Teaching, research, and outreach at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies are greatly enhanced by the centers and programs that have been initiated by faculty over the years. The centers and programs, each with a different concentration, are a key component of a student’s learning experience. They allow students to gain hands-on clinical and research experience through funded student internships and projects, coordination of faculty research in areas of common interest, and creation of symposia, conferences, newsletters, and outreach programs.
Centers and programs are funded primarily through private foundations, nongovernmental organizations, state and federal agencies, international granting agencies, and private corporations. The nature and number of centers and programs evolve over time, reflecting faculty and student interest. Under the current organizational structure, each program falls under the umbrella of a center, which enables further collaboration and resource sharing.
Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy
The Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, a joint undertaking with Yale Law School, advances fresh thinking and analytically rigorous approaches to environmental decision making across disciplines, across sectors, and across boundaries. In addition to its research activities, the center aims to serve as a locus for connection and collaboration by all members of the Yale University community interested in environmental law and policy issues. The center supports a wide-ranging program of education, research, and outreach on national and global environmental issues. These efforts involve faculty, staff, and student collaboration and are aimed at shaping academic thinking and policy making in the public, private, and NGO sectors. One of the center’s flagship products is the biennial Environmental Performance Index, which ranks countries on performance indicators tracked across policy categories covering both environmental public health and ecosystem vitality.
The center facilitates a joint-degree program in which master’s students at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies can additionally pursue a law degree from Yale Law School, Vermont Law School, or Pace Law School. Undertaken separately, these two degrees would take five years to complete. Together, students can earn both degrees in four years. The center provides research, educational, career development, and social opportunities for students enrolled in the joint program as well as others affiliated with the center.
For additional information, visit envirocenter.yale.edu.
Yale Center for Business and the Environment
The Yale Center for Business and the Environment (CBEY) joins the strengths of two world-renowned graduate schools—the Yale School of Management (SOM) and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES)—together with a global network of thought leaders and practitioners at the business-environment interface. Home to the oldest and nationally preeminent joint-degree program in business and the environment, CBEY addresses the need for both environmentally minded business leaders and skilled managers in environmental organizations. Graduates of the joint-degree program assume leadership roles in the private, nonprofit, and public sectors and are addressing one of the central management challenges of the twenty-first century: our transition to a sustainable economy.
Driven by student interest, we develop partnerships to (1) build and support a community of curious and resourceful individuals who are finding pathways to action; (2) incubate and multiply transformative solutions that address big societal challenges; and (3) provide a connective platform to accelerate learning and collaboration in targeted professional networks. Our core program areas include finance and markets, innovation and entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship and systems change, and technology-enabled learning.
The center’s activities include, but are not limited to:
- • Providing support for the three-year joint M.B.A.-Environment degree program and advancing joint programs between F&ES and SOM
- • Hosting speaker series and seminars on leadership in sustainability, entrepreneurship, ecosystem services, energy efficiency, and environmental economics
- • Coordinating research fellowships or internships in corporate environmental management and strategy, renewable energy finance, conservation finance, and community-based marketing
- • Developing case studies, new courses, and research publications
- • Producing high-quality news publications focused on financing for renewable energy and environmental conservation
- • Sponsoring speaker series, workshops, grants, and prizes to support environmental entrepreneurship
To learn more, visit cbey.yale.edu.
Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale
The mission of the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale is to advance sustainability by catalyzing the effectiveness of the Green Chemistry and Green Engineering community. Green Chemistry and Green Engineering represent the fundamental building blocks of sustainability. Working in these disciplines, chemists and engineers are creating the scientific and technological breakthroughs that will be crucial to the future success of the human economy.
The Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale works to stimulate and accelerate these advances. Guided by four core operating principles—(1) Insist on scientific and technical excellence and rigor, (2) Focus on generating solutions rather than characterizing problems, (3) Work with a diverse group of stakeholders, and (4) Share information and perspectives broadly—we seek to accomplish four key objectives:
- • Advance the science
- • Prepare the next generation
- • Catalyze implementation
- • Raise awareness
The center concentrates on five focus areas, outlined below.
Research The center supports and advances research in Green Chemistry and Green Engineering (GC&GE), a critical component to building the community, designing and discovering innovative solutions, and achieving a sustainable future. The center serves as a catalyst to both Yale and the greater GC&GE communities for discipline-specific and cross-disciplinary research collaborations focused on key areas of GC&GE within science, technology, and policy for sustainability.
Policy and outreach The center engages in policy, communication, and outreach initiatives that raise awareness of—and support for—GC&GE. In this dialogue the center engages with a wide network of stakeholders, including NGOs, industry, academia, and government, as well as local communities and the general public.
Education A robust educational program is an essential element of the center. Center activities are focused on educating undergraduate and graduate students in the principles and practice of GC&GE. The center also serves the wider academic community by providing opportunities for faculty training and by developing and disseminating GC&GE curriculum materials.
International collaborations GC&GE are rapidly spreading through both industrialized nations and the emerging economies. In all regions, the center engages with the network of scientists, engineers, policy makers, business people, and public health and environmental experts focused on sustainability science on behalf of the greater good.
