Stephen Polasky

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis


Election Year: 2010
Primary Section: 64, Human Environmental Sciences
Secondary Section: 54, Economic Sciences
Membership Type: Member

Research Interests

My research integrates ecology and economics to analyze the spatial pattern and value of ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation, and other objectives that affect human well-being, and analyzes how these objectives are impacted by various human decisions on land use, resource use, energy production, and food production. This research incorporates how human actions affect ecosystems, the effect that changes in ecosystem structure and function have on the provision of ecosystem services and biodiversity, the values of these services in terms of changes in human well-being, and the impact of various policies and incentive mechanisms that can influence decisions. The aim of this research is to accurately measure the consequences of alternative decisions and to link these measures to incentives to provide better decisions and improved outcomes. I have applied similar integrated ecological and economic analysis to assess the full-cost of production and use of biofuels versus conventional fossil-fuels that includes the costs of greenhouse gas emissions and emissions leading to air and water pollution, setting conservation priorities by calculating a return on investment that maximizes biodiversity conservation per dollar spent on conservation, the relative effectiveness of alternative environmental and conservation policies mechanisms, and sustainability analysis of long-run impacts from current decisions.

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