The UCSB brown-bag forum on spatial thinking presents

Geospatial Impact Evaluation: Using Land Cover to Measure the Impacts of Development Programs


Mark Buntaine, Bren School of Environmental Science, UCSB

12:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 20, 2015 | Phelps Hall 3512 (map)

buntaine_thinkspatial_2Abstract. Knowing where international development projects are located opens up new ways to evaluate their impacts. Fortunately, land cover data associated with program effectiveness is now widely available across time and space. Using a land tenure program in Ecuador that attempted to decrease deforestation as an example, this talk will illustrate the promise of geospatial impact evaluation as an extension of evaluation techniques commonly employed in the social sciences. Geospatial impact evaluation is particularly useful to understand impacts of policies and programs over longer periods of time, where traditional methods of data collection are prohibitively costly. This approach to evaluating programs can be applied to a wide range of development priorities, including agriculture, natural resource management, infrastructure development, and the management of pollution.


Mark Buntaine‘s research investigates the sources of effective environmental policy in developing countries, with an emphasis on the targeting and impact of foreign aid. Although many of the world’s most significant environmental problems occur in developing countries, the implementation of environmental policies is often challenging because of inadequate resources and poor governance. Buntaine leads a range of international projects that deal with the allocation practices of aid donors, the participation of citizens in environmental policy-making, the relationship between public and private financing of environmental technologies, the processes that lead to effective government reform, and the evaluation of environmental projects, among other interests. Prior to arriving at the Bren School in 2013, he served on the faculty in the Government Department at the College of William & Mary. He has done fieldwork in many countries across Asia, Africa, and South America.

The objectives of the ThinkSpatial brown-bag presentations are to exchange ideas about spatial perspectives in research and teaching, to broaden communication and cooperation across disciplines among faculty and graduate students, and to encourage the sharing of tools and concepts.
Please contact Andrea Ballatore (893-5267, to review and schedule possible discussion topics or presentations that share your disciplinary interest in spatial thinking.

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ThinkSpatial: Mark Buntaine