21 December 2017: Our final project report has been approved by Dr. Betsy Von Holle, NSF CNH director, on 12/21/2017. Several papers are still underway or will be completed soon, and we expect more results coming out soon. We sincerely thank all investigators, students, consultants, and collaborators in USA and China for their substantial contribution to the project.

01 September 2017: With input from all team members (especially Dr. Hsiang Ling Chen who was in charge of final report coordination and uploading), Dr. Li An submitted our final project report to NSF. With gratitude to all team members and our collaborators at FNNR and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, our project went on very well over the last five years, generating a number of very important findings and products.

22 May 2017: Dr. Li An had a successful trip to several Chinese sites for combined research and family purposes between May 4 and May 19, 2017. See more detail here.

11 April 2017: A paper, entitled “Reframing the payments for ecosystem services (PES) framework in a coupled human and natural systems context: Strengthening the integration between ecological and human dimensions” (by R. Lewison, L. An, and X. Chen), has been accepted by Ecosystem Health and Sustainability for publication. The paper presents a conceptual model to articulate how PES research can capture the reciprocal relationships between socioeconomics, demography, and ecology, and discuss the quantitative modelling approaches that can support this conceptual development.

27 February 2017: Thanks to the whole project team, particularly Hsiang Ling, Cindy, and Shuang, some essential project information (descriptors) is now online. These descriptors are about our study site, social survey, RS data and processing, wildlife survey, etc. The team may find it helpful when writing papers or preparing presentations related to the project.

20 October 2016: The Research-Education-Outreach Partnership (REO Partnership hereunder), originally established in 2007 and confirmed in 2010 with an REO agreement (the 1st version), has been renewed in October 2016. The College of Arts and Letters (CAL) Dean Dr. Norma Bouchard, Department of Geography Chair Dr. Piotr Jankowski, and Department of Geography Professor Dr. Li An signed the agreement on behalf of CAL at San Diego State University. FNNR Director Weiyong Zhang and FNNR Department of Scientific Research and Education Head Lei Shi signed it on behalf of FNNR. See this site for the Chinese version and this site for the English version of the agreement.

24 September 2016: A two-day summit meeting was held in the SDSU Finch lab for our CNH Golden Monkey project. Project members Professors Li An, Stuart Aitken, Douglas Stow, Rebecca Lewison (Biology Department), Minjuan Wang (Department of Learning Design and Technology), Richard E. Bilsborrow (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill), Weihua Xu (Chinese Academy of Sciences), Dr. Hsiang Ling Chen, and PhD students Shuang Yang and Yu-Hsin (Cindy) Tsai attended the meeting and presented their project related methodologies, data, models, and findings. Rose Ann Morris and Ruth Maas, two local middle/high school teachers who participated in the education section of our project since 2014 also presented their work and near-future plan in the summit. The summit was a success, summarizing the past work and paving the way for future work such as publications and new grants for the project.

07 August 2016: Dr. Hsiang Ling Chen gave a presentation titled “Effects of payments for ecosystem services on wildlife in Fanjingshan National nature reserve, China” (co-authored with R. Lewison and L. An) at the contributed session “Conservation Management I“ in 2016 Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting. Dr. Chen also served as presider for session “Biodiversity II” and judge for Braun awards for best student posters during the conference. See more here about the presentation.

23 June 2016: Dr. Li An recently received a new award from National Science Foundation. View this place for more detail.

03 June 2016: Dr. Hsiang Ling Chen’s proposal “Do payments for ecosystem services programs promote wildlife conservation?” was approved by IDEA WILD, a non-profit organization that seeks to minimize the loss of biodiversity by empowering people on the front lines of conservation. Dr. Chen will receive support of research equipment up to $1,500 from IDEA WILD for wildlife survey in the Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve. Congratulations Dr. Chen!

