Robert Zupko

Social Sciences
Area of research
Application of computer modeling to evaluate the sustainability of environmental policy
The Upper Peninsula is a strong candidate for the development of biofuels from logging debris or short rotation crops grown as feedstocks. However, it is unclear what the long term impacts of a biofuels industry would be on the region. My research uses computer modeling to project and evaluate the possible impacts
Synopsis of research
Long term concerns such as climate change have increasingly lead to the exploration of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and biofuels. The Upper Peninsula has plentiful resources for biofuels derived from logging byproducts, but it is unclear if there is current sufficient logging to support biofuels production. My research explores the impacts that various environmental policies would have on the region and its potential to support renewable biofuels. To do so, I develop computer models of the local forests as well as landowners (e.g., non-industrial private forest owners or NIFPOs) and project the impacts that policies would have along environmental, economic, and social dimensions. This work helps us to understand if well-meaning policies would result in a “boom-bust” cycle, or if there would be a sustainable increase in logging and jobs with a minimal impact upon the environment.


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