Industrial collaborations GC&GE can only provide meaningful impact on the challenges of global sustainability when implemented on a large scale. For this reason, collaboration with industry is a key part of the center’s work. Direct engagement creates a dialogue that informs industry of the latest research breakthroughs in the field of sustainable science and technology. Likewise, such engagement informs academic researchers on industry’s most important concerns. This dialogue facilitates a direct line for implementation of these innovations.
Center for Industrial Ecology
The Center for Industrial Ecology (CIE) is dedicated to the development and promotion of research, teaching, and outreach in industrial ecology. The field is focused on the concept that an industrial system should be viewed not in isolation from its surrounding systems, but in concert with them. It is a systems approach that seeks to optimize the total resource cycle from the perspective of the environment and sustainability. Among the programs and goals of the center are the following:
- • Conducting pathbreaking research in industrial ecology
- • Master’s, doctoral, and postdoctoral study and research in industrial ecology
- • Hosting of visiting domestic and international scholars in industrial ecology
Major foci include (1) the Clean Energy Choices project, which assesses different options to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from our energy system in terms of their feasibility, resource requirements, and environmental impacts; (2) leadership of the systems node of REMADE Institute, which seeks to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of materials production through recycling and remanufacturing; CIE’s role addresses both understanding the stocks and flows of materials, developing scenarios, and analyzing benefits; (3) the Industrial Symbiosis Project, in which multiyear research has been conducted, including examination of the environmental and economic rationale for intra-industry exchange of materials, water, and energy; (4) the Criticality and Scenarios Project, which aims to understand the supply, demand, and future prospects for metals based on stocks and flows; (5) the Program on Industrial Ecology in Developing Countries, which adapts industrial ecology theory and practice to issues related to energy access, water quality and quantity, waste and material management, and global warming in industrializing countries with a current focus on a study of low-carbon and sustainable cities in China, India, and the United States; and (6) Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) research, which analyzes the conceptual, political, and legal foundations of EPR, including investigation of how, when, and why local government units might adopt EPR, the conditions necessary for the implementation of individual producer responsibility, and governance of EPR systems.
Journal of Industrial Ecology
CIE is home to a highly regarded international journal. Published by Wiley-Blackwell and owned by Yale University, the Journal of Industrial Ecology is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary bimonthly on industry and the environment that is aimed at both researchers and practitioners in academe, industry, government, and advocacy organizations. It is indexed in Science Citation Index Expanded (ISI), and it is the official journal of the International Society for Industrial Ecology. See wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/jie.
Industrial Environmental Management Program
The Industrial Environmental Management (IEM) program at Yale aims to equip students with an integrated set of skills with which to tackle the complex, multifaceted environmental problems facing industrial and corporate managers. Within the master’s program, IEM students take foundations courses in natural science, social science, and quantitative methods, followed by courses in environmental policy and management. The core intellectual framework for IEM is the systems science of industrial ecology, which examines materials, water, and energy in a common framework. Students can pursue specialization and certification through the M.E.M. program in Industrial Ecology and Green Design.
An active Industrial Environmental Management and Energy Student Interest Group sponsors field trips to industrial sites, on-campus talks by visiting managers, and symposia on current topics of interest.
Program on Solid Waste Policy
The program has two principal goals: (1) to inform contemporary policy discussions about solid waste and materials management and the circular economy by applying the methods and findings of social and environmental science and industrial ecology; and (2) to develop workable policy solutions that address the impediments to safe, cost-effective solid waste management and the complexities of comprehensive materials and life-cycle management.
Hixon Center for Urban Ecology
The Hixon Center for Urban Ecology provides an interdisciplinary forum for scholars, students, and practitioners to work collaboratively on integrated research, teaching, and outreach to improve our understanding and management of urban environmental systems within the United States and around the globe.
The ecological health and integrity of urban ecosystems have a profound impact on urban economic productivity and quality of life. Pioneering research, new theoretical understanding, and innovative practice will be required to provide the knowledge and tools necessary to foster healthy natural systems essential for the future well-being of the modern city and the people who live there. This need has never been greater than today, when a majority of the world’s population either resides in or is rapidly migrating to urban areas.
To accomplish its mission, the center builds upon and strengthens the work of several programs at the School, including the Urban Resources Initiative and the Urban Watershed Program.
The Hixon Center has a strong focus on collaboration within the School, across the University, and beyond. The center sponsors lectures and symposia as a means to disseminate ideas about and understanding of the critical issues confronting urban ecosystems.
The Hixon Center also supports Yale faculty initiatives to optimize sustainability and resilience through observational and experimental research on the urban water cycle, green infrastructure, vegetation, urban green spaces, and people. In addition, the center supports students’ basic and applied research through fellowships connected to current Hixon Center priorities in the realm of urban ecology. The center will continue to build the urban environmental focus at Yale while strengthening the School’s urban dimension, creating new models and approaches for addressing urban environmental challenges.
Yale Program on Strategies for the Future of Conservation
The purpose of the Yale Program on Strategies for the Future of Conservation is to support the efforts of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, the Land Trust Alliance, and similar private organizations to develop and apply new, innovative strategies for land conservation by linking the convening, research, and teaching activities at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies ever more closely to the needs of the land conservation community.
Established by a gift from Forrest Berkley and Marcie Tyre, the program has two parts:
- • Sponsoring student internships and research projects (through the Berkley Conservation Scholars program), to bring the passion, experience, and creativity of Yale graduate students to bear on these issues; and
- • Convening workshops and other conversations across sectors and perspectives in the search for new approaches to expanding the resources applied to land conservation in the United States.