21 May 2016: The NSF CNH Project Workshop for Teachers and Teacher Trainers in San Diego has been held 9:00 am – 2:00 pm at Storm Hall 331 at San Diego State University. Seven local K-12 teachers attended the workshop. With help from project team members Dr. Hsiang Ling Chen, Rick Zhang, and Jeanne Patton, Dr. Minjuan Wang organized a successful workshop helping these teachers prepare a teaching plan for the fall 2016 semester. Dr. Li An, Dr. Hsiang Ling Chen, and graduate assistant Rick Zhang presented generic ideas about the project, the golden monkey habitat data collection, and available project data, respectively. These teachers will use our project data, models, concepts, and technologies in their classroom or online teaching, immersing their students with concepts of conservation and human-environment sustainability.

12 May 2016: Dr. Li An served as a member of Scientific Steering Committee at The International Society for Ecological Modelling Global Conference 2016 and organized a successful symposium (two sessions) titled “Modeling human behaviors/decisions and their impacts on the environment”. According to the Chair of the conference Dr. Brian Fath (also Editor-in-Chief of Ecological Modeling) as well as a conference flyer, his article “Modeling human decisions in coupled human and natural systems: review of agent-based models” (Ecological Modelling 229(24):25-36″) has been one of the most cited papers for the journal. Dr. An traveled to Towson University on May 11-12 and gave a talk titled “Modeling human decision-making and their interactions with the Guizhou Golden Monkey habitat use” (co-authored with S. Yang, H. L. Chen, L. Shi, and W. Zhang).

07 April 2016: During the spring semester of 2016, two spring scholars, Michael Cassidy and Inka Cresswell, went to the Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve (FNNR) in China with funding from Dr. An’s NSF project. They are experiencing all aspects of an international field trip, from camera trapping of monkey behavior, to vegetation sampling, to land use mapping … and household survey at the local villages is also in their activity package. Here let us join their journeys at FNNR.

04 April, 2016: Dr. Guangming He will start working as a consultant on Dr. An’s NSF project “Impacts of Ecosystem Service Payments in Coupled Natural and Human Systems” and Dr. Stow’s NASA project “The Urban Transition in Ghana and Its Relation to Land Cover and Land Use Change Through Analysis of Multi-scale and Multi-temporal Satellite Image Data”. Dr. He has extensive experiences and expertise in software development, database design / development / administration, and modeling human-environment interactions. Welcome Dr. He!

07 March, 2016: Two undergraduate students, Michael Cassidy and Inka Cresswell, have been selected to participate in the Spring Scholar Program which is funded by the National Science Foundation CNH Project in China: Impacts of Ecosystem Service Payments in Coupled Natural and Human Systems (2012-2016; PI: Dr. Li An). During a two-week visit to the Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve in China, the undergraduate students will concentrate on data collection using vegetation sampling, camera trapping, and land mapping. The scholars will also assist with household surveys in the local villages. The students will work with Postdoctoral Scholar Hsiang Ling Chen and PhD student Shuang Yang of San Diego State University, receiving not only training for all relevant field activities but also experience in international fieldwork. Prior to the start of the Spring Program, a representative from Instructional Technology Services will train the scholars on camera and tripod operations, videography techniques such as framing, planning a sequence of shots, shot duration, and camera moves as well as the ethics of video recording. While in Fanjingshan, the scholars will collect video documentation of the reserve and surrounding areas.

13 October 2015: A symposium was held to welcome delegates from FNNR: Ms. Ni Yang, Head of the Department of Human Resources, Mr. Yuanpin Zhai, Head of the Director’s Office and Lei Shi, Head of the Department of Scientific Research and Education. The delegation was welcomed by SDSU Geography Department Chair, Piotr Jankowski; Managing Director of the Confucius Institute, Lily Cheng and SDSU Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, Norma Bouchard. Presentations were given by Dr. Li An and Hsiang Ling Chen about the CNH Project, and Ni Yang and Lei Shi about FNNR conservation.

The visitors were then taken on a tour of the SDSU campus and visited locally-preserved areas in San Diego. During their eight-day visit, the delegates saw various sites including the world-famous Grand Canyon National Park.

23 September 2015: A hearty welcome of Lei Shi, visiting scholar invited by Dr. Li An on behalf of the whole PES project, to provide assistance to our project. He is biologist and the head of department of scientific research and education in the Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve (FNNR) Administration in China. FNNR is the major collaborator of the NSF funded “Golden Monkey” project. During his 5-week stay at SDSU, Mr. Shi will be working with, and receive training from, researchers in a variety of fields such as GIS and remote sensing, biostatistics, social survey methodology, and data analysis.

29 June 2015: Doctoral student Shuang Yang passed his comprehensive exams and advanced to PhD candidacy. Congratulations Shuang! See the STACS website for more details.

24 June 2015: Dr. Hsiang Ling Chen started her fieldwork since mid-April, deploying infrared digital cameras, conducting vegetation plot surveys according to a Digital Hemispherical Photography (DHP) that has been used by other team members, collecting data from SIM cards in cameras that were placed earlier, training local helpers for data collection and for battery replacement, etc. Her intensive work was fruitful—As of June 24, a total of 37 cameras were deployed at various areas within FNNR, and 37 vegetation plots surveyed in the context of frequent bad weather occurrences (that made any fieldwork impossible) and very tight schedule of FNNR helpers.

17 June 2015: Doctoral student Shuang Yang is leading a team of 11 Tongren University students to conduct household surveys in regard to local villagers’ willingness to participate in several Chinese governmental programs that focus on payments for ecosystems services (PES). According to the questionnaire and protocol developed by Dr. Li An, the team is collecting data on households that were interviewed last year, for which we have data about their household demography, economy, various activities, etc. The 11 local students are Luo Chao, Li Honglin, Zhu Chunyan, Huang Qin, Luo Jian, Wen Yulin, Wu Shengcai, Chen Long, Wu Chengyun, Dong Taiqin, and Ding Wenru.

08 June 2015: Project PI Dr. Li An traveled to Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve (FNNR) during 18 May 2015 and 08 June 2015. The major goal of this trip is to collect additional data on land use and several interacting payment for ecosystem services (PES) programs. Dr. An’s trip first aimed at testing the questionnaire about parcel-level land use decisions, forestland patrolling decisions, and household income compositions. With help from doctoral student Shuang Yang and FNNR collaborator Lei Shi, a total of 11 Tongren University students were recruited to participate in the training and subsequent household survey sessions. One highlight of the survey is the on-site use of Google Earth on a laptop computer. The student surveyor asked each local villager to map their land parcels (relative to his house and nearby topographic features) on the corresponding Google Earth map. Dr. An also met Dr. Hsiang Ling Chen, postdoctoral fellow working at FNNR since mid-April.

25 April 2015: Sponsored by the AAG Spatial Analysis and Modeling group, the Geographical Information Science and Systems group, and the Human Dimensions of Global Change group, our CNH project members Dr. Li An and PhD student Stephen Crook chaired and organized two sessions on “Payments for Ecosystem Services: Paths toward Sustainability” at the Association of American Geographer (AAG) Conference in Chicago, April 25, 2015.
These back-to-back sessions aimed to explore possible pathways toward PES sustainability. The presenters addressed the complex and reciprocal relationships between PES programs and related socioeconomic, demographic, and environmental systems. During the sessions, thirteen researchers presented their work in PES programs in multiple study sites all over the world, covering a variety of research aspects of the programs, such as potential mechanisms of PES, empirical consequences of PES, and methodological issues associated with PES.

09 April 2015: Dr. Hsiang Ling Chen successfully defended her dissertation at University of Arizona and moved to San Diego State University for her new position as a postdoctoral research fellow. Dr. Chen has been busy preparing for her fieldtrip to Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, China. Prior to her departure, Dr. Chen plans to meet with other project researchers Drs. Stow, Lewison, and An as well as doctoral student Cindy Tsai in the hope that her trip will be able to combine vegetation plot survey with the golden monkey camera trapping work. After a short stay at San Diego, she will leave for China on April 13.

30 March 2015: CNH Project member Stephen Crook attended the Natural Capital Symposium at Stanford University last week. At the symposium, he was exposed to current research on methods of valuing the numerous services nature provides while receiving training on software used to spatially model changes in an array of such services. These methods may prove useful in gaining new insight into the potential future outcomes of PES scenarios in Fanjingshan and elsewhere.

