Our expanding population creates an ever-increasing need for natural resources to supply food, fiber, energy, recreation, clean water and air, and other products and amenities. Competition for increasingly scarce resources creates challenges for those who attempt to supply natural resource-based goods and services in an efficient and environmentally responsible manner. Finding solutions to these challenges requires complex and data-intensive assessment and projection of resource availability, conditions, locations, and trends. Advanced analytical tools and extensive resource data are needed to ensure that decisions are based on sound science, adequate information, and careful consideration of alternatives.
The task of natural resource assessment is inherently multi-disciplinary, and requires:
- resource inventory expertise to collect and interpret data about current conditions and recent trends,
- spatial analysis expertise to map, model, and interpret the complex dynamics of resource availability and changing land use,
- modeling and forecasting expertise to provide accurate projections of resource change under an array of assumptions about future resource use,
- economic expertise to anticipate future market conditions and landowner behavior, and
- expertise in natural resources policy to evaluate the implications of policies and regulations on resource availability and use.
The initiative to create the Center for Natural Resources Assessment and Decision Support began after natural resources stakeholders in Virginia companies and agencies sought assistance from Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment. These stakeholders noted that in the face of the complex and changing pressures on natural resources in the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond, we need improved data, models, and analytical techniques to assess the status and trends of natural resources such as wood fiber, water (quality and quantity), and biodiversity. Addressing these challenges is clearly in the scope of the College’s mission to advance the science of sustainability.
The Center for Natural Resources Assessment and Decision Support was chartered February 15, 2013 to conduct the translational research needed to develop and apply the next generation of analytical tools and data to assess the status and trends of renewable natural resources. We will engage stakeholders in industry, government, and citizen organizations in answering crucial questions about the sustainability of natural resources use. We will involve undergraduate and graduate students in conducting, applying, and communicating research, thereby preparing the next generation of resource managers, decisionmakers, and leaders.
Center for Natural Resources
Assessment and Decision Support
Corporate Research Center
1900 Kraft Drive, Suite 250
Moss Building (Mail Code 0534)
Blacksburg, VA 24061
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