Faculty Scholarship on Sustainability
- Brueggeman Center
- Management & Entrepreneurship
- Political Science
Queneau, Herve, & Sen, Amit. (2009). On the persistence of the gender unemployment gap: Evidence from eight OECD countries. Applied Economics Letters, 17(2), 141-5.
We examine the extent of persistence in the gender unemployment gap of eight OECD countries: Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States using data over the period 1965 to 2002. Although we are unable to reject the unit root null hypothesis for all countries with the exception of Finland and Italy, the half-life measure suggests that the extent of persistence is relatively low for all countries.
Publisher's link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13504850701720007
Queneau, Herve, & Sen, Amit. (2009). Empirical evidence regarding gender unemployment gap persistence across countries. Empirical Economics Letters, 8(12), 1137-1145.
We extend the empirical evidence regarding the persistence in the gender unemployment to a group of twenty–three OECD countries based on the ratio of the female unemployment rate to the male unemployment rate. We find that the gender unemployment gap should be characterized as mean stationary or a trend stationary process in eleven countries. In the other twelve countries, the extent of persistence is relatively low as indicated by the corresponding half-life measure.
Queneau, Herve, & Sen, Amit. (2012). On the structure of US unemployment disaggregated by race, ethnicity, and gender. Economics Letters, 117(1), 91-95.
We present empirical evidence regarding the structure of unemployment in the US disaggregated by race, ethnicity, and gender. Popp’s (2008) unit-root test reveals that the dynamics of unemployment for all groups is characterized by the hysteresis hypothesis except for Hispanic males.
Publisher's link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.econlet.2012.04.065
Queneau, Herve, & Sen, Amit. (2009). Regarding the unemployment gap by race and gender in the United States. Economics Bulletin, 29(4): 2749-2737.
We examine the level of persistence in the unemployment gap across both race and gender in the United States. The empirical evidence suggests that all unemployment gaps exhibit low levels of persistence. While the gender unemployment gap has disappeared and stabilized in the post–1980 period, there continues to be a substantial gap between the unemployment rates of blacks and whites.
Open Access Journals' link: http://www.accessecon.com/includes/CountdownloadPDF.aspx?PaperID=EB-09-00499
Queneau, Herve, & Sen, Amit. (2009). Further evidence on the dynamics of unemployment by gender. Economics Bulletin, 29(4), 3162-3154.
We present empirical evidence regarding differences in unemployment dynamics across gender for a group of twenty-three OECD countries. Our results indicate that there are substantial differences in the unemployment persistence for men and women across countries. Further, the female unemployment rates are relatively more persistent compared to the male unemployment rates.
Open Access Journals' link: http://www.accessecon.com/Pubs/EB/2009/Volume29/EB-09-V29-I4-P306.pdf
Queneau, Herve, & Sen, Amit. (2008). Evidence on the dynamics of unemployment by gender. Applied Economics, 40(16), 2099-2108.
We present empirical evidence regarding unemployment dynamics for women and men in eight OECD countries. Unit root tests are used to examine the unemployment dynamics of women and men. Failure to reject the unit root hypothesis is consistent with unemployment hysteresis. Rejection of the unit root hypothesis indicates that unemployment dynamics are best explained by the natural rate of unemployment or the structuralist view. We find evidence of gender differences in unemployment dynamics in Canada, Germany, and the U.S., but not in other countries. While there are some differences in the extent of persistence across gender and across countries, the degree of persistence for both female and male unemployment rates is fairly low in all countries. Our results, therefore, contrast with substantial empirical evidence of high levels of unemployment persistence in European countries.
Queneau, Herve, & Sen, Amit. (2007). Evidence regarding persistence in the gender unemploy-ment gap based on the ratio of female to male unemployment Rate. Economics Bulletin, 5, 1-10.
We examine the level of persistence in the gender unemployment gap in eight OECD countries: Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States. We use a new measure for the gender unemployment gap, namely, the ratio of the female to male unemployment rate. Our empirical evidence shows that the gender unemployment gap is not persistent given that we reject the unit root null hypothesis for all countries in our sample except Australia.
Publisher's link (no full text results for that year): http://www.economicsbulletin.com/
Bertaux, Nancy. (2011, June 17-20). The stationary state vs. the sustainable economy: Smith, Ricardo, Mill and Daley. Paper presented at the History of Economics Society Annual Conference. University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame. IN.
