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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 8, 2003

Noted Geographer To Visit UI Oct. 19-21

Billie Lee Turner II, Milton P. and Alice C. Higgins Professor of Environment and Society in the geography department at Clark University, Worcester, Mass., will lecture on global land use and related topics Oct. 19-21 at the University of Iowa as an Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor.

His free, public lecture, "Integrated Environmental Science and Land Change in the Southern Yucatán," will be from 7-8:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19 in Room W151, Pappajohn Business Building.

He also is scheduled to deliver two technical lectures, the first titled, "Back to Brookfield: Uniting Cultural and Political Ecology" from 7-8:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 20 in Lecture Room 2, Van Allen Hall. In addition, he will speak from 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21 in Lecture Room 2, Van Allen Hall on "Vulnerability of the Coupled Human-Environment Systems in Southern Yucatán."

A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, his interests include deforestation of tropical rain forests to sustainable forms of land use. A recipient of the Distinguished Scholarship Award from the Conference of Latin Americanists Geographers, he is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences.

His current research includes land-cover and land-use change in the southern Yucatán peninsular region (LCLUC-SYPR), a project being conducted in cooperation with Harvard Forest and ECOSUR-Unidad Chetumal (Mexico). The project seeks to explain the dynamics of land-use/cover change in the region over the past 25 years and explores ways to wed remotely sensed imagery and social science-based models of this change. The program is funded by the NASA-LCLUC initiative.

A second project, involving sustainability systems, is a joint project with Harvard University, Stanford University, Stockholm Environmental Institute and others. It seeks to develop a framework for the next 10 years of global change research, moving from a largely Earth systems focus toward sustainability. The work is funded by various Washington agencies through the NSF.

Finally, HERO (Human-Environment Regional Observatories) -- a joint project of Penn State University, the University of Arizona and Kansas State University -- seeks to develop data protocols for long-term monitoring and assessments of land and environmental change. Turner is focusing on central Massachusetts urban sprawl and brown fields, with the resulting data to be used to examine the dynamics of land change and urban-suburban development.

His visit is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences department of geography, UI International Programs and the Ida Cordelia Beam Visiting Professor Program.

Ida Beam, a native of Vinton, willed her family farm to the UI Foundation in 1977. Her only university connection was a relative who graduated from the College of Medicine. With proceeds from the sale of the farm, the UI established a fund to bring a variety of top scholars to the university for lectures and discussions.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. Persons with disabilities who require an accommodation in order to participate should contact the department of geography at 335-1818.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,