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Center for the Urban Environment

Project Description Syracuse Urban Long Term Research Area (ULTRA)


A string of U.S. urban areas associated with the Great Lakes region is often called the “rust belt.” These cities and their surrounding counties are rust belt ecosystems with their own characteristic structure, function, and both biotic (including humans) and fossil-fuel based metabolism. Once dominated by steel, automotive and other heavy, ferrous-based industries, these cities were the backbone of the U.S. economy. They have “rusted” for two reasons. First, the U.S. economy shifted increasingly to imports of products once made in the United States. Second, the production that remained became increasingly “light,” i.e. non ferrous-based (Crandall 2002). As a consequence these cities have experienced a migration of their tax bases to the more affluent suburbs while retaining a legacy of pollution derived from their heavy industrial past. Population levels in these cities began to decline in the 1950s partly due to the rust belt phenomenon, but also due to historical red-lining practices (Jackson 1985, Bissinger 1998). Between 1950 and 2000, cities such as Duluth, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo lost up to half of their urban population. Rust belt cities rank at the top of the 100 largest US cities with respect to population declines (New York State Comptroller 2004; Vey 2007). Syracuse, New York (14th ranked) is a representative example of the changes many rust belt cities have undergone. Syracuse is replete with a stock of once elegant homes that housed the working class, but now are mostly boarded up; a concentration of urban poor with limited access to jobs and services (Grengs 2001); high crime rates and low public school achievement; and negative outside perceptions of quality of life (Pendall 2003; Schilling and Logan 2008). The city also has extensive brownfield areas and is adjacent to Onondaga Lake -- one of the most heavily contaminated water bodies in the U.S (Effler 1996).

Ecosystems, especially those dominated by humans, are not static (Forrester 1969). Syracuse and other rust belt cities are now in transition (Pendall 2003) and must make critical choices to deal with the uncertainties of climate, energy, and economy. Global climate change has the potential to impact local climate, reducing winter fuel requirements but also exacerbating urban heat islands in the summer, and affect local land-based production of food and fiber. Possible reverse migration from increasingly drought-stressed “sun-belt” cities may present water-rich rust belt cities an opportunity for economic growth, but also ecological challenges of how to deal with more people, their energy requirements and new generation of pollutants and waste. World energy projections and the new reality of decline of energy return on investment for production of all major fuels (e.g. Hall et al. 2009) indicate that society must transition to more expensive and potentially environmentally damaging energy sources, a process that threatens the very fabric of modern urban life (Day et al. 2009; Hall and Day 2009).

Fortunately, the rust belt, with abundant water and land available for food and fuel production, offers unique opportunities for addressing and mitigating these issues via smart land use/land cover (LULC) planning. These opportunities include urban greening in the form of urban forestry, urban agriculture, and ecological engineering green solutions, all of which hereafter will be referred to jointly as green infrastructure (GI), and all of which can be used to address and mitigate costs, energy, and materials used to improve storm water management and regional water quality, improve air quality, increase biodiversity, feed the local population, increase regional bio-fuel energy supplies, reduce urban heat island effects, reduce heating and cooling needs and associated pollution emissions, control erosion, and sustain civil infrastructure. These actions can collectively reduce governmental and private expenditures and allow for more efficient use of tax dollars to enhance property values, public health, public safety and the urban aesthetic experience. These socio-ecological impacts of GI are attractive to people and are likely to stabilize or increase urban population, the urban tax base, urban job opportunities and a local sense of pride in community and place. These impacts can also help many rust belt cities that are transitioning from heavy industry to an education/medical/research/green jobs-based economy (“information-intensive” economy; Pendall 2003). All of these issues are, as detailed below, well understood by Syracuse civic leaders (SOC 2009, Peirce and Johnson 2002).

To date few US cities have undertaken a comprehensive analysis of their SEM and the potential for GI to influence it. There have been over 6,000 local sustainability plans prepared for European communities but just 100 such plans prepared for North American cities as stipulated under Agenda 21 section 28 of the “Rio Agreement” (Smardon 2008). If we are to move toward better understanding of urban SEM and the potential for making our communities more sustainable using GI – barriers to enhancing both need to be examined.

Syracuse, New York, is an ideal place to explore potential innovations to meet these new challenges. Here local city and county governments and citizens are vigorously seeking environmentally sound solutions that maximize socio-economic impacts. They desire information, tools, and techniques to redefine Syracuse and other rust belt cities and better manage their social, economic, environmental and aesthetic sense of community and place (see attached letters). Syracuse is part of the National Mayor’s “Green Cities” initiative and many other projects promising a smaller (less sprawling) and “greener” city are underway. Local citizen groups such as Syracuse Grows are establishing vegetable gardens around the city; others fighting for environmental justice are actively seeking green storm water management strategies over gray storm water management solutions that blight their neighborhoods. We propose to combine intellectual and management perspectives across disciplines to engage with these local actors in developing the information based and conceptual tools that they need to make informed decisions.


Socio-Ecological Metabolism

- Haberl et al. (2006) asked how can we move from LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) to LTSER program, where S, or Social, encompasses both the cultural and economic realms that comprise the human dimension of ecosystem studies. The S-component, like the E, is both agent of urban ecosystem structure and function, as well as receiver of impacts due to alteration of structure and function away from what some would call “natural” ecosystem processes. The challenge is getting biophysical scientists to interact effectively with social scientists and vice versa (Lockaby et al. 2005). Because humans are dependent on both S and E systems and cities are very much humandominated ecosystems (Odum H. T. 1971, Grove and Burch 1997, Redman et al. 2004, Vitousek et al. 1997), it is essential to explore concepts, methods, and language that combine approaches. Haberl et al. (2006) identify four general themes that are central to any LTSER program that make for truly interdisciplinary engagement: socio-ecological metabolism, land use and landscapes, governance, and communication. We build our proposed research on these four pillars, with socio-ecological metabolism as the integrative conceptual “glue”; LULC and urban landscape, and the needs and constraints of government to find sustainable, cost-effective solutions to a variety of urban infrastructure issues as our focal points; and our models of the processes fundamental to assessing metabolism as the integrating activity that can communicate implications of management decisions and inform decision making. The reasons that we have chosen metabolism as our conceptual paradigm are threefold:

1) All processes in which there is motion, which is to say essentially everything that happens in a city, are of thermodynamic necessity associated with and dependant upon the flow and transfer of energy, that is, energy use metabolism, which is composed of production -- capture or generation of energy, and consumption -- uses of it. By-products or metabolites include pollutants of concern: sewage, CO2, combustion particulates, and excess nutrients. Thus metabolism as a concept integrates many city processes and is particularly relevant to a study that evaluates the impacts of changing LULC as a contributor to future sustainability.