Bertaux, Nancy, Crable, Elaine, & Smythe, Kathleen. (2011, March 23-25). University service learning programs: The case for a partnership approach. Paper presented at the MBAA Annual International Conference, Chicago, IL.
Bertaux, Nancy. (2010, June 28-July1). Reciprocal generosity and economics. Paper presented at the World Congress of the Association for Social Economics, Montreal, Canada.
Bertaux, Nancy. (2010, June 25-28). Adam Smith, selfishness, and self-interest. Paper presented at the History of Economics Society Annual Conference, Syracuse, NY.
Bertaux, Nancy. (2011, October 25). Morality and the economy: Patterns of economic inequality in America. Presentation delivered at the Cincinnati Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice Community Breakfast, Church of our Savior, Cincinnati, OH.
Bertaux, Nancy. (2010, November 4). Patterns of economic inequality in the US: Questions of morality and democracy. Presentation delivered for Occupy Cincinnati, Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton county, Cincinnati, OH.
Bertaux, Nancy. (2010, January 21). A teaching moment: Moral lessons for the recession. Presentation delivered at the Community of the Good Shepherd Catholic Church, Cincinnati, OH.
Bertaux, Nancy, & Coleridge, Greg. (2009, February 9). Economic democracy, economic institutions, and the macro economy. Presentation delivered at Vision of Hope Speaker Series, Gallagher Theater, Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH.
Bertaux, Nancy. (2008, March 6). Is the equality of women possible without economic independence: Perspectives from economic history and the history of economics. Paper presented at the Hanover College Economics Society Meeting, Hanover, IN.
Anderson, Christine, & Bertaux, Nancy. (2012, May). Education, citizenship and African-American community in 19th Century Cincinnati: Issues of social, cultural and human capital. Humanity and Society, 36(2), 145-162.
Publisher's link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0160597612442145
Okunoye, Adekunle, Bertaux, Nancy, Bada, Abiodun O., Crable, Elaine, & Brodzinski, James. (2011). A case study of information technology education and economic development in rural Nigeria. In Susheel Chhabra & Hakikur Rahman (Eds.), Human development and global advancements through information communication technologies: New initiatives (pp. 239-256). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Google Books' link: http://books.google.com/books?isbn=1609604970
Bertaux, Nancy. (2011). Boosting paychecks: The politics of supporting America’s working poor [Book review]. Review of Social Economy, 70(1), 141-145.
Publisher's link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00346764.2010.512526
Bertaux, N., & Okunoye, A. (2009). Rural community and human development through sustainable information technology education: Empirical evidence from Osun State in Nigeria. International Journal of Information Communication Technologies and Human Development, 1(4), 1-15.
Publisher's link: http://www.igi-global.com/article/rural-community-human-development-through/37540 (abstract only)
Bertaux, Nancy, & Okunoye, Adekunle. (2008, February 20-March 1). Transparent governance and efficient management practices in Africa: Could information and communication technology assist? In Proceedings of the 21st Century Management Conference, Wilmington College, Wilmington, OH.
Bertaux, Nancy, Okunoye, Adekunle, & Glenn, H. (2008, April 24-28). The gender-based digital divide in global society: Recent patterns. In Proceedings of the International Academy of Business and Public Administration Disciplines (IABPAD) Conference, Dallas, TX.
Groppe, Elizabeth. (2011). Eating and Drinking. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress
XPLORE Library Catalog's link: . http://xplore.xavier.edu/record=b1675433
Groppe, Elizabeth. (2012, March 26). A climate for change. America, 13-16.
Groppe, Elizabeth. (2010, October). A mom reflects on the Catholic climate covenant. St. Anthony Messenger, 18-22.
Publisher's link: http://americancatholic.org/messenger/Oct2010/default.asp
Pramuk, Christopher. (2013). Hope sings, so beautiful: Graced encounters across the color line. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.
The theme of crossing boundaries and building community is central to the book. More explicitly related to sustainability or a "theology of the earth" is my study of Native spirituality, particularly the story of the Taos Pueblo Indians, in chapter 5, entitled "Silences." The chapter also includes some discussion of Godfried Reggio's Koyaanisqatsi film and "Qatsi" trilogy.
