Ecosystems face increased challenges — both directly and indirectly from climate change and the built environment. University of Michigan experts are on the cutting edge, developing strategies to conserve or restore natural habitats, and manage fisheries, estuaries, forests, and other resources sustainably so that we can preserve those environments and ecosystems for a long time to come. Key to this effort are experts at Forests & Livelihoods: Assessment, Research, and Engagement (FLARE), the National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative, and the University of Michigan Biological Station.
Wildfires, communities and climate change
Communities across the western United States face an existential crisis. As forests become drier and thicker with vegetation, and development encroaches further into forested areas, wildfires grow larger, more frequent and more damaging. U-M experts are working with practitioners across the west to address this growing concern.
Community brings a fresh spin to Detroit alleyways
One alleyway on Detroit’s northwest side is being staged to power lights through rainwater harvesting as part of a plan to make more of the city’s 9,000+ alleys functional and sustainable. The test installation project has brought together community leaders with U-M researchers and students to build on the city’s large-scale program to clear alleys of debris and overgrown vegetation.
Environmental actions are motivated by personal experiences
People’s personal experiences with nature may work better than dire warnings to motivate environmental action, a new U-M study found. Researchers wanted to know what motivates people to take action about preserving the environment, so they analyzed a conservation campaign focusing on monarch butterflies.
D’Anieri’s new book explores the history of the Appalachian Trail
Phil D’Anieri, a lecturer in urban and regional planning, has published The Appalachian Trail: A Biography, Born in 1921, the trail, which stretches 2,192 miles from Georgia to Maine, is one of the world’s best-known treks. Millions of hikers set foot on it every year. D’Anieri’s book explores the backstory of the dreamers and builders who helped bring it to life over the past century.
GPS tracking could help tigers and traffic coexist in Asia
Thanks to focused conservation efforts, tiger numbers have rebounded in some parts of their range. In Nepal, for example, the wild tiger population has nearly doubled from 121 in 2009 to 235 in 2018. But a road-building boom in Asia could undo this progress.
Busting environmental myths
Michigan Alumnus spoke with Shelie Miller, an associate professor in the School for Environment and Sustainability and director of the U-M Program in the Environment, about some common misperceptions regarding sustainability.
Great Lakes Water Levels
How will fluctuating water levels across the Great Lakes impact the growth of cities, people moving to the region, changes in water supply and the overall economy? Professor Drew Gronewold is working with researchers across U-M to answer those critical questions.
U-M carbon neutrality commission submits final recommendations
The President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality at the University of Michigan has submitted its final report, which contains recommendations to help the university achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. The report includes 50 recommendations that U-M could take to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions across the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses.
Carbon neutrality commission releases draft recommendations
The President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality, charged with recommending scalable and transferable strategies for U-M to achieve net-zero emissions, has released its preliminary draft recommendations for public comment. The draft report includes a collection of steps that U-M could take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the Flint, Dearborn and Ann Arbor campuses, including Michigan Medicine.
‘Peecycling’ payoff: Urine diversion shows multiple environmental benefits when used at city scale
Diverting urine away from municipal wastewater treatment plants and recycling the nutrient-rich liquid to make crop fertilizer would result in multiple environmental benefits when used at city scale, according to a new UM-led study. Researchers found that urine diversion and recycling led to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, freshwater consumption and the potential to fuel algal blooms in lakes and other water bodies.
Best practices for reducing human-wildlife conflict
Humans and wildlife often detrimentally affect each other in landscapes that they share together. Large predators can eat livestock, for example, or people can kill wild animals to reduce these risks. Coexistence between humans and wildlife is therefore more likely when humans adapt to these risks in ways that lead to benefits for both humans and wildlife, rather than benefiting one group only.
Global forest restoration and the importance of empowering local communities
Forest restoration is a crucial element in strategies to mitigate climate change and conserve global biodiversity in the coming decades, and much of the focus is on formerly tree-covered lands in the tropics. A new study finds that nearly 300 million people in the tropics live on lands suitable for forest restoration, and about a billion people live within 5 miles of such lands.
What's in a word: preservation, restoration, conservation
Restoration often seeks to maneuver an ecosystem into a historical state, returning the vegetative community to what resided there previously. It often involves planting native species, including rare species, in locations where they would have existed historically according to landscape pattern. Yet what if the plants are more successful in different habitats because of changing climates?
Research group evaluating biosequestration potential on U-M lands
Biosequestration relies on the natural ability of living organisms and biological processes to capture carbon. The biosequestration internal analysis team, part of the President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality, has been working for several months to evaluate the biosequestration of university-owned lands.
Can a tiny invasive snail help save Latin American coffee?
U-M researchers are exploring the possibility that B. similaris and other snails and slugs, which are part of a large class of animals called gastropods, could be used as a biological control to help rein in coffee leaf rust. But as ecologists, they are keenly aware of the many disastrous attempts at biological control of pests in the past.
U-M researchers testing ways to make aspen-dominated forests resilient to climate change
In an aspen-dominated hardwood forest at the northern tip of the state’s Lower Peninsula, U-M scientists are testing ways to make the region’s forests more resilient to climate change. About 12,000 mature trees—mostly aspen—are being cut on 77 acres at the U-M Biological Station, a 10,000-acre research and teaching facility just south of the Mackinac Bridge, near the town of Pellston.
Understanding the orangutan: New hope for conservation
Orangutans have long been viewed as an ecologically sensitive species that can thrive only in pristine forests. But a new synthesis of existing evidence has shown that orangutans can, and do, inhabit in areas impacted by humans, and that may mean only good things for the survival of the species.