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.


Interdisciplinary research proves essential when working on Food-Energy-Water
December 13, 2018
Penn State researchers from all disciplines are getting involved in the Food-Energy-Water (FEW) nexus. Considering the intricate nature of FEW, many researchers believe that an interdisciplinary approach is critical.
Increasing riparian buffers to improve state's water quality
December 11, 2018
The Chesapeake Bay is being polluted, and Pennsylvania is a big reason why, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. To identify ways to reduce Pennsylvania’s impact on the bay, Penn State researchers led a workshop to identify ways to accelerate the planting of riparian buffers, a known solution to this issue.
Penn State creates model nutrient management plan for Bay drainage golf courses
November 19, 2018
Lost Creek Golf Club in Juniata County is unusual because a high quality, extremely productive wild trout stream runs through it, and Penn State turfgrass scientists recently developed a nutrient management plan for the course to protect the creek.

Upcoming Events

Eating and Being Eaten: the Ecology and Evolution of Caterpillar Chemical Defense
When: February 8, 2019
Where: 112 Forest Resources Building
Timing of Behavior: Keeping Pace with a Changing World
When: February 8, 2019
Where: Forest Resources Building 107
Challenges in Assessing and Interpreting Responses of Insects to Environmental Stress
When: February 15, 2019
Where: 112 Forest Resources Building
Environmental pressures that influence primate behavior
When: February 15, 2019
Where: Forest Resources Building 107