Contemporary landscapes are characterized by a mosaic of ‘natural’ ecosystems fragmented by moderately or strongly impacted human-dominated ecosystems. Maintenance of both the natural and built components of these landscapes is critical to our economic viability and to our quality of life and yet remains one of the greatest challenges to modern societies. Phrased in another way; how do we ensure the sustainable use of environmental resources for the gererations to come? To guarantee future generations equitable access to these resources requires improving the scientific understanding of how ecosystems function in the presence of human activity. Driven by the need to achieve such understanding, the Purdue Interdisciplinary Center for Ecological Sustainability (PICES) was created in September of 2004.
Essentially all of Earth’s ecosystems have been influenced at some level by human activity and have declined in their ability to provide essential services to humans while supporting the diversity of life. Research by PICES faculty emphasizes interdisciplinary studies of how human activities (i.e., resource use and population growth) affect the genetic, physiological and behavioral attributes of species, communities and ecosystems, as well as their viability. PICES will focus on the conservation, management, and sustainability of natural resources. With its current membership of 28 faculty, the PICES mission is to serve as the premier center of excellence dealing with issues of ecological sustainability in human-dominated landscapes by integrating the processes of discovery, learning and engagement across disciplinary boundaries. The center now represents a focal point for interdisciplinary discovery and learning activities among ecologists on the Purdue campus and facilitates linkages between these ecologists to the broader environmental community at Purdue and to other institutions world-wide.
I invite your to explore the rich diversity of expertise and creativity that PICES represents and I encourage researchers and stakeholders interested in working with the Center to contact me, I look forward to hearing from you.