Community Sustainability Professor chose as author for First National Nature Assessment

Dr. Steven Gray, Professor in the Department of Community Sustainability, was selected as an author for the first National Nature Assessment.

The U.S. Global Change Research Program announced the selection of authors for the first-ever National Nature Assessment (NNA1). The diverse team that will number over 150 experts was selected by the 11 NNA1 chapter leads in consultation with federal leadership, based in part on a public call for author nominations. Dr. Steven Gray, Professor in the Department of Community Sustainability, was chosen as an author expert, contributing to the "Nature and its Relationship to Cultural Heritage" chapter. With the full author team in place, the writing phase of the NNA1 is now kicking off.

Gray says of this experience “I am so honored to be chosen for the first ever National Nature Assessment science team conducted by the US Global Change Research Program. This will be the first time the U.S. will take stock of all our lands, waters, wildlife and the benefits they provide to our economy, health, climate, environmental justice, and national security. The Assessment will also look ahead to how nature might change in the future, and what those changes may mean for our economy, our security and our lives.”

Gray is one of a number authors selected from Michigan State for this NNA1 program. Additional NNA1 authors from MSU include Amber Pearson from Geography, Kevin Elliot from Philosophy and Patricia Soranno from Integrative Biology. 

Gray also highlights the benefits of an interdisciplinary national team. He notes, “We’re charged with an extremely big task including answering seemingly basic questions like "what is nature?" and "how is it connected to human-well-being at the national scale?" For example, thinking about Michigan it's not just recreational opportunities for our mental, physical, and social health, but hunting and fishing for consumption, and relying on waterways for economic productivity, and agriculture and food production.”

“In the writing team I will be a part of, we will be exploring, “What are the different cultural heritages and benefits tied to all these activities and how do we assess and measure them and predict future trends?”” Gray says.

Over the next two years, NNA1 authors will take stock of what nature provides to us in terms of its inherent worth, our culture, health and well-being, jobs and livelihoods, and safety, and more, while looking ahead to understand how these benefits might change in the future.

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