Google Books' link: https://www.google.com/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=isbn:0814682103&num=10
Roberts, James A., & Manolis, Chris. (2012), Cooking up a recipe for self-control: The three ingredients of self-control and its impact on impulse buying. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 20(2), 173-188.
Roberts, James A., Manolis, Chris, & Tanner, Jr., John F. (2008), Interpersonal influence and adolescent materialism and compulsive buying. Social Influence, 3(2), 114-131.
Roberts, James A., Manolis, Chris, & Tanner, Jr., John F. (2006), Adolescent autonomy and the impact of family structure on materialism and compulsive buying, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 14(4), 301-314.
Roberts, James A., Tanner, Jr., John F. & Manolis, Chris (2005), Materialism and the family structure-stress relation. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 15(2), 183-190.
Roberts, James A., Manolis, Chris, & Tanner, Jr., John F. (2003). Family structure, materialism, and compulsive buying: A reinquiry and extension. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 31(3), 300-311.
Mullinax, Maureen. (2012). Resistance through community-based arts. In Stephen L. Fisher and Barbara Ellen Smith (Eds.), Transforming places: Lessons from Appalachia. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.
Part of a collection of essays on grassroots activism in central Appalachia, this chapter documents an ongoing community-based arts process in Harlan County, Kentucky, a persistently poor coalfield county with a growing prescription drug abuse problem. The multidimensional arts project was implemented in 2000 in order to engage residents in civic dialogue about the past, present and future of their rural communities. Focusing on the engagement strategies of the cultural workers who are leading the effort, the chapter outlines specific lessons learned from this endeavor and argues for the value of the arts in shaping sustainable communities.
End, Christian, & Buxton, Katherine E. (2008). Increasing professors’ recycling behavior: The effects of central and peripheral routes of persuasion. Paper presented at the 2008 National Council on Undergraduate Research Conference, Salisbury State University, Salisbury, MD.
Management & Entrepreneurship
Assudani, R., Chinta, R., Manolis, C. & Burns, D. (2011), The effect of pedagogy on students’ perceptions of the importance of ethics and social responsibility in business firms. Ethics & Behavior, 21(2), 103-117.
Publisher's link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10508422.2011.551467
Luce, B., & Assudani, R. Engaging with the bottom of pyramid: An organizational learning approach. (ready manuscript)
Luce, B. Taking a group of students to India. The focus of this study trip is on ‘innovation – social and corporate innovation’. As a part of this, we will be visiting and learning about social entrepreneurship as also corporate entrepreneurship.
Luce, B. Am serving on the Project Advisory Board of Design Impact (a non-profit organization) for a social innovation project (ARTI smokeless cooktop project currently live in India).
Luce, R. (2010). Developing entrepreneurial activity systems at the bottom of the pyramid. International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 5(1), 4-16.
A relatively new area of discussion within the strategic entrepreneurship domain is a creation of novel strategies by established firms to meet the needs of the poor at the bottom of the world’s economic pyramid. Scholars in this area advocate that multinational companies take advantage of profit making opportunities in serving the four billion people who are the world’s poorest consumers. To do so effectively, multinationals need to build new activity systems that support the novel strategies required to function in a setting, vastly different from their typical markets. Bottom of the pyramid (BOP) scholars strongly suggest companies involve multiple parties familiar with the BOP environment in this process. In this paper, I describe how companies can go about developing entrepreneurial activity systems that incorporate sources of knowledge and information from the bottoms of various pyramid stakeholders in a way that facilitates the design and execution of opportunistic strategies.
Luce, R. (2009). Stakeholder status at the bottom of the pyramid. International Journal of Global Management Studies Quarterly, 1(1), 60-68.
Many are encouraging a market-based approach to meeting the needs of people who are at the "bottom of the pyramid" economically. Under this philosophy, companies take the lead in developing profit-based strategies that serve the unmet needs of the world's poor. Critics of the market-based approach have raised concerns regarding the potential for exploitation of a vulnerable group of stakeholders, bottom of the pyramid consumers. In this paper, the researcher uses stakeholder frameworks to explain why areas of vulnerability exist as well as to suggest means of strengthening the position of consumer-stakeholders at the bottom of the pyramid.
Buchanan, James. (2011). The next horizon in interreligious dialogue: Engaging the economists. In C. Cornille & G. Willis (Eds.), The world market and interreligious dialogue. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock.
