How do humans and their environment interact, and how can we develop an understanding of these processes to adapt to a planet undergoing far-reaching climate and other environmental changes?
To answer these and related questions, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded 14 grants to scientists, engineers and educators across the country to study coupled natural and human systems.
Research conducted through NSF's Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) Program, in its fourth year as a multi-directorate program, will provide a better understanding of natural processes and cycles and human behavior and decisions, and will examine how and where these systems intersect.
The CNH program is supported by NSF's Directorates for Biological Sciences (BIO), Geosciences (GEO) and Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE).
"Understanding coupled natural and human systems lies at the heart of the quest for global sustainability, and generates crucial knowledge for solutions to environmental and socioeconomic challenges," says Sarah Ruth, program director in GEO.
"NSF's CNH projects address fundamental issues about the adaptability and resilience of human and natural systems," says Alan Tessier, program director in BIO, "and illustrate the relevance of the CNH program to the broader portfolio of sustainability research supported by NSF."
"CNH-supported projects have been particularly adept at examining the complex interactions between human activity and natural system dynamics," adds Thomas Baerwald, an SBE program director, "and these new projects will continue to do so in a diverse set of settings and problems."
This year's awardees will conduct research on fire-prone landscapes; ancient acequias, or community irrigation systems, of the southwestern U.S.; Mongolian rangeland ecosystems; pastoral societies in the Sahel; and other topics.
2010 DYNAMICS OF COUPLED NATURAL AND HUMAN
|Contact: Cheryl Dybas|
National Science Foundation