Taylor Ricketts

Taylor Ricketts
University of Vermont | UVM · Gund Institute for Environment

Doctor of Philosophy

About

206
Publications
140,924
Reads
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38,660
Citations
Introduction
I'm interested in connecting rigorous interdisciplinary research with real-world conservation problems, both in Vermont and worldwide. My recent focus has been the benefits provided to people by forests, wetlands, reefs, and other natural areas. I work on understanding how ecosystems provide these benefits, what they are worth (and to whom), and how they might change in the future. Other interests include global patterns of biodiversity, conservation planning, ecological economics, and community and landscape ecology.
Additional affiliations
August 2011 - September 2019
University of Vermont
Position
  • Managing Director
August 2011 - present
University of Vermont
Position
  • Professor
August 2011 - present
University of Vermont
Position
  • Professor (Full)
Education
September 1996 - June 2000
Stanford University
Field of study
  • Biology
September 1987 - June 1991
Dartmouth College
Field of study
  • Earth Sciences and Environmental Studies

Publications

Publications (206)
Preprint
Ecosystem change can profoundly affect human wellbeing and health, including exposure to vector-borne infectious diseases. Deforestation has increased human exposure to mosquito vectors and malaria risk in Africa, but there is little understanding of how socioeconomic and ecological factors moderate this relationship. We examined the relationship b...
Article
Full-text available
The wildlife trade drives biodiversity loss and zoonotic disease emergence, and the health and economic impacts of COVID‐19 have sparked discussions over stricter regulation of the wildlife trade. Yet regulation for conservation and health purposes is at odds with the economic incentives provided by this multibillion‐dollar industry. To understand...
Article
Significance Food production depends on biodiversity and ecosystem services (ES) such as pest control and pollination. Our knowledge about biodiversity benefits to crop production has increased in recent decades, but most studies treat ES separately and then add up their values. Ignoring that these services, being part of the same system, likely in...
Preprint
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The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the mobility patterns of a majority of Americans beginning in March 2020. Despite the beneficial, socially distanced activity offered by outdoor recreation, confusing and contradictory public health messaging complicated access to natural spaces. Working with a dataset comprising the locations of roughly 50 million d...
Article
Full-text available
The relationship between nature contact and mental well-being has received increasing attention in recent years. While a body of evidence has accumulated demonstrating a positive relationship between time in nature and mental well-being, there have been few studies comparing this relationship in different locations over long periods of time. In thi...
Article
Seventy five percent of the world's food crops benefit from insect pollination. Hence, there has been increased interest in how global change drivers impact this critical ecosystem service. Because standardized data on crop pollination are rarely available, we are limited in our capacity to understand the variation in pollination benefits to crop y...
Article
New land uses can drive complex changes to local biodiversity. In the Northeastern U.S., cultivated milkweed has arisen as a new crop with potentially promising outcomes for monarch butterflies, but has unknown effects on surface-active and soil-dwelling arthropods. We assessed differences in arthropod communities among nearby sites containing milk...
Article
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1. The combined impacts of climate change and ecological degradation are expected to worsen inequality within society. These dynamics are exemplified by increases in flood risk globally. In general, low-income and socially vulnerable populations disproportionately bear the cost of flood damages. Climate change is expected to increase the number of...
Article
Excess phosphorus loading to waterbodies has led to increasing frequency and severity of harmful algal blooms, negatively impacting economic activity and human health. While interventions to improve water quality can create large societal benefits, these investments are costly and the value of benefits is often unknown. Understanding the social and...
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The introduction of non-native species and deforestation are both important drivers of environmental change that can also facilitate the geographic spread of zoonotic pathogens and increase disease risk in humans. With ongoing trends in globalization and land-use conversions, introduced species and deforestation are ever more likely to pose threats...
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Conservation and provision of ecosystem services (ES) have been adopted as high‐level policy in many countries, yet there has been surprisingly little application of these broad policies in the field; for example, ES are rarely considered in permit issuance or other discrete agency actions. This large implementation gap arises in part because the s...
Article
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Conservation is predominantly an exercise in trying to change human behaviour – whether that of consumers whose choices drive unsustainable resource use, of land managers clearing natural habitats, or of policymakers failing to deliver on environmental commitments. Yet conservation research and practice have made only limited use of recent advances...
Article
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Addressing how ecosystem services (ES) are distributed among groups of people is critical for making conservation and environmental policy-making more equitable. Here, we evaluate the distribution and equity of changes in ES benefits across demographic and socioeconomic groups in the United States (US) between 2020 and 2100. Specifically, we use la...
Article
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Environmental degradation has been associated with increased burden of diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, and malnutrition. As a result, some have argued that continuing ecosystem change could undermine successes in global health investments. Here we conduct an empirical study to investigate this concern. Child deaths due to diarrhea have more tha...
Article
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Human activities are degrading ecosystems worldwide, posing existential threats for biodiversity and humankind. Slowing and reversing this degradation will require profound and widespread changes to human behaviour. Behavioural scientists are therefore well placed to contribute intellectual leadership in this area. This Perspective aims to stimulat...
Article
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The ecosystem service (ES) community aspires to illuminate how nature contributes to human well-being, and thereby elevate consideration of nature in decision making. So far, however, policy impact of ES research has been limited. To understand why, we identify five key elements of ES research that help inform decisions by connecting the supply of...
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It is widely anticipated that climate change will negatively affect both food security and diet diversity. Diet diversity is especially critical for children as it correlates with macro and micronutrient intake important for child development. Despite these anticipated links, little empirical evidence has demonstrated a relationship between diet di...
Article
Spatial aspects of connectivity have received considerable attention from ecologists and conservationists, yet temporal connectivity – the periodic linking of habitats – plays an equally important, but largely overlooked role. Different biological and biophysical attributes of ecosystems underpin temporal connectivity, but here we focus on resource...
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Ecosystem services (ES) provide a range of benefits to people, but landowners that produce ES are often separate from those receiving benefits. As a result, landowners bear the costs of managing ecosystems, but often share the benefits with others. Accounting for these private and external costs and benefits would improve the effectiveness of payme...
Preprint
Full-text available
The relationship between nature contact and mental well-being has received increasing attention in recent years. While a body of evidence has accumulated demonstrating a positive relationship between time in nature and mental well-being, there have been few studies comparing this relationship in different locations over long periods of time. In thi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ecosystem services (ES) have been a part of the ecological economics (EE) toolkit for decades. Over that time, however, ES has grown into a field of its own, and some Ecological Economists have criticized it for diverging from several core tenets of EE. Here we highlight five frontier areas of ES research and practice that can reverse that trend. E...
Article
Conservation organizations increasingly target ecosystem services alongside biodiversity, yet it remains unclear whether ecosystem service goals reinforce or detract from those for biodiversity. We assess tradeoffs between biodiversity and ecosystem services and test the hypothesis that the severity of this tradeoff is a function the breadth of tax...
Article
Full-text available
Childhood undernutrition yearly kills 3.1 million children worldwide. For those who survive early life undernutrition, it can cause motor and cognitive development problems that translate into poor educational performance and limited work productivity later in life. It has been suggested that nutrition-specific interventions (e.g., micronutrient su...
Article
Floodplain restoration offers an opportunity to enhance communities’ resilience to flooding. However, the degree to which these interventions mitigate damages is often unknown, and identifying the best locations for implementation is a challenge. Further, the extent to which the benefits of flood mitigation are equitably distributed within communit...
Article
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Supporting ecosystem services and conserving biodiversity may be compatible goals, but there is concern that service‐focused interventions mostly benefit a few common species. We use a spatially replicated, multiyear experiment in four agricultural settings to test if enhancing habitat adjacent to crops increases wild bee diversity and abundance on...
