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Thursday, February 11, 2010

NASA awards University of Florida $870,000 grant to study land use cover change

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida researchers have received an $870,000 grant to study how to better adapt to climate change.

The NASA Land Use Land Cover Change Program grant will fund an interdisciplinary project that will analyze relationships among climate variability, climate change, land use and land cover change. Using remote sensing applications and socio-economic surveys, the project aims to create models that could enhance planning for sustainable resource use and help the people in these areas adapt to climate change.

We hope the grant allows us to better understand the social-ecological systems response to climate variability and so to allow us to develop understanding for future climate scenarios,” said geography professor Jane Southworth, the principal investigator. “Ideally, it will allow for better adaptation strategies for local communities under changing environmental conditions.”

The grant will support graduate students and allow the project to conduct summer fieldwork in Botswana, Namibia and Zambia.

To better illustrate the human suffering in this area, six doctoral students created a video documentary called “Living With Thirst,” which looked at the Vende people in the Limpopo Province of South Africa and their troubles related to climate variability. The video was funded by an Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship grant, pertaining to Adaptive Management, Water, Wetlands and Watersheds.

We hope this video provides an introduction to the uncertainty and trade-offs faced in a region with high variability in rainfall,” said Andrea Gaughan, one of the students who worked on the video, “and how that will affect conservation initiatives balanced with sustainable livelihood decisions toward water allocation/resources.”


Living with Thirst Part One
Living with Thirst Part Two

Author: Aubrey Siegel, University Relations