Tag Archives: USDA

Adaptive Agricultural and Environmental Decision-making Postdoc at UC Davis

UC Davis Post-Doctoral Position in Adaptive Agricultural and Environmental Decision-making with Mark Lubell.

The UC Davis Department of Environmental Science and Policy seeks to fill one post-doctoral position in Adaptive Agricultural and Environmental Decision-making. The post-doctoral position will be for two years residence with possible third year renewal, starting Fall 2011 or earlier. The post-doctoral fellow will support a USDA funded project analyzing local rangeland restoration programs and individual factors that encourage ranchers to engage in adaptive rangeland management. The project involves analyzing data from structured survey of California ranchers, with possible addition of comparative data from Wyoming. The project also involves designing and expert elicitation or mental models process to map the decision-making process of ranchers in conjunction with an agro-ecological field experiment in adaptive rangeland management. The study will advance basic science in adaptive decision-making and coupled social-ecological systems. The project is being conducted by an interdisciplinary team including natural and social scientists. More information about the rangeland management project can be found here: UC Davis Adaptive Rangeland Management Project.

The post-doctoral fellow will be a member of Dr. Mark Lubell’s Center for Environmental Policy and Behaviorand housed in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy. In addition to the rangeland restoration project, the post-doc will have opportunities to participate in other projects on sustainable agriculture, water management, and climate change; mentor graduate students, teach classes, develop new research funding; and generally support an active research group.

Applicants should be recent recipients of a doctoral degree, with demonstrated interest and publication ability in agricultural and environmental decision-making and policy. Applicants are required to have a background in survey design and analysis, social science theory, and strong skills in quantitative statistical and network analysis. Applicants should also be trained in the design and analysis of expert elicitation protocols such as semantic networks, multi-criteria decision making, mental models, learning models, decision-making under uncertainty, and risk perception. The project requires strong interpersonal and language skills to interact directly with agricultural communities and stakeholders. Experience with rangeland management is preferred but not required. The position is open with respect to academic discipline, and could include behavioral decision theory, economics, political science, sociology, or other appropriate social science training.

Please notify Dr. Mark Lubell (mnlubell@ucdavis.edu) as soon as possible if you intend to apply, and send full applications electronically by August 1, 2011. Applications received by this date will be given first consideration, although we will continue to accept applications after that date. Applications should include a CV, letter describing research interests and background as applied to this project, examples of any relevant publications, and three letters of reference. Top candidates will be screened by telephone with possibility of campus visit. The University of California, Davis, is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer with a strong institutional commitment to the development of a climate that supports equality of opportunity and respect for differences.

Mapping the USA’s food

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has introduced the Food Environment Atlas, a new web-based data visualization tool.  The atlas is an interactive online tool that allows people to visualize various food related information at the USA county level.  For example the map below:

Pounds per capita of meat and poultry

Ratio per capita of fruit and vegtables consumed vs. processed food

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USDA establishes office of ecosystem services

The USA’s Department of Agriculture is establishing an Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets.  The Ecological Society of America’s blog EcoTone writes:

According to their press release, the office will help develop new guidelines and methods to assess ecosystem service benefits and create markets for ecosystem services.  The authorization for this office was approved in this summer’s Farm Bill, which Agriculture Secretary Ed Shafer spoke out against.

Ecosystem services are one way that ecologists can place a currency on the valuable services our environment provides, such as water filtration and air purification, carbon sequestration, pollination and recreation. The new office’s first priority will be carbon sequestration. Says the press release:

“Agriculture producers provide many ecosystem services which have historically been viewed as free benefits to society – clean water and air, wildlife habitat, carbon storage, and scenic landscapes. Lacking a formal structure to market these services, farmers, ranchers and forest landowners are not generally compensated for providing these critical public benefits. Market-based approaches to conservation are proven to be a cost-effective method to achieve environmental goals and sustain working and natural landscapes. Without financial incentives, these ecosystem services may be lost as privately-owned lands are sold or converted to development.”