2) Metabolism is a means of showing the connectivity, relative importance and to some degree similarity of all city processes, whether strictly biophysical or social. The concept of metabolism has been well developed, indeed is central, in physiology and ecosystem studies (e.g. Gosz et al. 1978, Odum 1962) and has recently been shown to have great power in understanding cities (e.g. Baccini and Brunner 1991, Newman 1999, Decker et al. 2000, Haberl et al. 2006, Kennedy et al. 2007). Haberl et al. (2006), especially, have shown that metabolism is not conceptually separate from a social perspective of cities but rather central to it. Human decision making is in a sense a means of directing, controlling or enhancing metabolism. Even money can be considered as a lien on energy, for without energy flow money has no value. In the US in 2005, about 8,000 kJ was required for each dollar of economic activity (Hall et al. 2008). Since cities today almost invariably support far more respiration than production, both of food and fossil energy, they are invariably dependent upon external sources of production.

3) The third reason to focus on urban metabolism is that the most important urban energy sources for a city’s metabolism are derived from fossil fuels, especially oil and natural gas. These fuels are likely to become increasingly inaccessible through increasing price and actual physical shortage (Hall et al. 2008, Hall and Day 2009). Hamilton (2009) attributes most of the financial meltdown of the second half of 2008 to the loss of discretionary income due to oil price increases in the previous 13 months. We believe there is a strong possibility that oil price increases and the possibility of an actual shortage are critical issues that city leaders and residents must face, and it provides a strong rationale for developing an assessment of the relation between socio-ecological flows and human activities that might allow for mitigation. Green infrastructure is being promoted in many climate/energy policy discussions as one form of mitigation.

Social and Behavioral Processes

- The success of many GI policies, however, depends on the understanding, ability, and willingness of citizens to be engaged in the process of GI implementation and upkeep to ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of new forms of urban greening. Thus, getting GI policies right requires attention to individual perceptions, attitudes, motivations, and constraints to environmentally beneficial behavior. Decision makers often focus on the big policy picture, assuming that behavior will be driven in the desired direction. But differences in how policies are framed— incentives, implementation, and design are often critical factors for success. Our approach utilizes components of behavioral decision theory, drawing on prospect theory (Kahneman and Tversky 1979; Thaler 1980), and considers contextual as well as normative predictors of evaluation and behavior interacting at different levels of analysis (Stern 2000; Dietz et al. 1998). Prospect theory proposes that the manner in which alternative choices are framed—not simply their relative value— shapes the decisions people make. One component of this theory, the endowment effect, demonstrates that how people perceive the benefit of engaging in an environmental behavior, or how they perceive losing something they already enjoy (e.g., environmental quality), will influence the value they place on engaging in that behavior or in maintaining the environmental quality they currently enjoy (Thaler 1994, Zeiss 1991). For example, the endowment effect indicates that the loss of a “pristine” environment is viewed as much worse because communities value their “endowed” clean environment at a much higher level than if it had always been viewed as contaminated in their memory (e.g. Onondaga Lake, an EPA Superfund site). As the rust belt region’s ecosystem structure and function continues to transition, perception and valuation of environmental quality may shift. Understanding how individuals, neighborhoods, and communities will respond to these changes is crucial in creating more sustainable patterns of environmental behavior.


A. Research Questions:

We have designed two questions that foster interdisciplinary research and synthesis and allow us to study the city as an integrated system.

Question 1: What is the socio-ecological metabolism (SEM) of a rust belt city, how has it changed over time, how might it be vulnerable to future external factors such as restrictions in oil availability, and how might city revitalization emphasizing natural ecosystem processes via green infrastructure affect SEM at both the city/regional and the household/neighborhood level in the future?

This question focuses on quantifying the past, current and future potential effective SEM (production usable to humans in energy units minus respiration) based on alternative LULC scenarios at both the regional and neighborhood level; b) measuring local/neighborhood scale metabolites of heat, matter and nutrients that are a direct consequence of LULC and that contribute to both social and ecological sustainability of life; and c) providing LULC alternatives incorporating natural ecosystem processes that are socially acceptable, sustainable, and likely to improve local air and water quality.

Question 2: What institutional and societal constraints may limit transitioning to this new city form, and how can urban ecosystem science be transferred to local actors, from local citizens to government, to help develop policies or implement green technologies that optimize SEM and contribute to quality of life for all urban inhabitants, including non-human biota?

This question focuses on identifying the stakeholder LULC norms for citizens and governmental entities; b) identifying the current policy, social and economic limits to instituting new GI processes; c) determining socially acceptable LULC changes and policies at both the landowner and government scales to institute new GI; and d) determining how best to transfer natural ecosystem modeling information to stakeholders to facilitate improved urban ecosystem knowledge and management.

B. Hypotheses.

We pose 4 hypotheses that we will test using methods A-D described in the Methods section.

Hypothesis 1.

The current regional production to city respiration ratio is strongly skewed toward respiration, but green infrastructure can result in a significant progress toward a 1:1 ratio.

Syracuse and Onondaga County 150 years ago supported the requirements of their large human population primarily on local solar energy including photosynthesis. Now most of human metabolism and human economic activity is supported by fossil-fuel based energy. The only important solar-based input to these “industrial” energy flows is hydro-electric, due to our proximity to the Niagara River. As petroleum is likely to be constricted in the future, quantifying the natural and industrial energy flows is important to determine their relative magnitude and whether it is possible to replace some industrial energy flow with regional biotic flows. For example, what portion of electrical generation and district heating needs could be generated from forest productivity via biomass harvesting in Onondaga County?

Hypothesis 2.

Land cover affects atmospheric pollutants and air temperature with increasing vegetation cover and decreasing impervious surfaces leading to reduced emissions, pollutant concentrations, and air temperatures.

The combination of various urban surfaces and activities interact with local meteorological patterns and topography to influence air temperature and air pollution concentrations. Thus changes to LULC in neighborhoods will affect local meteorology and air pollution and consequently energy use, ecosystem metabolism and human health. A better understanding of the relationships among LULC, local air pollution and temperatures in neighborhoods will allow for the development of better green infrastructure designs to improve quality of life and reduce energy use.

Hypothesis 3.

a) Loading rates for suspended sediment and phosphorus (P) in Onondaga Creek have decreased in response to: (1) sewer line repairs, (2) increased capture of wet weather combined sewage and sewer separation, (3) Best Management Practices to reduce agricultural loads, and (4) reductions in sediment loading from mudboils; b) Heterotrophic metabolism (P<R) is increased downstream from combined sewer outlets compared to upstream areas, which will impact on aquatic life; c) Green infrastructure technologies will not reduce runoff, a component of nutrient loading, by more than 10% in urban areas in a normal precipitation year.

