Interests & Motivation:

I have somewhat eclectic research interests, which to-date are broadly grounded in applied topics related to natural resources (renewables, in particular) and agriculture.

 

Current and recent projects are focused on agriculture and deforestation, pollination resources in agriculture, and rangeland quality and micro-insurance. This diverse collection of topics reflects years of working on a range of natural resource topics, and years of working with and/or observing agricultural producers and resource users around the world.

A big picture motivation for my work stems from the unique reality we face today, which is quite new in the history of the world:  all of humanity depends on robust and productive agricultural sectors, yet an increasingly small fraction of humanity directly depend on the lands or waters of the world for their daily bread. Economists sometimes refer to this process as "structural transformation", which has had myriad benefits for the world.

However, this state of affairs implies that much is riding on the soil tillers, cultivators, and harvesters of the world. It is therefore in humanity's best interests to better understand the circumstances in which the food and fiber producers of the world, and the agricultural and natural systems they directly depend upon, thrive or decline.

From a methodological perspective, I develop theoretical models to articulate hypotheses and impose discipline on my research, and I use a variety of data to conduct empirical tests and descriptive analyses.  Spatial and remote sensing data have a consistent presence in my research, which I often combine with data from households, farms, and administrative data from companies and governments.

I am actively developing several projects focused on the Intermountain West and Utah and developing extensions of existing research. Grants that have supported my research to-date are indicated below, which I developed with the respective PIs and Co-PIs.

Grants

  • 2021 - Environmental Impacts of Agricultural Intensification, CGIAR-Standing Panel on Impact Assessment-emLab (Phase II, $75,148). ``Rangeland Health and Index-Based Livestock Insurance: Innovations in Measurement and Evalation.'' Principal Investigator: Christopher B. Barrett. Co-Principal Investigators: Ying Sun, Nathaniel D. Jensen. Collaborators: Patrick E. Clark, Francesco P. Fava, Njoki Kahiu, Chuan Liao, Diba Galgallo, Oscar Naibei, Gerardo E. Soto, and Steven W. Wilcox

  • 2020 - Environmental Impacts of Agricultural Intensification, CGIAR-Standing Panel on Impact Assessment-emLab (Phase I, $184,113). ``Rangeland Health and Index-Based Livestock Insurance: Innovations in Measurement and Evalation.'' Principal Investigator: Christopher B. Barrett. Co-Principal Investigators: Ying Sun, Nathaniel D. Jensen. Collaborators: Patrick E. Clark, Francesco P. Fava, Njoki Kahiu, Chuan Liao, Diba Galgallo, Oscar Naibei, Gerardo E. Soto, and Steven W. Wilcox

  • 2019 - Engaged Cornell Supplemental Academic Venture Fund Grant ($10,000). ``Sustainable Agricultural Pollination Resource Investment and Management for New York Apple Farmers.''  Principal Investigator: David R. Just.  Co-Principal Investigators: Bryan N. Danforth, Miguel I. Gómez, and C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell.  Collaborators: Heather Grab, Craig Kahlke, Maria van Dyke, and Steven W. Wilcox.

  • 2019 - Academic Venture Fund (AVF) Award, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future ($101,327). ``Sustainable Agricultural Pollination Resource Investment and Management for New York Apple Farmers.''  Principal Investigator: David R. Just.  Co-Principal Investigators: Bryan N. Danforth, Miguel I. Gómez, and C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell.  Collaborators: Heather Grab, Craig Kahlke, Maria van Dyke, and Steven W. Wilcox.

  • 2018 - Sustainable Biodiversity Fund Grant, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future  ($7,600). ``Optimal Investment in a Pollination Resource Stock Under Uncertainty''. Principal Investigator: Steven W. Wilcox. Collaborators: David R. Just, C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell, Miguel I. Gómez.

  • 2017 - Richard Bradfield Research Award ($3,500), College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University. Principal Investigator: Steven W. Wilcox.  Collaborators:  David R. Just and Ariel Ortiz-Bobea.