Stepping Out of the Steppe—Rachel Renne

As temperatures climbed this summer, so did the elevations of the plots that I visited. My gradual ascent was an attempt to capture the plant community of each site at a time when I would be able to detect and identify most of the plant species. Higher elevations mean lower temperatures, and while many grasses Read more about Stepping Out of the Steppe—Rachel Renne[…]

Improving Model Outputs and Recommendations Through Field Work—Rob Anderson

As I write this, while sitting in my 82-degree New Haven apartment, I cannot help but feel some nostalgia for the two summers I have now spent in Pinedale, WY doing research for my Master’s degree. I have spent the vast majority of my life in New England. Prior to the past two field seasons, Read more about Improving Model Outputs and Recommendations Through Field Work—Rob Anderson[…]

The New Frontier: Carbon or Conservation?—Raffa Sindoni

The rapidly expanding carbon-offsetting market casts a shadow across Western conservation movements.  Although carbon markets are praised by some as a leading climate change solution, the morality and efficacy of this free-market phenomenon is hotly debated by academics, Indigenous activists, corporate titans, and environmentalists across the spectrum.  So, what exactly is carbon-offsetting and how does Read more about The New Frontier: Carbon or Conservation?—Raffa Sindoni[…]

Methods and Modalities to Explore Rural Gentrification— Mara MacDonell

Over the last year, the rural gentrification research group has been approaching the subject of rural gentrification from a variety of perspectives. Rural gentrification has many, mutable meanings and definitions, both within academia and public discourse. Our research reflects this, as we have investigated the topic through a variety of avenues including changing land-use, environmental Read more about Methods and Modalities to Explore Rural Gentrification— Mara MacDonell[…]

Framing the “New West”— Molly Ryan

The “Old West” and the “New West.” These terms are often used to characterize the transformation of rural western economies and communities from places oriented around extractive industries to those based around natural amenities and recreation (Bryson & Wyckoff, 2010; Krannich et al., 2011; Shumway & Otterstrom, 2001). This transformation is driven by in-migration from Read more about Framing the “New West”— Molly Ryan[…]

The Vital Role of Working Lands in Western Conservation—Annie Miller

Working lands — the farms, ranchlands, and working forests that support livelihoods —  are a vital component of the western landscape, and their ecological, economic, and social  importance is difficult to overstate. In addition to supplying much of the food we eat, they hold critical wildlife habitat, provide vital ecosystem services, and represent a way Read more about The Vital Role of Working Lands in Western Conservation—Annie Miller[…]

Rural Gentrification: The Housing Crisis — Mara MacDonell

There are two things that are common knowledge if you live in a ski town (and you don’t have a trust fund to support you): 1) Getting a job is easy, which is good because you’ll probably need at least two; and 2) there is no housing. Previous to matriculating at Yale, I lived in Read more about Rural Gentrification: The Housing Crisis — Mara MacDonell[…]

Is Oregon’s Land Use System Protecting Farmers? — Shannon Bell

Between 2001 and 2016, 11 million acres of farmland in the United States were developed, with 4.1 million acres converted to urban and highly developed land uses and almost 7 million acres converted to low-density residential use. The 2017 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Census revealed that from 2012 to 2017, the amount of Read more about Is Oregon’s Land Use System Protecting Farmers? — Shannon Bell[…]

Flagstaff, Arizona’s journey through rural gentrification — Molly Ryan

I’ve been living on the East Coast for over eight years now. When I meet someone new and tell them that I grew up in Arizona, they usually respond with a comment about the weather. “You must be used to this kind of heat!” they say. I know what they’re imagining: a dry, sandy landscape Read more about Flagstaff, Arizona’s journey through rural gentrification — Molly Ryan[…]

In Colorado’s San Luis Valley, what happened in Crowley County is something of a ghost story.—Cloe Dickson

The two communities are not close, at least not geographically. From Alamosa County, the largest city in the San Luis Valley, Crowley County’s namesake town lies some 150 miles to the southeast. La Veta Pass, the route of the old Denver Rio Grande Railroad, offers east-west access through the magnificent Sangre de Cristo mountains, whose Read more about In Colorado’s San Luis Valley, what happened in Crowley County is something of a ghost story.—Cloe Dickson[…]

Enhancing working lands in Colorado

Darya’s main project is facilitating the Colorado Coalition to Enhance Working Lands (CO-CEWL). CO-CEWL works to improve the resilience and productivity of Colorado farming and ranching lands through the creation of viable agricultural businesses and rural communities, protecting open space, and increasing the ecosystem service benefits of working lands. Darya is writing a two-year strategic Read more about Enhancing working lands in Colorado[…]

Proposing County Payment Reforms that Incentivize Conservation of Public Forestland

Shannon is working with Oregon Wild, a non-governmental organization in Oregon dedicated to the conservation of forests and wildlife across the state. She is researching and developing an alternate model for the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) legislation, which has provided payments to historically timber-dependent counties in order to support them as timber harvests decline. The Read more about Proposing County Payment Reforms that Incentivize Conservation of Public Forestland[…]

Community-led water resilience in the Los Angeles River Watershed

Ryanna is supporting the Council for Watershed Health (CWH) in promoting integrated regional watershed management in the greater Los Angeles region. Her projects include supporting Watershed Coordinators with the Safe Clean Water Program, an initiative that captures and cleans stormwater while generating new opportunities for open space preservation. Ryanna is also conducting water sampling and Read more about Community-led water resilience in the Los Angeles River Watershed[…]

Impact of land use change policies on carbon sequestration capacity of natural and working lands in the US Climate Alliance western states

Kyle is working with The Nature Conservancy, North America Natural Climate Solutions Team. He will complete a regional land use planning policy analysis for a group of Western States that are part of the US Climate Alliance (Oregon, Washington, California, New Mexico, Nevada, Montana, Colorado). His synthesis policy research and workshops aim to build Western Read more about Impact of land use change policies on carbon sequestration capacity of natural and working lands in the US Climate Alliance western states[…]

Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation—Grace Hilbert

No two conservation projects are the same, which is why the Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP) developed the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation, also referred to as the Conservation Standards (previously the Open Standards). These Standards are an adaptable framework that brings together common concepts, approaches, and terminology to help make conservation efforts more Read more about Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation—Grace Hilbert[…]