Berkley Conservation Scholars are students of high potential who receive funding for their research and professional experiences at the cutting edge of land conservation. Support is available during both the school year and the summer, creating a virtual “R&D Department” for the U.S. land conservation community. Berkley Conservation Scholars play a critical role in helping to bring together practitioners and academics in the search for new conservation tools.
The Program on Strategies for the Future of Conservation is a major extension of F&ES’s continuing efforts to enhance the effectiveness of land conservation. Working with an advisory group of land conservation leaders, the program hosts workshops, training programs, and other activities around the themes of engaging new communities in conservation; expanding the conservation toolkit; and ensuring the permanence of conservation gains.
Urban Resources Initiative
The Urban Resources Initiative (URI) is a not-for-profit/university partnership dedicated to community participation in urban ecosystem management. A substantial body of learning suggests that sustainable urban ecosystem management depends on the meaningful participation of local residents. Those who know local conditions and whose daily actions influence the health and quality of urban ecosystems must play a central role in designing and implementing rehabilitation strategies. Sustainable natural resource management and conservation cannot be achieved by technical, scientific solutions alone. Conservation efforts, especially in urban areas where people represent a significant element of the ecosystem, must emphasize social revitalization alongside environmental restoration.
Yale’s URI program draws on these essential elements to facilitate community participation in urban ecosystem management. “Community” is defined quite broadly: it includes the group of neighborhood leaders with whom interns work to restore abandoned lands near their homes. Community is a group of teens who are learning how to assess the tree canopy of their city. Community is the staff and leadership of city agencies who have the responsibility and resources to become the environmental stewards of their city. URI’s approach responds to and engages all of these communities.
URI offers a number of clinical learning opportunities that allow F&ES students to gain real-world practice in their field. Listening to local concerns and developing environmental programs in cooperation with schools, neighborhood groups, and city agencies are the cornerstones of our work. Through these programs F&ES students can apply theory learned in the classroom with supervised clinical training to enrich their academic work while making a real contribution to the New Haven community. These programs include the Community Greenspace program, Green Skills, environmental education/job training program, research opportunities, and training in urban forestry practices.
Community Greenspace Each summer F&ES students work as community foresters as part of the Community Greenspace program, a citywide initiative to revitalize New Haven’s neighborhoods by restoring vacant lots, planting trees along streets and in parks, remediating lead from soil in front yards, and building community. Each intern works with community groups to develop restoration goals and to design an implementation strategy for the summer. The interns help neighbors conduct an inventory of existing trees, select and prepare sites for new plantings, and plant perennials, shrubs, and trees.
The Greenspace program is an opportunity for Yale students to learn urban forestry practices. Neighbors initiate the process by identifying their environmental priorities in their community. URI looks to the local experts—the people who live in inner-city neighborhoods—as partners in defining and then assessing, designing, implementing, and sustaining urban restoration sites.
Environmental education Since 1991 URI education interns have taught hands-on environmental education programs to New Haven public school students. For many years, URI staff and interns worked directly within the New Haven school system, teaching thousands of elementary school students about environmental stewardship through the exploration of the city’s open spaces. During the 2009–2010 academic year, the City of New Haven officially incorporated the pond and rivers units from URI’s Open Spaces as Learning Places curriculum into the district’s science curriculum. Now, students in every sixth-grade classroom have the opportunity to learn about watersheds as they canoe New Haven’s rivers and explore local ponds.
URI’s newest environmental education program, GreenSkills, creates opportunities for teens to learn about New Haven’s tree canopy and to gain practical job skills. Launched in 2007, our GreenSkills program creates an opportunity to address a critical predicament—a growing deficit in New Haven’s street tree canopy that can be countered by a career development program bringing together Yale and high school interns. In 2010 the GreenSkills program was expanded to include adults recently released from incarceration, as well as those recovering from drug addiction. Our goals are to improve New Haven’s street tree canopy by engaging vulnerable adults and urban high school students in the planting effort, thereby providing them with job skills and mentoring opportunities in environmental careers, and to foster a sense of environmental stewardship.
Research URI activities provide valuable research opportunities in community organizing and development, urban forestry management, environmental education and monitoring, and evaluation of community-managed ecosystems. Some examples of student research activities are a community survey to determine human health impacts of vacant lands; measurement of biological communities found in Greenspace sites and abandoned lots; and measurement of how children’s behavior at play is affected by the design of schoolyards. URI and partners at the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, and the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Laboratory have carried out a satellite imagery analysis of New Haven’s tree canopy cover. This analysis served as a basis for the City of New Haven’s Mayor launching an aggressive tree-planting campaign. Most recently, student-led research is studying how community group dynamics affect urban street-tree survival.
Urban Watershed Program
The Urban Watershed Program promotes faculty and student research on the unique relationships, impacts, and demands of watersheds in urban areas.
Watersheds in urban areas encounter unique stresses, while sharing common characteristics and following natural laws of all water systems. Urban watersheds are often polluted, heavily engineered, and little understood by nearby residents. Stream courses are often transferred to pipes running underground. Population density exacerbates stresses on waterways.
