Erik Nelson

Assistant Professor of Economics

I am an economist who:

  • Studies the benefits and costs of managing land to enhance or maintain ecosystem service supply;
  • Studies the benefits and costs of setting aside land for biodiversity conservation;
  • Searches for land-use patterns that meet an ecological or biological goal at least cost to society;
  • Describes the efficiency and efficacy of mechanisms designed to generate cost-effective land use patterns; and,
  • Studies the potential impacts of climate change on agriculture and how agriculture can adapt to or mitigate climate change.


This work – for example, designing policy mechanisms that maximize ecosystem service value at least cost to society or finding land use patterns that maximize species persistence but still generate a targeted amount of economic activity – often requires collaboration between ecologists, biologists, and economists.  My role on interdisciplinary research teams is to provide the appropriate economic theory and computational expertise necessary to meet the research goals.  My expertise in simulation modeling and mathematical programming has been particularly vital to these interdisciplinary projects.  Much of this work has been published in interdisciplinary journals with a wide and diverse audience. 

Education

  • Ph.D. in Applied Economics with a concentration in Environmental Economics and a minor in Conservation Biology, Dissertation: Essays on the Allocation of Federal Species-Specific Recovery Funds under the U.S. Endangered Species Act., University of Minnesota; Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2007
  • M.A. in Public Affairs with a concentration in Environmental Policy and Economic Development, University of Minnesota; Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1998
  • B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science, Boston College; Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, 1993

PDF Curriculum Vitae

Working Papers, Data, and Code

"Ecosystem-based adaptation" (Chapter xx in Climate Change and Biodiversity, 2nd edition)

"Identifying the Impacts of Critical Habitat Designation on Land Cover Change"

"Reclaiming soils to sustain maze and soybean productivity in the Midwestern US given climate change"

                  _________________________________________________________

Data and Methodology for “Box 4.4. Adapting to Climate Change By Maximizing a Supporting Service: Soil Quality” from Climate Change Impacts on Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Ecosystem Services. Technical Input to the National Climate Assessment

Methodology (PDF)

Instructions for using data (PDF)

Zipped folder containing data (ZIP)

Appendices

Appendix to "Evaluating the Role of the Amazon Protected Areas Program and Anti-Deforestation Policies for Supplying Hydropower, Avoiding Carbon Emissions, and Economic Returns in the Brazilian Amazon" pp. 63-78 in A.A. Aguirre and R. Sukumar, eds. Tropical Conservation: Perspectives on Local and Global Priorities. (2016) Oxford University Press, New York. (PDF)

Modeling and Simulating Land-Use Change on Sumatra, Indonesia. Technical appendix for Marlier, Miriam E., Ruth DeFries, Derric Pennington, Erik Nelson, Elsa Ordway, Jeremy Lewis, Shannon Koplitz, and Loretta Mickley. 2014 "Future fire emissions associated with projected land use change in Sumatra" Global Change Biology, doi: 10.1111/gcb12691. (PDF)

Modeling and Simulating Land-Use Change on Sumatra, Indonesia. Appendix Database A for Marlier, Miriam E., Ruth DeFries, Derric Pennington, Erik Nelson, Elsa Ordway, Jeremy Lewis, Shannon Koplitz, and Loretta Mickley. 2014 "Future fire emissions associated with projected land use change in Sumatra". Global Change Biology, doi: 10.1111/gcb12691. (.xlsx)

Appendix for "Obesity Overtaken by Leanness as a Repeated Game: Social Networks and Indirect Reciprocity" (PDF)

Links

Your Call, 09/22/09, KALW, Biofuels.

CNNMoney, 11/09/11, 2012 candidates slip on Econ 101.

The Natural Capital Project

InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs)