Workshop 3: Rural-Urban Co-Prosperity

Invited Speakers’ Abstracts and Biographies

Jennifer Tribble

Senior Policy Analyst, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation – Nashville, Tennessee

Country: United States of America

Title: “Promoting Sustainability and Resilience Through Community Engagement and Technical Assistance”

Abstract: Communities that are sustainable and resilient are those that can confront changing conditions, absorb disturbances with flexibility, and utilize existing resources and local partnerships to achieve community goals without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability and resilience engage all aspects of community life: government, business and industry, jobs, food systems, natural environment, water resources, energy, housing, health care, education, transportation and infrastructure, workforce development, and more. In this session we will explore a Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation pilot program, Sustainable Resilience for Communities, and the community engagement and technical assistance resources it makes available to participants. Then, we will review specific resources developed for one participant in the program that focus on building community knowledge about local solutions for achieving waste reduction and diversion. The session will close with potential actions that communities can take to consider opportunities to enhance sustainability and resilience.

Biography: Jennifer Tribble is a Senior Policy Analyst with the Office of Policy and Sustainable Practices. Jenn’s work involves providing technical assistance to communities and the hospitality sector, assisting the department on environmental justice topics, and engaging with TDEC Divisions and external stakeholders on environmental policy issues. Jenn holds a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a dissertation focused on the effects of stress on the brain. Jenn also holds a BS in Chemistry and a BS in Microbiology from the University of Texas. Prior to joining TDEC, Jenn worked broadly on science policy and science communication at Duke University. Jenn is passionate about sustainability and leveraging her behavioral science background to build successful programs and policies to encourage sustainable practices.


Andrea Hicks, Ph.D.

Associated Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Director of Sustainability Education and Research, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Wisconsin

Country: United States of America

Title: “Aquaponics as a Sustainable closed loop Food Production System: rural and urban applications”

Abstract: Aquaponics is a closed loop food production system where seafood and plants are grown symbiotically. A major advantage of these systems when compared to conventional agriculture are their relatively small footprints, reduced water usage, and lack of nutrient run off. At the same time, there are other environmental impacts to consider, such as the use of forage fish in aquafeeds. Life cycle assessment is utilized to explore the environmental impacts and sustainability implications of these systems.

Biography: Andrea Hicks is an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Director of Sustainability Education and Research for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned her BS in environmental engineering from Michigan Technological University in 2009, her MS from Clemson University in 2010, and her PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2014. Her work investigates the environmental impacts and sustainability implications of emerging technologies, including nutrient recovery, closed loop agriculture, autonomous vehicles, engineered nanomaterials, bioplastics, and alternative energy. She utilizes tools such as life cycle assessment, techno economic analysis, and agent-based modeling to explore these technologies. She recently received a National Science Foundation CAREER award to study the sustainability of closed loop agriculture systems.


Kellie Walters, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Plant Sciences, Institute of Agriculture, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Tennessee

Country: United States of America

Title: “Improving the Feasibility of Indoor Agriculture: Light intensity during lettuce seedling production”

Abstract: Indoor agriculture creates the potential to improve the resiliency of our food systems by diversifying production geographically, providing highly consistent plants year-round, and creating the potential for production “optimization”. However, the economic feasibility of indoor agriculture is often in question due to 1) high capital and operating costs and 2) the “optimal” growing environment is largely unknown.  In 2019, 35% of controlled environment agriculture (CEA) producers in the United States grew lettuce. In this study we explore light intensity optimization of lettuce seedlings during indoor production and subsequent growth and quality when finished in a common environment. Environmental optimization during the seedling phase is crucial to improving profitability because plant density is greater and fixed growing costs such as lighting can be spread across more plants.

Biography: Kellie Walters is an assistant professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Tennessee where her research team focuses on food crop physiology in controlled environments including greenhouse and indoor production systems, spanning from potted culture to hydroponics. The overall goal is to determine how to leverage environmental controls (light intensity, duration, and quality, temperature, and CO2), plant nutrition, and plant growth regulators and hormones to improve vegetable, leafy green, and culinary herb production efficiencies, yield, and crop quality. In addition to general physiology and production research, her lab is focusing on in-house analysis of secondary metabolites contributing to crop flavor and nutritional value to improve taste, appearance, overall consumer appeal, and producer profitability and sustainability.


Sebastian Grenoville

Technical Director of Conservation National Parks Administration – Buenos Aires

Country: Argentina

Title: “Productive and Commercial Networks of small and family producers in the Metropolitan area of Buenos Aires, Argentina”

Abstract: Food security and justice are central elements to understanding the conditions of production and economic reproduction of small-scale producers in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires, Argentina, This talk discusses and analyzes the ability of vulnerable population sectors to enter distinct markets through complementary commercial channels. It describe a series of explanatory dimensions which allows understanding of these phenomena: 1)The informality which with the sector operates, in two senses; on one hand, weakened barriers, permit new players to gain entry, but at the cost of limited inclusion that leads them to reproduce in the margins of the normative and controls and in marginal spaces (areas that are remote of difficult to access). 2)Governance and access to markets allow not only for economic growth, but for organizational and social growth also. This is reflected in better negotiating capacity and autonomy in decisions at different levels of government, of the chains and inside the organizations. Finally, 3)Emerging disputes arise to provide value to and increase visibility of quotidian practices by the actors of the territory.

Biography: Sebastian Grenoville graduated with a bachelor degree in Sociology from the University of Buenos Aires and has a MSc in Comparative Politics in Latin America from the London School of Economics and Political Science in the United Kingdom. He is a Ph.D. candidate in Development Studies at the University of the Basque Country. He held management positions at the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) and the National Parks Administration (APN). His focus is on rural development, vulnerability, social inclusion, marketing and food supply. He currently serves as Technical Director of Conservation for the APN and is a lecturer at the University of Buenos Aires. He is involved in various national and international research projects and action networks including Justice and Food Sovereignty in the Americas; Contested Territories; Food, Energy and Water for Sustainable Cities.


Lorenzo Pugliese, Ph.D.

Researcher, Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University – Tjele

Country: Denmark

Title: “End-of-pipe Solutions for Agricultural Drainage Management”

Abstract: Agricultural tile-drainage is a major source of N and P for surface waters, thus largely contributing to eutrophication. To reach the water quality goals set by the European Water Framework Directive, the nutrient loads from farmlands in Denmark and most European countries need to be markedly reduced. In the past decade, constructed wetlands and woodchip bioreactors have been progressively used in Denmark as edge-of-field measures. More recently, compact filter systems have been introduced and tested for targeted purposes. Long-term monitoring of these systems to date has demonstrated a large variability in the nutrient removal performance. The climate in Denmark is rather variable, which largely affect the denitrifying activity, nutrient load and dominant forms, and HRT in the systems. Thus, novel strategies aiming to cope with these environmental factors are urgently needed not only to stabilize the annual treatment performance, but also to ensure predictability.

Biography: Lorenzo Pugliese has a PhD degree from Aalborg University (Denmark) on environmental engineering with specialization on the multi-linkage between the fundamental mechanisms of transport and the porous media physical properties. Since 2014, he has been employed at Aarhus University (Denmark) initially as a postdoc and currently as an academic employee. In 2020, he participated as an experienced researcher in a H2020-MSCA-RISE-2018 led by the University of Calabria (Italy) and had a 3-month stay at Universidad Adolfo Ibanez (Chile). The earlier-research interest lay primarily on understanding and exploring the processes governing gas and solute transport in different media. These processes are of utmost importance in a large number of important applications such as transport and removal of contaminants in cleaning filters, removal of unwanted suspended materials, salt water intrusion into fresh water bodies, movement of pollutants in soil. Today, the primary research focus is on edge-of-filed technologies for treating nutrient losses (primarily nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P)) from agricultural drainage waters. These technologies include constructed wetlands, woodchip bioreactor and compact filter systems. He has great interest in the hydrological characterization of these technologies through the use of tracer tests and numerical modeling, in order to improve the system nutrient removal performance. Moreover, the latest works focused on the role of many environmental factors (i.e. climate, hydraulic retention time, nutrient load and dominant forms) on the biogeochemical transformations of carbon, N and P. Lorenzo has a good publication record and a large research network.


David Ader, Ph.D.

