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Solutions Newsletter - SSI Highlights

snowmobilesmallResearch by the Ecological & Social Change: Adaptation, Place and Evaluation team influenced LD 1613, “An Act to Strengthen the Relationship between Landowners and Land Users.” The team documented problems between landowners and land users and then evaluated policy tools to find innovative solutions to manage these conflicts and recognize and support the role of private landowners in providing recreational opportunities, wildlife habitat, and other services. The team shared research findings with stakeholders at a public meeting attended by 77 people, including seven legislators. As a result, the bill passed, providing strategic direction and funding mechanisms that benefit both landowners and land users in Maine.

The Sustainable Urban Regions Project (SURP), led by Charles Colgan, professor of public policy at the Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine, is developing computer simulation models to examine the interaction of economic, social and ecological systems in Portland and Bangor to help regional stakeholders better understand the choices they face in seeking a more sustainable future. Downeaster_smallSURP faculty member Jack Kartez is coordinating this work with another large sustainability project, a 3-year, $1.6 million grant to the Portland region from the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development for development of the first region-wide sustainable communities plan for York and Cumberland counties. SSI’s SURP group helped design the project and is contributing technology through extending its new data commons tools to this SustainSouthernMaine (SSM) partnership.

Students at the University of Maine Fort Kent have produced a new documentary, Burning Green: In Search of Affordable Heat, through an SSI project led by Soraya Cardenas, assistant professor of sociology. This documentary, which explores biomass and home heating, is part of the SSI project Biomass Energy Resources in the St. John Valley, Aroostook County, Maine.

Three new episodes of MPBN’s Emmy-nominated Sustainable Maine series will air this fall, featuring SSI’s Belgrade Lakes Team, the Emerald Ash Borer Team and the Vernal Pools Team. Check the MPBN website for program dates and times (

The 2012 Mitchell Lecture on Sustainability took place on Tuesday, September 25 at Hauck Auditorium, UMaine, Orono. Pamela Matson, Dean of the Stanford University School of Earth Sciences was the speaker.

The Rangeley Region Team at the University of Maine Farmington, is developing a mobile application that will help boaters, anglers and others to report invasive aquatic plants in the region. Led by Wendy Harper, associate professor of economics, the team aims to develop mobile applications that inform residents and visitors about stewardship practices that sustain the Rangeley landscape and region. This is part of their larger SSI project, Charting the Rangeley Region’s Social-Ecological System and Identifying Community Sustainability Strategies.

Mitchell_Ctr_Eastport_smallSSI researchers Gayle Zydlewski and Teresa Johnson of the Maine Tidal Power Initiative were among those who met with Japanese officials this spring when they visited UMaine to sign a research agreement between MTPI and the North Japan Research Institute for Sustainable Energy of Hirosaki University. The groups aim to foster scientific cooperation and academic exchange between the two universities to advance the development of sustainable tidalenergy in both the U.S. and Japan. Zydlewski and Johnson traveled to Japan for further discussions with researchers this summer.

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