OhioLINK Library Catalog's link: http://olc1.ohiolink.edu:80/record=b30234827~S0
Fairfield, John. (2002). A populism for the cities: Henry George, John Dewey, and the city planning movement. Urban Design Studies Journal, 8, 19-27.
Publisher's link: http://www.rudi.net/books/9879 (abstract only)
Fairfield, John. (2001). The park in the city: Baseball landscapes civically considered. Material History (Culture) Review, 54 (Fall), 21-39.
Publisher's link: http://journals.hil.unb.ca/index.php/MCR/article/view/17898
Fairfield, J., & Smythe, K. (2012). Education for courage and engagement in an era of crises. Paper presented at the 20012 International Institute for SoTL Scholars and Mentors, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA.
Fairfield, John. (2012, April). Urban ecologies, urban economies: Urban environmental history and the future of the city. Paper presented at Urban Affairs Association National Conference, Pittsburgh, PA.
Fairfield, John. (2012, October). Ecology’s civic aspirations: Can we write an ecological narrative for the city? Paper presented at the Urban History Association National Conference, New York City, NY.
Smythe, Kathleen R. Why We Need African History: A Continent’s Past and Our Future, a book manuscript under revision for Indiana University Press.
This book examines long-standing traditions and ideas in African history as sources of wisdom and creativity for Westerners caught in practices, ideas, and institutions that are not sustainable (in social, economic, or ecological terms).
Smythe, Kathleen R. (2012). Education for homecoming: Subsistence labor and the household economy. Paper presented at the Greening of Campus (GOC) IX Conference, Ball State University, Muncie, IN.
Personal and professional experience over the last decade and a half suggest that we, as college educators, need to educate for the reality of the end of cheap oil and significant climate destabilization and to do so in a way that communicates vision and hope. We need to facilitate a sustainability journey for our students, one that lifts up our human requirement to care for our basic needs and downplays our unquestioning faith in progress and technology. As an historian, the past is essential to this task, allowing us to learn from the choices those behind us have made and to reclaim what we have lost and can now see clearly has been a loss to our humanity. Primary among these losses is our abandonment of subsistence labor. I call this approach to sustainability education, education for homecoming, as it promotes subsistence labor that intrinsically roots us in household and place in ways that our current education does not.
Smythe, Kathleen R. (Forthcoming). African economies in African history: A counter narrative to modernization and globalization. In forthcoming book, Modernity and Sustainability.
This work investigates economic actions and ideas, such as reciprocity and the informal economy, that undergird much of human activity across the globe and receive little attention in the United States, but are particularly noticeable and important still in many African societies. The study of African economies lays bare the narrow ideological constraints of contemporary economics and enriches and complicates our understanding of the roles of rational and social economic behavior.
Smythe, Kathleen R. (Forthcoming). An historian’s critique of the sustainability triangle. Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research (one of the themes for this year is Sustainabilities)
This paper examines the traditional sustainability triangle—economy, environment and society—from an historical perspective. The sustainability triangle and its attendant well-used concept of sustainable development arose during the height of neoliberal economic thought when the assumption was that if societies got the economics right that social equity, at least, if not environmental protection, would follow. Only by subsuming economics back into society will we work out a sustainable relationship to the environment. Thus, in its current design, the sustainability triangle will not help us achieve true sustainability. Rather, a set of nested circles is proposed (derived from the economic work of Herman Daly and ecological thinking of Daniel Botkin) that includes human nature, civilization, and nature. A focus on human societies more broadly allows us to uncouple the promotion of sustainability from pursuing often narrowly-defined sustainable development and to see instead humans and human societies as makers of meaning in both natural and social realms.
Publisher's link: http://www.cultureunbound.ep.liu.se/index.html (2011 the most recent volume)
Smythe, Kathleen R. (Forthcoming). Failed state or inspiration?: The case of Somaliland. In T. Falola & D. Sanchez (Eds.), African culture and global politics. New York City, NY: Routledge.
What we think we know about Somalia—piracy and lack of governance, for example --bears little resemblance to the experience of half the Somali population, in what is now Somaliland. Instead, Somaliland boasts a modern government that employs traditional social and political systems, economic development, and democracy and stability in a volatile region. For these reasons, it illustrates a successful example of regional development that addresses its citizens’ basic needs and promotes their participation rather than more typical Western-oriented state development. Using secondary sources, this chapter argues that Western nations have much to learn from the successful Somaliland experience.
