Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sneak preview of (hopefully) upcoming publications

From August 2016 through the end of this year, I hope to have submitted 10 peer-reviewed articles / chapters for publication! In the meantime I'm hard at work writing as much as I can.
Science writing outside at briar patch b&b

They are as follows (let me know if you want any abstracts):
1. A remote sensing paper where we detected agricultural ditches and ridge-tillage, and show how important those practices are for erosion control in our study area in Kenya (submitted, second author).
2. A book chapter for a Oxford University Press book about scientific findings that go against expectations. It's about the analysis I did for another book chapter (Cambridge University Press, not published yet) which I reported on here: (Reviewed / Accepted, sole author)

3. A paper outlining how we tied traditional detailed household surveys to spatial data by having farmers outline their actual plots on tablets with high resolution imagery (should be submitted in a few weeks, second author)

4. A paper that was part of a water fund project in Brazil; a water treatment company is going to pay for conservation to reduce the costs of treating the water. So the paper asks how much of a difference it makes if we use high resolution data (expensive and time consuming) vs low resolution (free and faster) on our water quality estimates (hopefully submitted in a month or two, first author)

5.-8. There is a series of four papers on knowledge diffusion (spread and uptake of new ideas); I'm leading one and I believe I'll be on the other three as an author since we've been working together on the research as a team for 2 years. The one I'm leading uses a rich array of data to examine both internal and external diffusion at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) from a few different angles, one uses an experiment to show how "boundary spanners" (people with social networks that connect to a variety of other groups) play a critical role in spreading knowledge, one looks at how people actually change what they do in response to new methods becoming available, and one compares two groups within TNC and examines how their response to and alignment with the new methods differs. Read more about the overall project here: (will all be submitted by end of October, one as first author and the rest as a minor author)

9. We are working on a remote sensing analysis in high altitude grasslands of Peru, seeking to remotely estimate the amount of forage (grass etc) available for grazers, as part of a model that will support another water fund. I did much of the research design, but colleagues collected the field data and my intern Trisha is now beginning the remote sensing analysis. (should be submitted by end of December, maybe 3rd/4th author).

10. A peer-reviewed version of a report we wrote on the U.S. beef supply chain (impacts across different phases of production like grazing and feed production and feedlots) should also be submitted. The report was just released to stay tuned for a post about that.

Also I have a completed / reviewed / accepted CUP book chapter that has been in limbo for a few years (the one mentioned in #2 above) and should come out next year, and there are 1-2 more articles that may happen probably submitted early next year (led by others but on which I'd be a co-author). Stay tuned! Unless they're all rejected outright 2017 should be a good year for my publications...

Friday, September 9, 2016

New journal article: "Examining the relationship between environmental factors and conflict in pastoralist areas of East Africa"

A research fellow of mine (Essayas Ayana) recently published an analysis (which I'm also an author on) of the degree to which environmental factors like drought drive conflict between pastoralists. The idea was that as the lands where they graze their animals dry up, they may be forced to graze in areas used by others, which could drive conflict. However, we found that environmental variables had very little predictive power for where conflict occurred. The paper is officially hosted here:

You can read the full text of the paper here:

Here's the citation:
Ayana, Essayas K., Pietro Ceccato, Jonathan RB Fisher, and Ruth DeFries. "Examining the relationship between environmental factors and conflict in pastoralist areas of East Africa." Science of The Total Environment 557 (2016): 601-611.


New journal article: "Advancing Conservation by Understanding and Influencing Human Behavior"

Interested in what works when it comes to getting people to change their behavior and start acting in support of conservation? This paper (which I'm a minor author on) outlines different approaches to behavior change, and includes some relevant questions to determine which approach will be most successful:

Here's the citation:
Reddy, Sheila MW, Jensen Montambault, Yuta J. Masuda, Ayelet Gneezy, Elizabeth Keenan, William Butler, Jonathan RB Fisher, and Stanley T. Asah. "Advancing Conservation by Understanding and Influencing Human Behavior." Conservation Letters (2016).

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

New massive database of peer-reviewed science publications from The Nature Conservancy

I forgot to link to a post I put up in February about a new resource I worked on pulling together. We now have over 2,000 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters written by staff at The Nature Conservancy in a fully searchable database!

You can read more about it on Cool Green Science:
The Nature Conservancy’s Massive New Science Article Database (blog post)

or jump right in and start searching here:

Reading Room, Jefferson Building, Library of Congress. Photo © Matthew and Heather/Flickr through a Creative Commons licens

Growing local tomatoes

This is part two of the videoI worked with some colleagues from the Nature Works Everywhere program about the sustainability of growing tomatoes. You can read more about it and grab a lesson plan if you like.

The Local Tomato from The Nature Conservancy on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Using drones (UAVs) to measure turbidity (water quality) in small streams

I didn't write this myself, but I wanted to post the link anyway since this is a project I have been working on closely from design to data collection to analysis, along with a research fellow (Essayas Kaba Ayana) at Columbia University that I'm mentoring through the NatureNet program. We originally hoped to do this work in Kenya but legal and logistical difficulties required us to switch to Maryland: