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Roadmap for Wildfire Resilience: Solutions for a Paradigm Shift

March 8, 2023

Though fire is a natural ecological process in many forest ecosystems, extreme wildfires now pose a growing threat to the nation's natural resources and communities. These trends will continue to worsen absent bold and transformative policy action to change the trajectory of how we manage and prepare for wildfire impacts.The Nature Conservancy and the Aspen Institute have spent the last year responding to this opportunity by hosting a series of workshops that sought input from all levels of government, Tribal Nations, the private sector, fire-prone communities, philanthropists, academics and other stakeholders, culminating in a Roadmap for Wildfire Resilience. The Roadmap concentrates on the two pillars of the 2014 National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy—resilient landscapes and fire-adapted communities—that require an investment commensurate with the third pillar—safe and effective wildfire response—to alter the current wildfire trajectory. This Roadmap weaves together lessons from decades of policy and practice with forward-thinking approaches that incorporate new technology and knowledge.Decision makers, advocates and other interested readers are invited to use this Roadmap to advance a more strategic and coordinated approach to wildfire resilience in ways that contribute to addressing climate change, promoting ecosystem health, advancing economic recovery and supporting historically underserved and excluded communities.

The Just Transition: Shaping the delivery of the Inevitable Policy Response

April 11, 2022

At the heart of the 2015 Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals is a theory of change which sees the delivery of critical environmental targets (such as the net-zero economy) as intrinsically connected with wider social objectives such as ending poverty, cutting inequality and achieving decent working conditions across the world. The result needs to be a 'just transition,' one that recognises the fundamental injustices of the current fossil-fuel based energy system, the ways in which climate change exacerbates many inequalities (notably in the developing world) and the opportunity of shaping the drive to net-zero so that it helps to overcome these structural failings. This report updates a 2019 IPR report on the just transition in light of growing policy and market action (notably around COP26), as well as the crisis sparked by the war in Ukraine.The shock of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 is deepening existing energy inequalities through the sharp rises in energy and other commodity prices, worsening the livelihoods for large sections of the global population. It could also accelerate the shift to the net-zero economy by once again adding security to decarbonisation as key drivers for accelerated deployment of resource efficiency and renewable energy. This makes the just transition a strategic issue for investors and policymakers in 2022.

Bold Ambition: International Large-Scale Science

June 1, 2021

This report, Bold Ambition: International Large-Scale Science, describes the essential role of large-scale science initiatives, also referred to as megascience initiatives, for the U.S. scientific enterprise. It identifies best practices for building large-scale scientific collaborations in the future. 

Caregiving in the U.S. 2020

May 1, 2020

The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and AARP present Caregiving in the U.S. 2020!This report is the most recent update to our trended research series, Caregiving in the U.S., conducted roughly every five years. The 2020 update reveals an increase in the number of family caregivers in the United States of 9.5 million from 2015 to 2020. Family caregivers now encompass more than one in five Americans. The study also reveals that family caregivers are in worse health compared to five years ago. As the demand for caregiving rises with an aging population, there is an opportunity for the public and private sectors to work together to develop solutions to support family caregivers and those under their care.Click "Download" to access this resource.

The Dynamics and Impact of Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia: Insights from Sustained Investigations in the Northern California Current Large Marine Ecosystem

September 5, 2019

Coastal upwelling ecosystems around the world are defined by wind-generated currents that bring deep, nutrient-rich waters to the surface ocean where they fuel exceptionally productive food webs. These ecosystems are also now understood to share a common vulnerability to ocean acidification and hypoxia (OAH). In the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem (CCLME), reports of marine life die-offs by fishers and resource managers triggered research that led to an understanding of the risks posed by hypoxia. Similarly, unprecedented losses from shellfish hatcheries led to novel insights into the coastal expression of ocean acidification. Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans (PISCO) scientists and other researchers in the CCLME responded to the rise of OAH with new ocean observations and experiments. This work revealed insights into the expression of OAH as coupled environmental stressors, their temporal and spatial variability, and impacts on species, ecological communities, and fisheries. Sustained investigations also deepened the understanding of connections between climate change and the intensification of hypoxia, and are beginning to inform the ecological and eco-evolutionary processes that can structure responses to the progression of ocean acidification and other pathways of global change. Moreover, because the severity of the die-offs and hatchery failures and the subsequent scientific understanding combined to galvanize public attention, these scientific advances have fostered policy advances. Across the CCLME, policymakers are now translating the evolving scientific understanding of OAH into new management actions.

Towards greater transparency and coherence in funding for sustainable marine fisheries and healthy oceans

May 16, 2019

This final manuscript in the special issue on "Funding for ocean conservation and sustainable fisheries" is the result of a dialogue aimed at connecting lead authors of the special issue manuscripts with relevant policymakers and practitioners. The dialogue took place over the course of a two-day workshop in December 2018, and this "coda" manuscript seeks to distil thinking around a series of key recurring topics raised throughout the workshop. These topics are collected into three broad categories, or "needs": 1) a need for transparency, 2) a need for coherence, and 3) a need for improved monitoring of project impacts. While the special issue sought to collect new research into the latest trends and developments in the rapidly evolving world of funding for ocean conservation and sustainable fisheries, the insights collected during the workshop have helped to highlight remaining knowledge gaps. Therefore, each of the three "needs" identified within this manuscript is followed by a series of questions that the workshop participants identified as warranting further attention as part of a future research agenda. The crosscutting nature of many of the issues raised as well as the rapid pace of change that characterizes this funding landscape both pointed to a broader need for continued dialogue and study that reaches across the communities of research, policy and practice.

