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Jennifer Costanza

Adjunct Assoc Professor

Jordan Hall 3136

Publications

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Grants

Date: 10/01/19 - 9/30/23
Amount: $386,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Geological Survey (USGS)

Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) must evaluate the status of at-risk plants and animals in the US. A Species Status Assessment (SSA) is a scientific assessment prepared for each at-risk species to help inform a range of management decisions under the ESA. SSA’s are currently needed for more than 350 species, including 250 in the Southeast alone. These species are affected by several factors including urbanization, loss of habitat, changes in streamflow and water quality, climate variability, and climate change. In partnership with scientists from the USFWS and US Geological Survey, this project will develop and test data products that will assist USFWS biologists to incorporate climate information into SSA’s, including how the climate factors and thresholds that most affect species vary year-to-year, how they are expected to change in the future, and the uncertainties associated with those changes. This project will develop and test the efficacy of using a web-based collection of maps and data layers for interpreting climate vulnerability of wildlife and their habitats. Each map product will focus on the most relevant climate and ecology metrics that predict species viability for a location, and include explanatory and interpretive materials. Regular input from USFWS scientists will ensure the information is accessible, useful, and usable. The efficacy will be tested by implementing eye-tracking evaluations, surveys, and feedback sessions and iteratively applying these findings to the design and development of the tool. This web-based framework will help USFWS scientists in the Southeast US obtain, understand, and apply the climate information they need, thus enhancing the accuracy, quality, and scientific rigor of SSA’s. This project will produce a web-based collection of regional maps of past and current climate conditions relevant to species’ biology and principal habitat, and a range of possible future outcomes from climate models. Technical documents and scientific manuscripts will be produced that communicate the results of user testing and information learned on how to design maps and environmental data visualization to better support SSA’s.

Date: 09/08/17 - 6/01/22
Amount: $135,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service

This research extends the modeling systems developed through a series Joint Venture Agreements between the Forest Economics and Policy Research Work Unit and the North Carolina State University. The previous projects focused on developing modeling approaches for forecasting forest inventory plot conditions in response to various vectors of change including climate change, timber management, forest aging, forest disturbances, and land use changes for RPA and Futures Project Assessments. These projects successfully developed modeling frameworks for three major regions of the United States: South, North and West and analyzed a broad suite of forest forecasts under various assumptions regarding future scenarios for a variety of exogenous variables and writing reports on the relative impacts of these various factors. The current research focuses on enhancing the modeling systems and further analysis of key natural resource issues and forecasts of forest conditions in the United States.

Date: 08/25/16 - 7/31/21
Amount: $135,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service

This research extends the modeling systems developed through a series Joint Venture Agreements between the Forest Economics and Policy Research Work Unit and the North Carolina State University. The previous projects focused on developing modeling approaches for forecasting forest inventory plot conditions in response to various vectors of change including climate change, timber management, forest aging, forest disturbances, and land use changes for RPA and Futures Project Assessments. These projects successfully developed modeling frameworks for three major regions of the United States: South, North and West and analyzed a broad suite of forest forecasts under various assumptions regarding future scenarios for a variety of exogenous variables and writing reports on the relative impacts of these various factors. The current research focuses on enhancing the modeling systems and further analysis of key natural resource issues and forecasts of forest conditions in the United States.

Date: 07/20/15 - 7/31/20
Amount: $135,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service

This research extends the modeling systems developed through a series Joint Venture Agreements between the Forest Economics and Policy Research Work Unit and the North Carolina State University. The previous projects focused on developing modeling approaches for forecasting forest inventory plot conditions in response to various vectors of change including climate change, timber management, forest aging, forest disturbances, and land use changes for RPA and Futures Project Assessments. These projects successfully developed modeling frameworks for three major regions of the United States: South, North and West and analyzed a broad suite of forest forecasts under various assumptions regarding future scenarios for a variety of exogenous variables and writing reports on the relative impacts of these various factors. The current research focuses on enhancing the modeling systems and further analysis of key natural resource issues and forecasts of forest conditions in the United States.