As cities emerge from a period when they ignored their rivers and harbors, new relationships are being developed with adjacent waterways. Past practices that marginalized waterscapes from the urban environment are being reevaluated. Now, with more attention to urban environmental quality, there is a greater understanding of the vital role waterways play as sources of open space, transportation, recreation, and habitat.
The Urban Watershed initiative currently has two major activities. One is a study of an urban ecosystem restoration project situated in an urban park. For nearly a century, flow in the West River, on the New Haven–West Haven border, has been regulated by tide gates that allow the outward flow of freshwater, but restrict flushing by seawater. These restrictions are being replaced by self-regulating tide gates, which close only in the rare event of potentially hazardous storm surges. As a result, the current degraded tidal freshwater marsh will evolve into a healthier salt marsh, the ecosystem type that existed there in the past. This restoration is being monitored, using a nearby, gated marsh that will not be restored. Monitored parameters are water quality, hydrology, vegetation, fish populations, bird communities, and the attitudes, values, and recreational and stewardship behaviors of people who use the park. This before-after-control-impact (BACI) experiment is almost unprecedented at this scale.
The second project involves experiments on flood-control structures being built at a housing development in Bridgeport. A decades-old residential area near the harbor has experienced chronic flooding because of poor drainage. Working with the homeowners’ association, the city, and the state, Professor Alexander Felson is comparing the effectiveness of a range of structural measures designed to channel and treat the polluted runoff.
Yale Experimental Watershed
The Yale Experimental Watershed (YEW) is a living laboratory of urban ecology located adjacent to the School. The YEW, a 5.5 acre site between Prospect and Mansfield streets, is being transformed from an underutilized and overgrown site to one that is of great value to the University and the community—where academic research and teaching are conducted, and community members can learn and explore.
Fieldwork and research projects have included tree identification and mapping, coarse woody material assessment, soil sampling and analysis, land cover mapping, bird habitat investigation, and site hydrology and groundwater monitoring. The site has also been used as an educational resource for graduate courses in the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, for high school students in the Common Ground Green Jobs Corps and the Yale SCHOLAR program, and for interns from high schools such as Achievement First Amistad and Hopkins School.
Tropical Resources Institute
The mission of the Tropical Resources Institute (TRI) is to support interdisciplinary student research on the most complex challenges confronting the conservation and management of tropical environments worldwide. TRI was created in 1983 to strengthen the School’s involvement in the study and management of tropical resources. The institute recognizes that the problems surrounding the conservation and management of tropical resources are rapidly increasing in complexity, while demands on those resources continue to grow. Emerging structures of global environmental governance and local conflicts over land use require new strategies and leaders able to function across diverse disciplines and sectors, and at multiple scales. TRI seeks to train students to be leaders in this new era, equipping them with the resources and tools this new generation will require to equitably address the challenges ahead.
TRI serves as the nexus within F&ES through which students conduct interdisciplinary research and outreach activities throughout the tropics. Within the broader Yale community, TRI serves as a clearinghouse for research and educational activities pertaining to tropical countries, societies, and environments.
TRI is run by a director, student program assistants, and a faculty steering committee. Its directorship and its student grant program are supported by its own endowments.
Research TRI administers the TRI Fellowship, an endowed fellowship program that supports several dozen master’s and doctoral students conducting natural and social science research in the tropics each year. Following the mission of TRI, these research projects are typically interdisciplinary and problem-oriented and cover a wide range of issues concerning the management and conservation of tropical resources. TRI also administers a small grants program focused on Sri Lanka. More information on both programs can be found at tri.yale.edu.
Education Throughout the academic year, TRI sponsors workshops, discussions, and speakers that focus on timely conservation and development issues in the global tropics.
TRI provides mentoring and training to graduate students in research design, proposal writing, and field methods; after research, it helps them develop articles for Tropical Resources, TRI’s annual journal of student research.
Outreach TRI supports partnerships with international organizations in many tropical regions in order to create innovative research opportunities for F&ES students. TRI works to build networks among scholars and international institutions to facilitate research and the dissemination of knowledge on tropical resource issues. TRI distributes its annual Bulletin to an international list of practitioners and academics, and it hosts a website, tri.yale.edu.
Publications TRI publishes Tropical Resources: The Bulletin of the Tropical Resources Institute, an annual journal of student research funded by grants from TRI. This publication is disseminated both internationally and domestically to a list that includes practitioners, academics, and institutions that focus on tropical issues; it can also be read online at tri.yale.edu/tropical-resources-bulletin. The Bulletin typically contains articles by a dozen or more students based on a wide range of field research experiences.
Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale
The Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale is the largest international multireligious project of its kind. With its conferences, publications, and website (fore.yale.edu), it is engaged in exploring religious worldviews, texts, and ethics in order to broaden understanding of the complex nature of current environmental concerns. The forum recognizes that religions need to be in dialogue with other disciplines (e.g., science, economics, and policy) in seeking comprehensive solutions to both global and local environmental problems. The cofounders and codirectors of the forum and the series editors for the World Religions and Ecology series are John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker.
The forum arose from a series of ten conferences on the world’s religions and ecology held at Harvard from 1996 to 1998, which resulted in ten volumes distributed by Harvard University Press. Several of these volumes have been translated into other languages, including Chinese.