27 March 2015: Dr. Shaowen Wang came to SDSU and provided advice on the CNH team’s research on Cyber-space based agent-based modeling. Visit for detail.

18 March 2015: Dr. Li An went Washington D.C. and served on an NSF panel. See for detail.

05 March 2015: Invited by Dr. Heejun Chang on behalf of an NSF IGERT project at Portland State University (PSU), Dr. An went to PSU and made lectures and a workshop about payments for ecosystem services and agent-based modeling. See for detail.

13 January 2015: Hsiang Ling Chen accepted the offer from Drs. Lewison and An. The SDSU Foundation sent Hsiang Ling Chen a follow-up offer letter (required as part of the hiring process) later and received Hsiang Ling’s signed response on 27 February 2015. Hsiang Ling will take lead in the project’s mammalian habitat occupancy and diversity research, coordinate and participate in the vegetation fieldwork at FNNR, and get involved in other related tasks. Welcome aboard Hsiang Ling!

04 January 2015: Drs. Li An and Rebecca Lewison, on behalf of the whole CNH project team, made an offer of two-year Postdoctoral Research Fellow position to Hsiang Ling Chen, doctoral candidate at University of Arizona. Her excellent background in wildlife ecology and conservation biology is considered valuable to our project. Her presentation “Mountains beyond mountains: a journey of research, a journey of life” impressed the CNH team a lot.

13 December 2014: The Golden Monkey project team along with SDSU International Studies Education Program (ISTEP) and the SDSU Confucius Institute coordinated to bring together a small elite group of elementary school teachers for a curriculum workshop. This targeted effort was an abbreviated version of previous educational workshops that had run through the project and was aimed at producing a highly developed and standards based curricular unit for dissemination through both the Confucius institute and ISTEP to elementary teachers all over San Diego.

ISTEP director Dr. Emily Schell led the workshop while Dr. Li An and Ph.D student Shuang Yang provided project content and information. After getting the teachers up to speed on the project components and status in the morning the group focused on outlining and planning out the unit to be developed. With extensive discussion with Li and Shuang about all aspects of the Golden Monkey project such as research ideas, background theories, and ground-situation at the study area, the teachers made the step toward creating the unit by deciding what core ideas, concepts, and themes to focus on. Afterwards, they created a logical order of lessons to comprise the unit. While each lesson will be unique, they will build all lessons and scaffold them onto each other to create a cohesive and in-depth unit. This process started with a lengthy and very spirited brainstorming of ideas and interests, followed by connecting these ideas to project resources and materials. Then the participants started the alignment with standards and grade appropriate themes. From this brainstorm came some specific goals for lesson development. Going along with the lessons, there will be several diverse assessments for student learning outcomes. The continued creation of supporting materials and curation of project resources for teachers will help support not only teachers’ creation and implementation of the unit but will offer opportunities for teachers to implement a variety of extension activities and explorations.

Following the creation of the unit action plan at the workshop each participant will be tackling a piece of the unit. Early next year our group will reconvene in order to conglomerate the lessons into a cohesive unit that will then enter the editing phase before initial implementation (alpha testing) which will be followed by full dissemination. The basic structure of the initial curriculum development is outlined below.

Tentative Golden Monkey Unit

  • -Overview Introduction lesson
  • -Environment/Ecosystem lesson
  • -Human/Environment Interactions (CNH) lesson
  • -Conservation/Actionable Learning lesson
  • -Summative project

This workshop aimed at creating a unit that is highly structured around the common core English and social studies literacy. In addition the California state standards for the target grade levels (2-4) will be aligned with the common core. With the current national focus on STEM education the units interdisciplinary approach will incorporate these concepts and focuses throughout the unit. When completing this curriculum along with the previous work of the projects other teachers will compile a variety of work to be disseminated and help raise awareness while being an ideal case study for a variety of subject areas in k-12 education.

