Agriculture

harvesting a wheat field

Agriculture uses land and other resources to feed the world. In the process, agriculture transforms the planet, including surface energy, water and nutrient balances, and the health of biological systems. Researchers at SAGE are improving our understanding of the physical and ecological outcomes of agriculture, and of the agricultural management and policies that can shape these outcomes. As part of this research, we work closely with colleagues in UW departments of Agronomy and Soils, and The Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC). Our projects also provide graduate research opportunities for students in the Nelson Institute's Environment & Resources Program.

SAGE Principal Investigators

Holly Gibbs , Chris Kucharik, Mutlu Ozdogan

Collaborators (at UW–Madison unless otherwise noted)

Jennifer Alix-Garcia, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics
Christina Anderson, Wisconsin Land & Water Conservation Association
Brian Austin, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Paulo Barreto, Imazon
Eric Booth, Department of Agronomy
Laura Bowling, Purdue University
Sylvie Brouder, Purdue University
Kimberly Carlson, University of Hawai'i – Mānoa
Steve Carpenter, Department of Zoology, Center for Limnology
Rachael Garrett, Boston University
Claudio Gratton, Department of Entomology
Paul Hanson, Center for Limnology
Robert Heilmayr, University of California – Santa Barbara
Tom Hertel, Purdue University
Tony Ives, Department of Zoology
Randy Jackson, Department of Agronomy
George Kraft, University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point
John Kutzbach, Center for Climatic Research
Eric Lambin, Stanford University
Steve Loheide, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Kevin Masarik, University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point
Tim Meehan, Department of Entomology
Navin Ramankutty, University of British Columbia
Adena Rissman, Department of Forest & Wildlife Ecology
Bill Ruddiman, University of Virginia
Greg Sanford, Department of Agronomy
Emily Stanley, Department of Zoology
Phil Townsend, Department of Forest & Wildlife Ecology
Monica Turner, Department of Zoology
Jim Vanden Brook, Wisconsin Land & Water Conservation Association
Jake Vander Zanden, Department of Zoology
Steve Vavrus, Center for Climatic Research
Jeff Volenec, Purdue University
Nathalie Walker, National Wildlife Federation
Jack Williams, Department of Geography

Holly Gibbs interviewing oil palm plantation managers about land-use practices and the  Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
Holly Gibbs interviewing oil palm plantation managers about land-use practices and the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).

Borneo elephants walking through oil palm plantation near a wildlife preserve observed during interviews with oil palm companies led by Holly Gibbs. Photo by Benjamin Orcutt
Borneo elephants walking through oil palm plantation near a wildlife preserve observed during interviews with oil palm companies led by Holly Gibbs. Photo by Benjamin Orcutt

Current Projects

Agroecosystem Modeling in Support of Wisconsin's Nitrate Initiative
Sponsor: Wisconsin Land & Water Conservation
SAGE Investigator: Chris Kucharik

Assessing Carbon Neutrality and Agroecology of Different Biofuel Cropping Systems in the Midwest U.S.
Sponsor: DoE
SAGE Investigator: Chris Kucharik

Assessing the long run sustainability of US agriculture in an integrated global economy
Sponsor: USDA-AFRI
SAGE Investigator: Chris Kucharik

Anticipating abrupt ecological change in the 21st century
Sponsor: UW2020 program
SAGE Investigator: Chris Kucharik

Belmont Forum Collaborative Research: Hydro-social and environmental impacts of sugar cane production on land use and food security 
Sponsor: NSF
SAGE Investigator: Mutlu Ozdogan

CALS Ecoinformatics Initiative
Sponsor: UW CALS
SAGE Investigator: Chris Kucharik

Climate Change, Shifting Land Use, and Urbanization in a Midwestern Agricultural Landscape: Challenges for Water Quality and Quantity 
Sponsor: NSF
SAGE Investigator: Chris Kucharik

Creating a safe operating space for resilient food-energy-water (FEW) systems in the Upper Midwest
Sponsor: UW-Madison Bridge to the Future Program
SAGE Investigator: Chris Kucharik

Project Nile: Distributed hydrological information for water management in the Nile basin Sponsor: NASA
SAGE Investigator: Mutlu Ozdogan

Promoting Deforestation-free Agricultural Commodity Supply Chains and the Link to Jurisdictional REDD+ Frameworks
Sponsor: National Wildlife Federation & Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation
SAGE Investigator: Holly Gibbs

Quantifying the effectiveness of irrigation management strategies to increase crop water use efficiency in the Wisconsin Central Sands
Sponsor: USDA Hatch
SAGE Investigator: Chris Kucharik

Simulating the effects of early agriculture on Holocene climate
Sponsor: NSF
SAGE Investigator: Chris Kucharik

The Zero Deforestation Revolution: Breaking the Link Between Commodity Agriculture and Forest Loss
Sponsor: National Wildlife Federation & Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation
SAGE Investigator: Holly Gibbs