One of the principal objectives of the Forum on Religion and Ecology was to help create a new field of study that will assist environmental policy. Since its creation, the forum has played an active role in promoting the study of religion and ecology as an emerging field of study and a force for transformation. Courses are now taught at colleges and high schools across North America and in some universities in Europe. Canada, Australia, and Europe now have their own forums on religion and ecology. Moreover, a new force of religious environmentalism is growing in churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques around the world. Now every major religion has statements on the importance of ecological protection, and hundreds of grassroots projects have emerged. The Forum on Religion and Ecology has played an active role in these developments. The work of the forum includes:
Joint master’s degree program at Yale The Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) and Yale Divinity School (YDS) offer a joint master’s degree program in religion and ecology—the first of its kind in North America. It is aimed at students who wish to integrate the study of environmental issues and religious communities in their professional careers and at those who wish to study the cultural and ethical dimensions of environmental problems. The joint degree is supported by co-appointed faculty and by the forum.
This degree program provides an opportunity to study in two independent schools at Yale University, each with its own integrity. Students work toward both a Master of Environmental Management (M.E.M.) degree at F&ES and either a Master of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.) or Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree at YDS. Within these schools, they are encouraged to take courses in environmental ethics and in religion and ecology. Students have the opportunity to work with faculty in both schools, as well as with a number of co-appointed faculty members.
Publications The forum has helped to create a new field of research and teaching in religion and ecology that has implications for environmental policy.
- • The forum, with its scholarly network, published the ten-volume World Religions and Ecology series from Harvard.
- • In 2014 the forum published the book Ecology and Religion, by John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker, in an F&ES series from Island Press.
- • The forum has supported the first journal in the field, Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology.
- • It produced a Daedalus volume, Religion and Ecology: Can the Climate Change?, which was the first discussion of world religions and the ethics of climate change.
- • The forum’s founders have also served as editors for the twenty-volume Ecology and Justice series from Orbis Books.
- • The encyclopedia The Spirit of Sustainability (Berkshire Publishers, 2009), edited by Willis Jenkins of the University of Virginia and Whitney Bauman of Florida International University, was also a project of the forum.
- • Tucker and Grim have also edited a number of volumes by the late cultural historian Thomas Berry: The Sacred Universe (Columbia University Press, 2009), The Christian Future and the Fate of Earth (Orbis Books, 2009), Evening Thoughts (Sierra Club Books, 2006), and The Great Work (Random House, 1999).
Conferences The forum has organized many conferences, including “Renewing Hope: Pathways of Grassroots Religious Environmentalism” (F&ES and YDS, 2007), the Forum on Religion and Ecology’s 10th Anniversary Symposium (Yale Club of New York, 2008), and the Thomas Berry Memorial (Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, 2009). The forum cosponsored the conference “Environmental Dis/locations: Environmental Justice and Climate Change” (F&ES & YDS, 2010) and organized an interdisciplinary conference for the premiere of the film Journey of the Universe at F&ES (2011). It has also assisted in organizing the Thomas Berry Award and Lecture since 1998. The forum organized with TERI University an interdisciplinary workshop focused on the Yamuna River and held in Delhi and Vrindavan in north India (2011). In 2012 the forum organized a conference between F&ES and YDS titled “Religion and Environmental Stewardship.”
In addition, the forum participates in interdisciplinary conferences worldwide, including conferences with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); the Dialogue of Civilizations; the Earth Dialogues led by Gorbachev; the Earth Charter; the Religion, Science, and the Environment Symposia, led by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, Bartholomew; and the Parliament of World Religions.
Website The forum’s website is a world-class international site for research, education, engagement, and outreach in the field of religion and ecology. It contains detailed information on the world’s religions and their ecological contributions; resources that address environmental issues related to ethics, economics, policy, and ecological sciences; syllabi and lists of educational videos and CD-ROMs; links to programs and institutions related to environmental education; and a variety of other resources for educators. The site provides current information on news, publications, and events related to world religions and ecology. This is available in a monthly online newsletter that is distributed to some 12,000 people. See fore.yale.edu.
Films The forum was a principal adviser for the film Renewal: Inspiring Stories from America’s Religious Environmental Movement (2007), and it collaborated with evolutionary philosopher Brian Swimme on the Emmy Award-winning film Journey of the Universe (2011), which was broadcast on PBS. The latter project includes a book published by Yale University Press, a twenty-part DVD series of interviews, curricular materials, and a website, journeyoftheuniverse.org.
The Environmental Leadership and Training Initiative
In April 2006 the Environmental Leadership and Training Initiative (ELTI)—elti.yale.edu—was launched, thanks to a generous grant from the Arcadia Fund. For the execution of the project, F&ES has partnered with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama and the National University of Singapore (NUS), as well as a range of other in-country partners. ELTI’s mission is to enhance environmental management and leadership capacity in the tropics by offering cutting-edge learning, leadership, and networking opportunities aimed at improving efforts to conserve and restore tropical forests, native tree cover, and ecological integrity in human-dominated landscapes. Through complementary, applied, action-oriented training and leadership-building activities, ELTI aims to promote and affect on-the-ground conservation and restoration actions.