08 July 2014: Several members of the “Golden Monkey Project” recently returned from a trip to the area in and around the Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve in Guizhou, China. The primary purpose of the trip was to set up the household surveys upon which much of the analysis for the Golden Monkey Project will rely. The researchers who joined for at least some of the trip included Professors Li An (SDSU), Richard Bilsborrow (University of North Carolina), Minjuan Wang (SDSU), and Lilly Cheng (SDSU). In addition, six students associated with SDSU Geography attended: doctoral students Shuang Yang, Jie Dai, and Steve Crook; masters student Steve Allison; and undergraduates Justin McMillan and Amber McKinney.

The early part of the trip consisted of establishing and improving relationships with important local partners, including schools, colleges, local government, and reserve staff. Shortly thereafter, 18 students from Tongren College were hired to conduct field surveying, with Dr. Bilsborrow and Shuang Yang leading an intensive, multi-day social survey workshop. Then, surveying began, with the students canvassing villages and conducting the first few dozens of what will be hundreds of surveys. Meanwhile, Justin and Amber collected footage that will be used to create a series of film clips that will give an overview of the entire research process. Now Shuang and Jie are leading the 18 students from Tongren College to conduct household surveys, which will end around the end of July.

Participants on the trip were also exposed to local tourist sites and cultures. Sightseeing highlights included a day exploring the core zone of Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, a visit to the impressive Nine Dragon Cave, and a musical performance in a traditional ethnic Dong village. Wherever they went, the team was able to enjoy rich regional cuisine featuring fresh, local ingredients. Overall, the trip was a major success, paving the way for groundbreaking research and giving both researchers and students new insights into the environment and culture of a unique part of the world.

05 May 2014: Dr. Li An has been recently awarded the SDSU President’s Leadership Fund, which is aimed at “building on excellence” in support of student success, research and creative endeavors, and community and communication. For more information, visit

15 April 2014: The “Golden Monkey” project team successfully organized and held a series of three special sessions on “Evaluating Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES): Evidence from a Chinese Nature Reserve” at the Association of American Geographer (AAG) Conference in Tampa, April 10, 2014. Focusing on the NSF project at Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, China, the aim of these sessions was to seek input and comments from an ad hoc external committee and the general AAG audience.

Sponsored by Spatial Analysis and Modeling Specialty Group, Geographic Information Science and Systems Specialty Group, and Human Dimensions of Global Change Specialty Group, two paper and one panel session took place, with nine presentations being made by professors and students working on the project. Covering a variety of aspects and features of the project, presentations were made by Dr. Li An (project overview), Dr. Xiaodong Chen (PES concept and work in Wolong, China); Shuang Yang (social-economic issues for PES); Dr. Douglas Stow (forest and land cover analysis); Dr. Rebecca Lewison (ecological processes and patterns); Jennifer Feltner (modeling monkey distribution and habitat use); Dr. Minjuan Wang (Outreach to K-12 teachers and students, U.S. and China); Stephen Crook (systems modeling framework); and Steven Allison (place attachment and participatory mapping).

The external committee consists of four experts with great prestige in relevant fields: Emeritus professor Dr. Michael F. Goodchild from University of California – Santa Barbara, Dr. Anne Chin from University of Colorado Denver, Dr. Weihua Xu from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Meghan Cope from University of Vermont. Serving as evaluators of our project performance, they attended all the sessions. With great enthusiasm and interest, they asked questions, offered suggestions, and interacted with presenters about their research.

01 April 2014: SDSU Biology doctoral student Jennifer Feltner was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship for her proposal, “Linking Human Activities and Conservation Policy to Mammal Diversity and Distribution in Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, Guizhou, China.” As stated on the program website the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in science who are pursuing research-based graduate degrees. As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the GRFP has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers.

NSF GRFP Fellows are anticipated to become knowledge experts who can contribute significantly to research, teaching, and innovations in science and engineering. We are sure that Jen will continue her excellent work and look forward to her contributions to the field and to the PES project. Congratulations to Jennifer Feltner (, our newest NSF Fellow, and her advisor, Dr. Rebecca Lewison!

