Student Research

Current Students:

Keith Bettinger –Desentralisasi vs. Konservasi: An examination of the impacts of decentralization reforms on the effectiveness of large national parks in Indonesia :  A Nineteenth-Century Pacific Landscape Sets the Scene


Anu Gupta – A multicriterion decision-making model for land-use planning in Palau: Incorporating multiple stakeholders, objectives, attributes, and preferences into planning


Wendy Miles – "Revaluing Rainforests: The Political Ecology of Market-Based Conservation"


Nicole Milne – The remains of agriculture: a case study of landscape change in Hamakua, HI


 

Research Descriptions:




Keith Bettinger: Desentralisasi vs. Konservasi: An examination of the impacts of decentralization reforms on the effectiveness of large national parks in Indonesia


 

imageThis project is an examination of the effects of ongoing decentralization reforms on the national parks of Indonesia. In 1998 Indonesia’s longtime strongman ruler Mohammed Soeharto was deposed amidst widespread public outcry. Shortly after, the newly-empowered legislature passed sweeping reform legislation that devolved significant powers to the 13,000-island archipelago’s 400-plus districts (kabupatens). This legislation was a reaction against the corruption and abuses of the previous regime and targeted that vertically-articulated, top-down system of patronage politics that has been the hallmark of the Soeharto years. However, authority over the national parks of Indonesia, perceived by many as relicts of the Soeharto regime, was not decentralized. My project uses Kerinci Seblat National Park, a large protected area on Sumatra, as a case study. I am examining the evolving relationships between the 14 kabupaten governments surrounding the park and the park administration. I hope to understand how recent political developments are affecting the task facing park managers.





Anu Gupta: A multicriterion decision-making model for land-use planning in Palau:
Incorporating multiple stakeholders, objectives, attributes, and preferences into planning


 

imageAs a tropical, small island developing nation, Palau faces challenges to long-term sustainable use of resources.  There is currently no comprehensive land-use planning for the rapidly changing island of Babeldaob, partly due to conflicting objectives and a lack of specific information.  However, there is observed need and demonstrated desire for land-use planning in Palau.  This research proposal presents a project that will create a Multicriterion Decision-making model that incorporates multiple stakeholders, objectives, and attributes into the identification of decision alternatives.  Methods will include structuring decisions into hierarchies, identifying and operationalizing objectives, and optimization.  Once alternatives have been identified, preference-elicitation methods such as Analytic Hierarchy Process, ranking, rating, and Benefit-Cost Analysis will be tested and compared to help guide selection of a preferred alternative.  Measurement of attributes, including water budget parameters, distribution of biodiversity, and perceptions of risk, are included in the research design. Various methods to parameterize uncertainty will also be included and tested.  This research will be interactive with stakeholders, who will be identified using a tripartite framework of power, legitimacy, and urgency.  The end result will be a decision-making model that helps inform land-use planning in Palau.





Nicole Milne: The remains of agriculture: a case study of landscape change in Hamakua, HI


 

NicoleOn the island of Hawaii, when Hamakua Sugar Company closed its doors in 1994, a total of 34,560 acres of agricultural land became available and over 400 families were left without employment (Terry 1996).  An influx of amenity migrants and efforts to diversify the economy led to competition over the future use of Hamakua’s prime agricultural lands.  This project will examine how various stakeholders construct, negotiate, and contest competing visions of the place of agriculture in contemporary rural Hawaii. The objective of this research is to explore the social and ideological role agriculture plays in the lives of Hamakua’s rural residents, and how agrarian values are translated into contemporary rural landscapes.



Wendy Miles: "Revaluing Rainforests: The Political Ecology of Market-Based Conservation"


 

Anja_Waimea.jpgThe objective of this research is to better understand the social ramifications of assigning economic value to ecosystem services. Through a case study of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) in Indonesia, this research questions how people’s forest perspectives are influenced by the commodification of carbon, to what extent forest-dependent communities are represented in REDD deliberations, and the potential socio-economic impacts of monetizing carbon on local people. The ultimate aim of this project is for the perspectives of people personally involved in and impacted by REDD to be added to global discussions on how market-based conservation and climate change mitigation strategies can be improved in the future.