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Bonnie Keeler

Bonnie Keeler is lead scientist for the Natural Capital Project — a collaborative partnership among the University of Minnesota, Stanford University, the Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund. At the Institute on the Environment, Bonnie serves as the project director, leading a team of experts in ecology, economics and software development seeking to better communicate and quantify the value of nature. In collaboration with local and international partners, the Natural Capital Project has elevated the value of ecosystem services in decisions at local to regional scales, developed models and tools to support better management of agricultural and forested landscapes, and advanced the research and implementation of nature-based solutions around the world.

Bonnie’s particular expertise is in better understanding and capturing the multiple values of clean water using biophysical and economic approaches. She also oversees projects on the recreation and mental health benefits of urban parks, the costs and benefits of conservation and restoration, and the sustainable management of agricultural landscapes. Bonnie earned both her Ph.D. and M.S. from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Northfield, Minnesota, with her husband, son, dog, snake and five chickens.

Selected publications

Keeler, B., S. Wood, S. Polasky, C. Kling, C. Filstrup, J. Downing. 2015. Recreational demand for clean water: Evidence from geotagged photographs by visitors to lakes. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.10.1890/140124.

Keeler, B. and S. Polasky. 2014. Land-use change and costs to rural households: A case study in groundwater nitrate contamination. Environmental Research Letters. 9: 074002.

Guswa, A.J., K. Brauman, C. Brown, P. Hamel, B. Keeler, S. Stratton Sayre. 2014. Ecosystem Services: Challenges and Opportunities for Hydrologic Modeling to Support Decision Making. Water Resources Research. 50: 4535–4544.

Keeler, B., S. Polasky, K. Brauman, K. Johnson, J. Finlay, A. O’Neill, K. Kovacs, B. Dalzell. 2012. Linking water quality and human well-being for improved assessment and valuation of ecosystem services. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. doi:10.1073/pnas.1215991109.

Polasky, S., S. Carpenter, C. Folke, and B. Keeler. 2011. Decision-making under great uncertainty: environmental management in an era of global change. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 26: 398-404.

Current projects

“Mental Health Benefits of Nature Experience: Translating Science to Urban Design.” B. Keeler (PI), Kristen Nelson (Co-PI), Lacy Shelby (Co-PI). Sponsor: Office of the Vice President for Research, University of Minnesota. 7/1/2015 to 7/1/2016.

“Informed water management: Mapping scarcity, threats, and values.” B. Keeler (PI), K. Brauman (Co-PI) and T. Twine (Co-PI). Sponsor: Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. 7/2015 to 6/2017.

“Data-Intensive Analysis & Modeling for Socio-Environmental Synthesis pursuit.” B. Keeler (Co-PI) and Spencer Wood (Co-PI). Sponsor: National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center [SESYNC] 6/2015 to 6/2017.

“Value-added conservation: Optimizing landscapes for ecosystem services” B. Keeler (PI). Sponsor: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 7/2014 to 7/2015.

“Sustainable Cities: Building an integrated research network to incorporate natural capital into design of urban systems.” B. Keeler (Co-PI), S. Polasky (Co-PI) and S. Hobbie (Co-PI). Sponsor: Institute on the Environment Project Grant. 6/2014 to 9/2015.

“Optimizing investments in forest restoration to promote ecosystem services and human well-being.” B. Keeler (PI). Sponsor: International Union for the Conservation of Nature. 7/2014 to 9/2015.

“Conservation Easement Assessment and Valuation System.” M. Kilgore (PI), B. Keeler (C0-PI), S. Taff (Co-PI) and S. Polasky (Co-PI). Sponsor: Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. 7/2015 to 12/2017.