Exploring Financing Options for Services in Affordable Senior Housing Communities

April 1, 2019

This paper:Describes the housing plus services model considered in this exploration, and the benefits associated with this model.Defines criteria for considering potential financing sources.Considers features of the housing plus services model that would be supported by potential financial sources.Examines key issues that may bear on the feasibility of potential financing mechanisms for housing plus services models.Discusses aspects of the Medicare and Medicaid programs that may facilitate or inhibit possible financial support of the model.Presents and evaluates potential financing solutions that could make the housing plus services model feasible and sustainable.Click "Download" to access this resource.

Evaluators as Conduits and Supports for Foundation Learning

March 1, 2019

Evaluators play a critical role in supporting philanthropic learning, programming, and strategy, but evaluation and learning in philanthropy is often limited in ways that impede deeper resonance and impact. Most philanthropic evaluation is focused on the needs of individual foundations, knowledge sharing with the broader field is limited, and foundations struggle to integrate evaluation and learning as a management tool. This article makes the case that evaluators and funders can do more to build the collective capacity of evaluators working in philanthropy in order to enhance their contributions to community change. This article also examines the ways that evaluation in philanthropy is evolving, lays out root causes of its limitations, and looks at emerging tools, techniques, and lessons that showcase new ways evaluators and funders are working together to strengthen practice.

A Foraging Mandala for Aquatic Microorganisms

November 16, 2018

Aquatic environments harbor a great diversity of microorganisms, which interact with the same patchy, particulate, or diffuse resources by means of a broad array of physiological and behavioral adaptations, resulting in substantially different life histories and ecological success. To date, efforts to uncover and understand this diversity have not been matched by equivalent efforts to identify unifying frameworks that can provide a degree of generality and thus serve as a stepping stone to scale up microscale dynamics to predict their ecosystem-level consequences. In particular, evaluating the ecological consequences of different resource landscapes and of different microbial adaptations has remained a major challenge in aquatic microbial ecology. Here, inspired by Ramon Margalef's mandala for phytoplankton, we propose a foraging mandala for microorganisms in aquatic environments, which accounts for both the local environment and individual adaptations. This biophysical framework distills resource acquisition into two fundamental parameters: the search time for a new resource and the growth return obtained from encounter with a resource. We illustrate the foraging mandala by considering a broad range of microbial adaptations and environmental characteristics. The broad applicability of the foraging mandala suggests that it could be a useful framework to compare disparate microbial strategies in aquatic environments and to reduce the vast complexity of microbe-environment interactions into a minimal number of fundamental parameters.

Advancing The Integration Of Spatial Data To Map Human And Natural Drivers On Coral Reefs

March 1, 2018

A major challenge for coral reef conservation and management is understanding how a wide range of interacting human and natural drivers cumulatively impact and shape these ecosystems. Despite the importance of understanding these interactions, a methodological framework to synthesize spatially explicit data of such drivers is lacking. To fill this gap, we established a transferable data synthesis methodology to integrate spatial data on environmental and anthropogenic drivers of coral reefs, and applied this methodology to a case study location–the Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI). Environmental drivers were derived from time series (2002–2013) of climatological ranges and anomalies of remotely sensed sea surface temperature, chlorophyll-a, irradiance, and wave power. Anthropogenic drivers were characterized using empirically derived and modeled datasets of spatial fisheries catch, sedimentation, nutrient input, new development, habitat modification, and invasive species. Within our case study system, resulting driver maps showed high spatial heterogeneity across the MHI, with anthropogenic drivers generally greatest and most widespread on O'ahu, where 70% of the state's population resides, while sedimentation and nutrients were dominant in less populated islands. Together, the spatial integration of environmental and anthropogenic driver data described here provides a first-ever synthetic approach to visualize how the drivers of coral reef state vary in space and demonstrates a methodological framework for implementation of this approach in other regions of the world. By quantifying and synthesizing spatial drivers of change on coral reefs, we provide an avenue for further research to understand how drivers determine reef diversity and resilience, which can ultimately inform policies to protect coral reefs.

From Contractors to Conduits: An Exploratory Dialogue among Funders and Evaluators

October 9, 2017

On June 2, 2017 in Chicago, IL 27 funders and evaluators from across the country met to discuss the current state of evaluation and learning in philanthropy, explore barriers to greater collaboration and impact, and identify approaches and strategies designed to build the collective capacity of small and mid-sized evaluation firms.

Systems Change Evaluation Forum: Synthesis of issues, discussions and resources

October 1, 2017

In May 2017, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation convened staff and external evaluators for a Systems Change Evaluation Forum. In addition to establishing a common understanding of systems change evaluation, the participants grappled with four practical dilemmas that systems change efforts create for evaluation:1. How do we better understand our unique contribution to change when there are so many other actors influencing the system? .2. How can we select and capture meaningful interim outcomes to understand systems change progress when we are operating in short time horizons and using strategies that have indirect impact?3. How do we set realistic boundaries around the aspects of the system that our strategy and our evaluation should focus on?4. How can we embed continuous, intentional learning into our strategy and evaluation work?