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News Release 07-177

NSF Awards Focus on Policy Implications of Global Change Throughout the Americas

Photo of city skyline and pollution

South American pollution is being studied by scientists funded through the Inter-American Institute.

November 26, 2007

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Funding for six international research projects to study the interactions of global change, climate variability, land use and human effects has been awarded as part of a new Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI) program to investigate the policy implications of climate change in the Americas. The IAI is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and its equivalents in other IAI member countries.

The collaborative research network (CRN) awards fund international projects by scientists investigating global change problems across the Americas. In collaboration with the CRN projects, researchers funded through another set of IAI awards--the Small Grants for Human Dimensions program (SGP-HD)--are looking at how human health, welfare and activities depend on the productivity, diversity and functioning of ecosystems.

"Governments have now widely accepted that Earth's climate is changing," said Paul Filmer, NSF program director for IAI. "The difficult question has become 'what do we do about it'? The IAI's CRN and SGP-HD programs are making the links between projections of future climate change and its impacts on humans, and attempting to answer questions like: how much will we have to pay for gas? for fish? for coffee? for clean air?"

The first round of CRN awards supported 14 projects from 1999 to 2006. The second round of the CRN program includes 12 international research consortia involving more than 40 institutions in 18 countries in the Americas.

"The SGP-HD program will integrate a broad range of social sciences with the natural sciences of the CRN projects," said Holm Tiessen, IAI director. "For example, one finding of research on climate change is that climate stress unveils already existing human vulnerabilities. Cooperation between the natural and social sciences is needed to uncover the connections between natural events and human conditions."

In collaboration with the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), IAI recently published Communicating Global Change Science to Society. The book is a review of experiences by CRN scientists in the first round of awards and an analysis of the policy interface that developed through these networks.

Projects Funded under the CRN Program (2006-2011)


Title of ProjectPrincipal InvestigatorParticipating Countries
Documenting, understanding and projecting changes in the hydrological cycle in the American CordilleraLuckman, Brian
University of Western Ontario, Canada
Canada, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, USA
Tropical cyclones: current characteristics and potential changes under a warmer climate Binimelis De Raga, Graciela
Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
Mexico, Costa Rica, Cuba, USA
Paleotempestology of the Caribbean Region: A Multi-proxy, Multi-site Study of the Spatial and Temporal Variability of Caribbean Hurricane ActivityLiu, Kam-Biu
Louisiana State University
USA, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico
An International Consortium for the Study of Oceanic Related Global and Climate Changes in South America (SACC) Piola, Alberto
Servicio de Hidrografia Naval, Argentina
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, USA
From Landscape to Ecosystem: Across-scales Functioning in Changing Environments (LEAF in Change) Sarmiento, Guillermo
Universidad de los Andes, Venezuela
Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, (Germany)
Functional links between above ground changes and below ground activity with land use in the Americas: Soil biodiversity and food security Berbara, Ricardo Luis
Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janiero, Brazil
Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, USA
Functional Biodiversity Effects on Changing Ecosystem Processes and Services and Sustainability Diaz, Sandra Myrna
Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, Argentina
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, USA
Understanding the human, biophysical and political dimensions of tropical primary and secondary dry forests in the Americas Sanchez Azofeifa, Gerardo Arturo
University of Alberta, Canada
Canada, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, USA, Venezuela
Land use change in the Rio de la Plata Basin: Linking biophysical and human factors to predict trends, assess impacts, and support viable land-use strategies for the future Jobbagy, Esteban
Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, USA
South American Emissions, Megacities, and Climate (SAEMC)Klenner, Laura Gallardo
Universidad de Chile
Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, USA
Caribbean Coastal Scenarios McClain, Michael
Florida International University
USA, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, (Puerto Rico)
Effective Adaptation Strategies and Risk Reduction towards Economic and Climatic Shocks: Lessons from the Coffee Crisis in Mesoamerica Castellanos, Edwin
Universidad del Valle de Guatemala
Guatemala, Costa Rica, Mexico, USA

Projects Funded under the SGP-HD Program (2007-2009)

Project TitlePrincipal Investigator
Coming Down the Mountain: Understanding the vulnerability of Andean communities to hydroclimatologic variability and global environmental changeDavid Gauthier
University of Regina, Canada
Information Flows and Policy: Use of climate diagnostics and cyclone prediction for adaptive water-resources management under climatic uncertainty in western North AmericaRobert G. Varady
University of Arizona, USA
Climate Change and Irrigated Agriculture: Towards a better understanding of driving forces and feedbacks between decision-makers and the biophysical environmentFrancisco J Meza
Pontifícia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile
Decision Support System for Risk Reduction in Agriculture

Clyde Fraisse
University of Florida, USA

Conservation Policy Impacts in Tropical Dry Forests: Regional and spatially focused analyses, given other social and natural drivers of land useAlexander Pfaff
Columbia University, USA
Designing a methodology to evaluate local knowledge of global change and its role in the construction of future land use scenariosJean F. Tourrand
Universidade Federal de Brasilia, Brazil


Media Contacts
Cheryl Dybas, NSF, (703) 292-7734,

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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