Environmental and Natural Resource Management

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The use and conservation of natural resources such as water, land, soil, plants, and animals affects a multitude of industries, from agriculture and mining to tourism, fishing, and forestry. RAND researchers concerned about ecosystems and sustainability pursue studies in flooding, nuclear energy, drought, coastal restoration, and more in their quest to mitigate the potential adverse effects of mismanagement.

  • Solar and wind farm with sunset and clouds, photo by yangphoto/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Achieving Decarbonization and Energy Equity Through Reconciliation

    Sep 9, 2021

    The past two years have witnessed increasingly vocal calls for rapid decarbonization of the global economy through a clean energy transition. How can Congress ensure that new costs associated with a clean energy transition do not fall disproportionately on lower-income ratepayers?

  • The Hoover Dam on the Colorado River on the border of Arizona and Nevada, photo by stryjek / Adobe Stock

    Tool

    Water Planning for the Uncertain Future

    Mar 8, 2021

    Recent climatic shifts likely will continue to affect water resources management in significant but uncertain ways. This tool provides information about decisionmaking under deep uncertainty methods—specifically, Robust Decision Making—through five case studies.

Explore Environmental and Natural Resource Management

  • Navajo Bridge over Colorado River

    Research Brief

    Interactive Examination of How to Adapt to a Changing Colorado River

    The Colorado River Basin Study evaluated the river system's resiliency and compared resource management options using the Robust Decision Making methodology.

    Nov 5, 2013

  • Hoover Dam, Nevada, Desert, Water, Lake Mead, Hydroelectric Power Station, Dam, Turbine, Power, Built Structure, Arizona, Reservoir, Construction Frame, Concrete, Electricity, Canyon, Colorado River, Intake, Tower, Fuel and Power Generation, Generator, Lake, Boulder Dam, sunset, mountain, USA, Power Station

    Report

    Robust Decision Making Enables Colorado River Planners to Ensure Water Reliability

    The Colorado River Basin Study evaluated the river system's resiliency and compared resource management options. The Robust Decision Making methodology helped to identify vulnerabilities and compare portfolios of options.

    Nov 5, 2013

  • microirrigation sprinkler

    Report

    Simplified Planning Under Uncertainty Approaches Can Help Local Water Agencies Plan for Climate Change

    Research demonstrates how Robust Decision Making can help local water agencies include climate change and other uncertain factors in their long-term planning. Application to the El Dorado Irrigation District in California shows key trade-offs among future long-term water management strategies.

    Nov 5, 2013

  • woman filling drinking water, Rajasthan , India

    Dissertation

    Monopoly and Micro-Irrigation in Smallholder Water Markets

    Many rural agricultural areas around the world are facing severely depleted groundwater resources, which farmers rely on for irrigation. This dissertation explores the changes that would follow a move to formalize water markets and establish tradable water rights.

    Oct 30, 2013

  • Artist's rendering of Knowledge City, Guangzhou, China

    Report

    An Outline of Strategies for Building an Innovation System for Knowledge City - Chinese Translation (traditional characters)

    Knowledge City is a planned environmentally and technologically advanced city in China's Guangzhou Development District. This report (translated into traditional Chinese characters) outlines a strategy to help the city attract and retain high-tech firms and their workers.

    Jul 26, 2013

  • San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station

    Commentary

    San Onofre Risk Factors

    The ongoing effort to open a spent fuel repository in the U.S. demonstrates the magnitude of the technical and political challenges of such an undertaking, writes Tom LaTourrette.

    Jun 20, 2013

  • mojave desert in california

    Report

    Using RDM Strategies for the California Water Plan Update

    This report describes a proof-of-concept analysis using Robust Decision Making to evaluate water resource management response packages for California's Central Valley under future uncertainty for the California Water Plan Update 2013.

    Jun 13, 2013

  • Vietnamese woman paddling a boat

    Journal Article

    Flood Risk Management in Ho Chi Minh City

    Ho Chi Minh City faces significant and growing flood risk. Recent risk reduction efforts may not work if climate and socio-economic conditions diverge from earlier projections. Robust decisionmaking can help Vietnam's capital develop integrated flood risk management strategies despite this uncertainty.

