Kimberly A. Nicholas

Kimberly A. Nicholas
Lund University | LU · Centre for Sustainability Studies

PhD in Environment and Resources, Stanford University, 2009

About

68
Publications
59,118
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Introduction
In my research, I study the connections between people, land, and climate, especially how to manage land and natural resources to both support a good life for everyone alive today, and leave a living planet for future generations. In particular, my research focuses on sustainable farming systems, using nature-based solutions to benefit both people and ecosystems, and linking research with policy and practice to support achieving a society with zero greenhouse gas emissions, which I hope to live to see. I'm not very active on Research Gate; please contact me on Twitter (@KA_Nicholas) or through my webpage kimnicholas.com. Thanks!

Publications

Publications (68)
Article
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The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the largest budget item in the European Union, but varied data reporting hampers holistic analysis. Here we have assembled the first dataset to our knowledge to report individual CAP payments by standardized CAP funding measures and geolocation. We created this dataset by translating, geolocating to the count...
Article
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In recent years, Large Scale Land Acquisitions (LSLA), direct land tenure changes have been gaining momentum in developing countries. In this study, we evaluate the potential extent to which agricultural land deals in Africa are able to address the host countries’ food security needs, a commonly cited motivation for their establishment. First, we d...
Article
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The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the guiding policy for agriculture and the largest single budget item in the European Union (EU). Agriculture is essential to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but the CAP's contribution to do so is uncertain. We analyzed the distribution of €59.4 billion of 2015 CAP payments and show that curren...
Article
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Non-technical summary Agriculture provides many benefits to people, such as producing food and creating jobs in rural areas, but it can also have negative impacts on the environment. We analysed existing monitoring indicators for the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to evaluate whether the CAP is effectively achieving multiple soci...
Article
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With climate change, coastal areas are faced with unprecedented sea level rise and flooding, raising questions as to how societies will choose to adapt. One option is to strengthen existing sea walls to maintain current land uses; however, scientists, policy-makers and conservationists increasingly see the benefits of managed realignment, which is...
Article
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Sociocultural valuation (SCV) of ecosystem services (ES) discloses the principles, importance or preferences expressed by people towards nature. Although ES research has increasingly addressed sociocultural values in past years, little effort has been made to systematically review the components of sociocultural valuation applications for different...
Article
Full text: https://rdcu.be/bVy8H | https://www.nature.com/articles/s41893-019-0412-1 | doi: 10.1038/s41893-019-0412-1 | Regional and global assessments periodically update what we know, and highlight what remains to be known, about the linkages between people and nature that both define and depend upon the state of the environment. To guide resear...
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Despite an overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change poses severe risks to human and natural systems, many young Canadian adults do not view it as a major issue. We analyzed secondary science curricula in each province for their coverage of climate change according to six core topics: physical climate mechanisms ("It's climate"), observ...
Article
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Large-scale land acquisitions (LSLA) in resource-rich countries came to global attention after the food and financial crises of 2008. Previous research has assessed the magnitude of these land investments in terms of land areas acquired. In this study, we analyze the trends in the evolution of LSLA by framing the latter as virtual land trade networ...
Article
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The ecosystem services approach can inform decision-making by accounting for both short-and long-term benefits from different land use options. Here we used the InVEST toolkit to quantify and map key ecosystem services at the largest publicly-owned agro-silvo-pastoral farmstead in Portugal-a site representative for the montado landscape. We analyze...
Article
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Ecosystem services inherently involve people, whose values help define the benefits of nature's services. It is thus important for researchers to involve stakeholders in ecosystem services research. However, a simple and practicable framework to guide such engagement, and in particular to help researchers anticipate and consider key issues and chal...
Article
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Agriculture is widely recognized as critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but researchers, policymakers, and practitioners have multiple, often conflicting yet poorly documented priorities on how agriculture could or should support achieving the SDGs. Here, we assess consensus and divergence in priorities for agricultural...