Smythe, Kathleen R. (2013). Why we need Africa. In B. Lundy & S. Negash (Eds.), Teaching Africa: A guide for the 21st Century classroom, eds. Brandon Lundy and Solomon Negash. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
This chapter examines long-standing traditions and ideas in African history, such as human evolution and globalization, as sources of wisdom and creativity for Westerners caught in practices, ideas, and institutions that are not sustainable (in social, economic, or ecological terms).
Bertaux, Nancy E., Smythe, Kathleen R., & Crable, Elaine. (2012). Transformative community service learning: Beyond the ‘poor,’ the ‘rich,’ and the helping dynamic. Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice, 12(2): 34-43.
Service-learning in many universities has focused on student learning through “service” to the “poor.” In both domestic and international contexts, many scholars and practitioners of community service learning are redefining what this means to both students and communities, including considering power dynamics between universities and community organizations and focusing more on a partnership relationship than a hierarchical, charity model. This article considers service-learning programs in the context of the ‘helping dynamic;’ and discusses the case for learning about citizenship through international experiences.
Smythe, Kathleen R. (2010). Faculty air travel and climate change. Sustainability: The Journal of Record, 3(5), 257-258.
An examination of the assumption that institutions of higher education must continue to support air travel by faculty, staff and students in light of both environmental and social sustainability.
Publisher's link: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/SUS.2010.9752 (pay-to-view)
Smythe, Kathleen R. (November 2009). The dangers of teaching about globalization. Globalization, 8(1),
That globalization courses are on the rise while Africana Studies programs face numerous challenges at North American colleges and universities is not a coincidence. Yet, the theoretical foundations of Africana studies offer a much more promising foundation for analyzing our present and creating a better future, grounded as they clearly are in interdisciplinary. Thus, I will argue that globalization, as it is commonly conceived in the United States, even in the most interdisciplinary courses or readers, is still handicapped by its predominantly economic foundation and, that its rise as a subject on college campuses is coincident with its triumph globally.
Publisher's link: http://globalization.icaap.org
Malik, Anas. Affiliated Faculty Member in the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis. Indiana University, Bloomington.
The workshop is a globally-recognized center for the study of policy with regard to institutional analysis and sustainable development. Elinor Ostrom was the past president of the American Political Science Association, and became the first women to win the Nobel Prize in Economics. The workshop’s focus is onpolycentric governance, meaning situations where rules and management emerge from multiple arenas.
Malik, Anas. (2008). Interfaith liberative collective action across the Muslim Christian divide. In M. Sproule-Jones, F. Sabetti, & B. Allen (Eds.), The struggle to constitute and sustain productive orders: Vicent Ostrom’s quest to understand human affairs (pp. 65-84). Lanham, MD: Lexington.
This book chapter uses game theory to explore challenges to collective action between Muslims and Christians. Ecological challenges frequently involve the need to manage and police resource use to prevent overexploitation. These classic sustainability situations are well-represented as collection action problems. Considering the salience of religious affiliation for both identity and ethical principle, this work models diverse theoretical possibilities, and suggests that they require distinct solutions.
Malik, Anas. (2011). Political Survival in Pakistan: Beyond Ideology. New York City, NY: Routledge.
This book considers the problem of poor governance and low supply of public goods, including aspects such as resource management. It extends the political survival model to consider weak states, and develops the theory further through a case study of Pakistan. While it does not expressly address sustainability, the general model provides a basis for understanding shortfalls in policy-making on development in general.
XPLORE Library Catalog's link: http://xplore.xu.edu/record=b1653800~S0
Google Books' link: http://books.google.com/books?id=UAFKbrSPwf8C&lpg=PP1&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false
Malik, Anas. (Forthcoming). Reconciliation between Muslims and Christians: Collective action, norm entrepreneurship, and “A Common Word Between Us”. Journal of Religious Ethics.
This article takes some game theory models for challenges to collective action between Muslims and Christians, and considers the impact of “A Common Word Between Us”, a prominent initiative in interreligious collaboration in our time. The article assesses the initiative as “norm entrepreneurship”: an attempt at ethical innovation that seeks to reset Muslim-Christian relations and thereby better address common challenges, such as the danger of war and ecological catastrophe.
Malik, Anas. (Forthcoming). Polycentricity and Political Islam: Constitutional Development in Pakistan.
