Managing the Global Commons: Sustainable agriculture and use of the world’s land and water resources

Date: April 7-8, 2022

Location: PMU East Faculty Lounge, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN


Conference Program 

The conference program is available here.


List of Participants and Conference Presentations by Theme

(Click the title of the talk to download speaker slides or notes.)

Welcome and Introduction

Thomas Hertel

Purdue University

Theme 1: Climate Change


Heat stress on humans

Matthew Huber

Purdue University

AgMIP modeling across scales and disciplines

Alex Ruane

NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Climate impacts on agriculture

Laura Bowling 

Purdue University

Local impacts of global climate policies

Maksym Chepeliev

Purdue University
  Shellye Suttles Indiana University
  Sisi Meng Purdue University
  Uris Baldos Purdue University
  Brian Cultice  Ohio State University
  Dominique van der Mensbrugghe Purdue University

Theme 2: Digital Agriculture


Artificial intelligence as a tool for global sustainability

Vipin Kumar

University of Minnesota

Digital agriculture in Brazil

Daniel Padrao

Solinftec Corp.

Frontiers of remote sensing and sustainability

Melba Crawford

Purdue University

Design for Sustainable Agriculture Systems

Ankita Raturi

Purdue University
  Jackie Boerman Purdue University
  Jake Hosen Purdue University
  John Evans Purdue University
  Keith Cherkauer Purdue University

Theme 3: Water Resources


Irrigated Agriculture’s Role in Water Scarcity

Brian Richter

Sustainable Waters

Impact of agricultural water use on streamflow and yields

Tara Troy

University of Victoria

Nutrient transport in the Midwest

Jeff Frey

Indiana Water Science Center, USGS

Multi-scale Analysis of Nutrient Management in the Corn Belt

Jing Liu

Purdue University
  Christopher Perry International Water Management Institute (retired)
  Charlotte Lee Purdue University

Theme 4: Cyberinfrastructure for Sustainability


Future directions for cyberinfrastructure

Amy Walton

CISE/Office of Cyberinfrastructure, NSF

Spatial temporal modeling in a supercomputer environment

Shaowen Wang

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Leveraging Metadata For Multiscale Data Findability, Interoperability, and Reuse

Michael Witt

Purdue University

Engaging the user community with shared computing platforms

Venkatesh Merwade

Purdue University
  Lan Zhao Purdue University
  Carol Song Purdue University

Theme 5: Ecosystems and Biodiversity


Ecosystems in the face of climate change

Jeff Dukes

Purdue University

Land-use change driven biodiversity loss

Abhishek Chaudhary

Indian Institute of Technology

Ecosystem and biodiversity stresses from agriculture

Sylvie Brouder

Purdue University

What would it take to bend the biodiversity curve?

Navin Ramankutty University of British Columbia
  Alfredo Cisneros Pineda Purdue University
  Jingjing Liang Purdue University

Theme 6: Governance for Sustainability


International to local initiatives to preserve biodiversity

Stephen Polasky

University of Minnesota

Property rights and governance of environmental resources

Kenneth Richards

Indiana University

Engaging farmers in sustainability initiatives

Linda Prokopy

Purdue University

Governance and policy design in the presence of uncertainty

David Johnson

Purdue University
  Carson Reeling Purdue University
  Iman Haqiqi Purdue University
  Jacob Ricker-Gilbert Purdue University



Linking global and local sustainability models with improved meso-level analysis

Justin Johnson

University of Minnesota

Spatially explicit economic interactions within and across sub-national regions

Elena Irwin

Ohio State University

Landing change: Top-down policy-making using bottom-up science

Carter Brandon

World Resources Institute


Conference Photos

Photo Gallery 1

Photo Gallery 2


Purpose of the conference 

Ensuring the long-term sustainability of our land and water resources, even as we seek to meet the world economy’s growing demands, requires informed management of the complex networks of policies, infrastructure, and technologies that connect the food and resource nexus. In addressing this challenge, a global perspective is required to determine the boundary conditions facing decision-makers as they seek to craft policies to ensure a sustainable economy and planet. The goals of the conference are: (i) to lead and to learn from other scholars, policymakers, and industry leaders engaged in the analysis of sustainability challenges at global, national, and local scales, and (ii) to identify current challenges in this space and (iii) develop a community-driven research agenda for the next 5 years that tackles those challenges using collaborative, interdisciplinary approaches that are responsive to stakeholder needs.


The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent “a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity, now and into the future.” Of the 17 goals, 8 are closely tied to essential food, land, and water resources that are already under intense pressure. Can the future demands for food, fuel, clean water, biodiversity, climate change mitigation, and poverty reduction be reconciled? What are the tradeoffs of favoring one goal over others? These are challenging questions, given that sustainability in a local context is often driven by global forces, and the pursuit of the SDGs will have global consequences in addition to local and regional impacts.

Our research and engagement efforts in this arena were recognized with a Discovery Park “Big Idea Challenge Award” and applied research consortium: GLASS: Global to Local Analysis of Systems Sustainability ( GLASS aims to promote world-changing researchby cultivating a global community of practice around the open-source analysis of the global-to-local-to-global (GLG) linkages underpinning global sustainability. Our hypothesis is that fine-scale analysis of the SDGs within a global framework will promote responsible public and private investment and sustainable management of critical natural resources.

Conference format 

The conference will take place April 7-8, 2020. The event will cover six cross-cutting themes: climate, water, digital agriculture and machine learning, biodiversity and ecosystem services, governance, and computational approaches to sustainability. Led by members of the conference organizing committee, each theme will feature four speakers – two “local” and two outside speakers. These individuals represent a diverse set of backgrounds, including public and private sectors, NGOs as well as academia. The talks will be designed to emphasize the overarching GLG theme.

This will be a working conference aimed at producing a set of papers for a special issue of the journal Environmental Research Letters, as well as a synthesis that will ultimately be published as a review article in a leading general-interest journal (e.g., Science). In preparation for this event, the leaders are developing detailed review outlines to be shared with speakers in advance of the conference. These will give structure to each session, and these outlines will also serve as building blocks for the ensuing review article and special issue papers. Both days will include working lunches. Lunchtime rooms will be pre-assigned to ensure a mix of backgrounds at each table and will be based on the self-nominated affiliation to each of the six major themes. Each thematic group will report to the entire conference at the end of the lunch. The leaders for each theme will integrate what has been co-created during the discussions into a short summary to be presented in the final session of the conference. The conference will also include an evening reception and dinner on Thursday. When combined with the working lunches, this will provide participants with ample opportunity to network. By gathering together for an exciting conference, featuring cutting-edge, policy-relevant research, we will be in a position to chart the course for future interdisciplinary research on the global-to-local-to-global analysis of systems sustainability.