Urban settings represent special challenges for rehabilitation of streams and eutrophic lakes because of the intensity, dynamics, and multiplicity of anthropogenic effects (Cooke et al. 2005). Determining the degree to which GI can reduce nutrient loading to streams and lakes, and enhance effective metabolism (i.e. fish production) is important for reestablishing use of the creek by aquatic organisms and humans alike. It also can assist in evaluating the water quality trade-offs of rural sprawl development vs. urban infill (with and without specific GI technologies) and provide communities with a decision-support capability to assess tradeoffs of development, GI, and land use decisions in terms of water-related ecosystem services.

Hypothesis 4.

A city can move beyond the impacts and constraints of 19th and 20th Century methods of planning and development and improve its SEM to a more sustainable level through judicious use of ecology-based development policies and community planning that support environmentally sound design, construction and land management. Such activities may be subject to potentially significant differences between neighborhoods and blocks in terms of perceptions of ecosystem services, perceptions of quality of life, and preferences regarding implementation of GI technologies. The vigorous incorporation of GI through the existing (and evolving) system of lots, blocks, streets and districts can reconnect the city to the regional ecosystem and its ecosystem services.

The SEM of a city represents a number of elements (e.g. vegetation, water bodies, wind turbines, wildlife) that require space in the urban landscape. A critical mass of GI, especially if intended to reconnect the city with the regional ecosystem, will require the strong participation of both public and private properties and a strong increase in vegetative cover and other “green” elements that alter the urban design image from gray (buildings, autos) to green (vegetation, wildlife, solar energy, non-auto transportation). This approach is dependent, in part, on constantly-evolving perceptions and attitudes among citizens and decision-makers. Understanding urban residents’ perceptions and attitudes towards new ecological services and GI in their neighborhoods will be key to decision making for any such implementation program (Palmer 1984, Smardon 1988). By developing the methodology to profile such perception and attitudes - at lot and neighborhood block scales – we will be facilitating the decision making support structure and physical model development for GI alternatives.


Research Team:

This group of investigators represents a broad variety of academic perspectives and experience working with international, national and regional (e.g. Great Lakes) energy, water and air quality, conservation, forestry, and urban issues. They are affiliated with the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF), the SUNY ESF Center for Urban Environment (CUE) (www.esf.edu/cue), the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station’s Urban Forestry (USFS) unit located on the SUNY ESF campus, and the Upstate Freshwater Institute (UFI), all located within the City of Syracuse. They have a long history of collaborative research, teaching, and publication. Each investigator’s particular area of expertise is indicated under each research activity he/she will address. The questions we are asking and the hypotheses posed have been developed over months of discussion among project investigators, and between investigators and local government, business, and non-government participants. Many community groups and agencies are excited and willing participants in this project, as they understand the relevance of the outcomes to local policies, planning and management of city systems. They are represented by Dennis Brogan (Director of Public Affairs & Neighborhood Services Bureau, City of Syracuse, Office of the Mayor), Fernando Ortiz (Commissioner, Dept. of Community Development, Office of the Mayor), Brian Liberti (City Arborist, Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Youth Programs), Jean Smiley (Administrator for Physical Services, Office of the Onondaga County Executive), Karen Engel (Green Infrastructure Coordinator, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation), Anna Fernandez (Environmental Scientist, Syracuse Center of Excellence, coordinating Near West Side Neighborhood Research), Frank Caliva (Director of Talent Initiatives, the Syracuse Metropolitan Development Association), Paul Thompson (Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board and Regional Energy Smart Community Coordinator, New York State Energy Research and Development Agency) and citizen groups including La Liga, Atlantic States Legal Foundation, Partnership for Onondaga Creek, and Tomorrows Neighborhoods Today. In addition, undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in the following SUNY ESF courses will participate in research, data collection, and design explorations for this project: Urban Ecology, Urban Forestry, Environmental Psychology, Biophysical Economics, Watershed Ecology Practicum, Studio in Landscape & Urban Ecology, Problem-solving in Conservation Biology Introduction to Conservation Biology, and a Participatory Action Research seminar.

Study Area.

The study will be conducted at three scales: 1) regional (Onondaga County), 2) city (City of Syracuse), and 3) local (Downtown, Near West Side and Strathmore neighborhoods). Our local sampling area includes two atmospheric flux towers and traverses several Syracuse neighborhoods representing a gradient of socio-economic conditions. The neighborhoods also are part of a sewershed whose effluent causes numerous combined sewer overflows that contaminate Onondaga Creek. The Downtown neighborhood is 49.3% non-white population, with 28.8% over age 25 without a high school equivalent education and an average annual household income around $10,000. The Near West Side is 62.8% non-white population and 49.7% non-high school educated with an average household income around $14,000. The Strathmore neighborhood 17.3% non-white population and 7.3% non-high school educated with an average household income greater than $40,000.

A. Measuring and Modeling Rust Belt City Metabolism – Net Production and Energy Fluxes at the Local to Regional Scale.

(Charles Hall (energy, ecology, modeling); Dave Nowak (urban forestry), Myrna Hall (urban and spatial ecologist), graduate student Steven Balogh)


a) quantify urban structure and ecosystem services within the neighborhoods and at the City scale; b) quantify SEM and energy budgets for natural and human-dominated systems within the region to determine if the city and neighborhoods could be sustained using local to regional production.


This work provides the data foundation for assessing metabolism at the neighborhood scale by assessing the various physical attributes of the neighborhood and associated energy flows. This assessment will be conducted in coordination with the social survey (Methods D) and will randomly sample areas within each neighborhood and across the City to assess the vegetative characteristics that can not be attained with aerial cover mapping.

Neighborhood and City Structure and Ecosystem Services:

Aerial cover mapping of the entire city plus a 5-km buffer around the city will be conducted using 2009 LIDAR data in coordination with 2009 National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) imagery. The cover map for the city will classify tree canopy, grass/shrub, impervious-building, impervious-road; impervious-non-road pavement; water and bare earth classes at 1-m resolution based on methods in Zhou and Troy (2008). This work will be funded by the USFS and SUNY-ESF. Ground sampling of vegetation will be conducted using randomly located 1/10 acre field plots using measurements procedures prescribed by Nowak et al. (2008) and analyzed using the Urban Forest Effects model (Nowak and Crane 2000; Nowak et al. 2008), which assesses structural (e.g., species composition, leaf area) and ecosystem services of vegetation (e.g., pollution removal, carbon sequestration) (e.g., Nowak and Crane 2002; Nowak et al. 2006). Data from both the aerial and ground sampling will be utilized by our research team to help assess various aspects of urban metabolism and GI design from the neighborhood to city scale.

