The following WSC studies have direct policy or management implications.
How sensitive crops are to water stress caused by drought or heavy rains is dependent on soil texture and groundwater depth, which vary across fields and ultimately affect yields. In particular, shallow groundwater can be advantageous to crops during dry conditions, especially those planted in coarse-grained soils, offering implications for how farmers can improve yield efficiency to meet rising global food demands, especially given climate change. Read more.
Related research areas: groundwater and agriculture
Given climate change and growing urban populations worldwide, cities must factor the potential impacts of their local climates, especially the urban heat island effect, into efforts to prepare for climate-related risks. Urban heat islands tend to be densely populated areas, and certain weather conditions, especially heat waves, can increase the extremity of temperatures experienced in these areas, posing greater public health and economic risks. Read more.
Related research areas: urban heat island
Unaccounted-for changes in land use, climate, and agriculture undermine efforts to improve water quality
Long-term changes in land use, agriculture, and climate, which are often unaccounted for in models and management practices to reduce nutrient pollution in surface waters, are undermining efforts to improve water quality. To achieve water quality goals, policy and management will need to address these shifting drivers in goal setting, program design, and evaluation. This may require more transformative thinking and interventions. Read more.
Mapping where soil erosion and nutrient reduction policies are applied on the landscape provides a holistic view of how multiple government efforts work together to improve lake water quality, enhancing decision making. Maps of Wisconsin’s Yahara Watershed revealed a disconnect between where policies are applied and where major sources of phosphorus pollution are located. Read more.
Yahara 2070 is a set of scenarios that depict what life for future generations in Wisconsin's Yahara Watershed could be like if current generations made different decisions about environmental challenges. It is a tool to help decision makers build regional resilience and to facilitate broad public discussion about a desirable future. Read more.
Related research area: scenarios
Different pieces of a given landscape provide different sets of natural benefits that sustain human life, called ecosystem services. The occurrence of both synergies and tradeoffs within ecosystem service bundles suggests that sustaining these natural benefits requires holistic landscape management. Read more.
Related research area: landscape analyses