David Cleveland’s research and teaching focus on small-scale, sustainable agriculture and its role in responding to climate change, resource scarcities, new technologies, and demands for social justice. His current focus is the potential contributions of agrifood system localization to climate change mitigation, improved nutrition, and food sovereignty in Santa Barbara County and California. His 2013 book, “Balancing on a Planet: The future of food and agriculture,” is an interdisciplinary primer on critical thinking and effective action for the future of our global agrifood systems, based on an understanding of their biological and sociocultural roots.
Professor Walsh researches the anthropological political economy of the Mexico-US borderlands. During the last decade, he has studied the ways in which water, land, and labor have been organized to produce commodities in areas marked by aridity, especially northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. His work in this field has been documented in his publication, “Building the Borderlands.” Professor Walsh is currently writing a book about mineral springs and water cultures in Mexico.
Professor Tilman’s research focuses on the causes, consequences, and conservation of Earth’s biodiversity, and on how managed and natural ecosystems can sustainably meet human needs for food, energy, and ecosystem services. His current research explores ways to use biodiversity as a tool for biofuel production and climate stabilization through carbon sequestration. His work on sustainable agriculture and renewable energy has critically examined the full environmental, energetic and economic costs and benefits of grain crops, of current food-based biofuels, and of biofuels made from diverse mixtures of prairie grasses and other native plants growing on already-degraded lands.