Lerman leads first urban long-term ecosystem research site in Midwest
Photo: Saint Paul skyline at dusk / Yinan Chen / Pixabay
Fellows in the News

Switzer Fellow Susannah Lerman, Research Ecologist with the USDA Forest Service, is a co-lead of a partnership with the University of Minnesota that will establish the first urban long-term ecosystem research (LTER) site in the Midwest. Funded by a $7.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul (MSP) Long-Term Ecological Research Program will focus on the dynamics of urban nature and the urban social system in the face of rapid environmental and social change.

As part of the MSP LTER, initial Forest Service research will investigate adapting urban forests for climate change, pollinator habitat, and urban tree canopy. "Urban nature, in all its diversity, is critically important to urban residents, providing numerous potential benefits, ranging from health-related amenities to mitigating climate, while also providing wildlife habitat. However, these benefits are not equally accessible to everyone," said Lerman.

"The ultimate goal of the project is to figure out ways that environmental outcomes can be improved for all people living in the city," said Forest Service Eastern Region Climate Change Specialist Leslie Brandt, also a co-lead.

Sarah Hobbie, University of Minnesota Distinguished McKnight Professor in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior is the lead Principal Investigator on the project. 

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