ACT contributes to studies of the human dimensions of global environmental change. Our focus is on understanding how human populations interact with the environment, and, in the process, we seek to uncover solutions to current and future environmental problems. The following are descriptions of our current and past research projects.
To access information on current and previous grants awarded to ACT, click here.
Major Research Topics
Population and Environment: This research activity has been growing in importance at the Center and focuses on how demographic factors such as fertility, mortality, and migration affect human interaction with the environment. In this area, ACT pioneered the use of property-level analysis using GIS and remote sensing linked to demographic survey research at the household level, simultaneously with landscape level analyses.
Land Use and Land Cover Change: This has been and continues to be the main theme of the integrative science done at the Center since it allows linkage of remote sensing to social science theories. Closely linked studies of physical, biological, and social processes help us understand how human decisions affect local, regional, and global land use. ACT was the host of the Focus 1 Office of the international Land Use and Land Cover Change Programme (a joint IGBP/IHDP core project) focusing on Comparative Case Studies of LUCC.
Deforestation and Secondary Successional Processes: For the first ten years of ACT research, the Center made important contributions to understanding the dynamics of deforestation and regrowth of vegetation following land use. This was a topic that was largely ignored at the time, and which many others have taken on since, given the role of secondary forests in carbon sequestration following deforestation. This research has included several sites in the Amazon Basin that represent contrasting systems of native vegetations, land use systems, and social groups. Our work looks at viable alternatives to deforestation, such as agroforestry systems, and other approaches to carbon sequestration.