Natural Gas Drilling, Threats to Biodiversity Highlight New Studies
6/1/2011 - Cornell University - ITHACA, N.Y. — From identifying
environmental implications of natural gas drilling to understanding
threats to biodiversity, the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable
Future at Cornell University has announced its 2011 Academic Venture
Initiated in 2008, the Academic Venture Fund is designed to
stimulate original, cross-disciplinary research in sustainability
science at Cornell, emphasizing the potential to partner with
external industries, governments, and foundations.
Ten proposals were selected this year for total funding of $705,318.
The projects receiving funds are:
• Implications of Methane Production Related to Natural Gas
Extraction from Shale. Researchers will quantify methane released by
shale gas development, reassess the global methane budget and
explore the economic ramifications of leaking methane emission.
• Threats to Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in the Finger
Lakes. Researchers from community and management agencies, natural
resources, plant pathology, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and
ecology and evolutionary biology will create a network of
two-hectare deer-free zones to assess the effects of white-tailed
deer on local ecology.
• Developing a Soil-Based, Sustainable Specialty Crop Greenhouse
Industry in the Northeast. Researchers will test whether an
integrated approach to commercial production practices, energy use
and market access can contribute to the development of a sustainable
specialty crop greenhouse industry in the Northeast.
• Ecologically Sustainable Disease Management for Emerging Bioenergy
Investigators from plant pathology and horticulture will work
toward developing sustainable disease management strategies for
potential biofuel feedstocks, such as willow and switchgrass, in the
eastern United States.
• Property Formalization and the Role of Technology in Tanzania.
Research examines the role of technology in the development process
and how public participation plays a role toward developing a
comprehensive understanding of land ownership and access.
• Sustainable Pest Management and Yield-Increase Strategies.
Researchers from entomology, applied economics and management, and
plant biology will develop a sustainable pest management strategy
for small landholder Andean farmers, using local resources to make
the target potato crop unattractive for tuber moths, provide an
alternate trap crop to attract the moths and harness natural plant
responses to increase yield.
• School Gardens: Improving New York State Youth Ecological
Literacy, Diet, and Physical Activity. Researchers will how school
gardens work as learning tools in terms of science, technology,
engineering and math.
They will examine learning outcomes, diet,
physical activity and connection to nature – with a plan to organize
a workshop of experts statewide.
• Developing Meaningful Evaluations of Sustainability: Indicators
for Agrarian Development.
Researchers will develop the Cornell
Indicator of Agrarian Development, a framework for evaluating
development, well-being and environmental health in agrarian
By combining qualitative and quantitative information,
the framework will measure sustainability, security, sustenance and
• New Sales Approaches for Improved Cookstoves.
applied economics and management, crop and soil science, and
development sociology will test a new approach to encourage use of
safer, more sustainable cook stoves in developing countries.
• Harnessing Genomics to Advance Biodiversity and Conservation
Researchers will promote interaction among biodiversity and
conservation scientists, and genomicists.