ELTI was created to strengthen the conservation and restoration of tropical forests in Asia and the Neotropics by offering field-based and online training courses, as well as workshops, conferences, and symposia, to policy makers, natural resource practitioners, community members, and other key actors in these regions. Focal countries with long-term field-based training and research programs include Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Panama, and the Philippines. The goal is to provide participants with the knowledge, tools, skills, and networking opportunities to advance the conservation and restoration of forests and biodiversity. Alumni of ELTI’s training events also are able to participate in ELTI’s Leadership Program, which supports their efforts to share and apply what they learn during an ELTI course and provides opportunities for further professional and personal development. ELTI involves faculty, staff, and students from F&ES and research scientists from STRI in various aspects of the program, as well as scientists, practitioners, and land managers in the countries where ELTI works.
Yale Program on Climate Change Communication
The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication conducts scientific research on public climate change knowledge, attitudes, policy preferences, and behavior, and on the underlying psychological, cultural, and political factors that influence them. We also engage the public in climate change science and solutions, in partnership with governments, media organizations, companies, and civil society, and with a daily national radio program, Yale Climate Connections.
The SEARCH Center: Solutions for Energy, AiR, Climate, and Health
The SEARCH Center (Solutions for Energy, AiR, Climate, and Health), funded by a five-year Air, Climate and Energy (ACE) Center grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, aligns cutting-edge scientific research and technology to support the EPA’s strategic goals of protecting human health and the environment. Based at Yale University, with major participation by Johns Hopkins University, the SEARCH Center involves more than two-dozen researchers across a number of institutions including North Carolina State University, Stanford University, Northeastern University, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
The center’s main objectives are to: (1) investigate energy-related transitions under way across the United States by combining state-of-the-science modeling of energy systems, air quality, climate, and health; (2) characterize factors contributing to emissions, air quality, and health associated with key energy-related transitions in order to understand how these factors affect regional and local differences in air pollution and public health effects today and in the future; and (3) identify key modifiable factors (e.g., transportation, land use, power generation) and how those factors and their air pollution impacts are likely to change over time. The center has four research projects, two support units, and an administrative core.
- • Project 1 (Modeling Emissions from Energy Transitions) encompasses economic modeling of national emissions and air quality under different energy policy scenarios.
- • Project 2 (Assessment of Energy-Related Sources, Factors, and Transitions Using Novel High-Resolution Ambient Air Monitoring Networks and Personal Monitors) measures and examines real-world exposure to air pollution using stationary and personal monitors.
- • Project 3 (Air Quality and Climate Change Modeling) draws upon projects 1 and 2 to model relationships between air quality, policy, and health under various climate change scenarios using air quality and climate change modeling.
- • Project 4 (Human Health Impacts of Energy Transitions) estimates the health impacts of various air quality scenarios from the other SEARCH projects and identifies populations most vulnerable to air pollution.
- • The Support Unit on Policy and Decision Making bridges the divide that often separates science and policy through iterative processes bringing SEARCH scientists and real-world policy makers together.
- • The Support Unit on Quantitative Methods provides statistical support for all four projects. This unit is developing statistical methods to address the scientific questions of interest and will facilitate integration across different projects. This unit will also encourage reproducible research through dissemination of data and statistical code, where feasible.
The Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry
Since its founding in 1900, the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies has been in the forefront in developing a science-based approach to forest management and in training leaders to face their generation’s challenges to sustaining forests.
The School’s Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry continues this tradition in its mission to integrate and strengthen the School’s forestry research, education, and outreach to address the needs of the twenty-first century and a globalized environment. The Global Institute fosters leadership through dialogue and innovative programs, creates and tests new tools and methods, and conducts research to support sustainable forest management worldwide.
Forestry at Yale is broadly defined to include all aspects of forest management and conservation. The Global Institute works primarily through faculty-led programs and partnerships with other Yale centers and forestry institutions in the United States and abroad. Students participate as research assistants, interns, and School Forests field crew; are encouraged to take on high levels of leadership in planning activities and events; and regularly contribute to published documents that emerge from program activities.
The Global Institute coordinates the School’s participation in regional, national, and international forestry events such as the Society of American Foresters and IUFRO (International Union of Forest Research Organizations) Conferences and the World Forestry Congresses, and coordinates activities with other institutions throughout the world.
Research Through its research programs, the Global Institute brings world-class scholarship to bear on the challenges facing the world’s forests. Programs represent the diverse interests and expertise of the F&ES faculty, who conduct applied research in both ecological and social dimensions of forests and forestry.
Yale Forest Forum (YFF) The Yale Forest Forum (YFF) serves as the dialogue and convening function of the Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry. YFF was established in 1994 by a diverse group of leaders in forestry to focus national attention on broader public involvement in forest policy and management in the United States. In an attempt to articulate and communicate a common vision of forest management to diverse stakeholders, the first initiative of YFF was to convene the Seventh American Forest Congress (SAFC). After a series of local roundtables, the SAFC culminated in a 1,500-person citizens’ congress in Washington, D.C. The principles discussed during the congress remain part of YFF’s core philosophy of how forest policy discussions should take place: “collaboratively, based on the widest possible involvement of stakeholders.”
YFF’s activities are centered on bringing individuals together for open public dialogues to share experiences, explore emerging issues, and debate varying opinions constructively. In that light YFF sponsors many issues forums and leadership seminars throughout the academic year. YFF forums and seminars not only focus on emerging issues in forest management, they also give students exposure to leaders in the NGO, industry, landowner, and government sectors in forest conservation and sustainable forestry. They provide an opportunity for diverse parties to meet and exchange ideas and have led to ongoing dialogue concerning forestry problems and solutions. YFF publishes the YFF Review to disseminate to a wide audience the outcomes and lessons learned from its work.