Date: 09/14/15 - 8/31/19
Amount: $387,685.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Interior (DOI)

Coastal ecosystems in the eastern U.S. have been severely altered by processes associated with human development, sea-level rise and the increased frequency of extreme events related to climate change. These influences are degrading the capacity of both ecological and human social systems to remain resilient in the face of global change. National Wildlife Refuges along the east coast protect critical habitat and ecosystems for a host of wildlife species, but also contribute to essential goods and services that benefit coastal communities, businesses and individuals. Storm-surge protection, increased water quality, nurseries for commercially important fin and shellfish, and recreational opportunities are only some of the benefits to society contributed by coastal wildlife refuges. Faced with sea-level rise and climate change, the role of coastal refuges to protect our nation’s natural resources and provide ecosystem services is in jeopardy. We will work with coastal refuges to assist in planning for and adapting to sea-level rise and other global change processes. This collaboration will integrate the expertise of specialists in global-change science, coastal dynamics, resource economics and decision science to address management policies that will benefit both human and wildlife interests into the future.

Date: 06/01/16 - 6/30/17
Amount: $85,764.00
Funding Agencies: US Geological Survey (USGS)

Habitat fragmentation and the resulting loss of biodiversity remains one of the most pressing conservation issues in the Southeastern U.S., and climate change is likely to disrupt linkages in the landscape even more. Maintaining connectivity between populations will be a key management strategy to conserving future biodiversity in the region. In previous research, we have modeled connectivity in the Southeast for three animals that inhabit bottomland forests, and shown where key connections in the landscape lie both currently and in the future. However, we observed large variation in connectivity across geographical areas, time periods, and species. Our results raised new questions about which connections are most important to focus on given this variation. We advance research to identify the most critical connections in the landscape. Our results will provide better direction for managers and other stakeholders to make decisions about conserving biodiversity and keeping landscapes connected now and in a changing world.

Date: 07/21/11 - 6/30/16
Amount: $450,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service

This research extends the modeling systems developed through a series Joint Venture Agreements between the Forest Economics and Policy Research Work Unit and the North Carolina State University. The previous projects focused on developing modeling approaches for forecasting forest inventory plot conditions in response to various vectors of change including climate change, timber management, forest aging, forest disturbances, and land use changes. These projects successfully developed modeling frameworks for three major regions of the United States: South, North and West. The focus of this research is on developing and analyzing a broad suite of forest forecasts under various assumptions regarding future scenarios for a variety of exogenous variables and writing reports on the relative impacts of these various factors.

Date: 09/17/12 - 3/31/15
Amount: $299,897.00
Funding Agencies: US Geological Survey (USGS)

Climate change is already affecting biodiversity, including when birds arrive to breed and when flowers bloom in spring, and the ranges of species as they shift to cooler places. One problem for wildlife as their ranges shift is that their path is impeded ? their habitats have become fragmented by agriculture and urbanization, presenting barriers to their migration. Because of this, the most common recommended strategy to protect wildlife as climate changes is to connect their habitats, providing them safe passage. There are great challenges to implementing this strategy in the southeastern US, however, because most lands are held in small parcels and are in private ownership. We will combine data on key wildlife species and their habitats throughout the southeastern US with new technologies that allow us to identify key connections. Our proposed work will engage stakeholders in identifying focal species and key connections, and in implementing a connectivity plan. Our effort we will provide a template for how to reconnect landscapes in the southeastern US, that will permit wildlife to adapt to a changing climate.

Date: 06/29/12 - 11/30/13
Amount: $98,038.00
Funding Agencies: Biofuels Center of North Carolina

Producing biomass in a sustainable manner will be essential in meeting North Carolina's goal of 10% of liquid fuels from locally-produced biofuels by 2017. In order to produce biomass sustainably, the potential impacts to the state's natural resources must be addressed. Producing biomass from forest products and energy grasses in North Carolina may impact forests and agricultural lands via four major types of landscape changes: 1. conversion of natural forests to more intensively managed forests; 2. increased management intensity in forests that are already managed; 3. conversion of non-forest lands, including agriculture, to forest; 4. conversion of forest to agricultural land. These changes will have impacts on the quality, quantity, and spatial distribution of habitat for important wildlife species in our state. We will incorporate those potential landscape changes into spatially-explicit models of landscape dynamics and wildlife habitat. For a set of plausible future biofuels demand and feedstock productivity scenarios, we will ask: What are the impacts of biomass production on the state's landscapes and wildlife? Our specific objectives will be to: 1. translate biofuels demand and production scenarios into forest management and land use scenarios; 2. model the impact of management and land use changes on landscape dynamics; 3. model the impacts of changes in landscapes on habitat for wildlife species.


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