Institute at Brown for Environment and SocietyIBES

The Promise of Crop Analytics for the Environment (David Lobell)

Nov 10, 2017
IBES 015

Speaker: David Lobell, Stanford University

Two big environmental challenges in the next decades are to drastically reduce the amount of nutrients leaking from agricultural systems, and to limit the expansion of agriculture into new land. Both of these challenges are multifaceted, but a central constraint for both is large amounts of uncertainty. In high input systems, uncertainty often leads to over-application of inputs and downstream impacts. In low input systems, uncertainty typically hinders investment in productivity improving technologies. Although some of uncertainty is irreducible, for example due to seasonal weather dynamics, much of it would be reduced by having more complete and reliable data on cropping systems. Fortunately, new technologies in monitoring (e.g., satellites and wireless sensor networks) are quickly advancing the ability to measure agricultural systems. This talk will present some of those advances and the opportunities they present for long-term environmental success.   


David Lobell is a Professor at Stanford University in the Department of Earth System Science and Deputy Director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment. He is the William Wrigley Senior Fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. His research focuses on agriculture and food security, specifically on generating and using unique datasets to study rural areas throughout the world. He has been recognized with a Macarthur Fellowship in 2013, a McMaster Fellowship from CSIRO in 2014, and the Macelwane Medal from the American Geophysical Union in 2010. He also served as lead author for the food chapter and core writing team member for the Summary for Policymakers in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report. 
Prior to his current appointment, Dr. Lobell was a Senior Research Scholar at FSE from 2008-2009 and a Lawrence Post-doctoral Fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from 2005-2007. He received a PhD in Geological and Environmental Sciences from Stanford University in 2005, and a Sc.B. in Applied Mathematics, Magna Cum Laude from Brown University in 2000.
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