Midcareer short courses The Global Institute offers short courses that bring the latest thinking on sustainable forestry management to working professionals. Courses range from executive level for management professionals to field-based courses for forestry practitioners.
Global Forest Atlas The Global Forest Atlas is a website that brings together issues facing forests in the twenty-first century: forest management, deforestation, land use, governance, and conservation. Launched in 2014, the Global Forest Atlas currently highlights the two largest tropical forest regions of the world, the Amazon basin and the Congo basin; the boreal forest region; and the Himalayas. Introducing forest issues in these regions, the forest atlas describes the scientific foundation, trends, and breaking news and research, including research and advocacy of Yale F&ES researchers, students, and graduates. The Global Forest Atlas plans to expand coverage of forest issues to all of the important forest regions of the world.
Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative
The Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative (UHPSI) is a research program at Yale F&ES, with a field station at the Ucross Ranch, a 22,000-acre working cattle and sheep operation in northern Wyoming. Providing a comprehensive resource for Western studies at Yale F&ES, UHPSI specializes in science-based solutions to issues of rangeland management. Working in close coordination with a network of ranchers, nonprofits, government organizations, and academics, UHPSI hosts devoted faculty and doctoral and master’s students, supported by a full-time research staff. While much of our research takes place through the lens of spatial ecology and remote sensing, we are engaged in projects ranging from grazing-system analysis to hydrology and biogeochemistry, to best practice development for wool markets, to K–12 education.
Student education and experiential learning are the top priority of UHPSI. Our staff specialize in connecting students across all disciplines with applied research and learning opportunities in the high plains of the Northern Rockies. On campus, UHPSI students work throughout the academic year to bring in exemplary Western speakers and top educators for lectures, short courses, and workshops.
Led by postdoctoral, doctoral, and research staff, UHPSI has become a hub for geospatial analysis at F&ES, offering expertise in GIS, remote sensing, spatial statistics, and cartography. In addition to our strong emphasis on master’s student education, UHPSI staff researchers work on long-term cutting-edge research and publication relevant to the management of large landscapes in the American West and beyond.
UHPSI is run by a staff director, program and research staff, and a team of student project and research assistants. Programming is supported by grant writing and generous alumni contributions.
Western Research Fellowship Begun in summer 2016, the Western Research Fellowship (WRF) funds F&ES and Yale College students interested in issues pertinent to land management in the Rocky Mountain West, targeting high-impact biophysical or social questions. In addition to a generous financial award, fellows are given access to a broad network of partner organizations and properties across the West, as well as technical, logistical, and publication support. Great emphasis is placed on a final deliverable at the end of the summer field season, with the WRF cohort required to take part in a publication methods course in the fall term following their fellowship.
For more information about UHPSI, visit highplainsstewardship.org.
Program on Landscape Management
Ecosystems can be defined at a variety of scales—a stand, a landscape, a region, a continent. At all scales, they are dynamic, constantly changing from one condition to another. Ecosystems contain forests and other resources that interact both competitively and synergistically. Managing ecosystems requires an understanding and appreciation of the biological, social, and economic dynamics of ecosystems.
Experience in forest management has shown that managing at small scales is difficult, because many different values need to be provided. Consequently, diverse conditions need to be coordinated across the landscape. This is the basis of the landscape approach to forest and other resource management.
The Program on Landscape Management works cooperatively with other organizations throughout the world. It develops the scientific basis, concepts, and tools needed to help people provide a wide range of resource values, including commodities, wildlife habitat, fire safety, employment, and carbon sequestration.
The program applies local knowledge, science, and technical tools to achieve practical results. Recent and ongoing projects include developing a sustained harvest level for Connecticut state forests; mitigating the fire danger in the irradiated forests around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, Ukraine; developing ways to increase habitats for the Amur (Siberian) tiger in northeastern China; developing a decision tool for conversion between agriculture and forest land in Mississippi; developing land stewardship practices in the High Plains of Wyoming; examining the potential of expanded wood use to substitute for steel and brick construction, and thus reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel consumption; and developing computer software (see landscapemanagementsystem.org).
The Program on Landscape Management is housed in Greeley Laboratory. Students have a range of opportunities to work with the program, from technical development of the modeling software to field data collection and synthesis.
Sustaining Family Forests Initiative
The Sustaining Family Forests Initiative (SFFI) is a collaboration among the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Center for Nonprofit Strategies, aimed at gaining and disseminating comprehensive knowledge about family forest owners throughout the United States. SFFI conducts research on U.S. family forest owners and has developed a practical set of tools to help conservation and forestry professionals reach these landowners with effective stewardship messages and to develop programs that serve the needs and values of the landowners. The basis of SFFI’s work is to apply a social marketing approach—the use of commercial marketing techniques to affect positive social change—as a promising means by which to influence family forest owners to take steps to conserve and sustainably manage their land. Since 2010 SFFI has trained more than nine hundred natural resource professionals in landowner outreach. These professionals work in twenty-six states and represent more than three hundred organizations, primarily state forestry agencies and their conservation and stewardship partners. More information about SFFI is available at sffi.yale.edu.