    May 1, 2013

  • South China Sea map

    Testimony

    The Relationship between Natural Resources and China's Maritime Disputes

    Media and policy sources often cite natural resources as a primary driver of tensions in the South and East China Seas. In reality, the region’s hydrocarbon potential is moderate. Resource issues function primarily as focal points for more powerful underlying drivers of domestic political legitimacy, popular nationalism, and regional order.

    Apr 4, 2013

  • parched desert landscape

    Journal Article

    New Methods to Implement Multi-Attribute RDM

    Many objective robust decision making (MORDM) combines concepts and methods from many objective evolutionary optimization and robust decision making (RDM), along with extensive use of interactive visual analytics, to facilitate the management of complex environmental systems.

    Apr 1, 2013

  • train track switch

    Research Brief

    Robust Decision Making Aids Planning Under Deep Uncertainty

    Quantitative analysis is often indispensable to sound planning, but with deep uncertainty, predictions can lead decisionmakers astray. Robust Decision Making supports good decisions without predictions by testing plans against many futures.

    Feb 28, 2013

  • Journal Article

    Planning Tool Supports Effort to Envision the Future of Coastal Louisiana

    A computer-based decision-support tool, called the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) Planning Tool, provided technical analysis that supported the development of Louisiana's 2012 Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast through CPRA and community-based deliberations.

    Jan 1, 2013

  • Navajo Bridge over Colorado River

    Blog

    New Colorado River Basin Study Examines Tremendous Challenges of the Coming 50 Years

    Growing water needs combined with uncertain but possibly deteriorating future hydrologic conditions could stress the Colorado River system in the coming 50 years. Options that could be effective in improving it include urban conservation, agricultural conservation, and groundwater desalination.

    Dec 18, 2012

  • Morris Canal Park in New York City with portions flooded by Sandy's storm surge, at high tide.

    Commentary

    What Louisiana Can Teach New York and New Jersey

    “Super Storm” Sandy has created a rare moment when New York City and surrounding areas are singularly focused on the infrastructure needed in a changing environment. It is a moment to look south at Louisiana.

    Nov 8, 2012

  • consultants meeting with computer

    Report

    Planning Tool Supports Louisiana's Coastal Protection Decisionmaking

    The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority Planning Tool that RAND developed provided technical analysis for Louisiana's Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast. A technical description of the tool and associated analyses explains how the tool works.

    Sep 27, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    Creating an Innovation System for Knowledge City: Chinese Translation

    Knowledge City is a planned environmentally and technologically advanced city in China's Guangzhou Development District. This report analyzes innovation systems and outlines the steps GDD will need to take to make Knowledge City a success.

    Sep 20, 2012

  • Report

    Creating an Innovation System for Knowledge City

    Knowledge City is a planned environmentally and technologically advanced city in China's Guangzhou Development District. This report analyzes innovation systems and outlines the steps GDD will need to take to make Knowledge City a success.

    Sep 20, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    An Outline of Strategies for Building an Innovation System for Knowledge City: Chinese Translation (simplified characters)

    Knowledge City is a planned environmentally and technologically advanced city in China's Guangzhou Development District. This report (translated into simplified Chinese characters) outlines a strategy to help the city attract and retain high-tech firms and their workers.

    Sep 20, 2012

  • Report

    Strategies for Building an Innovation System for China's Knowledge City

    Knowledge City is a planned environmentally and technologically advanced city in China's Guangzhou Development District. RAND worked with GDD to outline a set of strategies to help the city attract and retain high-tech firms and workers and to ensure the availability of innovation-oriented financing.

    Sep 20, 2012

  • Sunset over New Orleans and the Mississippi River

    Blog

    Bringing Sustainability to the Louisiana Coast

    Policy Researcher David Groves describes RAND's role in helping to develop a plan to guide Louisiana's coastal investments, help its coastal citizens plan for the future, and create a sustainable coast.

    Jun 7, 2012