Understanding the complex relationships between humans and the natural world is essential for achieving environmental sustainability and improving human well-being, yet many studies are unable to reveal complex interactions and hidden trends. This is the first book to synthesize the findings and approaches of long-term integrated research in a model coupled human and natural system, and to illustrate their applications to regional, national, and global scales. It features a classic long-term interdisciplinary research project in the Wolong Nature Reserve of China, which contains one of the largest wild populations of the world-famous endangered giant pandas. Bringing together a team of contributors from both the natural and social sciences, this book explores how a long-term interdisciplinary and model system approach is essential to uncover the common patterns and mechanisms of coupled systems, to develop ideas and methods for studying and managing other coupled systems, and ultimately to contribute to the development of theories about coupled systems for sustainability. Pandas and People will be essential reading for scholars interested in the interface of the natural and social sciences, including ecologists, conservation biologists, environmental scientists, sustainability scientists, wildlife biologists, forest scientists, sociologists, anthropologists, ecomists, and political scientists. It will also be a valuable reference for policy makers, natural resource managers, and graduate students.
Dr. Jianguo (Jack) Liu is Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability and University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife as well as Director of the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability at Michigan State University (MSU). He is also a guess professor in the Chinese Academy of Sciences. His major research interests include coupled human and natural systems, telecoupling, conservation ecology, and integration of ecology with social sciences and policy for understanding and achieving sustainability. His work has been published in journals such as Science and Nature, and featured in the global news media. Vanessa Hull is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability (CSIS) at Michigan State University. Her research interests include animal behavior and ecology, landscape ecology, and conservation biology. She received her PhD in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University in 2014. Her work has been published in journals such as Biological Conservation, Ecology and Society, and Science, and has been widely featured in the news media. She has also previously co-edited a book Sources, Sinks, and Sustainability (2011, Cambridge University Press). Dr. Wu Yang is an Associate Scientist and Manager of Monitoring & Evaluation at Conservation International, Arlington, Virginia. He is interested in quantifying and understanding the interactions among policy interventions, natural capital, and human well-being. He received a dual PhD in Environmental Science and Policy and Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University in 2013. His work has been published in journals such as Science, PNAS, and Ecological Economics, has been featured by Science magazine as Editors' Choice , has been highlighted by NSF's website Science 360 as Breaking Story , has been selected by Elsevier as the Top 25 Hottest Articles in Ecological Economics, and has been widely covered by international news media. Dr. Andres Vina is an Assistant Professor at the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability (CSIS) at Michigan State University. Dr. Vina's research is mainly focused on the use of data collected by optical sensors operating at both close (e.g., handheld spectroradiometers) and remote (e.g., sensors on aircraft and spacecraft) distances to analyze the spatio-temporal dynamics of vegetation. He received his PhD in Natural Resources from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2004. His work has been widely published in journals such as Ambio, Biological Conservation, Ecological Indicators, Ecological Applications and Remote Sensing of Environment and has been widely featured in the news media. Dr. Xiaodong Chen is an Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and Curriculum for the Environment & Ecology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is interested in studying how human activities affect the natural environment, how human livelihood may be changed due to changes in environmental conditions, what are complex interactions among components in human and natural systems, and how human-environment interactions are influenced by policies. He received a PhD in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University in 2010. His work has been published in journals such as PNAS, Ambio, Conservation Biology, and Ecological Modelling, and has been widely covered by international news media. Dr. Zhiyun Ouyang is Professor and Director of the State Key Laboratory of Regional and Urban Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He studies ecosystem services, ecosystem assessment and ecological planning, biodiversity conservation, and GIS applications in ecology and environmental research. His work has been published in journals such as Science, Nature, and PNAS. He is also a key advisor to the Chinese government who participates in national-level planning on environmental issues such as ecos