Chapter
You can find a pre-print of this chapter here: https://gouldgroup.weebly.com/publications.html
Article
Full-text available
Premise: Most plants interact with mycorrhizal fungi and animal pollinators simultaneously. Yet, whether mycorrhizae affect traits important to pollination remains poorly understood and may depend on the match between host and fungal genotypes. Here, we examined how ericoid mycorrhizal fungi affected flowering phenology, floral traits, and reprodu...
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...
Article
Although health, development, and environment challenges are interconnected, evidence remains fractured across sectors due to methodological and conceptual differences in research and practice. Aligned methods are needed to support Sustainable Development Goal advances and similar agendas. The Bridge Collaborative, an emergent research-practice col...
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Full-text available
With more people living in cities, we are witnessing a decline in exposure to nature. A growing body of research has demonstrated an association between nature contact and improved mood. Here, we used Twitter and the Hedonometer, a world analysis tool, to investigate how sentiment, or the estimated happiness of the words people write, varied before...
Article
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The Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol display a broad international consensus for biodiversity conservation and equitable benefit sharing. Yet, the Aichi biodiversity targets show a lack of progress and thus indicate a need for additional action such as enhanced and better targeted financial resource mobilization. To date,...
Article
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Many scientific researchers aspire to engage policy in their writing, but translating scientific research and findings into policy discussion often requires an understanding of the institutional complexities of legal and policy processes and actors. To examine how researchers have undertaken that challenge, we developed a set of metrics and applied...
Article
Full-text available
Although health, development, and environment challenges are interconnected, evidence remains fractured across sectors due to methodological and conceptual differences in research and practice. Aligned methods are needed to support Sustainable Development Goal advances and similar agendas. The Bridge Collaborative, an emergent research-practice col...
Article
Full-text available
Although health, development, and environment challenges are interconnected, evidence remains fractured across sectors due to methodological and conceptual differences in research and practice. Aligned methods are needed to support Sustainable Development Goal advances and similar agendas. The Bridge Collaborative, an emergent research-practice col...
Article
Full-text available
Ecosystem services typically benefit multiple groups of people. However, natural resource management decisions aiming to secure ecosystem services for one beneficiary group rarely consider potential consequences for others. Here, we examine records of moose hunting in Vermont, USA, a recreational ecosystem service with at least two beneficiary grou...
Article
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Excessive phosphorus (P) export to aquatic ecosystems can lead to impaired water quality. There is a growing interest among watershed managers in using restored wetlands to retain P from agricultural landscapes and improve water quality. We develop a novel framework for prioritizing wetland restoration at a regional scale. The framework uses an eco...
Article
Coffee is one of the most important tropical crops on earth, considering both its gross production value and the number of families that depend on it for their livelihoods. Coffee also grows within some of the world’s most biodiverse habitats, in areas predicted to experience severe climate change impacts. Like many other crops, coffee benefits fro...
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Protected areas (PAs) are fundamental for biodiversity conservation, yet their impacts on nearby residents are contested. We synthesized environmental and socioeconomic conditions of >87,000 children in >60,000 households situated either near or far from >600 PAs within 34 developing countries. We used quasi-experimental hierarchical regression to...
Article
Animal pollination is an important input to the global food system, affecting 2/3 of crops and worth more than $100 billion annually. Mounting evidence of pollinators’ importance, and of their decline worldwide, has prompted efforts to conserve and restore wild bees within agricultural regions. To date, however, research on the value of wild pollin...
Article
Full-text available
Safeguarding ecosystem services and biodiversity is critical to achieving sustainable development. To date, ecosystem services quantification has focused on the biophysical supply of services with less emphasis on human beneficiaries (“demand”). Only when both occur do ecosystems benefit people, but demand may shift ecosystem service priorities tow...
Article
Enhancing floral resources is a widely accepted strategy for supporting wild bees and promoting crop pollination. Planning effective enhancements can be informed with pollination service models, but these models should capture the behavioural and spatial dynamics of service‐providing organisms. Model predictions, and hence management recommendation...