This book-length work considers the potential for polycentric governance in an Islamic polity, drawing on the "Bloomington school" of institutional analysis (Elinor and Vincent Ostrom's work on polycentric approaches, which emphasize sustainable development). Given its status as the largest Muslim majority country when it was created, and its explicitly Islamic orientation, Pakistan’s experience can inform other Muslim-majority developing countries. Pakistan’s constitutional development has seen both polycentric and monocentric impulses. Its development arguably depends on finding and reinforcing appropriate shared understandings about diverse structures for governance that exist in the country.
Blair, B. C., Letourneau, D.K., Bothwell, S.G., & Hayes, G.F. (2010). Disturbance, resources and exotic plant invasion: Gap size effects in a redwood forest. Madroño 57(1), 11-19.
Abstract: Exotic plant invasions are present in most terrestrial ecosystems, however the mechanisms that allow exotics to invade are largely unknown. One recent hypothesis predicts that fluctuations in resource availability promote invasive species colonization by allowing propagules already present in an area a chance to successfully compete for unused resources. We investigated this idea by conducting a field experiment in a selectively logged redwood forest in which logging gaps ca. 10 years old of three sizes (small, medium and large) were used as a surrogate for resource availability.
Publisher's DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3120/0024-9637-57.1.11
Publisher's link: http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.3120/0024-9637-57.1.11
Blair, B. C., & Stowasse, A. (2009). Impact of Lonicera maackii on decomposition rates of native leaf litter in a southwestern Ohio woodland. Ohio Journal of Science 109(3), 43-47.
Abstract: The potential for invasive non-native plant species to alter forest ecosystem dynamics is an increasing concern among ecologists. However, while it is clear that invasives have a detrimental impact on native plant species, less is known about how the host habitat is altered to give them an advantage. One hypothesis suggests nutrient dynamics at and below the soil surface may be critical. This study investigated the differences in leaf litter decomposition between Lonicera maackii (an invasive shrub) and two native woody species (A. saccharum and Q. rubra). We evaluated mass loss rates from each of the species examined as well as two-species combinations of litter (6 treatment combinations) in L. maackii invaded and uninvaded areas of urban woodland in Cincinnati, OH. We found that L. maackii decomposed significantly faster than the two native species (e.g., 21 times faster than Q. rubra). Overall, there was a trend of faster decomposition in plots located in the invaded areas though this was statistically significant in only 2 of the 6 species combinations. The impact the observed differences in decomposition rates may have on nutrient dynamics and the advantages of accelerated nutrient turnover to L. maackii is discussed.
Publisher's (OSU) link: http://kb.osu.edu/dspace/handle/1811/52617 (open access)
Blair, B. C., & Perfecto, I. (2008). Root proliferation and nutrient limitations in a Nicaraguan rain forest. Carribbean Journal of Science, 44(1), 36-42.
Abstract: Knowledge of plant nutrient limitations within natural and agricultural ecosystems is important for a full understanding of the ecology of plant populations and communities. While broad generalizations have been made for wet tropical forests there are few studies that directly address the question of nutrient limitations. The lack of research, in part, is due to the time and expense of traditional long-term fertilization experiments that examine ecosystem productivity under different nutrient regimes. To identify nutrient limitations within a lowland tropical rainforest we utilized an alternative method, the root ingrowth- core technique, which uses nutrient enriched substrates implanted into the forest soil. Over time root growth into the enriched substrates is greatest in those containing limiting nutrients. In addition, we analyzed intact soil cores from the forest floor for nutrients and root length density to see if natural nutrient variations were sufficient to elicit changes in root proliferation. We found that root ingrowth cores as well as soil cores showed greater root length in cores richer in phosphorus and nitrogen. Comparisons between root ingrowth core treatments revealed no differences in root width. However, overall root width was greater in the ingrowth cores than in the forest soil. While most authors suggest that phosphorus and nutrient cations (e.g., K, Mg, and Ca) tend to be limiting in lowland tropical forests, our study suggests that both phosphorus and nitrogen but not potassium are in limited supply within the forest studied.
Publisher's link: http://caribjsci.org/Mar08/44_36-42.pdf (open access)
Blair, B. C. (2005). Fire effects on the spatial patterns of soil resources in a Nicaraguan wet tropical forest. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 21(4), 435-444.
