Peter Kumble, Chair
The 20th century witnessed a staggering growth in the population of the United States along with urban migration, climate change, development of resource intensive lifestyles, and low-density residential and commercial development. All of these factors put pressure on the ecosystem services humans are dependent upon for their wellbeing and their enjoyment.1(Ecogystems are "a complex set of relationships among the living resources, habitats, and residents of an area" [Michigan Technological University School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science n.d.]. An ecosystem "includes plants, trees, animals, fish, birds, micro-organisms, water, soil, and people" and, very importantly, "everything that lives within an ecosystem is dependent on the other species and elements that are also part of the ecological community" [ibid]. The interaction between all the elements of an ecosystem and the global force of weather impacts the availability of clean water, nutrient-rich soil, air that is good for breathing, and so much more. Those impacts are commonly known as ecosystem services, which could be efectively defined as a "complex set of relationships among the living resources, habitats, and residents of an area" that help meet a public need, such as for a clean and abundant supply of water suitable for drinking). The existence/nonexistence of those same services are factors in regional planning, because they are not confined neatly to political boundaries. By their very nature these services demand a regional approach to their management and preservation, which is why I pursued a three-course option focused on understanding the role of regional planning in ecosystem conservation and tools for collaboration with Professor Peter Kumble of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at UMass-Amherst as my advisor.