About our project

About our project

Expanding horizons for food, energy, water and ecosystem security

FEWscapes is a project led by scientists and educators to advance knowledge and support decision-making for food, energy, water, and ecosystem security in a region that is a major provider of these basic needs nationally and globally: the Upper Mississippi River Basin.

We are a multidisciplinary team of researchers and extension specialists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison who are connecting with agricultural and natural resource professionals, policymakers, and other scientists and educators across the region.

Together, we aim to discover the full potential of our landscapes to support resilient food, energy, and water systems and ecosystems for future generations.

Our Vision and Goals

We envision a future with thriving agricultural landscapes in the Upper Mississippi River Basin that provide communities greater food, energy, water, and ecosystem security, and that are resilient to climate, economic, and political changes.

As a scientific project, we are working toward the following goals:

  • Enhanced understandings of viable options for increasing food, energy, water, and ecosystem security in the region
  • Stronger connections between research and decision-making through the integration of stakeholders’ perspectives and goals with our scientific capacities
  • Next generation policy and management frameworks and decisions that treat food, energy, water, and ecosystems as interconnected systems and reduce risks from abrupt and long-term changes
A girl jumping into a river

What Do We Mean by FEWscapes?

We rely on our landscapes to provide us food and bioenergy and to protect our freshwater, while also supporting healthy ecosystems and biodiversity. FEWscapes refers to the interconnections between these systems and our need to think of them as a whole in order to sustain them.

Our FEWscape

The Upper Mississippi River Basin is a critical breadbasket, biofuel producer, and water tower of the United States that provides for millions of people.

Our Team

We are researchers and extension specialists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with expertise in ecosystem modeling, landscape ecology, hydrology, agroecology, natural resource policy, watershed management, and outreach.

Our Approach

We are combining ecosystem and economic modeling, policy and social research, and stakeholder engagement to discover new insights and inform regional policy and management.

Original Project Proposal

FEWscapes started in 2019 with a grant from the National Science Foundation’s program Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water Systems (INFEWS), and our work will continue through at least 2024.

Download our original proposal to learn more about what’s in store.

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