Neighborhood Socio-Ecological Metabolism:

From the neighborhood level land cover information compiled above, average ecological production will be calculated based on LiCor 6400 in situ measurements and leaf area index (LAI) for different tree species. Ecological respiration will be derived from home energy use statistics from local utilities, average household food consumption by income group, and Syracuse urban transportation statistics derived from the local Transportation Council. We will combine 2000 census block data (US Census 2000) on income, age, and ethnicity, and tax parcel data on owner occupied homes, renter occupied homes and vacant homes to derive an estimate of sociological production. Through map overlay we can illustrate by census block the SEM along gradients of green plant production and both biotic and fossil energy consumption (respiration) (both in MJ ha-1 or per lot as appropriate). Our models (Methods E) will allow citizens and decision makers to see how SEM at this scale can change as a function of alternate LULC management options and changing energy inputs. This capability will aid in assessing how the city’s least economically and politically influential population may be affected by changing SEM, and which policies can reduce their vulnerability.

Regional Metabolism:

To derive energy budgets for natural and human-dominated systems within Onondaga County and for specific neighborhoods, information will be obtained from several sources related to natural plant production for various ecosystems and numerous anthropogenic energy sources. Natural net plant productivity (photosynthesis minus respiration) will be calculated for each major National Land Cover Data (NLCD) class (Developed, Forest, Agriculture, Water) using NLCD maps of tree and impervious cover, local data, and estimates from the literature. Productivity (in MJ ha-1) will be calculated for Onondaga Lake from daily oxygen changes (Effler et al. 2008), Onondaga Creek from oxygen changes (Hall 1972), forest land based on average regional biomass accumulation derived from National Forest Inventory data (http://fia.fs.fed.us/), urban trees based on local biomass accumulation estimates (Nowak and O’Connor 2001), and agricultural lands based on crop-specific data for New York State (USDA 2007). These values will be aggregated upward by class based on NLCD class distribution within the county to determine current productivity. In addition, productivity estimates will be standardized per unit of tree or ground area to derive how productivity would be change under different management scenarios (i.e., alternate LULC possibilities).

Estimates of respiration or energy use of the “industrial” or “anthropogenic” part of ecosystems will be generated based on a synthesis of existing fossil and biotic energy flows for Onondaga County. To obtain county level estimates, detailed time series state energy data (EIA 2009) will be downscaled using methods adapted from Ngo and Pataki (2008) to the county level pro rating estimates according to population, employment ratios in industrial and commercial sectors (US Census 2000), residential home heating fuel choice and heating degree day (NYSERDA 2009a, 2009b), number of registered vehicles (NYS DMV 2009) and by specific studies of important local industries and available utility data. Respiration of humans themselves will be derived from standard human caloric requirements.

Existing energy needs will be compared with the potential of the natural regional biota to supply energy under existing LULC conditions, and under “community acceptable” urban greening. Socioecological metabolism will be measured on a “unit landscape” basis where current and future (under culturally acceptable norms) neighborhood and county land cover/use maps will be combined with per unit metabolic estimates (natural and anthropogenic) for each LULC class. For this work, estimates will be produced on how much anthropogenic energy sources (e.g., fossil fuels) and human respiration (e.g., food consumption) can be offset using regional natural plant productivity and whether the urban ecosystem can be sustained using regional production.

B. Neighborhood LULC Impacts on Atmospheric Pollution and Air Temperature

(Myron Mitchell (biogeochemistry, air pollution effects on ecosystems), Gordon Heisler (urban meteorology)


a) characterize and compare air temperature and pollutant fluxes and concentrations in the downtown area and at an urban residential site in the Strathmore neighborhood; b) develop models that predict the influence of vegetative and impervious land cover on the spatial pattern of temperature and air quality; c) predict spatial patterns of temperature and air pollutants under different atmospheric forcing conditions; and d) explore how changes in temperature affect human comfort.


To help assess the role of LULC and emissions on air quality, a pair of flux towers have been installed in and around the local neighborhood study areas. At the downtown monitoring site (Figure 1), there is a 46-m tower with complete meteorological instrumentation. Real time meteorological data are provided at 2, 34 and 43 m; air quality is being monitored at 34 and 43 m using: CO/CO2 monitor, NO/NO2 monitor, aerosol spectrometer (particle diameters of 0.25 to 20 Pm), O3 monitor and water-based condensation particle counter (ultrafine particles). At the Strathmore site (Figure 1) there is a 45-m tower with complete real-time meteorological instrumentation at 2, 34 and 43 m. Air quality data are collected at 43 m using the same instrumentation as at the downtown site. Pollutant fluxes and concentrations at each tower will be calculated using profile measurements (e.g., Draxler 1979; Coutts et al. 2007).

To assess the role of LULC on air quality, the land cover data (Methods A) will be combined with local digital elevation (DEM) data and estimated vehicular and point source emission maps for the neighborhoods based on EPA emission data (Held et al. 2003; Hirabayashi 2009). These estimates of cover, elevation and emissions will be regressed against temporal concentration, flux and meteorological measurements to determine relationships between LULC, elevation, meteorology, and local air pollution metrics.

The temperature study will include empirical modeling of the spatial pattern of temperature differences (QT) across the Syracuse area, following methods previously developed for studies in Baltimore, MD (Heisler et al. 2006a; Heisler et al. 2006b; Heisler et al. 2007). The models will be based on temperature measurements within the urban canopy layer at the 1.5-m height above ground using at least 10 instrument packages that will also measure humidity, wind speed, and solar radiation. The instrument systems will be placed to sample locations that represent a wide range of the urban tree canopy, impervious cover, and building density. These structural variables will be measured around each site by remote sensing to provide the independent variables for the prediction equations. Meteorological data will be recorded as 15-minutes averages at each site for at least one-year. Regression analysis will be used to develop predictive equations for estimating (QT) between locations in Syracuse. Predictive variables will include tree and impervious cover obtained using high resolution GIS land cover maps (Methods A).

Results of the QT modeling will provide the means to determine air temperature effects of future changes in urban tree canopy. Air temperature influences energy use for space conditioning of buildings, human thermal comfort, and ozone concentrations. Differences in human comfort at the below-canopy weather stations will be estimated using a human thermal comfort model that includes effects of air temperature, humidity, solar radiation, wind, and estimated long-wave radiation exchanges (Hartz et al. 2006; Heisler and Wang 2002). The temperature model results will be used to estimate the effects of changed tree canopy on human comfort of pedestrians, especially under heat wave conditions when high temperatures may be hazardous, rather than merely uncomfortable.

C. Neighborhood LULC Impacts on Storm Water Quality and Quantity

(Steve Effler (freshwater ecosystems), Dave Matthews (freshwater ecosystems), Karin Limburg (systems ecology, fish biology), Bongghi Hong (hydrological modeling), Myrna Hall (urban and spatial ecology), graduate student Ning Sun)


evaluate a) sediment and nutrient loading, b) hydrological flows, and c) in-situ ecosystem metabolism as a function of both current LULC and future possible alternatives using GI.