Assistant Research Professor and Assistant Director, Smith Center for International Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Agriculture, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Tennessee

Country: United States of America

Title: “Rural to Urban Sojourning: Benefits to the Food System in Cambodia” 

Abstract: There is a pressing global need to increase the diversification of agricultural systems in order to improve human nutrition and agricultural resiliency. Agriculture is the traditional mainstay of Cambodia’s economy as the vast majority of its population (~75%) live in rural areas and participate in agriculture. Despite decades of significant economic growth, rural poverty remains a concern, particularly the role of food and nutrition security.  Over half of Cambodian’s are under the age of 30 and this predominantly young, rural population is migrating from rural areas seeking out better opportunities for employment and education.  In general, we are asking, what social, economic and political factors are shaping and re-shaping the lived experience of rural Cambodians and how are they responding to and adapting to these changes?  In particular we are interested in how short-term migration, or sojourning, changes the food system in Cambodia.  This research highlights the need to understand the rapid transformation of Cambodian society, especially the changing rural demographics.

Biography: David Ader works as an interdisciplinary scholar in the fields of sustainable agriculture and rural development. He currently works as the Assistant Director and Research Assistant Professor in the Smith Center for International Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Tennessee. His expertise and research interests include population dynamics of rural communities, sustainable agriculture development for smallholder farmers, and nutrition sensitive agricultural approaches for development. Ader holds a dual PH.D from Penn State University in Rural Sociology and Demography. His current research focuses on rural communities in Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central America.


Esther Parish, Ph.D.

Researcher, Oak Ridge National Laboratory – Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Country: United States of America

Title: “How does Bioenergy Influence Urban-Rural Interactions?”

Co-Authors: Keith Kline,Rebecca Efroymson, Matthew Langholtz, Tim Theiss, Erin Webb

Abstract: Given the pressing need for decarbonization to help mitigate climate change, research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory supported by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) examines ways in which transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable biomass resources may affect communities across the United States. ORNL has worked to define, measure, and visualize indicators to better quantify and assess effects and trade-offs associated with bioenergy. Research continues to analyze the distribution of environmental and socioeconomic costs and benefits among communities to identify opportunities that advance environmental justice, climate justice, and energy justice. This presentation will share results from recent studies on available agricultural and forest biomass resources with examples from the Southeast US wood pellet industry and assessments for economically distressed counties of the Appalachian region.

Biography: Esther S. Parish has been a researcher with ORNL’s Environmental Sciences Division since 2010 and currently leads interdisciplinary research projects for the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (DOE EERE). Her primary research interests include utilizing geographic information science and integrated models and datasets to assess (1) potential synergies and tradeoffs between environmental and socioeconomic indicators of sustainability for renewable energy resources and (2) potential climate change impacts on human populations and water resources. With a Ph.D. in Energy Science & Engineering through the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Graduate Research and Education, an M.S. in Geography from The University of Tennessee, and B.S. in Geology & Geophysics from Yale University, Dr. Parish has expertise in landscape ecology, sustainability science, watershed hydrology, and pollution prevention. Dr. Parish has published over 35 articles in journals including Applied EnergyPNASEcology & SocietyEcological IndicatorsEnvironmental Management, and Computers & Geosciences. She was recently named a 2021 Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Finalist in the category of “Social, Economic, & Policy Innovation.”


Kathryn (Kat) McDearis

Green Heron Compost Services – Knoxville, Tennessee

Country: United States of America

Title: “The Business of Composting: A Science-First Business Model”

Abstract: Businesses are traditionally buyer-focused, meaning companies develop business strategies centered around obtaining more customers and higher profits. While income and profits are inarguably essential to a successful business, focusing on buyers first can lead to practices that contradict sustainability science. For example, “Greenwashing” is when a product is marketed to buyers as “green” or “eco-friendly” but in reality is far from sustainable. In this presentation, we will examine how Green Heron Compost Services approached these issues by using a “science-first” model when starting a business. We will discuss details about the business model, the challenges we faced, and strategies we developed to make the company as sustainable as possible.

Biography: Kathryn (Kat) McDearis is the owner and founder of Green Heron Compost Services, an environmentally-focused company that collects food waste and other organic matter from the community to divert waste away from landfills. The waste is transported to various partner farms and local sites to be turned into compost that is used as soil fertilizer.