Article
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Both research and policy recognize land systems as fundamental to human life and activities. However, these two perspectives approach land from different ends and it can be difficult to see how studied variables contribute to broader policy goals. In this paper, we argue that there is a need to better select variables to study land systems as socia...
Article
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Agriculture plays a crucial role in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, with organic farming being one important potential contributor to environmental, economic, and social sustainability. Despite a national goal of 20% organic agriculture, currently only 6.2% of Germany’s farmland is organic, and conversion rates are slowing down. However,...
Article
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Interventions that promote pro-environmental behaviours are increasingly necessary in reducing use of high-emissions goods and services to meet international climate change targets. Here we assess the greenhouse gas emissions reductions associated with behavioural interventions in three high-emitting domains (personal vehicle use, meat consumption,...
Article
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Non-technical summary Under the Paris Agreement, nations have committed to preventing dangerous global warming. Scenarios for achieving net-zero emissions in the second half of this century depend on land (forests and bioenergy) to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Modelled levels of land-based mitigation could reduce the availability of productiv...
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In their comment piece, Laycock and Lam (Environ. Res. Lett. 13 068001) focused on the importance for reducing emissions of actions beyond individual choices and overconsumption, and raise the issue of family planning as a human right. Here we respond that both individual and collective actions, in private and professional life, are important to re...
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In their comment piece, van Basshuysen and Brandstedt raise three main issues: first, whether population at the global scale, or individual family planning decisions, are relevant for climate change mitigation; second, they offer useful critiques of the methodologies to attribute greenhouse gas emissions for the choice to have a child; and third, t...
Article
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Current anthropogenic climate change is the result of greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere, which records the aggregation of billions of individual decisions. Here we consider a broad range of individual lifestyle choices and calculate their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developed countries, based on 148 scenarios from 39...
Article
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The objective of this paper is to recognize and categorize the various ways that ecosystem services researchers perceive the concept and purpose of ecosystem services (ES). To do so, we employed the discourse analysis approach of Q methodology, where 33 researchers ranked 39 statements on ES derived from the literature. Factor analysis of the Q sor...
Article
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Understanding and managing coupled human and natural systems (CHANS) is a central challenge of the 21st century, but more focus is needed to pursue the most important questions within this vast field given limited research capacity and funding. We present 40 important questions for CHANS research, identified through a two-part crowdsourcing exercis...
Article
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Vineyards shape important economic, cultural, and ecological systems in many temperate biomes. Like other agricultural systems, they can be multifunctional landscapes that not only produce grapes, but also for example serve as wildlife habitat, sequester carbon, and are places of rich traditions. However, research and management practices often foc...
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Ensuring sustainable consumption and production is one of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainable consumption can be supported through regulatory processes. Voluntary private regulatory schemes claiming to contribute to sustainability are a rapidly growing form of regulation. We study one such voluntary sustainability scheme...
Technical Report
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Here we share what we have learned from working with stakeholders to elicit demand for ecosystem services, drawn from experience in seven of the OPERAs Exemplar case studies. We have developed an eight-step framework for identifying and working with stakeholders, identifying and eliciting ecosystem services that stakeholders value, and analyzing an...
Article
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Increased production and consumption of local food may reduce the negative environmental, social, and economic impacts of industrialized and globalized food production. Here we examined potential barriers to increasing production and consumption of food produced in Iceland. First, we developed a new framework to address the behaviors of production...
Article
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The scale, rate, and intensity of humans' environmental impact has engendered broad discussion about how to find plausible pathways of development that hold the most promise for fostering a better future in the Anthropocene. However, the dominance of dystopian visions of irreversible environmental degradation and societal collapse, along with overl...
Article
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http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/09/21/1524741113.full In the last decade, more than 22 million ha of land have been contracted to large-scale land acquisitions in Africa, leading to increased pressures, competition, and conflicts over freshwater resources. Currently, 3% of contracted land is in production, for which we model site-specific w...
Article
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For programs that aim to promote forest conservation and poverty alleviation, such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), the participation of indigenous communities is essential to meet program goals. Using Ostrom's theory of collective action for common pool resource management, we evaluated the institutions gove...