Abstract: Natural wildfires are becoming increasingly frequent in wet tropical forests. This trend follows that of anthropogenic disturbances, which are now acute and widespread. Wildfires pose a potentially serious threat to tropical forests. However, little is known about the impact of fire on belowground resources in these forest ecosystems. This study investigated the influence of wildfires on the distribution and magnitude of soil resources on two sets of 50 x 50 m burned and unburned plots in a Nicaraguan rainforest recently damaged by wildfire. I collected samples at 5-m intervals throughout each plot as well as subsamples at 50 cm intervals. Geostatistical techniques as well as univariate statistics were used to quantify the spatial autocorrelation, variability, relationship and magnitude of selected nutrients (N-P-K), carbon, standing leaf litter, and leaf area index. Most variability in this forest was spatially dependent at a scale of 30 m or less. Burning altered soil heterogeneity by decreasing the range over which soil variables were autocorrelated. While available P was elevated and K remained constant in the burned plots, total N and C did not display a consistent pattern. The difference in observed patterns between the two sites suggests that differences in fire intensity or site characteristics influenced the direction of response to burning. Leaf litter and leaf area index measurements did not correlate with measured soil nutrients. Observed changes in the burned forest were likely a result of both the intensity of burning and change in vegetative cover between the time of the wildfires and soil sampling.
Blair. B.C., & Letourneau, D. (2004, August). Bottom-up effects on redwood understory vegetation: The fluctuating resource hypothesis and invasion. Oral presentation delivered at the Ecological Society of America Annual Conference, Portland, OR.
Abstract: Redwood forests are California's most unique and majestic natural habitats. They are also severely light-limited communities dominated by native species. Using logging gaps created between 10 and 15 years ago, we tested the fluctuating resource hypothesis of invasion, which predicts that a pulse of higher resource availability can trigger the establishment and spread of exotic plants. We censused understory plants in 16 logging gaps of different sizes, and sampled cover of each species. The relative level of light availability in each gap was measured as 100% minus the % of canopy cover (spherical densiometer readings). As light availability increased, so did the richness and cover of exotic plants in the redwood forest understory gaps. Although resource enrichment shortly after the removal of single stems or clusters of trees probably included soil nutrients and water also, these factors did not vary significantly in our study. A positive and direct relationship between gap size and exotic plant species establishment and spread supports the fluctuating resource hypothesis, and suggests that the mosaic of gaps caused by selective logging events can disrupt native plant communities.
Jules, E. S., Dietsch, T. V., Bernier, A. B., Nickerson, V., Christie, P. J., Blair, B. C., Baraloto, C., Paoli, G. D., & Ferguson, B. G. (2002). Toward a more effective conservation biology including social equity in the formulation of scientific questions and management options. Theomai, (6, second semester), 1-11.
Abstract: The goal of conservation biology is to provide the knowledge and tools needed to maintain biological systems, including taxonomic and ecological systems at a multitude of scales (Western1989). Accordingly, conservation biologists have begun to establish methods aimed at achieving this goal. It is now, at this early stage in the field's development, that we have the greatest opportunity to examine, debate, and modify our methods to serve our purpose most effectively. Thus, we offer a critical analysis of conservation biology with the purpose of identifying problems inherent in the current operational definition of conservation biology and to propose a prescription for the further development of the discipline.
Publisher's link: http://revista-theomai.unq.edu.ar/numero6/artomdietsch6.htm
Blair, B. C. (1998). The Alley Farming Index: Preliminary steps to a more realistic model. Agroforestry Systems, 40(1), 19-27.
Abstract: This paper presents the Alley Farming Index (AFI), a modification of the Replacement Value of the Intercrop (RVI) Index. The RVI index is used to assist in determining the ecological and economic benefits of a polyculture system and is potentially useful in intercropping situations where only annual crops are utilized. Alley farming is a modification of the alley cropping system where food crops are planted in between, regularly pruned, widely spaced trees. Unlike the RVI index the modified equation, presented here, accommodates alley farming where perennials and the amount of tree prunings used as green manure are important parameters. The AFI is presented in two forms, one that assumes a linear relationship between the quantity of tree prunings applied as green manure and annual crop yield, and a second more generalized form which accommodates other relationships between green manure application and crop yield (e.g., logarithmic or parabolic). Although designed specifically for alley farming the modified index can also accommodate alley cropping systems.
Publisher's link: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A%3A1006003521697