Public Policy & Economics

Solutions Require Science

We at the Woods Hole Research Center are convinced that answers are possible and that science is crucial for framing the debate and finding the solutions. We can manage forest, soil, air and water resources for both healthy ecosystems and human prosperity, but it takes knowledge about how the world works. This knowledge comes from rigorous research and relentless analysis of what is happening, and of what can and must be done for us to inhabit a healthy world.


Natural Resources and the Rural Poor Project:

The Woods Hole Research Center was part of a multidisciplinary effort to assess the role of natural resources in mitigating system shocks in extremely poor households. As part of this endeavor, we examined resource protection plans for parks and protected areas to assess strategies to maximize the benefits of resource utilization for all stakeholders. We focused on two regions of the Rift Valley of Southeastern Africa—Central Mozambique and the border area of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo—where poverty is ubiquitous and where natural resources play a vital role in household subsistence and decision strategies.


Bridging Science to International Climate Policy under the UNFCCC:

A central component of the mission of the Woods Hole Research Center is informing environmental decision-makers and stakeholders with sound scientific research and data regarding key environmental issues. The Center was instrumental in informing the creation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and has continued to be an active participant in climate change negotiations. These pages explore the history of WHRC engagement in annual Conferences of the Parties (COPs) to the UNFCCC, from COP 1 in 1995, through COP 17 in 2011.


Addressing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative:

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a multi-state plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electric power plants over 10 states of the northeast from Maine to Maryland. Woods Hole Research Center scientists are characterizing land cover types in RGGI region, determining the spatial distribution of carbon stocks and determining the current net sources and sinks of carbon from the land. WHRC scientists are also evaluating the potential for future carbon sequestration and releases of carbon. This research will provide to RGGI a system for calculating current and potential sources and sinks of carbon from land use change and land management.


BANTER: The Brazilian Amazon Negotiation Toolbox for the Economics of REDD:

Brazil is leading the way in adopting policies to reduce deforestation and taking on ambitious reduction targets. A central element of a strategy to reduce deforestation is understanding the distribution, at the sub-national level, of benefits and costs of REDD policies. Quantitative economic analysis can provide useful insights on the effectiveness, efficiency, and fairness of REDD strategies. The Brazilian Amazon Negotiation Toolbox for the Economics of REDD (BANTER) is a spreadsheet-based economic tool that helps examine the economic and environmental effects in the Brazilian Amazon of different REDD mechanism designs. BANTER is designed to support REDD negotiations among states in the Brazilian Amazon by allowing users to compare emissions reductions, avoided deforestation and revenue generation at the state level across proposed REDD design options.