student : Oliver James

My research interests lie at the intersection if climate change, conservation, and agriculture in the West. About 50% if future viable wildlife habitat in California will be in private, food-producing land; meanwhile, agricultural activity contributes up to one-third of our global greenhouse gas emissions. I’m excited by the “triple-threat” potential—for reducing atmospheric carbon, mitigating climate change, and creating wildlife habitat—when ecological principles are applied to agriculture, range management, and forestry. I am interested in using statistical techniques to analyze and leverage the successes if agro-ecological projects in California like Bird Returns, the collaboration between the Nature Conservancy,NASA, and rice farmers in the San Joaquin Valley to “rent” temporary habitat for migratory shorebirds. This project is an exciting case study if how emerging mobile technologies, data science, market-based tools, and citizen science can be combined to create a highly dynamic conservation tool. I am excited to investigate how this model can be adapted to different types of farming across the state. Additionally, I would like to study how citizen science-driven databases — like Bird and Naturalist — can accelerate the implementation if sound environmental policy.

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