To assess loading in Onondaga Creek, phosphorus and suspended sediment data have been collected in the creek as part of the Upstate Freshwater Institute’s (UFI) long-term monitoring program. Grab samples for P analyses were collected bi-weekly over the 1989-2008 period at two sites on Onondaga Creek, one upstream of the City of Syracuse and one at the confluence with Onondaga Lake. The two sampling sites support the partitioning of loads into rural and urban components. More temporally intensive sampling conducted in 1990, 2007, and 2009 by UFI and over the 1999-2002 interval by Onondaga County will be used to support loading estimates. Three forms of P were measured according to APHA (1992); total P (TP), total dissolved P (TDP) and soluble reactive P (SRP). Particulate P (PP) and dissolved organic P (DOP) will be determined through residual calculations. Loading rates will be calculated as the products of concentrations and stream flow (Q), which has been continuously monitored by USGS gauges at both sampling sites. The FLUX software program (Walker 1995) will be used for loading estimates, and trend analysis will be performed using robust linear and nonlinear statistical techniques (Richards and Baker 1993, 2002). Trends in pollutant loading over time will be compared to an impervious surface time series (Mountrakis et al. 2009), and 1992 and 2001 National Land Cover Change Product LULC (USEPA) to assess impacts of regulatory measures versus increasing impervious surfaces and declining agricultural and forest cover on sediment and nutrient loading. Nutrient and sediment loading will be considered in the context of the metabolism of Onondaga Lake, an urban lake recovering from decades of severe eutrophy.

To investigate neighborhood effects (lot to sewershed), ecosystem metabolism will be measured by deploying a YSI sonde equipped with dissolved oxygen and temperature/conductivity probes at two sites, one above and one below the CSOs in the study area. Daytime production, 24-hr respiration, and total ecosystem metabolism will be calculated from diurnal oxygen curves corrected for depth and diffusion (Bott 2007).

To incorporate the effect of GI, particularly engineering solutions, on storm water runoff at the neighborhood level into a storm water runoff model, a capability that is is not currently incorporated in the most commonly used models such as The Storage, Treatment, Overflow, Runoff Model (STORM), developed by the Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC 1977; Roesner et al. 1974; Heaney et al. 1977) and the Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) developed by Metcalf and Eddy (1971) for the EPA, we will: (a) Monitor stormwater flow of existing low impact development (LID) applications and comparable non-LID structures on the SUNY ESF campus and in the Near West Side Community, under varying precipitation events; (b) Compile a database of literature values from LID case studies around the world for five different GI technologies (green roofs, rain gardens, pervious paving, rain barrels, urban tree cover and parking lots swales); (c) Develop GI runoff coefficients based on A and B above and new infiltration algorithms to incorporate in the two existing urban stormwater management models; (d) Add components of these models to our existing Integrated Watershed Assessment of Human/Nature Interactions (Hong et al. in preparation), described in Methods E.

The results of this investigation when combined with citizen attitudes toward urban greening technologies (Methods D) and neighborhood LULC assessment (Methods A and D) will provide the ability to estimate and map storm water runoff variation across neighborhoods under different acceptable GI implementation scenarios. When compared to the results of the watershed level assessment (Methods C), the neighborhood level results will provide needed information on optimal, acceptable urban LULC to overcome rural (sprawl and agriculture) effects on water quality. Assessments of ecosystem metabolism will provide a direct measure of one component of urban metabolism, quantifying the response of the stream to runoff-bearing nutrients and sediment. These tools will be designed in conjunction with city and county regulators, planners, and managers (Methods D) to help them answer the major questions they are facing, and inform the design charrette process (Methods D). In Methods E, integrative modeling, we discuss how results will inform SEM and ecosystem services quantification.

D. Human Dimensions, Governance of Neighborhoods and Design Applications – Linking Stakeholders with Green Infrastructure and Ecosystem Services

(Brenda Nordenstam (risk perception and communication), Emanuel Carter (urban planning and design), Valerie Luzadis (ecological economics), Richard Smardon (environmental planning), 3 graduate students)


a) develop a structure for sharing data, resources, and collaborative hypothesis building related to metabolism, policy, social systems and ecosystem services; b) integrate this information in analyses that help understand the interactions between green and gray infrastructure on human attitudes and traditions affecting acceptance of such infrastructure; c) explore with local and regional decision makers the most important decision driving factors related to LULC and integrate this information in GI planning from neighborhood to lot scales; d) explore neighborhood perceptions of ecological diversity and ecosystem services; e) determine the impact of historical urban design and mortgage lending policies begun in the 1930s on vegetation cover in Syracuse; f) ascertain which city planning and design principles, strategies, and techniques offer the best legal, procedural, and administrative support for implementing GI for urban revitalization, and the enhancement of desirable green metabolism, and g) investigate the socio-ecological and spatial implications of new LULC patterns that can be applied to the city’s traditional and projected urban design structure.


Stakeholder Preferences and Neighborhood Governance: To address preferences and governance related to GI, we will investigate the perceptions, attitudes, and values of urban residents in the neighborhoods with regards to: 1) ecosystem services, 2) connections of ecosystem services and quality of life, and 3) drivers affecting potential implementation of new GI technologies. We will also investigate how city and county decision makers/managers, businesses, and community organizations perceive the same three issues above and how both groups’ views and information needs can be integrated into a collaborative modeling approach for GI implementation. To do this we will:

a) Convene initial focus groups to determine how stakeholders (broadly defined) perceive “natural ecosystem processes and services” within each neighborhood. These stakeholder sessions will investigate the range of attitudes, values, perceptions, conceptions and concerns related to ecosystem services using standard focus group methods (Greenbaum 1988; Kreuger 1994; and Morgan 1988). Ecosystem services in this instance will be defined as those provided by urban vegetation such as carbon storage, air quality mitigation, microclimate modification, and stormwater reduction. This step is part of a triangulation method we will use for gathering data will be used – focus groups, interviews, and questionnaire administration.

b) Administer a questionnaire among randomly selected households and blocks in the neighborhoods that expands upon Nordenstam et al. (in preparation) to address: a) How urban residents think about urban ecosystem services; b) Whether they connect such ecosystem services with quality of life; c) Perceptions and attitudes about biodiversity in the urban areas; and d) What drivers (economic/social/cultural) would affect their decisions about acceptability toward introduction of GI within their neighborhoods. Development of the survey instrument will build on the information needs of stakeholders and decision makers (Methods D) and include additional questions designed to better distinguish the perceptions, intentions, and incentive structure preferences for low-impact development alternatives to control storm-water runoff. In addition to income, education, and livelihood, variation in preference between renters and owners will be included to enable spatial analysis of potential pervious land use changes according to property ownership status. The issue of how residents perceive biodiversity in the urban ecosystem (Smardon 2008) is also critical to acceptance of more natural solutions to urban runoff and air quality mitigation issues as well as urban wildlife habitat. Sample selection will be done according to Henry (1990). Variation in GI preference by tenure will enable spatial analysis of potential pervious land use changes according to property ownership status. GI related normative beliefs will be measured using items concerning awareness of consequences, ascription of responsibility and moral norms based on Stern’s Value-Belief-Norm (VPM) theory (2000). Data analysis will include principle components factor analysis (PCA), using oblique rotation to create scale measures for items measuring the VPM, GI and ecosystem services beliefs, and environmental quality. Bivariate correlations will be performed to measure strength of association for factor items. To determine if acceptance differs by location or group, 1-way analysis of variance will be performed. To investigate the relative importance of different variables in explaining acceptability and preferences, stepwise multiple regression will be conducted.