Article
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Vineyard landscapes provide cultural ecosystem services (CES), which have been little studied in previous ecosystem services research. To fill this gap, we assess perspectives of wine producers and residents regarding CES provided by vineyards in two wine regions: Southeast England, an emerging wine area, and the counties of Sonoma and Napa, Califo...
Technical Report
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The aim of this report is to illustrate by means of a series of case studies the implementation of mapping and assessment of forest ecosystem services in different contexts and geographical levels. Methodological aspects, data issues, approaches, limitations, gaps and further steps for improvement are analysed for providing good practices and decis...
Article
This paper explores how meta-studies can support the development of process-based land change models (LCMs) that can be applied across locations and scales. We describe a multi-step framework for model development and provide descriptions and examples of how meta-studies can be used in each step. We conclude that meta-studies best support the conce...
Poster
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OPERA’s is a European research project (FP7) which aims to bridge the gap between ecosystem science and practice. The project is focused on ecosystem services (ES) and natural capital (NC) science and on enabling stakeholders to apply these concepts in practice. Profiting from existing databases assembled in the frame of research and monitoring act...
Article
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Understanding farmer behaviour is needed for local agricultural systems to produce food sustainably while facing multiple pressures. We synthesize existing literature to identify three fundamental questions that correspond to three distinct areas of knowledge necessary to understand farmer behaviour: 1) decision- making model; 2) cross-scale and cr...
Article
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Downscaled climate model projections from phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) were used to force a dynamic vegetation agricultural model (Agro-IBIS) and simulate yield responses to historical climate and two future emissions scenarios for maize in the U.S. Midwest and wheat in southeastern Australia. In addition to mean cha...
Article
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Winegrowers are trying to preserve the flavor of your favorite reds and whites as climate change alters the compounds in grapes
Book
Full-text available
The aim of this report is to illustrate by means of a series of case studies the implementation of mapping and assessment of forest ecosystem services in different contexts and geographical levels. Methodological aspects, data issues, approaches, limitations, gaps and further steps for improvement are analysed for providing good practices and decis...
Article
Full-text available
Global land acquisitions, often dubbed 'land grabbing' are increasingly becoming drivers of land change. We use the tools of network science to describe the connectivity of the global acquisition system. We find that 126 countries participate in this form of global land trade. Importers are concentrated in the Global North, the emerging economies o...
Article
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An age-old conflict around a seemingly simple question has resurfaced: why do we conserve nature? Contention around this issue has come and gone many times, but in the past several years we believe that it has reappeared as an increasingly acrimonious debate between, in essence, those who argue that nature should be protected for its own sake (intr...
Article
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Sustainability degree programs in higher education have proliferated with the emergence of sustainability as a recognized academic field. This study evaluated the curricula of English-language programs granting degrees in sustainability by analyzing 27 bachelor’s and 27 master’s sustainability programs based on their (1) curricular structure, in te...
Article
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Critics suggest that Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) may not generate improvements in well-being for participating stakeholders, and may in fact undermine indigenous rights. To ensure positive social benefits from REDD+ projects, the United Nations REDD Programme has proposed core safeguards, including local sta...
Article
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We examine the potential role of perennial woody food-producing species (“food trees”) in cities in the context of urban sustainable development and propose a multifunctional approach that combines elements of urban agriculture, urban forestry, and agroforestry into what we call “urban food forestry” (UFF). We used four approaches at different scal...
Article
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Meeting the demand for food, energy, and water as world population increases is a major goal for the food systems of the future. These future challenges,which are complex, multiscalar, and cross-sectoral in nature, require a food systems approach that recognizes the socio-ecological and socio-technical dimensions of food (Ericksen, 2008; Ingram, 20...
Article
With some of the highest biodiversity on the planet, the Mediterranean Biome is experiencing a conservation crisis driven by high human population density, development, and habitat fragmentation. While protected areas safeguard some critical habitat, economic realities require conservation efforts in humandominated landscapes to maintain biodiversi...
