Projects in theme: Environmental Resources And Population Wellbeing

Amazonian Deforestation and the Structure of Households

This 15-year project with Emilio Moran looks at how households manage forest resources in Brazil. The project studies the relationships between demographic change, land-use change and agricultural development in three sites in the Brazilian Amazon. Central to her work is the question of how the changing availability of family labor affects the extent to which farmers clear existing forestland. Recent work suggests that the process of learning and specialization in different activities also helps to explain the variation and timing of land acquisition and forest clearing.

AOC: Disaster, Resilience and the Built Environment on the Gulf Coast

Logan looks broadly at the impacts of hurricanes on the Gulf Coast from 1950-2005, questioning whether their effects on population and employment are long-term or short-lived and asking which population groups are more vulnerable to damage and displacement. A significant barrier to such analysis is the lack of detailed information on the actual wind damage from historical hurricanes. Logan and Zengwang Xu examine the potential for hurricane wind models to be used as a basis for filling this important data need.

C8 and Reproductive and Neurodevelopmental Outcomes

This collaborative project will analyze the relationship between C8 (perflourooctonoic acid) and reproductive health outcomes, including miscarriage, preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, birth defects, and neurodevelopmental deficits among residents of West Virginia and Ohio who had elevated exposure resulting from environmental contamination from a chemical plant.

Children’s Health and Nutrition, Adult Outcomes & Mobility

Pitt uses innovative data methods to consider environmental-health issues in Bangladesh. This project assembles, collects and analyzes multiple rounds of survey data from Bangladesh, providing family-based and individual panel information on the long-term health and productivity effects of childhood nutritional intakes, indoor air pollution, and health interventions over a 25-year span. As part of a long-term longitudinal survey on nutrition and economic activity he has collected, among other things, toenails, which provide a record of exposure to arsenic.

Environmental Outcomes in Mexico and Brazil

Nagavarapu has interdisciplinary projects that examine environmental outcomes in Mexico and Brazil. In Brazil, he looks at the relationship between changes in agricultural prices, wages and forest cover with particular focus on the issue of uses of sugar cane for ethanol. In Mexico, he works with marine biologists Heather Leslie and Sheila Walsh to look at the management of fisheries resources. In particular, the team is examining the extent to which cooperatives can more effectively manage fishing resources through establishment of rights over certain fishing grounds.

Groundwater and Land Management in Rural India

Foster has a series of projects on groundwater in rural India that also focus on issues of scale in agriculture. A central question in this body of work is how the spatial distribution of the population affects the rate of aquifer depletion. In joint work with a former student he finds surprisingly that water markets are more likely to arise in areas where water is not scarce. He also finds that whether water buying or selling increases or decreases aquifer depletion depends in part on the relative sizes of neighboring farms.

Health and Air Quality Regulation in Developing Countries

Foster has several projects looking at the relationship between air quality and health. In Delhi, India, he has a project that was initially directed at identifying the effects of a court mandate to enforce vehicle regulations with regard to the use of compressed natural gas (CNG). This study involved the systematic collection of ground data on air quality in combination with a household-level survey that included spirometry-based measures of respiratory health.

Hurricane Katrina and the Built Environment: Spatial and Social Impacts

The complex relationship between demographic processes, spatial segregation, and inequality is evident in work by Logan on the impact of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans. Logan finds that primarily black neighborhoods within the city limits were more likely to be damaged and less likely to be rebuilt than were otherwise similar neighborhoods.

Land Use, Ecosystem Services and the Fate of Marginal Lands in a Globalized World

One of humanity's greatest contemporary challenges is producing enough food to sustain human populations in developing regions while preserving naturally functioning habitats that provide key ecosystem services such as clean drinking water, biodiversity, carbon storage, and climate moderation. This project, which is funded by NSF’s Partnerships for International Research and Education Program, leverages substantial existing investments in Africa by the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) to mount an international and interdisciplinary study of this great challenge.

SAFEHAVEN: Decision Support for Nursing Home Resident Disaster Evacuations

Hurricanes have a devastating effect on nursing home residents, as they may be adversely affected either by being transferred to another setting or by sheltering in place. Using existing nursing-home data from multiple sources, Logan and his collaborator, Vincent Mor, seek to understand the consequences of hurricanes and evacuation decisions, providing the first evidence base to inform the creation of evacuation guidelines.