Environmental Social Science and Ecological Impacts (ESSEI) Working Group 

The EESEI Working Group will promote the goal of Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative (ND-ECI) by serving as a platform to stimulate intellectual activity in the ECI community and beyond, through active vertical interaction between ND-ECI faculty and postdoctoral researchers and graduate students around crucial research topics. The group will focus on the following specific target research areas:

  • Comparative analysis of forestry sector participation and impacts in diverse contexts across Africa (Liberia and Uganda) and Asia (Bhutan).
  • Social-economic analysis of the impacts of human-water interactions in different contexts in low and middle-income countries primarily in the global south.
  • Analysis of socio-economic impacts of rural electrification (RE) in Africa (Sierra Leone) and Asia (Bhutan).
  • Comparative analysis of climate-smart and resilient agriculture in Africa (Malawi and Zimbabwe) and Latin America (Ecuador and Guatemala).
  • Soil health and grain yield impacts of environmental conservation in Africa (Malawi) and Latin America (Guatemala).
  • Social-ecological impacts of environmental outcomes like per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Brazil.

Proposed benefits and desired outputs

This research group will enhance vertical collaboration between postdoctoral researchers and ND-ECI faculty in environmental social science and research in Africa, Asia, as well as Central and South America. It will result in the following specific outputs:

  • Serve as a platform to stimulate intellectual collaboration between ND-ECI faculty and postdoctoral researchers on social-ecological impact assessment research across context.
  • Use it as a platform to attract research grants for further collaboration on critical research outputs.
  • Shed light on crucial socio-ecological impact assessment methods like matching and the use of instrumental variables for establishing the causality of environmental impacts across contexts.
  • Enhance an understanding of survey design methods and data collection with effective questionnaire development and research protocols.
  • Enhance an understanding of data manipulation skills in Statistical software like STATA, GIS, and R.
  • Improve access to research context, data sources, and publication in reputable journals.
  • Enhance publication of ongoing work by ND faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students’ research outputs from low-and middle-income countries.

Anticipated outcomes

  • At least one white paper and policy brief on social-ecological impact of forest-related outcomes across Africa (Liberia, Malawi, and Uganda) and Asia (Bhutan).
  • Three manuscript drafts of the social-ecological impacts of environmental management outcomes using LSMS and in-country datasets from Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
  • A website that serves as a forum for the delivery of research findings to ease uptake by policymakers and practitioners in diverse contexts.