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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

Strategies

  • Modify agricultural and ecological practices to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
  • Develop new technologies and land-use practices to improve air, soil and water quality.
  • Guide the development to minimize environment and health impacts.

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

Research focuses on reclaiming strip-mine sites for biofuel crop production
May 26, 2017
Marvin Hall, a researcher in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, is currently working a project to bring highly productive life back to damaged land by planting a crop — switchgrass — that can be used as an alternative fuel source.
If some hemlock trees can just hang on, birds that need them may be OK
May 5, 2017
In 2000, when a team of scientists led by Robert Ross studied the response of birds to the beginning of hemlock tree decline in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Matt Toenies was just seven years old, and the ecological havoc wreaked by invasive species was the farthest thing from his mind.
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.

Upcoming Events

When to Kill Your Neighbor: Bacterial Antagonism in the Phyllosphere
When: October 2, 2017
Where: 107 Forest Resources Bldg.
Pollinator Health: Lessons from Their Evolutionary and Life History Traits
When: October 9, 2017
Where: 107 Forest Resources Bldg.
Organisms, Communities, and Environments: What Actually matters in a Microbiome?
When: October 16, 2017
Where: 107 Forest Resources Bldg.
Frontiers and Foundations of Ecosystem Ecology: Legacy of a Classic Paper (Odum 1969)
When: October 23, 2017
Where: 107 Forest Resources Bldg.
Improving Prediction of Soil Carbon and Fluxes at the Plot to Landscapes Scale
When: October 30, 2017
Where: 107 Forest Resources Bldg.