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Environmental Resilience

Providing innovative research to enhance and protect managed and natural ecosystems, ecosystem services and human well-being.

Our scientists examine the ability of natural systems to recover from disturbances and to tolerate or adapt to changing climate. In addition, members of the college work to improve our understanding of the risks facing both natural and managed systems as a result of global change factors, such as climate change, land-use change and nutrient pollution.

As a land-grant university, it is Penn State’s charge to address the challenges posed by climate change, nutrient pollution, forest fragmentation and other land-use practices. To do so, researchers in the College of Agricultural Sciences are investigating the resilience—the ability of a natural system to respond to a disturbance by resisting damage and recovering quickly—of Pennsylvania’s ecosystems, as well as the factors that impact resilience, such as invasive insects and pathogens.

Research Expertise

Research Videos

The Phosphorus Paradox
Developed by the Penn State Center for Nutrient Solutions, this is the story of phosphorus, the first element isolated and discovered by modern science.
The Sustainable Watersheds Program at Penn State
Funded by a Reinvention Fund grant from the Sustainability Institute, the Penn State Agriculture and Environment Center is spearheading an effort to develop a Sustainable Watersheds Program at Penn State, which will engage local watershed partners and provide increased engaged scholarship opportunities for Penn State students.

News

Shale gas threat to forests can be eased by consolidating infrastructure
April 24, 2017
Fragmentation of ecologically important core forests within the northern Appalachians — driven by pipeline and access road construction — is the major threat posed by shale-gas development, according to researchers, who recommend a change in infrastructure-siting policies to head off loss of this critical habitat.
Cover crops may be used to mitigate and adapt to climate change
April 24, 2017
Cover crops long have been touted for their ability to reduce erosion, fix atmospheric nitrogen, reduce nitrogen leaching and improve soil health, but they also may play an important role in mitigating the effects of climate change on agriculture, according to a Penn State researcher.
Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
March 15, 2017
Growing sustainable energy crops without increasing greenhouse gas emissions, may be possible on seasonally wet, environmentally sensitive landscapes, according to researchers who conducted a study on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land.