and climate moderation. This project, which is funded by NSF’s Partnerships for International Research and Education Program, leverages substantial existing investments in Africa by the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) to mount an international and interdisciplinary study of this great challenge. One of the goals of the MVP is to increase food security by providing local populations in 14 Millennium Villages (MVs) with agricultural interventions such as mineral fertilizers and high-yield seeds. The major objective of this project is to evaluate the impact of agricultural intensification on human and ecological well-being on previously marginal agricultural lands in the MVs. This PIRE is a partnership among Brown University, The Earth Institute of Columbia University, The Ecosystems Center of the Marine Biological Laboratory and foreign partners at the Moi University, Kenya and Sokoine University, Tanzania.