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From Observation to Inference: How Satellites and Big Data Can Help Us Understand the Effects of Land Conservation Decisions

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September 24 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

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Baker Center Energy and Environment Forum

From Observation to Inference: How Satellites and Big Data Can Help Us Understand the Effects of Land Conservation Decisions

Abstract: Our planet is exposed. Thousands of satellites circulate it every day, taking pictures with ever-growing frequency and resolution. When linked to data on people and policies, these images not only reveal the magnitude of threats to global ecosystems but also help us understand the effectiveness of societal efforts to counter such threats. In this talk, Christoph Nolte takes his audience on a journey to the deforestation frontiers of the Brazilian Amazon, the biodiversity hotspots in the Colombian Andes, and the outskirts of Boston, to showcase how satellites are beginning to transform the ways conservation decision-makers track the cost-effectiveness of their investments on the planet. He puts the spotlight on three technological advances that make this work possible: novel time-series algorithms for the analysis of massive volumes of satellite imagery, quasi-experimental methods for causal inference, and large-scale synthesis of property ownership and sales data.

Bio: Christoph Nolte is an assistant professor in Earth & Environment at Boston University with an interest in the effective conservation of terrestrial ecosystems. His research asks: what difference do conservation actions make? How costly are they? And how can we allocate limited conservation budgets and bandwidth most effectively? For answers, he relies on long-term satellite observations, large-scale social-ecological datasets, economic theory, and novel methods for quantitative causal inference and prediction. With research experience in more than 20 countries in America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, Christoph currently focuses his research on the long-term conservation of private lands in the U.S. and Colombia. He is the lead developer of PLACES, a new data synthesis and collaboration platform that aggregates nationwide property data to inform long-term conservation.

The Baker Center Energy and Environment Forum is an opportunity for academics to share their research findings with a broad set of academics, researchers, and students from outside their own discipline but who have a common interest in environment and energy issues. For more information about the Baker Center Energy and Environment Forum visit the forum’s website: http://bakercenter.utk.edu/energy-environment/

Please join us for what promises to be a very interesting discussion and presentation.

The Zoom meeting link is https://tennessee.zoom.us/j/98457293907.

Details


Date

September 24

Time
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Location
Via webinar