Grace C Wu | About
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I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Studies Program at UC Santa Barbara.

I am an environmental scientist studying how to balance land use for climate solutions and conservation. My research seeks to understand the impact of energy infrastructure on land use and conservation, and to develop practical strategies for avoiding negative impacts. I am broadly interested in the dynamics and drivers of land use change, land use policy, and advancing our ability to plan for sustainable, multi-use landscapes that protect biological diversity. As the study of land use is deeply interdisciplinary, I combine methods from landscape ecology, energy economics and engineering, remote sensing, and spatial science in my research.

Through collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, I have developed a spatial model to understand land-use constraints in meeting ambitious renewable energy targets in California, which led to regulatory improvements that simultaneously advance conservation and climate goals. I co-founded the Multi-criteria Analysis for Planning Renewable Energy (MapRE) initiative, which seeks to enable and improve the planning of low-carbon, cost-effective, socially and environmentally responsible energy systems through the development of decision support tools.

Previously, I was a DH Smith Conservation Fellow with the Nature Conservancy, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. I was also a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Davis. Prior to graduate studies, I worked at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and University of Notre Dame leading a project to understand climate change impacts on an endangered butterfly in the Great Lakes region. I graduated with a BA in Biology from Pomona College, a MPhil in Evolutionary Biology from University of Cambridge, and an MS and PhD in Energy and Resources from UC Berkeley.