Center for Environmental Science Applications (CESA)

Finding solutions to sustainability challenges by linking ideas, people and resources


Conservation biologists seek comprehensive as well as local strategies to protect the habitats that host most of the world’s biodiversity. Millions of hectares of land have been set aside to increase the probability that critical species, populations, and ecosystems will survive. Decades of accelerating climate change, urbanization and human population growth gravely threaten the network of preserves and agreements established over more than a century of conservation.

BiodiverSim is a CESA-led project to create a visualization-based modeling approach that shows alternative environmental scenarios based on a range of biological, geographical, socioeconomic and political inputs. We have helped convene a number of meetings with conservation NGOs including WWF, CI, IUCN and TNC, and currently are seeking to establish a pilot project with TNC's Arizona Chapter to demonstrate our methodology, as a precursor to soliciting substantial extramural funding from foundations and the NSF.

Faculty members assisting with the development of BiodiverSim include Ann Kinzig and Charles Perrings from the School of Life Sciences, Jon Fink from the School of Earth and Space Exploration, Rob Pahle from the Decision Theater, and Sheila O'Connor and Tom McShane, who are affiliated with the Global Institute of Sustainability.