c) Develop a block-by-block map of acceptability zones for differing GI from survey outputs at lot and neighborhood scales. Map average scores by block and neighborhood of willingness to implement alternative GI technologies will be mapped for each GI technology proposed to residents in the survey. We will use the socio-metabolism maps from Methods A to extrapolate these average responses per demographic group to each census blocks. We can then compile a profile for each neighborhood that extrapolates probability of acceptance according to demographic characteristics of the neighborhood that have also been captured via the survey instruments. These maps of GI acceptability scores will be overlaid with maps of public and private sites available for implementation (residential land, commercial land, vacant land, brownfields derived from LULC map (Methods A and D). The resulting mapped scores will represent a continuum of opportunity (taking into account public willingness and land availability) for each technology. Maps of optimal adaptation by neighborhood will be fed to the integrative models (Methods E) where the urban forestry model will calculate energy, heat, matter, nutrient and potential wildlife fluxes as a function of potential LULC, to the hydrological model that will predict hydrograph and nutrient input, and to the metabolism model to calculate urban production capacity at the neighborhood (census block) level.

d) Engage city and county decision makers and stakeholders (businesses and community organizations) in (1) focus groups, following procedures referenced in D.1.a. above, to explore their predictions with respect to questionnaire questions a-d above. In many environmental management situations – residents’ perceptions and attitudes may be different from managers and decision makers. Our task here is to see how close or different such perceptions and attitudes are. Such information is critical for the development of effective models or decision support systems (Manno et al. 2008). A mediated or facilitated work session where the investigators work with decision makers/managers and other stakeholder representatives to review the drivers and all other assumptions that would affect implementation of GI with the City and County will also be conducted to help integrate what is learned into model and tool development (Methods E). Such “mediated” modeling and planning approaches have proven to be necessary for other Great Lakes ecosystem issues (Manno et al. 2008).

Planning and Design Applications: To assess how past policy decisions have led to current LULC in neighborhoods, the impact of 19th and 20th Century urban design and 20th Century government mortgage loan policies on vegetation cover in Syracuse will be investigated using the digital tree cover map overlaid in GIS with 1936/37 color-coded and racially-discriminatory Residential Security Maps prepared by the Federal Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC). Amount and variation in residential lot cover attributes among the color-coded loan designation areas will be used to determine if differences in federally backed mortgage loans in the past influenced urban vegetation and form today. The approach to the historic urban design analysis will be informed, in part, by Pregill and Volkman (1993), Hegemann and Peets (1988), Kostof (1991 and 1992), Arnold (1993), and Gosling (2003).

To determine the effectiveness of current policies affecting LULC, an analysis of the city’s current comprehensive plan, related community development plans, district and neighborhood plans, civil infrastructure plans and ordinances that address zoning, subdivision regulations, historic preservation, and community design guidelines will be examined. These documents will be evaluated in terms of their current impacts on the urban landscape, their qualities in relationship to current best practices, i.e. Agenda 21, Chapter 28; Newman and Jennings (2008), their potentials to support the implementation of GI, the stated goals and objectives of the City and this ULTRA project, academic and professional literature about best practices, and case studies from other communities. This phase of the study will make recommendations for improvements that will foster better policies, documents and procedures leading to planning and design for an improved SEM.

To quantify the physical possibilities for additional ecosystem services and technologies in neighborhoods will require the use of maps, air photos, ground-level photos, sketches and documents that show the spatial organization of the City of Syracuse in terms of (1) natural features – topography, hydrology, vegetation, wildlife, climate, soils; (2) open space, parks, woodlands, vacant and/or contaminated parcels; (3) districts, neighborhoods, blocks, parcels, ownership patterns and civil and architectural infrastructure; (4) circulation – highways, streets, roads, parking, bikeways, pedestrian systems, and; (5) civil infrastructure – water, sewer, storm water, treatment facilities and conduits. This process will utilize SEM information and stakeholders’ preferences (Methods A and D). Armed with this information and an analysis of the extent to which current policies, plans and procedures might be improved to meet the standards of current and projected best practices, we will develop a design brief for the study area. This brief will include goals, issues, opportunities, constraints, principles, parameters, programs and concepts to address new GI technologies (varying degrees of tree and impervious cover) in the neighborhoods using a charrette process (a short, intense design study) and design teams.

The design charrettes will take two weeks and teams will include members of the ULTRA project team, local planning and design professionals, local citizens and decision-makers, and design faculty and SUNY-ESF students. The result will be conceptual designs that indicate how socio-ecological goals and objectives, stakeholder preferences and tolerances, environmental opportunities and constraints, spatial opportunities and constraints, and the applications of best practices in planning and design might be incorporated at the lot scale, the block scale, and the neighborhood and district scale, to redefine neighborhood, city and regional SEM and contribute to a prosperous and sustainable future. The philosophical, psychological, functional and aesthetic frameworks of the urban design analyses and the design charrettes will be informed in part by Hough (1995), Garvin (2002), Newman and Jennings (2008).

E. Integrative Modeling and Tool Development to Aid Managers

(David Nowak, Bongghi Hong, Richard Smardon, Charles Hall, Myrna Hall, Charles Kroll (hydrologist) in conjunction with all project personnel and partners.


a) develop a prototype computer tool to illustrate changes in ecosystem services and socio-ecological metabolism with changes in LULC.


City and county decision makers will identify their needs and model outputs that are most useful (Methods D) for assessing long-term sustainability and trade-offs of various urban development options related to public investments, ecosystem services, and quality of life. Based on this information, and data collection and analyses relating LULC and SEM (Methods A-D), and LULC and ecosystem services (ES) a GIS-based tool will be developed to allow users the ability to visualize the quantity of public and private land available for different types of GI, according to citizen preferences by neighborhood, and how implementation of possible GI would affect ES of air and water quality, and SEM both locally and regionally. This new ES/SEM toolbox will link to our current integrated Integrated Watershed Assessment of Human/Nature Interactions (Hong et al. in preparation) model. Developed by several members of the ULTRA team, the ArcGIS-based platform (http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/) is composed of three models based on Hall et al. (1995), Pontius et al. (2001), Haith and Shoemaker (1987), explicitly linked so users can generate economic scenarios (trend- and event-based) to drive land use change, and consequently predictions of watershed stream conditions – hydrological flux and nutrient loading under varying meteorological conditions.

