Interdisciplinary research at the Urban–Rural interface: The West ga project

As human populations increase, ecological and social issues become inextricably linked to a greater degree. Solutions to complex social–ecological problems can only be derived through the use of integrated research that can account for the interplay of many factors across traditional discipline lines. We are using such an integrated research to clarify relationships among socioeconomic drivers, ecological effects, and social and policy feedbacks associated with urban development of forested landscapes. Our approach is goal oriented and interdisciplinary in nature and involves a team composed of ecologists, anthropologists, and economists who exchange ideas and information across disciplinary lines. The team and approach has evolved through many of the barriers to interdisciplinary research that have been identified by other authors. Our goal is to develop a predictive capability in order to anticipate ecological and social implications of urban development on natural resources in the southeastern United States. Our integrated model and subsequent papers in this special issue are presented.

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