Land Use, Climate Change, Water, and Other Ecosystem Services: Connecting Science to Users, Policies, and Programs

Thursday, May 10, 2012
3:30 pm to 5:00 pm
107 Richardson Hall

Both land-use change and climate change are important drivers for water resources, and understanding the direction, magnitude, and timing of these influences can be challenging.  Another key challenge is to connect and communicate this science to water users, landowners, policy makers and program developers to help them adapt to changing conditions and find effective approaches for managing water and other ecosystem services.  Drawing on examples spanning from the Oregon Cascades to the Ecuadorian Andes to global syntheses, Dr. Farley will examine challenges associated with gaps in the scientific understanding of the effects of land-use and climate change on water resources and other ecosystem services as well as efforts to fill gaps in communicating the science to stakeholders.


Dr. Kathleen A. Farley received her Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Colorado, Boulder and currently is an Assistant Professor of Geography at San Diego State University, where she teaches several undergraduate and graduate courses on environmental conservation and natural resource management and a graduate seminar on research design. Much of her research has focused on the effects of land use and land management on ecosystems, including the production of ecosystem services. Her current research interests are in the area of conservation policy and practice, in particular payment or compensation for ecosystem services. Since 1997, she has been conducting research in high altitude (páramo) grasslands in the Ecuadorian Andes, which are an important source of water, store large quantities of soil carbon, and have very high levels of biodiversity and endemism. Payment for Ecosystem Services programs are being implemented there, leading to tree planting to sequester carbon and the alteration of traditional burning and grazing regimes with the hope of enhancing water resources, carbon, and biodiversity. Her current research evaluates the effectiveness of current PES programs there and the effects of a set of incentivized land-use changes on the production of ecosystem services.

Prior to her position at SDSU, she worked for The Nature Conservancy in the Central Coast Ecoregion in California and held a post-doctoral position at Duke University in the Department of Biology and School of Environment. Prior to earning her Ph.D., she spent 2.5 years based in Quito, Ecuador working for EcoCiencia, an Ecuadorian nongovernmental conservation organization, where she focused on resource management and land use projects in both lowland rainforests and alpine grasslands.

She has published in academic journals including Environmental Conservation, Science, Global Environmental Change, Water Resources Research, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Global Change Biology, and Ecosystems, among others, as well as in edited book collections and in Spanish-language journals and publications.