This work will integrate with ecosystem models and assessments being conducted through the i-Tree modeling program (www.itreetools.org), which has developed a user-friendly platform to assess ecosystem structure and services internationally. This tool uses field sampling, local environmental data, and cover data (Nowak et al. 2008), to assess species composition and distribution and its effects on air pollution removal (Nowak et al. 2006), carbon storage and sequestration (Nowak and Crane 2002), building energy use and biogenic emissions (Nowak et al. 2002). New GIS-based i-Tree models and capabilities will be integrated with project models and results to produce a new user-friendly urban ecosystem assessment model for public distribution. Funding ($20,000) provided to i-Tree for development of a public domain user interface and support of this new model will be matched 1:1 by private dollars from Davey Tree. The envisioned decision support system will illustrate information identified as critical by potential users (Methods D), for example showing spatial distribution and locations within neighborhoods or sewersheds where the greatest opportunities (in terms of citizen receptivity and available land) lie, the effect of different GI implementation scenarios on SEM flows and ES impacts.

An interactive workshop will be conducted to test the effectiveness of the developed decision support system/tool and to elicit user feedback. This user-input process will provide important information toward development of a final optimized tool that incorporates users’ wishes for information and formats that are easy to manipulate and interpret. Previous research indicates that if modeling design decisions and assumptions are not co-developed with model users and managers, such systems will be extremely limited or actually discouraged (Walters 1998; Manno et al. 2008). The final product will allow users to test scenarios that integrate findings from our natural and social science investigations to help position rust belt cities for a more sustainable future.


(Richard Beal (urban environmental education; educational outreach), James Gibbs (conservation biology), with participation of all investigators)


The primary objective of this work is to embed the project goals within local urban school systems to facilitate education on urban metabolism, ecosystem services, and contemporary evolution to foster a sense of urban ecosystems as being comprised of dynamic and inter-related components


Though not hypothesis driven, this work is designed to engage the adults and children of these neighborhoods in projects that aid urban ecosystem science and inform people about ecosystems services and biological evolution. There are three proposed pieces to the Education and Outreach portions of the project:

1) Questions given in Methods D related to a) awareness of ecological services, b) connection to quality of life, and c) drivers for GI implementation will be emulated for High School students. These questionnaires will be utilized within the 10 schools that are part of “ESF in the High School” program. One student per school will commissioned to administer the questionnaire within the two classes (Writing and Global Environment) for the 10 schools. The results will be written up by the 10 students as miniprojects. Students in these classes will also be encouraged to develop “green infrastructure” projects to be presented at the “Environmental Summit” at the end of the school year.

2) The objective of this project is to develop web-based programs to engage citizen participation in ecosystem science and contemporary evolution. Two tools will be developed: a) a web-based survey form for residents to reply to questions given in #1 above, and b) web-based interface for citizen-based mapping of squirrel color variants as “backyard-based” research about biological evolution and diversity (Hunter and Gibbs 2006). For this project, honorariums will be provided to four teachers to review the material and web site design. The purpose for this review is to integrate such material into the State education standards, e.g., for high school this means, “living environment/ecology” and for middle school this means imbedded within general education. The overall goal of the squirrel mapping activity (Gibbs 2009) is to cultivate interest in New York’s native fauna, biodiversity issues, and the process of evolution, especially on the part of urban and suburban dwellers. Fostering citizens’ appreciation for nature, which is a prerequisite for becoming environmentally concerned and informed citizens.

3) Ultra project findings will be summarized and packages for presentation developed for all schools within the “ESF in the High School” program as well as the K-12 Science Corps Cadre at SUNY/ESF (another NSF supported program). Outreach programs will also be developed for other audiences throughout the Syracuse metropolitan area, which will be combined with urban ecology and GI interpretive tours in the neighborhoods.


Project Management and Timeline:

The PI, David Nowak, will coordinate all activities with the support of co-PIs, Brenda Nordenstam, Emanuel Carter, Charles Hall, and Myrna Hall, and the educational outreach coordinator, Richard Beal. Individual research endeavors will be managed by the teams of investigators listed in each methods section. These teams will meet monthly to coordinate efforts, and adapt methodologies if necessary. Meetings of all investigators including the PI, all co-PIs, Senior Personnel and graduate student investigators will be held bi-monthly to facilitate discussion of the intellectual and practical linkages between individual research efforts, facilitate data sharing, report progress, and guarantee interdisciplinary synthesis of work and accomplishment of overall project goals. Table 1 illustrates the timeline for all research activities developed from a much more detailed schedule.

Table 1.

Condensed Project Task Timeline to address major questions and educational goals


Half- Year Increments

Tasks 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Research Team Meetings x x x x
Question 1        
Research and Outreach website development x      
Data Acquisition - field measurements, lit. rev. x x x x
Model Parameterization x      
Model Tool Development   x x  
Design Charrettes     x x
Question 2        
Data Acquisition -- 1) Focus Groups x   x  
2) Survey Development and Administration   x x  
3) Educational Module Develop. & Implementation x x    
Model Testing-Feedback w/ Stakeholders   x   x
Design Charrettes     x x
Both, often combined efforts        
Data Analysis   x x x
Manuscript preparation   x   x


-- The most significant contribution of this work to the growing field of coupled human/nature research is that we will test the use of recommended SEM analyses to integrate social and natural science research. Using SEM as the common currency, every research effort and educational endeavor should contribute information or influence (e.g. alternate behavior or fluxes due to feedbacks) to other parts of the system, making it possible to explore alternative future urban structure and function under potential future fluctuation in external driving factors (energy and material flows), and internal management choices re: the urban landscape. Although the paradigm of urban metabolism has been proffered by others, never have the analyses published been conducted by such a diverse team. This enriches exploration and is more likely to lead to the discovery of emergent properties in urban ecology than can be accomplished from one or only a few vantage points. Furthermore, our proposal advances knowledge and understanding across many fields by linking potential ecosystem services to be derived from urban greening directly with social preferences and city policies, and by integrating analysis of these services within the context of urban socio-ecological metabolism. Most previous research on ecosystem services has focused on physical-ecological aspects of these services. Our proposal moves analysis to another level by integrating these services within the urban social context. This advancement will greatly facilitate our ability to understand the importance of the social acceptability of these services across a demographic gradient, how to move citizens toward greater acceptance if needed, particularly if we are able to show the potential of urban greening to improve quality of life and reduce dependence on external energy sources in urban rust belt cities in the future.


