Maine' s Sustainability Science Initiative Preview of Award 0904155 ­ Final Project Report

Michael Eckardt, Vicki Nemeth, David Hart
2015 unpublished
Signature of Submitting Official (signature shall be submitted in accordance with agency specific instructions) Michael Eckardt Cover Accomplishments * What are the major goals of the project? During YR5, Maine EPSCoR's Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI) continued to work towards it overarching goal of developing Maine's capacity to conduct worldclass, solutionsdriven research in sustainability science that is distinguished by its innovative approach to interdisciplinary collaboration
more » ... ry collaboration and deep commitment to stakeholder 6/17/2015 RPPR Preview Report 2/195 engagement. The overall vision is that this would lead to the creation of the Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine, which will be recognized as a national international center of excellence in sustainability science. This vision is now being implemented as SSI transitions to become the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions. SSI's overall research goals focus on: 1) the examination of the coupled dynamics of socialecological systems (SES); 2) an understanding of connections between SES knowledge and stakeholder actions (KA); and 3) the improvement of universitystakeholder partnerships through Organizational Innovation (OI) research. Other major goals address diversity, workforce development, cyberinfrastructure, external engagement, evaluation and assessment, sustainability, and management for this integrated statewide infrastructure project. During YR5, progress continues to be made in furthering a strong research and education infrastructure for Maine in the area of sustainability science, which has positioned the project to have a major impact in the state. SSI's major research focus on landscape dynamics reflects a broad consensus that land change science is a critical research frontier as well as a pressing challenge for sustainable development. SSI not only seeks to understand the causes and consequences of landscape change, but also to facilitate efforts that chart a more sustainable path for economic and community development in and beyond Maine. Using Maine as a sustainability science laboratory, SSI continued its approach to landscape change research with two novel components: 1) a focus on interactions among three pressing drivers of landscape change (i.e. urbanization, forest ecosystem management, and climate/energy concerns), rather than examining each in isolation; and 2) our research is strongly shaped by the information needs of individuals and institutions that transform and use scientific information. This integrative strategy facilitates the development of decision support tools that can be used to improve the decisionmaking processes of individuals and institutions that vary in function, geography, and authority.