Conference Paper
Background/Question/Methods Local and global assessments often address similar issues, but come to different conclusions that cannot inform one another. To explore this phenomenon, and create frameworks to link these disparate approaches and inform management decision-making, I undertook both local and global analyses of two pressing issues: land-...
Presentation
Sustainability science is growing as a field in both scholarship and education, with an increasing number of undergraduate and graduate institutions offering programs and degrees in Sustainability Science. Although a number of recent papers posit what the key competencies of a sustainability degree program should be, there has not yet been a compre...
Article
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We describe factors to consider when establishing collaborative research projects with agricultural growers, issues that can arise in establishing these relationships, and key steps that researchers can take to improve collaborations and increase the likelihood of project success. We conclude that the most important features of successful collabora...
Article
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Scientific integrity and consensus rely on the peer review process, a defining feature of scientific discourse that subjects the literature forming the foundation of credible knowledge in a scientific field to rigorous scrutiny. However, there is surprisingly little training in graduate school on how to develop this essential skill [Zimmerman et al...
Article
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Working across knowledge-based research programmes, rather than institutional structures, should be central to interdisciplinary research. In this paper, a novel framework is proposed to facilitate interdisciplinary research, with the goals of promoting communication, understanding and collaborative work. Three core elements need to be addressed to...
Article
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We investigated carbon cycling and ecosystem characteristics among two prairie restoration treatments established in 1987 and adjacent cropland, all part of the Conservation Reserve Program in southwestern Wisconsin, USA. We hypothesized that different plant functional groups (cool-season C3 vs. warm-season C4 grasses) between the two prairie resto...
Article
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We took an interdisciplinary approach to examine the climate sensitivity and adaptive capacity of both the ecological and social systems of winegrowing. In a three-year study, we used field, laboratory, modeling, and anthropological approaches to examine the vulnerability of the wine industry to climate change. We developed models of winegrape yiel...
Article
In the wine industry of California’s Napa Valley, there is great community interest in using legacy and modern observations of grapevine phenological stages to track trends in both phenology and climate. Although management such as changing pruning and winemaking preferences can affect phenological records, grapevines can serve as sensitive climate...
Article
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For the 1980–2003 period, we analyzed the relationship between crop yield and three climatic variables (minimum temperature, maximum temperature, and precipitation) for 12 major Californian crops: wine grapes, lettuce, almonds, strawberries, table grapes, hay, oranges, cotton, tomatoes, walnuts, avocados, and pistachios. The months and climatic var...
Article
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Improved assessment of wine grape yield and quality responses to future climate are needed to understand potential impacts of climate change on the wine industry and to prioritize adaptation strategies. Here, we used simple climate and quality metrics suggested by the literature to project rough quality categories for California under future climat...
Article
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Most research on the agricultural impacts of climate change has focused on the major annual crops, yet perennial cropping systems are less adaptable and thus potentially more susceptible to damage. In regions where perennial crops are economically and culturally important, improved assessments of yield responses to future climate are needed to prio...
Article
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Crop-yield forecasts provide useful information to growers, marketers, government agencies and other users. Yields for several crops in California are currently forecast based on field surveys and farmer interviews, although o cial forecasts do not exist for many crops. Because broad-scale crop yields depend largely on the weather, measurements fro...
Article
We measured carbon (C) stocks and fluxes and vegetation phenology in the world's oldest prairie restoration (∼65 years) and an adjacent prairie remnant in southern Wisconsin from 2001–2004 to quantify structural and functional differences. While the species distributions and frequency differed, the number of species measured per 1 m2 quadrat were n...
Article
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Crop yield forecasts provide useful information to a range of users. Yields for several crops in California are currently forecast based on field surveys and farmer interviews, while for many crops official forecasts do not exist. As broad-scale crop yields are largely dependent on weather, measurements from existing meteorological stations have th...
Article
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The magnitude of future climate change depends substantially on the greenhouse gas emission pathways we choose. Here we explore the implications of the highest and lowest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emissions pathways for climate change and associated impacts in California. Based on climate projections from two state-of-the-art climat...