-- Not only will this work advance the scientific understanding of SEM and its utility in urban planning particularly with respect to positioning rust belt cities for a more sustainable future, but it also will have relevance to other cities by providing explicit knowledge on the human dimensions of urban green revitalization, which has become an important national initiative, and which cannot be ignored if cities are to be successful in their efforts (www.milliontreesnyc.org, www.greenprintdenver.org). Furthermore, it will assess the potential impact of a post-peak oil economy on operation of cities, for which there has been little research to date and which is of great importance to urban planning for the future, and finally it will show how cities can use SEM as an integrative “currency” for considering best options in the face of the real issues of energy, climate, and economy they face today. The suite of tools we develop can be used nationwide to explore alternative urban designs and planning policies. Given the budget issues that cities are facing, these tools can help them find more sustainable, cost-effective solutions to a variety of urban infrastructure issues, and the uncertainties of climate, energy and economy that they are facing today.


J. P. Gibbs:

(1) “Teaching Biodiversity Conservation: The Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners,” E.J. Sterling, M.L. Hunter, J.P. Gibbs, N. Bynum, (DEB0837531, $446,069, 4/2005-4/2008). This project generated an integrated set of conservation biology training modules for use by undergraduate instructors in diverse settings and has reached over 100 faculty members, 1200 undergraduates, 160 graduate students, 450 pre-college teachers, and at least 2000 pre-college students from diverse backgrounds. (2) "Land-Use Practices and Persistence of Amphibian Populations,” R. D. Semlitsch, M. L. Hunter, J. W. Gibbons, and J. P. Gibbs. (DEB0239898, $1,200,000, 3/2003-3/2008). The Land-use Effects on Amphibian Populations (LEAP) project has generated a diverse array of papers that are published (15) or submitted and in review (21) the topics of mechanisms of habitat selection, impact of disturbance on populations, physiology, diet, movements, population biology, ecology and methodological advancements. (3) “Biodiversity dynamics and land-use changes in the Amazon: Multi-scale interactions between ecological systems and resource-use decisions by indigenous peoples,” J. M. V. Fragoso, J. P. Gibbs, K. Silvius, L. Martins, J. Read. (DEB0837531, $1,650,001, 9/2005-8/2009). This project is in progress and focuses on testing the hypothesis that traditional aspects of indigenous culture buffer the impacts of integration on resource use and therefore on biodiversity.

C.A.S. Hall:

Luquillo Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program. Grant DEB-060910 for $4,920,000 for the period of 2006 to 2012. Nick Brokaw and Ariel E. Lugo, PIs, Charles Hall (coinvestigator). This LTER has been active since 1988 (five funding cycles) and has resulted in about 1,000 publications and 200 graduate student thesis and dissertations. The program focuses on the role of disturbances such as hurricanes, landslides, and land use history in shaping Caribbean wet forests. The current grant includes in addition a new focus on urbanization and its effects on tropical forests. Hall’s activities (with his graduate students) have included modeling forest productivity (Hall et al. 1992, Wang et al. 2003), Modeling soil respiration (Wang et al. 2002a, 2002b), hurricane impact (Wang et al. 2004), water dynamics (Wu et al. 2006a, 2006b), gradient analysis of photosynthesis and respiration (Harris et al. 2009), and the impact of land cover change and urbanization on climate (Wu et al.2007; Murphy et al. in revision).

G. Heisler:

Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) LTER, DEB0423476. Since 2000 Heisler managed the primary BES weather station and the solar radiation monitoring station, including submission of data to the BES web site and the ClimDB National LTER daily weather data archive. Results are found in (Brazel et al. 2000, Brazel and Heisler 2009, Grant and Heisler 2006, Grant et al. 2000, Grant et al. 2002, Heisler et al. 2006a, Heisler et al. 2006b, Heisler et al. 2007, Heisler 2009, Heisler et al. 2005, Heisler et al. 1999, Heisler et al. 2004b, Heisler et al. 2000, Heisler et al. 2001).

K.E. Limburg:

“CAREER: Watersheds and fisheries as foci of human impacts and ecological responses: a research and teaching agenda” (DEB-0238121, $600,000). This project was designed to unify the PI’s research and teaching, through a combination of pursuing research questions as well as redesigning and developing complementary coursework. The following questions were asked in this project: (1) How does human activity organize itself on landscapes, and how does that affect land use change? (2) How does land use change affect the structure and function of watersheds? (3) How does the structure and function of watersheds affect fish habitat? And (4) what is the relationship of fish habitat to fisheries, and how is this reflected by fish populations? Relevant to this proposal, Limburg’s CAREER project focused on (a) modeling linkages between economy, land use change, and resultant ecological changes, using watersheds in Dutchess and Onondaga Counties (Erickson et al. 2005, Hong et al. 2007, Hong et al. 2009, Limburg et al. 2006), in New York State; (b) direct measurements of ecosystem status or proxies thereof, as a function of anthropogenic alterations of watersheds (Limburg et al. 2005; Stainbrook et al. 2006; Elsdon and Limburg 2008); and (c) reviews of long-term ecological change in fisheries and ecosystem state (Daniels et al. 2005, Swaney et al. 2006, Limburg and Stainbrook 2007, Limburg et al. 2008, Limburg and Waldman, 2009).

M. Mitchell:

(1) MRI # 0809231. Collaborative Research: Evolution of Dissolved Organic Nitrogen (DON) from the Headwaters to the Catchment Outlet: Sources, Variation with Scale, and Differences with DOC from 10/01/2008 to 09/30/2011 ($70,256). This is an ongoing project headed up by Shreeram Inamdar at the University Delaware. We are extending our work that has analyzed hydrological and biogoechemical linkages in watersheds with particular focus on how sources of solutes change with scale and hydrological conditions (e.g., Inamdar et al., 2008, 2009). (2) DEB#0421015. Integrated Major Research Instrumentation for Real Time Analyses Within An Experimental Watershed ($388,117). 08/01/2004 to 07/31/2007. This grant was used to develop a realtime wireless system for evaluating watershed processes. See: HSS website. (3) Hydrology #9983178. Topographical Linkages Between Nitrogen and Organic Carbon Solutes Within a Forested Watershed ($543,376). 06/15/2000 -05/31/2004. We provided new information that showed spatial patterns of geology and vegetation within a watershed resulted in substantial differences in the spatial and temporal patterns of solute in surface waters (Christopher et al. 2006, 2008). We combined within these results a combination of chemical, hydrological and isotopic measurements to provide information on controls of biogeochemical processes including effects of changing atmospheric deposition and climate change (Campbell et al. 2005, 2006, Mitchell et al. 2006, Park et al. 2003, 2005, Piatek et al. 2009).

D. Nowak:

Baltimore Ecosystem Study (BES) LTER, DEB0423476. Since 1998, Nowak has supervised several Forest Service employees on this project in Baltimore. These employees (not including Heislersee above) have been authors on over 35 publications. Nowak’s direct work has related to assessing ecosystem services from trees in Baltimore and comparisons with other urban areas (Nowak and Crane 2002, Nowak et al. 2000, 2001a,b, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, Pouyat et al. 2006, Wang et al. 2008).