Article
Full-text available
Micronutrient deficiency affects about a third of the world’s population. Children in developing countries are particularly vulnerable. Consequences include impaired cognitive and physical development and increased childhood morbidity and mortality. Recent studies suggest that forests help alleviate micronutrient deficiency by increasing dietary di...
Preprint
Urbanization and the decline of access to nature have coincided with a rise of mental health problems. A growing body of research has demonstrated an association between nature contact and improved mental affect (i.e., mood). However, previous approaches have been unable to quantify the benefits of urban greenspace exposure and compare how differen...
Article
Full-text available
Background Micronutrient malnutrition affects about a third of the world's population, and children in low-income and middle-income countries are particularly vulnerable. Consequences include impaired cognitive and physical development, and increased childhood morbidity and mortality. Previous studies suggest that exposure to forests helps alleviat...
Article
Human actions are responsible for many of our greatest environmental challenges. Studies from the human behavioral sciences show that minor features of decision settings can have major effects on people’s choices. While such behavioral insights have positively influenced individual health and financial decisions, less is known about whether and how...
Article
Natural-infrastructures (e.g., floodplains) can offer multiple ecosystem services (ES), including flood-resilience and water quality improvement. In order to maintain these ES, state and non-profit organizations consider various stream interventions, including increased floodplain connectivity and revegetation. However, the effect of these interven...
Article
Biodiversity offsets are most commonly used to mitigate the adverse impacts of development on biodiversity, but some offsets are now also designed to support ecosystem services (ES) goals. Here, we assemble a global database of biodiversity offsets (n = 70) to show that 41% already take ES into consideration, with the objective of enhancing cultura...
Article
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Human behavior is responsible for many of our greatest environmental challenges. The accumulated effects of many individual and household decisions have major negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem health. Human behavioral science blends psychology and economics to understand how people respond to the context in which they make decisions (e...
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Payment for hydrological services (PHS) are popular tools for conserving ecosystems and their water-related services. However, improving the spatial targeting and impacts of PHS, as well as their ability to foster synergies with other ecosystem services (ES), remain challenging. We aimed at using spatial analyses to evaluate the targeting performan...
Data
Spatial distribution of each model parameter used in InVEST. (a) Average root restricting depth values, (b) average annual precipitation, (c) average annual reference evapotranspiration, and (d) plant available water content values. (TIF)
Data
Spatial distribution of each model parameter used in InVEST. (a) Soil erodibility, (b) rainfall rodibility, (c) digital elevation model, and (d) the LS-slope-length factor. (TIF)
Data
Spatial datasets and data inputs for the InVEST modeling. Complete description for mapping ecosystem services and manipulation of spatial data to generate all inputs for the InVEST’s Tiers 1 models. (DOCX)
Article
Effective management of nitrogen (N) fertilizer is central to enhancing agricultural productivity, while improving water and air quality and mitigating climate change. Quantifying “socially optimal” rates of N fertilizer (i.e. maximizing net benefits to society while minimizing social costs) is a key component of any regulatory or incentive program...
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Full-text available
Native managed bees can improve crop pollination, but a general framework for evaluating the associated economic costs and benefits has not been developed. We conducted a cost-benefit analysis to assess how managing blue orchard bees (Osmia lignaria Say [Hymenoptera: Megachildae]) alongside honey bees (Apis mellifera Linnaeus [Hymenoptera: Apidae])...
Article
Farms can harbor substantial biodiversity, which in turn sustains the supply of ecosystem services. The effectiveness of farm management to enhance biodiversity, however, may be modified by land cover in the surrounding landscape beyond a farmer’s direct control. We examined how landscape pattern and farm management affect the abundance and diversi...
Article
Full-text available
Diarrheal disease (DD) due to contaminated water is a major cause of child mortality globally. Forests and wetlands can provide ecosystem services that help maintain water quality. To understand the connections between land cover and childhood DD, we compiled a database of 293,362 children in 35 countries with information on health, socioeconomic f...