Jamie Greig, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications, Institute of Agriculture, University of Tennessee

Country: United States of America

Title: “The Tech Divide in Agriculture: How the Rural-Urban Technology Gap threatens Farm Sustainability”

Abstract: Agricultural Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has become an increasingly essential piece of farm sustainability. Implementation of technology allows for more precise measurements, improves farm management practices, enables automation, and connects farms to a variety of digital services from online marketing to information sharing and analysis. However, access to technology is not equal. Rural areas lag behind urban both in access to connectivity that enables ICT deployment and also the resources, including knowledge, time, and costs, that are required to adopt and integrate these technologies. Large agricultural corporations are increasingly taking advantage of the benefits of ICT deployment in agriculture both to increase profits as well as to achieve sustainability targets. The widening gap between those who are able to integrate ICTs and those who are not threatens the existence of those who are left behind. In order to close the technology gap and reduce the impact on small rural farms we must examine the systems and practices required to improve technology equity in agriculture.

Biography: Originally from Scotland, Jamie Alexander Greig received his PhD in communication and information, focusing on electric cooperatives as a solution to broadband access in rural areas, from the University of Tennessee having already received an MS in communication and information from UTK. Greig’s primary area of focus is information and communications technology (ICT) access, adoption, and utilization in the agricultural sector and rural areas. His studies examine broadband and other communication network access and their impact on precision agriculture, rural communities, as well as the adoption and utilization of digital communication technologies. Greig is a Research Fellow at the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, is Vice Chair of the UTIA Faculty Innovation Council, and has served as the Communications Director for the Law and Policy Division of the Broadcast Education Association


Bernard Engel, Ph.D.

Senior Associate Dean of Agricultural Research and Graduate Education, Professor Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Purdue University – West Lafayette, Indiana

Bernie Engel

Country: United States of America

Title: “Sustainable water-food-energy systems at urban-rural interfaces”

Abstract: Urban-rural co-prosperity is essential for the sustainability of urban and rural areas. In many instances, some of the largest challenges of these communities occur at urban-rural interfaces. In such areas, common challenges with water resources issues including excess runoff and water quality often occur. Hydrologic/water quality models combined with other tools provide opportunities to design sustainable water-food-energy systems at urban-rural interfaces as well as within rural and urban areas. Application of some of these tools focused on addressing water challenges will be explored and their potential use for addressing urban-rural co-prosperity discussed.

Biography: Senior Associate Dean of Agricultural Research and Graduate Education, Professor Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Purdue University. He is recognized as a leading international researcher in hydrologic/water quality modeling and environmental decision support tools. His research and teaching are focused on hydrologic/water quality models, their applications, and supporting technologies such as GIS and remote sensing that leverage the application and utility of these models. He has worked and continues to work with various hydrologic/water quality models including SWAT, L-THIA, APEX, GLEAMS, NAPRA, WEPP, ANSWERS, and AGNPS among others. His research efforts have provided improvements to these and other models as well as used them to address important scientific and policy questions. In his more than 33 years of experience working in these areas, he has published more than 300 peer reviewed journal articles on hydrologic/water quality models and their applications. Recognitions include American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) Outstanding Young Researcher Award, Outstanding Graduate Educator (Purdue University), Food Systems Leadership Institute Fellow, ASABE Fellow, ASABE Gilley Academic Leadership Award, ASABE ADS/Hancor Soil and Water Conservation Engineering Award.


Pao Srean, Ph.D.

Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Processing , National University of Battambang – Battambang

Country: Cambodia

Title: “Beneficial utilization and economic values of wild food plants in northwestern Cambodia“

Abstract: Underexploited vegetable crops or wild food plants (WFP) have high potential to contribute to nutritional and/or medicinal health, generating income and sustaining the environment. Two hundred seventy-five (275) retailers in Battambang and Siem Reap were interviewed, to collect data on wild food plant species availability selling at the markets. Thirty-four (34) plant species were identified as WFP species, including annual and perennial herbs; perennial shrubs, vines and trees. Leave, shoots, stems, rhizomes, corms, flowers and fruits were the part use of the plant for cooked dishes. Most of the part use (92.4%) were collected from wild, 7.6% were reported as cultivated. The plant species are high in vitamin A, C, a good source of minerals, and can be used as traditional medicine. to enhance health and alleviate the ‘hidden hunger’ of micronutrient malnutrition by promoting the production and dietary incorporation of wild food plants rich in minerals and vitamins.

