We are working with four international research partners in strategic wetland/watershed systems with whom we have had past research involvement. The doctoral research of each student in our program will evolve from and be shaped by specific problems and research questions identified with our research partners. However, a research agenda in three fundamental areas has been identified. The three areas and associated research questions follow:
- Comparative studies of watersheds and wetlands to advance our understanding and prediction of the fluxes of biotic and abiotic components (organisms, invasive species, sediments, organic matter, and nutrients) leading to better understanding and scientifically driven policy and resource management alternatives.
- How does the ecological "life history" of a system shape future policy and management?
- What scientific studies are appropriate to provide managers and policy makers with adequate information for the preservation and sustainable use of waters, wetlands and wildlife?
- How can we best describe, measure, understand, and predict environmental changes at the landscape, regional and watershed scales that result from changes in management?
- Measuring, modeling, and tracking interaction of socioeconomic, political, legal, cultural and ecological variables that affect the sustainability of watersheds and wetlands,
- What are the cultural and political obstacles to, and resources for, adaptive system management, including nature-related religious and philosophical values, problems of state capacity and transboundary concerns?
- How can positive watershed values be effectively promoted?
- How can increasing competition for social, economic agricultural and ecological needs for water and wetland resources be met?
- How can delivery of water in the appropriate quality, quantity, and timing be ensured for each use?
- What are the appropriate spatial and temporal mixes of human-dominated land uses, extractive uses, and ecological reserve areas?
- What are Best Management Practices for a given mix of ecological and socio-cultural systems? In other words, how do Best Management Practices change with ecosystem and culture?
- Developing novel engineering methods, natural resource management techniques, and policy frameworks for protecting water resources, managing their use, and evaluating and rehabilitating damaged or degraded watersheds and wetlands.
- For degraded systems, what are the restoration options and what science is necessary to measure success and inform the adaptive management of the system?
- What is the appropriate policy framework for adaptive management plans?
Adaptive Management: Wise Use of Water, Wetlands & Watersheds
is an NSF-funded IGERT program at the University of Florida