The Department's program in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics (ENRE) comprises a diverse group of faculty that work on a broad variety of research topics at the forefront of the national and global policy agenda. The group places a strong emphasis on the involvement of undergraduate and graduate students in hands-on projects. These projects - and participating students - are funded by a variety of national and international, public and private sponsors, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the European Union (EU), and the Kellogg Foundation.
Recent and ongoing research areas tackled by ENRE students and faculty include the economic impacts of climate change policies, the role of nonpoint pollution and nutrient trading in water resources management, the health impact of wildfire smoke in urban areas, forest disturbances and real estate markets, the valuation of energy reliability and infrastructure, incentives and policies in the management of urban water demand, and integrated pest management in developing countries. These efforts are publicized in a variety of peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, and broadly accessible technical reports. Faculty and students alike present research findings at national and international meetings, such as the world congress and annual meetings of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (AERE), the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (EAERE), and the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA).
Moreover, the ENRE team is actively involved in collaborations with regional institutions and organizations, thus bringing research methods and results to local stakeholders and constituents. Most notably, ENRE faculty developed the nationally acknowledged Virginia Natural Resources Leadership Institute (VNRLI), which brings together decision makers from academia, government, and grass roots groups to resolve environmental conflicts and develop policy solutions, with strong focus on economic tools and incentives. Examples of local projects include stream bank erosion, organic agriculture, non-game wildlife management, and water conservation and recycling in horticulture.
Given the breadth of expertise within ENRE faculty, and its long tradition of inter-disciplinary and cross-organizational collaboration, undergraduate and graduate students alike have ample opportunity to engage in hands-on research and networking early in their career. The ENRE program within the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics is truly a place where students are valued colleagues and research partners.