Biography: Pao Srean is a Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Processing at the National University of Battambang, Cambodia. His research has focused on on-farm research in upland and lowland cropping systems in Cambodia. His current work emphasises the importance of reduced tillage, conservation of crop residues, and sustainable intensification and diversification of rice; and strengthening informal seed systems, conserving and promoting neglected and underutilized species, and approaches to sustainable intensification of smallholder farming systems in Cambodia. More information at


Johana Husserl, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of the Andes – Bogotá

Country: Colombia

Title: “Using Wastewater as The Sole Source of Energy in Rural Communities: Some Challenges and Questions That Still Need to Be Addressed”

Abstract: Inadequate sanitation and water contamination are prevalent problems in developing countries. Also, many rural communities living in developing countries lack access to electricity. Anaerobic treatment of waste, including wastewater, can result in methane production, which can later be burned to produce electricity. However, methane yields can be low and maintaining anaerobic treatments in rural communities is somehow challenging. Here we evaluate the use anaerobic wastewater treatments coupled to microalgae bioreactors as a means for producing electricity in rural communities. We present some of the limitations and challenges associated with the use of microalgae as part of the proposed system.

Biography: Johana Husserl is an Environmental Engineer (Tulane University, 2002), with a M.S. in Environmental Engineering (Tulane University, 2003) and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2011). She is an Associate Professor at University of the Andes in Bogota-Colombia, where she started teaching 10 years ago. She teaches classes in Wastewater Treatment, Environmental Chemistry, Chemical and Microbial Risk Assessment, and Soil and Site Remediation. Her research areas include environmental microbiology, quantitative microbial risk assessment, biomaterials, soil and site remediation, and production of microbial products with environmental applications. She has also investigated antibiotic resistance in wastewater and natural water systems. Wastewater treatment is often considered a costly process and right now has a very large carbon footprint. However, Johana´s research has also focused on obtaining bioproducts or energy from wastewater, aiming to reduce the carbon footprint of the process.


Shanshan Li, Ph.D.

Researcher, Institute of Finance and Economics, Central University of Finance and Economics – Beijing

Country: China

Title: “The Spatial Logic of Regional policy on the Development of Special Economic Zones in China”

Abstract: Place-based policy has been pursued by many governments around the world since 1950s. Special economic zones are one of important instrument of place-based policy. They aim at fostering economic growth in a specific area within a larger jurisdiction. In China, spatial economic zones (SEZs) play an important role in promoting economic development and accelerating the process of urbanization, but the perspective of spatial logic is ignored by popular research. This presentation internalizes the goal-setting and development dynamics to divide the development of SEZs into five stages. SEZs as an instrument of spatial policy to break the rigid border of administrative divisions of cities, expanding the urban governance scope and the economic impacts of urban system on rural system.

Biography: Shanshan Li is an assistant researcher in the Institute of Finance and Economics, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing, China. She received a doctoral degree in regional economics from Renmin University of China. She is a distinguished researcher of Finance and Economics Research Base of Beijing Philosophy and Social Sciences, a committee member of International Association of Regional Sciences and Chinese Society of Urban Economics. She has published more than 20 research papers and authored one professional book. She led a project funded by Beijing Social Science Foundation and participated in a major project funded by National Social Science Foundation and more than ten projects of National Natural Science Foundation. She led some planning projects that included local five-year plan for national economic and social development, urban development strategy planning, industry planning. And participated research projects of National Development and Reform Commission, China Research Institute of Environmental Science, and China Urban Planning and Design Research Institute. 


Robert Spajić, PhD, Ag. Eng.     