Yale School Forests
The Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies owns and manages 10,852 acres of forestland in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont. Maintained as working forests deriving income from timber and other products, the Yale School Forests provide educational, research, and professional opportunities for the students and faculty of the School; they are used as a laboratory for teaching, management, and research. For more information, see Yale School Forests and the Quiet Corner Initiative in the chapter Life at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
Governance, Environment, and Markets Initiative
The Governance, Environment, and Markets (GEM) Initiative is an action-oriented network of scholars and practitioners who collaborate on the study, development, and implementation of effective, durable, and equitable solutions to complex problems in environmental policy and governance. The GEM Initiative provides Yale students an opportunity to work as researchers and assist in the coordination and delivery of worldwide activities that address three cross-cutting themes: the management of complex governance arrangements; the fostering of learning among multiple stakeholders; and the determinants of effective, durable policy pathways.
Embracing a future of multiparty collaboration, GEM’s research, teaching, and outreach activities bridge scholarship and practice and encourage long-term and collaborative approaches to some of the most important questions facing the planet, including forest policy and governance, climate policy, and the role of private governance. GEM identifies and promotes viable pathways for government officials, the private sector, environmental groups, and other stakeholders to effect positive change in environmental governance.
The GEM Initiative accomplishes this objective through a “governing for global environmental problems” approach in which innovative governance/policy proposals are assessed by their ability to develop enduring solutions to global environmental challenges. In order to uncover new opportunities, we focus on understanding and disseminating knowledge about:
- • Interactions among government and market mechanisms that produce innovative, effective, and efficient results that are not achieved through single interventions or institutions;
- • The evolution of policies and institutions that foster durable results.
GEM focuses on four key themes:
Forest Policy and Governance The mission of the Yale Program on Forest Policy and Governance is to foster innovations in sustainable forestry management and policy. It is a core program within the Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry at F&ES. The program focuses on three interrelated efforts: (1) research designed to understand the development of state and non-state forest policies and their impacts on sustainable forestry; (2) teaching and training on forest governance and policy; and (3) outreach activities to the broader forestry community. The program hosts visiting speakers at Yale and participates in key certification and sustainable forest-policy conferences globally.
Private Authority and Environmental Governance This program focuses on the emergence and evolution of “non-state, market-driven” global governance, particularly certification systems. The use of these systems to address environmental problems has the potential to shift the prevailing regulatory paradigm. Our work explores under what circumstances market mechanisms, such as certification systems, effectively address problems where governments have failed. We focus on several sectors, including timber legality verification and forest certification, fisheries and the ornamental fish trade, organic agriculture, climate mitigation, and electronic waste recycling.
Climate Policy and Governance GEM’s substantive focus on climate departs from existing international relations research, which focuses primarily on why states do or do not cooperate in exploring policy interventions outside of this model. GEM applies key mechanisms to assess climate in three ways: (1) How climate, as the leading case of a “super wicked problem,” might benefit from attention to “path-dependency” policy analysis; (2) How symbiotic interaction among intergovernmental approaches, such as the CDM mechanisms, might interact with non-state, market-driven global governance, such as the CDM gold standard certification, to produce authoritative approaches in ways that neither intervention by itself could; and (3) How the intersection of climate and forests might shape the definition of problems and solutions unimaginable a generation earlier.
Law, Rights, and Environmental Governance Numerous jurisdictions have developed new procedural and substantive environmental rights and have sought to provide enhanced access to decision making, information, and justice in environmental matters. Private rights also continue to play an important role in how environmental issues and problems are addressed in different jurisdictions. These rights raise critical issues about the role of legal norms in different systems, modes, and levels of environmental governance.
GEM’s Program on Law, Rights, and Environmental Governance seeks to understand and explain the implications of law and rights for efforts to improve environmental governance at the local, national, and international levels. The program aims to generate innovative interdisciplinary knowledge that assesses the emergence, spread, and effectiveness of rights norms across political, institutional, and social contexts, processes, and actors. It also seeks to share this analytical research with practitioners and policy makers working at the intersection of law, rights, and environmental governance.
The Forests Dialogue
The Forests Dialogue (TFD) was created in 1998 to provide international leaders in the forest sector with an ongoing, multi-stakeholder dialogue (MSD) platform and process focused on developing mutual trust, a shared understanding, and collaborative solutions to challenges in achieving sustainable forest management and forest conservation around the world. TFD is an autonomous, unincorporated organization hosted by Yale University and with a Secretariat based at F&ES since 2000.
The goal of TFD is to reduce conflict among stakeholders over the use and protection of vital forest resources. Over the past seventeen years, TFD has brought together more than 2,500 diverse leaders to work through eighteen key compelling forest issues. Current TFD initiatives include: Understanding Deforestation-Free (UDF) commitments, Sustainable Wood Energy (SWE), Tree Plantations in the Landscape (TPL), and Land Use Dialogues (LUD). TFD uses the MSD model to progress from building trust among participants to achieving substantive, tangible outcomes so that participants are committed to advocate for and work to implement those consensus-based outcomes.
TFD is governed by a steering committee composed of a diverse group of individuals representing key stakeholder perspectives from around the world. TFD hires F&ES students as program associates each term to work with the Secretariat and steering committee members. Duties include background research, Secretariat support, dialogue planning, and implementation.