I have long been a supporter of ecologically sustainable development. To maintain the ecological conditions in which species and humans can survive is the foundation for ensuring that every creature lives on despite an ecosystem where thousands cease to exist annually.

What we look for in ecologically sustainable development are tolerances in connection with the environment. This often requires evaluating a set of conditions that are natural. We observe, assess and collect data that allows us to capture averages and extremes and how they impact lifecycles. This information can include isothermality, temperature and precipitation distributions. Species data will be used to determine environmental conditions and how a species can persist. And while our estimates cannot be considered absolute, they give us adequate localized information that can be effectively applied to an entire planet.

Once we have a set of effective conditions, the data can be used to build mathematical models of an environment’s tolerances. While there are many approaches to this, the end result will be a set of points in environmental space based on data culled from points in geographic space.

It is a complicated process, but an important one. I — and others like me — are designing algorithms to estimate tolerances and use these results to make geographic determinations of environmental variables. This gives us a greater idea of sustainability across geographic space.

Of course, the science behind ecological sustainable development cannot be fully introduced in the space allowed here. There are concepts and methodological issues that require extensive study. I myself have a Ph.D. in Ecosystem Dynamics. I have worked with the WHO, Parks and Wildlife, Land and Natural Resources services, as well as the San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California San Diego. Through grants from the DOT, USGS and NSF, I was involved in the development of data and computational modeling infrastructures.

My contributions to the academic field have been recognized by the US Immigration Service as an Outstanding Researcher. I am the writer of several articles, including The Future is not Green, but Grey, Suing the Sceptics and the author of Niche Modeling: Predictions from Statistical Distributions. You can find my list of peer reviewed publications here.

While understanding ecological niche modeling may not be for everyone, I do believe it is important that we all know how vital it is to the sustainability of our ecosystems and species.