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2020 Reflections

Levi Bare / Unsplash

2020 was an unprecedented year. We are grateful for all the Stanford Woods community has done to meet environmental challenges together, and to continue to connect knowledge to action. From thought-provoking conversations and scientific innovations, to valuable lessons from the COVID-19 global pandemic, Stanford researchers have continued to advance solutions for people and the planet. Below is a reflection of some of the inspiring work from this past year. We are looking forward to continuing our interdisciplinary environmental research in 2021.

COVID-19 Opportunities; The researchers hypothesize outcomes of the pandemic’s unprecedented socioeconomic disruption, and outline research priorities for advancing our understanding of humans’ impact on the environment.

Driving Water Conservation; Stanford research employs a machine learning model to help water utilities identify consumption patterns and inform conservation actions.

A new tool combines publicly accessible satellite imagery with AI to track poverty across African villages over time.

Integrating Biodiversity; A recent paper outlines a roadmap integrating biodiversity into sustainable development targets by exploring new types of targets that better capture the role of biodiversity and ecosystem services

Building Community Resilience Post-Pandemic; Experts  explored strategies for increasing resilience to climate change, infectious disease and other disasters as part of a recent Stanford Woods Institute -hosted webinar.

Agreement on U.S. Hydropower & River Conservation; Stanford’s Dan Reicher discusses a new agreement addressing the role of U.S. hydropower in fighting climate change and the need to restore and sustain America’s rivers.

Setting Fires to Avoid Fires; Despite having proven effective at reducing wildfire risks, prescribed burns have been stymied by perceived and real risks, regulations and resource shortages. A new analysis highlights ways of overcoming those barriers, offering solutions for wildfire-ravaged landscapes.

Getting to the Source of Drinking Water Contamination; A study identifies varying pathways of drinking water contamination, suggesting multiple types of public health interventions are needed to protect communities.

 Analyzing DNA in Soil Could be an Effective Way to Track Animals; Research shows studying DNA in soil samples can be more effective, efficient and affordable than traditional tracking methods, such as camera traps, for assessing biodiversity.

Earth Day; The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with a virtual event focused on the next 50 years of environmental innovation and leadership.

Accounting for Nature in Economies; Gross Domestic Product, the standard metric for measuring national economies, doesn’t account for the valuable services provided by nature. A new approach could help fill the gap.

Oceans’ Role in Solving Food Insecurity; Jim Leape and Roz Naylor discuss the role the ocean could play in helping solve food insecurity around the role

Predicting Urban Water Needs; Stanford research uses Zillow and census data combined with machine learning to identify residential water consumption based on housing characteristics. The approach could help cities better understand water use and design water-efficient communities.

U.S. Corn Crop’s Growing Sensitivity to Drought; Management approaches and technology have allowed  U.S. Corn yields to increase, but soil sensitivity to drought has increased , according to a new study that could help identify ways to reverse the trend.

The Ocean Holds Climate Solutions; A  study examines the ways ocean solutions could help combat climate change.

Birds’ Cultural Benefits; Around the world, birds are deeply embedded in human culture. New research finds the birds people value most are under the greatest threat from deforestation and climate change.

A New Way to Study Ocean Life; Insights from an innovative rotating microscope could provide a new window into the secrets of microscopic life in the ocean and their effects on crucial planetary processes, such as carbon fixation.

Desalination Solution; Stanford researchers design a more efficient and affordable desalination process.

Contact Information

Christine H. Black
Associate Director, Communications

Devon Ryan
Communications Manager

Rob Jordan
Editor / Senior Writer