SDSU_Visit_to_FNNR__MAR201420 March 2014: Professor Douglas Stow, his wife Christina Jean Whitlow-Stow, and doctoral students Cindy Tsai and Jennifer Feltner made their first trip to Jiangkou, Guizhou province, China and to the project’s study area of FNNR, China. After receiving a warm welcome from FNNR officials and staff members at the Tongren airport the team was whisked back to Jiangkou where their work began almost immediately, conducting a training seminar for 15 staff members and local college students on remote sensing and the digital hemispherical photography (DHP) methods that were later employed in the field. Though the weather was still wintery and foggy due to the time of year, the team was able to get out for a full day in the field on the second day, taking canopy photos from the cable car at FNNR and hiking through different vegetation zones on their way to Mushroom rock. They also made a special visit to the reserve monkey breeding center, where they met four grey snub-nosed monkeys as well as four golden snub-nosed monkeys from the Beijing zoo. The highlight of the trip would come a few days later however, when they embarked for three days of fieldwork and camping out in the mountains of FNNR’s northeast part at Yangaoping, otherwise known as monkey camp. The trip was not only productive (conducting 3 canopy plots, training FNNR staff in the DHP field protocols and really getting a good sense of the monkey habitat), they also had a wonderful time exploring the forest and spending time with several hardworking field guides. Although they were not able to see wild monkeys during the days in the field, they were able to find fresh monkey scat, which is still quite exciting! Later on the team was also able to take an extensive drive around the entire reserve, stopping to explore the southern and western sides of FNNR – on this trip they actually bumped into a group of Tibetan macaques, who unlike the shy monkeys macaque_eating_flowers were very curious about their presence. Although the team most enjoyed being out in the field, they also spent quite a bit of time working in the office with FNNR botanist Shi Lei in order to conduct further training on GIS, remote sensing, and imagery data management, all essential components of the work the project team will be doing in the future. The team also really enjoyed seeing the area and was treated to a great deal of excellent local food.

06 March 2014: Congratulations to our new Undergraduate Summer Scholars!  After an exhaustive search, we have selected two new students to join us for the June 2014 fieldwork excursion.

AmberMcKinney_HatAmber McKinney, our undergraduate Scholar, graduated from Samuel B. Morse High School here in San Diego with honors. Along with her studies in Geography and Journalism, Amber has been actively involved in both community service and environmental conservation. Her work with the San Diego Parks and Recreation Department has given her valuable experience that is desirable for our 2014 expedition. Amber, and her interests in geography, travel, and videography, are a welcome addition to the team.

JustinMcMillan_OutdoorJustin McMillan is getting his bachelor’s in Geographic Information Systems from our own San Diego State.  His experience as a Navy Information Systems Technician, for which he received several honors, will prove invaluable for the project.  Already familiar with many unique cultures around the world, and a real outdoor enthusiast, Justin is sure to provide exactly the support and perspective the project needs.  Welcome!

23 February 2014: The 2014 FNNR delegation has arrived safely back in China. After touring State and National Parks from the Grand Canyon to Joshua Tree to some of San Diego’s protected beaches, our new friends, Party Secretary Yang and Deputy Director Yang, had a full time and we regretfully send them home. Check out some photos here!

13 February 2014: Thanks to the 2014 delegates for an enlightening workshop day here at SDSU. In addition to project PIs Li An, Doug Stow, Rebecca Lewison, and Minjuan Wong, we were joined by Department Chair Piotr Jankoswki and College of Arts and Letters Dean Paul Wong. Thanks to the translation by our graduate assistants, both presentations on Eco-Tourism in FNNR and Major Vegetation Types of FNNR were received warmly and provoked much discussion. As Dr. Stow and GA’s Cindy Tsai and Jen Feltner prepare to leave for fieldwork in March, this workshop was an invaluable information session. Thanks to everyone who attended.

11 February 2014: A warm welcome to our 2014 Delegation from Fanjingshan! Party Secretary Yang, Deputy Director Yang, and Dr. Cui of the Beijing Zoo will be joining us for a 10 scientific exchange and tour of the West Coast.

23 January 2014: Congratulations to Dr. Li An! Dr. An has been selected by the Scholars without Borders as recipient of the SDSU 2013-14 Outstanding International Scholar Award. This award is given to a distinguished faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding contributions to international teaching, scholarship, and research. The award ceremony will take place during our annual Scholars Without Borders Installation Reception, scheduled for 3 PM on Friday, February 21, 2014 at Scripps Cottage.

