My research is focused on the security of water, food, and energy resources as well as natural resources planning and managaement. A lot of my work involves the integration of physical and social science research.
Integrating social and natural science to study coupled human-natural systems, and particularly the interactions of society with the physical environment under conditions of environmental stress.
My broad research interests are in human-environmental interactions and land-use change. Specifically, I am interested in how people make land-use decisions, how those decisions modify the functioning of natural systems, and how those modifications feedback on human well-being, livelihoods, and subsequent land-use decisions. All of my research begins with a complex systems background with the aim of understanding the dynamics of human-environment interactions and their consequences for environmental and economic sustainability. Agent-based modeling is my primary tool of choice to understand human-environment interactions, but I also frequently use other land change modeling approaches (e.g., cellular automata, system dynamics, econometrics), spatial statistics, and GIS. I also have expertise in synthesis methods (e.g., meta-analysis) for bringing together leveraging disparate forms of social and environmental data to understand how specific cases (i.e., local) of land-use change contribute to and/or differ from broader-scale (i.e. regional or global) patterns of human-environment interactions and land change outcomes.
Agent-based computational economics (ACE); development and use of ACE test beds for the study of electric power market operations; development and use of ACE test beds for the study of water, energy, and climate change
Dr. Lilian Alessa, University of Idaho President’s Professor of Resilient Landscapes in the Landscape Architecture program, is also Co-Director of the University of Idaho Center for Resilient Communities. She conducts extensive research on human adaptation to environmental change through resilient design at landscape scales. Much of her work is funded by the National Science Foundation, including projects awarded the Arctic Observing Network, Intersections of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) and the Dynamics of Coupled Natural Human Systems programs. Canadian-born and raised, Alessa received her degrees from the University of British Columbia. She also uses her expertise in social-ecological and technological systems science to develop ways to improve domestic resource security for community well-being, particularly through the incorporation of place-based knowledge. Her work through the Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Excellence, the Arctic Domain Awareness Center, involves developing social-technological methods to monitor and respond to critical environmental changes. Lil is a member of the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education and is on the Science, Technology and Education Advisory Committee for the National Ecological Observing Network (NEON). Professor Alessa also teaches a university landscape architecture capstone course: Resilient Landscapes with Professor Andrew Kliskey. Professor Alessa’s collaborative grant activity with Professor Andrew Kliskey, since coming to the university in 2013, exceeds 7 million USD to date. She has authored over a 100 publications and reports and has led the development of 2 federal climate resilience toolbox assessments, the Arctic Water Resources Vulnerability Index (AWRVI) and the Arctic Adaptation Exchange Portal (AAEP).
Andrew Bell (Ph.D. 2010, Michigan) was a Research Fellow in the Environment and Production Technology Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, DC. His current research portfolio focuses on the use of field instruments – such as discrete choice experiments, framed field experiments, randomized control trials – to inform behavior in agent-based models of coupled human-natural systems. Prior to this post, Andrew was a post-doctoral research fellow at The Earth Institute at Columbia University, where he focused on developing applications for paleo-climate histories.
Christian Reynolds is a Public Health Research Fellow at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, University of Aberdeen, and an adjunct Research Fellow at the Barbara Hardy Institute for Sustainable Environments and Technologies, University of South Australia. Christian’s research examines the economic and environmental impacts of food consumption; with focus upon food waste, sustainable diets, and the political power of food in international relations.
Christian has experience in economic input-output, material flow and environmental (Life Cycle Analysis) modelling and has published peer reviewed articles on these topics.