Professional Associate, Faculty of Agrobiotechnical Sciences, University of Osijek – Osije, Croatia. Adjunct Professor, Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, University of Tennessee, Institute of Agriculture – Knoxville, Tennessee

Country: Croatia

Title: “By-products of Agricultural Industry”

Abstract: Agricultural Industry By-Products become more and more an issue in a modern world of agricultural industry. Majority of the agricultural industry by-products were considered as a dangerous waste through the decades. With an aim to control, managing and use agricultural industry by-products on environmentally acceptable way, there is lot of biotechnical solutions on how to introduce new steps in the mentioned sector and get positive effects in these processes. Significant portion of the “waste materials” from the agricultural industry should be considered as by-products and called raw materials for further positive usage purposes and products; such as energy, organic fertilizer, etc. Different models of agricultural industry by-products management solutions and usage models will be shown through the presentation. How to reduce pressure to environment and turn the problematic materials (such as manure, slaughter house waste, sugar industry waste, brewery waste) into usable raw materials is one of the main considerations today.  

Biography: Dr. Spajić is presently employed at Department for Agricultural Techniques and Renewable Energy Sources under the Faculty of Agrobiotechnical Sciences Osijek. Prior to his employment at the University he was employed as a Director of Swine Production within the Agrokor Company in Croatia. His work within the Agrokor Company was focused on developing large commercial swine production systems in Croatia, including introduction of waste management solutions on a large-scale livestock farm operation, followed by development of biogas plant technical solutions. In period from 2004 – 2007, Dr. Spajić worked for Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI) for four years as an extension agricultural consultant on US Embassy-USAID agricultural development projects in Croatia. From 2000 – 2004, Dr. Spajić was employed on several large-scale dairy and beef operation and led the development of several large-scale dairy operations in Croatia. In period from 2008 – 2009 he was a Fulbright Scholar as a Scientist on Iowa State University, pursuing his doctorate degree in Biotechnical Science and Ag. Engineering, focusing on Waste management, fermentation processes and Biogas plant Engineering. He holds Ph.D. in Biotechnical Science and Agricultural Engineering, from University of J. J. Strossmayer Osijek in Croatia. Mr. Spajić also served as an external adviser to the Ministry of Agriculture of Croatia in process of adjusting Croatian agricultural laws to meet European Union Standards as Croatia prepares to seek membership in the European Union. Mr. Spajic has worked on projects in Croatia, USA, Germany, Finland, Russia, Ukraine, Czech, Serbia and Italy. He is a member of ASABE Association – American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and member of Fulbright Alumni. He is also a member of Croatian Agricultural Society and Croatian Association of Court Entrepreneurs. In more than 20 years of work experience, he published more than 50 scientific papers and conduct numerous public presentation´s focused on livestock and agricultural industry waste management issues. From 2015 Dr. Spajić is a member of Board of Directors at International Research Center for Animal Environment and Welfare in China. Presently he is a Member of European Commission Technical Working Group for IPPC/IED Directive implementation in two sectors – Food Drink and Milk Sector and Intensive Rearing of Pigs and Poultry Sector.


Liem Tran, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Geography, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Tennessee

Country: United States of America

Title: “Determine Ecosystem Health Disparities in the context of urban-rural gradient”

Abstract: Urban regions are concentrations of sociopolitical power and prime architects of ecosystem service demands such as land transformation or serving as consumption hubs of water. At the same time, urban regions are the primary source of various environmental impacts. For instance, infrastructures in urban regions extend well outside metropolitan boundaries and impact ecosystems in surrounding rural areas (e.g., water pollution, biodiversity loss). However, tradeoffs between the supply/demand of ecosystem services and impact on ecosystems and their services in the urban-rural gradient context have rarely been explored systematically. In that context, we utilized a comprehensive model to quantify the roles of anthropogenic stressors on hydrologic alteration and biodiversity in US streams and isolate the impacts stemming from hard infrastructure developments in cities. We will expand the model to calculate the supply and demand of essential provisioning ecosystem services (e.g., food, water, and energy) and key environmental impacts (e.g., water pollution, air pollution) along the urban-rural gradient in Tennessee.

Biography: Tran is an environmental geographer and GIS/geospatial analyst. His primary research interests include integrated regional vulnerability assessment, the use of artificial intelligence (e.g., fuzzy set theory, neural network, and cellular automata) in geographic analysis and modeling.



Dr. Jamie Greig, Dr. Andrea Hicks, Dr. David Ader