08 January 2014: We are pleased to announce that Co-PI Dr. Rebecca Lewison has been awarded $450 in Enrichment Funds from the Association of American Geographers (AAG). These funds support the participation of distinguished non-geographers in the AAG annual meeting, being held this year in Tampa FL from April 8-12.

02 December 2013: Dr. An will serve on the Editorial Board of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers.

20 September 2013: Welcome to Jennifer Feltner, Cindy Tsai, and Stephen Crook, our three new PhD students.

Jennifer Feltner is originally from Boston, Massachusetts and graduated from Dartmouth College with a BA in Chinese language and literature in 2001. Jennifer spent several years working in international relations and non-profit management before making a career shift to wildlife and conservation ecology. She completed post-bac coursework in wildlife biology at Colorado State University in 2012 and recently left the Mammals Research Program at Colorado Parks and Wildlife in Fort Collins CO where she worked as a research and field technician for two years. She is excited to combine her previous professional background with her new expertise in mammal ecology as she studies monkey ecology and human interactions in FNNR with the CNH project.

Cindy Tsai is from Taipei, Taiwan, and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Geography from National Taiwan University. She arrived in San Diego in 2009 and began working on GIS and remote sensing projects with Professor Douglas Stow and Professor Emeritus John R. Weeks. She worked locally for some time on mapping issues ranging from vegetation monitoring to border patrol. Cindy is refocusing on environmental issues and Land Use/Land Cover Change with the Golden Monkey Project.

Stephen Crook is from Santa Cruz, California, and graduated from UCLA in 2008. He received his Master’s degree with distinction in Biodiversity, Conservation, and Management from Oxford University in 2012. Stephen spent time both teaching and planning course curricula in Spain and across California, including programs for at-risk youth in San Diego. He plans to continue analysis of complexity in China’s Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve Payment for Ecosystem Services program. Steve is an enthusiastic outdoors man, and enjoys hiking, surfing, or just being in nature.

CampanileFoundationDinner11 September 2013: Invited by Stephen Welter, SDSU Vice President for Research, and Paul Wong, Dean of College of Arts and Letters, Dr. Li An and Shuang Yang attended the Campanile Foundation Annual Board Dinner at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center along with ten other prominent faculty and students. A poster, entitled “The Clock is Ticking for the Golden Monkeys”, was set up in the foyer during the event. With great enthusiasm and interest, many participants stopped by our easel and interacted with Li and Shuang about our NSF CNH project “CNH: Impacts of Ecosystem Service Payments in Coupled Natural and Human Systems”. These participants include Vice President Dr. Stephen Welter, Dean of College of Sciences Dr. Stanley Maloy, and Director of Confucius Institute Dr. Lilly Cheng.

14 June 2013: A 3-day NSF-sponsored summer workshop, with a focus on training local K-12 teachers, was held on June 12-14 at San Diego State University. To fulfill the education objectives of the NSF CNH project, the workshop aimed to help San Diego local school teachers develop new curriculum and learning activities. Under the new curriculum, many K-12 students will be engaged in research about Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) and sustainability of Coupled Natural and Human (CNH) Systems in Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve, China. Eight teachers from three local schools, i.e., Helix Charter High School, Jacumba Middle School, and Pine Valley Middle School, participated in the workshop.

During the workshop, presentations and hands-on trainings were provided to give the teachers insights into the project: Dr. Rebecca Lewison and Dr. Li An gave presentations on Biodiversity and Biology of the golden monkey, respectively, on the first day of the workshop; Dr. Minjuan Wang demonstrated WebQuest and other tools for developing instructional materials. The second day was featured by Dr. Stuart Aitken’s presentation on Participatory Mapping and Pete Coulter’s workshop on Remote sensing imagery interpretation and Google earth. PhD student Shuang Yang introduced social and demographic facts of the research area (FNNR) at the beginning of the third day, followed by Drs. Xiaodong Chen and An’s presentation about China’s Grain to Green program and its implementation.

