Sustainability Science Program

Rachael Garrett

Rachael Garrett

Rachael GarrettDr. Rachael Garrett
Sustainability Science Program
Kennedy School of Government
Mailbox 81
Harvard University
79 JFK Street
Cambridge, MA 02138 USA
Office: 504 Rubenstein Building
Tel: (1) 617-496-9330
Group affiliation: Giorgio Ruffolo Post-doctoral Research Fellow

Rachael Garrett is a Giorgio Ruffolo Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Sustainability Science, National Science Foundation Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability Fellow, and Fulbright Foundation NEXUS Regional Scholar. As an interdisciplinary social scientist with a focus on agriculture, rural development, and conservation, Rachael’s expertise spans the fields of agricultural economics, land systems science, and economic geography. Her post-doctoral research examines the feasibility of scaling up diversified and integrated crop and livestock systems in the United States and Brazil to simultaneously promote rural livelihoods, enhance on-farm ecosystem services, and improve farmers capacity to adapt to climate change. Rachael's other research interests include: analyzing agricultural supply chains to better understand how supply chain structure influences leverage points for conservation; measuring the welfare impacts of agricultural development in South America; and identifying management practices, market mechanisms, and policies to improve the sustainability of grain and livestock production in North and South America. Rachael is contributing to collaborative work with the Initiative on Innovation and Access to Technologies for Sustainable Development led by William Clark. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Environmental Analysis and Policy from Boston University and a Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University. She received her PhD through the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University in 2013, under the guidance of Professors Eric Lambin and Rosamond Naylor. Rachael’s doctoral research examined interactions between global supply chains, land use, and governance, with a focus on soybean production in South America. Rachael will be starting as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University in July 2015. Her faculty host is William Clark.

Diversifying and integrating agricultural practices in Brazil and the United States for climate change adaptation and sustainable development
This project asks what policies, market mechanisms, and knowledge support systems are necessary to enable transitions to more sustainable agricultural systems in Brazil and the United States, in particular, through increased diversification and integration of specialized systems.

Finding ways to increase the global food supply without further exacerbating climate change, reducing biodiversity, or degrading water resources is one of the most important challenges facing humanity. The goal of this research is to create information that can be used by policy makers and agricultural extension agents to promote the adoption of more sustainable agricultural practices in the Brazilian Amazon and Western United States; regions that contribute immensely to the global food supply, but have experienced rapid environmental degradation in recent years due to agricultural simplification, expansion, and intensification. Integrated crop, livestock, and forestry (ILPF) practices have the potential to greatly improve the sustainability of agriculture and livestock rearing in both Brazil and the United States, but it is not clear whether these systems meet the needs of local stakeholders. It is also not clear what supporting economic conditions and policies are necessary to move ILPF from limited to wide-scale adoption in these countries. These questions are answered using different research designs, including comparative case studies at the national level, regional econometric and process models, and local focus groups. This project is conducted with the cooperation of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa).

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