Community, Ecology, and Resilience Network

CERN is a research, education and action network of faculty and students in the global Bard Network who are exploring the frontiers of community ecology and resilience, in the Hudson Valley and across the world.  

Affiliated Researchers
Dr. Chris Coggins /  Dr. Eban Goodstein / Dr. Jennifer Phillips / Dr. Monique Segarra / Dr. Gautam Sethi / Dr. Anton Seimon / Dr. Victor Tafur, JD / Susan Winchell-Sweeney

Forests and Community
Dr. Coggins has led a series of student field research teams to document an extensive network of close to 50 indigenous fengshui forests throughout southern China. Video here; list of publications here. These forests reveal a tradition of Chinese village forestry, dating back centuries, that continues to yield ecosystems services like water purification and protection from wind. The forests are also critical biorefugia, and are providing important insights for modern forestry practices. Coggins also continues research on wildlife migration coridoors, following his earlier research discussed in his book The Tiger and the Pangolin.

Dr. Sethi has been working on an NSF funded research team exploring strategies for protection of the Slow Loris in Vietnam. Publications here, here and here.

Based on work in Nicaragua with small holder coffee farmers, Dr. Phillips and her graduate student are preparing a manuscript on carbon storage in shade coffee systems, where coffee production supports biodiverse tropical forest systems.

Dr. Seimon has published extensively on conservation in African Montane forests, especially in the context of climate change adaptation. A list of publications is here. 

Dr. Segarra has written on community-based conservation in China, and forest protection based on community interests is also explored in Dr. Goodstein's  books Economics and the Environment, and Fighting for Love in the Century of Extinction. 

Water and Community
For over a decade, Bard MS students have been supporting the Institute for Nature and Society (INSO) in Oaxaca, Mexico, through internships and thesis work. INSO characterizes the region’s challenge as one of too much “fast water”—now both arriving and disappearing rapidly during the rainy season— and not enough “slow water”, water that in the past was trapped by healthy ecosystems, and retained for use throughout the year. As a result of the degradation of mountain forests, cropland and pasture, and of urban sprawl, rainy season precipitation has become fast water, washing away topsoil, flooding roads, failing to replenish groundwater, and flowing quickly out of the region. Video here; list of publications here. 

Dr. Segarra’s policy students are working to develop a stakeholder engagement process for the NYSERDA-funded work on the Sawkill River microhydro project. She is also co-authoring with a CEP graduate a paper on international water-body monitoring. Dr. Tafur’s law students are integrating the federal/state/local regulatory issues applicable to this project. 

Dr. Segarra is also co-authoring with a CEP graduate a paper on international water-body monitoring. 

Dr. Tafur is working with environmental NGOS and municipalities in the Long Island Sound shoreline to improve public engagement related to monitoring water quality, managing storm water and flooding issues, and updating resiliency planning and the local laws to implement it.

In collaboration with colleagues at West Point, Dr. Sethi is working on a project on water access and resilience.

Food Systems and Community
Dr.  Phillips, an agronomist and climate scientist, also operates a 90-acre sheep farm a few miles from the Bard campus. The farm provides the opportunity for experimental work and a living classroom.  In addition to undergraduate experience in sheep and pasture management, Dr. Phillips and her flock recently participated in a four-year research project with Cornell University on the use of forages in small ruminant parasite management.  She is also a farmer-collaborator with Cornell's Climate Smart Agriculture program that seeks to improve farm resilience to climate change in the Northeast, video here. Work under development will focus on soil carbon sequestration under intensive livestock grazing.

Dr. Segarra has co-authored two recent papers with graduate students focused on sustainable agriculture strategies: one in Mexico, and one in Ghana. 

Energy and Community
Dr.'s Sethi and Goodstein are engaged in a NYSERDA-funded analysis of the effectiveness of a community program designed to promote residential energy efficiency in New York state. 

Dr. Tafur’s reseach also focuses on biofuels, energy efficiency and renewable energy in Colombia, South America. He recently published case studies (here and here) for the United Nations Environmental Programme and the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law.