The successful workshop concluded with discussions about participants’ own plans for their 2013 Fall semester curriculum. These teachers will use the technologies they learned from the workshop, use the data they obtained from the NSF CNH project, and improve their teaching about PES in Coupled Natural and Human Systems. For instance, two teachers will develop tools using WebQuest to teach Math, and two other teachers will develop activities around Google Earth to teach science. One teacher (Rose Ann Morris) created a PowerPoint titled “The Golden monkey, our middle school, and our local community: a look at biodiversity”. Dr. Minjuan Wang will conduct follow-up evaluations with teachers in the 2013 Fall semester, to assess students’ learning outcomes from creative lesson plans. A similar workshop will be held in the summer of 2014, with possible more data and in-depth insights from our project team.

30 January 2013: A delegation of visitors from the Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve (FNNR) Administration was warmly welcomed to the SDSU campus in late January. The delegation consisted of FNNR former director Yeqin Yang, biologist and Head of Department of Scientific Research and Education Yang Qiu, Deputy Head of Department of Finance Hanjun Yuan, and Lei Shi, botanist at Department of Scientific Research and Education. Workshops were held on January 29 and 30 to discuss FNNR’s payment for ecosystem services (PES) programs, socioeconomic and biophysical environment of the reserve, and options for GIS and remote sensing of the area. On the second day Geography Department Chair, Dr. Stuart Aitken, led a workshop on human geography, with discussion of possibilities for participatory mapping and household surveys. Geography PhD candidate Alex Zvoleff gave a GIS and Remote sensing workshop, well attended and appreciated by the delegates and SDSU graduate students. Other highlights of the visit were a tour of the Confucius Institute with a presentation by its Director, Dr. Lilly Cheng, and a campus tour which included the Geography Department labs. The delegation was able to experience San Diego through sightseeing in Mission Bay and boating at the San Diego Yacht Club, and mingle with members of the Geography Department during a BBQ party hosted by Dr. Aitken. This annual visit remains a valuable resource for research opportunities in both countries and continues to facilitate greater collaboration between the FNNR and SDSU’s Geography Department.

01 November 2012: The NSF CNH Project, “CNH: Sustainability of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) in Coupled Natural and Human Systems”, was recently featured in SDSU’s newspaper The Daily Aztec. “If we learn more about the effectiveness of ecosystem payments, we can better understand what it takes to sustain environments, local people’s livelihoods, and endangered species such as these,” An said. To read the full article, see page two of the November 1st edition of The Daily Aztec.

30 October 2012: Professor Li An, the PI of the NSF CNH Project “CNH: Sustainability of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) in Coupled Natural and Human Systems” has received a letter of congratulations from SDSU President Elliot Hirshman for the receipt of a $1.3 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation. This project aims to investigate the interaction between payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs and the corresponding coupled natural and human systems. President Hirshman remarks on the importance of the project to scientific research and the distinction brought to both the Department of Geography and SDSU by this project.

07 September 2012: Four students (3 doctoral, 1 MS) are sought in support of an interdisciplinary project “CNH: Sustainability of Payments for Ecosystem Services in Coupled Natural and Human Systems”, which is newly funded by NSF. The three PhD positions will have emphases in 1) Landscape Ecology, Remote Sensing, and Habitat Analysis; 2) GIScience and Systems Modelling; and 3) Human Geography and Social Demography. The MS position could be any one or combination of: 1) Habitat Modelling, 2) Land Cover Change, 3) Participatory Mapping, and 4) Econometric Analysis.

04 September 2012: The STACS group Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) team has received congratulations from College of Arts and Letters Dean Paul Wong, Provost Nancy Marlin, and SDSU President Elliot Hirshman for their receipt of a $1.3 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate the interaction between PES programs and the corresponding Coupled Natural and Human Systems. President Hirshman noted the importance of the project to the university as a whole, saying “It is wonderful news for you, your colleagues in the college, and the entire university. I look forward to hearing more about the outcomes of your work as you proceed.” Congratulations to the project team! See the August 22, 2012 news item for additional details on the research project.

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