UNT Research, Volume 17, 2008

W W W . unt edu/lun t resear ch

I]u , ., . . ; . M ichael Monticino,
left, and Miguel Acevedo show the impact
of human decisions on the environment,
for instance in clearing land for development
(pictured). The models also assess how
the environmental effects of those deci-
sions influence subsequent choices.
and Policy Assessment of Complex Systems.
Such an institute could assess short-
and long-term outcomes of environmental
policy, land-use change, natural disasters
and resource management decisions, as well
as policy relevant to social behavior and
value analysis.
Many of those areas have been tlhe
focus of Monticino's and Acevedo's
research in recent years - research that
already is being funded by grants from the
National Science Foundation, the Environ-
mental Protection Agency and the National
Park Service.
Monticino is the lead investigator in

"Human social system and ecosystem dynamics have been traditionally treated as if
they progressed independently. It is now accepted that social systems and ecosystems must
be studied as a whole to be fully understood." \ ,, I \l,,

the IMPACS effort. He's using his expertise
in statistical and decision analysis models
to tackle environmental concerns.
"Our focus so far has been in land-use
change and its effect on water," Monticino
says, noting that includes water supply,
quality and quantity. This water research
specifically takes into account suburban
sprawl and its impact on municipal infra-
structure and the environment as new
developments come online.
Land-use changes often come into play
as owners of undeveloped lands decide to
sell and the natural environment is replaced

with residential, commercial or industrial
developments, which impact not only the
environment but also future residents of
that area.
When heavy rains come - as they did
last year in Denton, for example - the
researchers can examine how rain run-off
patterns may change due to development.
They surveyed Denton residents to deter-
mine whether they attributed the historic
flooding to increased development and
whether they would be more likely to protest
future development. The researchers then
incorporate the survey results into decision

models to represent feedback loops between
development effects and residents' actions.
"We benefit from their research in a
practical way," says Kenneth Banks, manager
of the city of Denton's division of environ-
mental quality. "Anything that provides
more data for us, so we can better under-
stand how systems respond, is really helpful."
THEi I UMAN EI.EMENT
Acevedo, a key collaborator, is using
real-time technology to monitor the envi-
ronment and gather data. He is working
with an international team of researchers to

UNT RESEARCH 2008

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University of North Texas. UNT Research, Volume 17, 2008. Denton, Texas. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115031/. Accessed December 18, 2014.