Northwestern University

Fri 2:00 PM

World Wildlife Fund Lecture: "Natural Capital and Infrastructure”

When: Friday, November 18, 2016
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM  

Where: Technological Institute, Tech A230, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: William M. Miller  

Group: ISEN

Buffett Institute for Global Studies

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Kate Newman, Vice President, Forest and Freshwater Public Sector Initiatives and Nirmal Bhagabati, Ph.D at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) will present "Natural Capital and Infrastructure”

Countries around the world have made commitments to meet global sustainability and climate goals that are now setting the stage for a new era in infrastructure. Country planners are starting to recalculate their needs and assess how best to fulfil them using new standards and benchmarks. WWF is exploring how they can support countries seeking to shift away from just a ‘do no harm’ approach toward a system that aims to increase resilience in natural and built environments and enhance the flow of ecosystem services. Spatial analysis tools (including InVEST, and socioeconomic analyses can be used to model this flow, for example. These analyses use the concept of “servicesheds” (areas providing ecosystem services to specific beneficiaries) to assess impacts and dependencies of infrastructure on these services. By modeling future land use and climate scenarios and combining these with ecosystem service models, we can assess potential future impacts of infrastructure development decisions, which can help guide planning. In one example in Myanmar, a WWF-led team who determined “servicesheds” for select bridges along a road through the mountains of Tanintharyi – i.e., the full extent of forest cover needed to retain soils to avoid bridge scouring and erosion. These included areas well beyond the immediate perimeter of the road – leading to conversations about whose responsibility it would be to maintain that forest cover well upstream from the road to mitigate long-term and costly damage. They will draw upon this and other cases to describe how these approaches have been used to inform infrastructure development. Kate and Nirmal will also raise questions for engineers that WWF has been pondering regarding the practicalities engineers face when designing and developing infrastructure, as suggestions they may have on how to address these challenges sustainably.

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