Matson’s lab at Stanford University carries out research in several different areas:
1) Biogeochemical and ecological processes in forest and agricultural systems. Over the past several decades, their research has focused on the effects of land use change and other human caused changes on biogeochemical processes and trace gas exchanges in tropical environments. Their work has ranged from measuring trace gas emissions and developing an ecologically based global budget for the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide to analyzing the consequences of nitrogen deposition for biogeochemical processes in tropic forests.
2) Sustainable agriculture. In fifteen years, their research has focused primarily on agricultural and other land use issues in the Yaqui Basin, Sonora, Mexico. With their collaborators, including hydrologists, geographers, economists and agronomists, they have carried out interdisciplinary studies of intensive agricultural fertilization, water use, aquaculture development, and other land use changes in the tightly linked land-coast-sea system. Their goals are to understand the processes that control such land use decisions and their consequences, and to develop tools and approaches that allow managers to make sustainable choices in development and resource use across the entire Valley.
Research in the Yaqui Valley has dove-tailed with writing and policy work on issues of sustainability. Matson has been a member of the National Research Council’s Board on Sustainable Development and the founding chair of the National Academies’ Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability.
3) Land-sea Interactions. Using the Yaqui Valley as a focal point, members of their lab have evaluated the transfers of nutrients from fertilized agriculture to freshwater and marine ecosystems, identifying the critical importance of land use on marine processes at regional scales.
4) Vulnerability Analyses and Metrics. Different human-environment systems respond differentially to the influence of climate changes, policy changes and other interacting factors; some are more likely to suffer harm than are others. Their research team has focused on developing frameworks for vulnerability analyses in agricultural and coastal environments, and in developing metrics that allow identification of those areas most vulnerable.
Phone: (650) 723-2750
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