By 2050, more than 2/3rds of the earth’s population will live in urban areas, and population growth will add 2.5 billion people to urban centers. We’re in a time of rapid urbanization and much of how we do so sustainably will depend on how well we employ development practices that are protective of soil and water quality. Doing this will require engagement in research and extension activities that discover and promote science-based best management practices for urban landscapes.
My research investigates how landscape management practices at site and neighborhood scales influence the storage, transport, and fate of constituents that may lead to water quality degradation. I study the flux and storage of nutrients in managed urban landscapes, and the linkages between landscape management practices and urban soil and water quality.
Much of my work is driven by the hypothesis that human decisions in urban land management can influence the accumulation and turnover of ecologically important elements (C, N, and P) in urban soils, and that this in turn is one regulating influence on land-water exchanges of these elements. In basic research endeavors, this involves elucidating mechanisms of nutrient cycling under conditions of ecological disturbance. In applied research, this means developing and testing urban best management practices such as approaches for maintaining soil organic matter, reducing stormwater flows, and using nutrients efficiently.