The Center for Environmental
Science and Policy (CESP)
began research in the Valley in 1992 when Professor Pamela
Rosamond Naylor, and Dr. Ivan Ortiz-Monasterio of the International
Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)
initiated a study of fertilizer use in intensive wheat-based agriculture.
Results of this study indicated that farmers use more fertilizer
than required, and excess fertilizer N is lost in the atmosphere
in the form of trace gases that cause air pollution and to water
systems where it is carried to the Gulf. The researchers evaluated
a number of alternative fertilizer managment options, and found
that farmers could save money by using less fertilizer and still
receive comparable yields from their crops.
Since this initial study,
Stanford's research presence within the Valley has expanded to include
different dimensions of agriculture and variability, the role of
institutions and impact of national and international policies,
water resource use and management, aquaculture development, the
affect on estuaries of upland land use change, and the burgeoning
role of the livestock sector. With the recent introduction of shrimp
farming, researchers are looking at the dynamics of land use change
along the southern Sonora coast and environmental, social and economics
impacts of aquaculture.
In the agricultural sector,
researchers have used a combination of historical remotely-sensed
data, ground-based data, modeling and field surveys to evaluate
the causes and consequences of agriculture intensification and to
analyze the links between agriculture policy and productivity. Economists
and water resource specialists have examined the links between water
management decisions, crop yields and economic impacts on groundwater
use through modeling and economic analysis.
During the past decade,
research support has been provided for by USDA, NOAA, NASA, the
Ford Foundation, the Bechtel Initiative, Pew Charitable Trusts,
and the Packard Foundation.