Human land-use change has transformed our world more than any other environmental change. These land-use impacts rival climate change and pressure is mounting with growing population and consumption trends. In the Gibbs Land Use and Environment Lab (GLUE), we study human environment interactions and aim to reconcile forest conservation, climate change, and food security by informing policy and market-based strategies. We use GIS, remotely sensed imagery, econometrics, Big Data, and commodity supply-chain analysis combined with stakeholder interviews in the field to understand how and why humans use land around the world. We also quantify what these land-use changes mean for ecosystem services, particularly carbon storage and emissions. Our work bridges disciplines, scales and perspectives by linking the top-down global view with the detailed place-based view provided by case studies and field work.

We aim to make change in the world by conducting scientific research immediately relevant to policymakers, industry, non-governmental organizations and others working on the ground. In GLUE, we frequently establish partnerships with policy and action-focused organizations and industry, and work with them to identify tipping point questions that could inform our scholarship. We are also committed to communicating our science through the media and policy briefs for general audiences.

GLUE has a strong sense of team spirit and energetic working environment maintained in part by weekly lab group meetings, daily informally interactions, social events and frequent visits by colleagues from other disciplines and countries. We are housed in the Nelson Institute’s Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE). Please check out possible opportunities to learn more about joining GLUE.

GLUE is part of the Department of Geography and the Nelson Institute’sCenter for Sustainability and the Global Environment.





Holly Gibbs, assistant professor in the Department of Geography, meets with her graduate research students in the Wisconsin Energy Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Feb. 10, 2016. Gibbs is one of twelve 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award recipients. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)