- Loggers and logging workforce
- Grazing and public lands in Wisconsin
- Public and community perceptions of renewable energy options
- Silvopasture and grazier networks
Loggers play an essential role in ensuring the sustainability of forests along with the wood industries that depend on them. Yet, the logging sector faces concerns with recruiting and retaining skilled loggers. On-going work on this emerging topic include continued analysis of past logger survey data, coordination with colleagues in Minnesota, and a project-based course for Spring 2015.
More to come as the this project theme is further developed. Primary current support for these activities is through USDA NIFA RREA Capacity Funding.
This project will investigate the potential for grazing livestock on publicly owned and managed grasslands and to analyze theenvironmental, economic and social outcomes of that activity. The need for this information rests on two primary drivers – the need for cost-effective grassland management and the potential for these lands to increase the profitability of Wisconsin grass-farmers. This project, designed as a two-phase adaptive research model, will begin to fill these knowledge gaps by investigating the ways in which grazing can be used to meet the goals of various stakeholders, including agency personnel (e.g. WI DNR), conservationists (e.g. The Nature Conservancy, The Prairie Enthusiasts), public land users, and local livestock producers. It is a practical, applied project thatembodies the Wisconsin Idea, and the USDA national and state priorities. The way in which the project aims to balance ecological,social, and economic objectives demands a multidisciplinary approach that matches very well with the goals and approaches of the UW CALS Agroecology MS program – interdisciplinary research, education, and outreach. As such, the PIs have agreed to focus anyawarded RAships on Agroecology graduate students in an effort to bolster the Program’s profile in the University and the State.
This project, funded through the USDA NIFA Hatch Act competition administered by UW CALS, runs from October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2019. Randy Jackson (Agronomy) is the lead investigator on this project along with Chris Ribic (Forest & Wildlife Ecology), Mark Renz (Agronomy), and Mark Rickenbach.
Sustainable energy platforms (e.g., cellulosic biofuels, biogas, solar, etc.) have and will continue to transform energy production and policy with myriad effects on land use, local communities, and regional economies. Public perceptions and preferences are critical, but understudied, factors in energy planning and development. In this integrated project, we study public views and engage key actors (i.e., extension educators, local and state leaders, planners) toward sustainable energy through two objectives. (1) Investigate and segment public perceptions and leadership preferences (i.e., who and at what scale) associated with sustainable energy. (2) Build capacity among key actors to interpret and apply social science findings toward effective planning and policy efforts. Our research component investigates and segments public perceptions and preferred “loci of leadership” for sustainable energy along two dimensions: (a) local to global, and (b) private—public—non-profit. Methods include a statewide mail survey of Wisconsin households (n = 1,200), and follow-on 5-7 focus groups to enhance data interpretation. Our extension component interactively and iteratively engages key actors toward increased capacity to apply social science research to effectively incorporate public views in energy-related processes. Of note is our strong integrated project team that spans research, extension, and energy expertise.
This project, funded through the USDA NIFA Hatch Act competition administered by UW CALS, runs from October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2015.