Future Plans


Her Ph.D. is finished, and her work has been reviewed by fellow scientists and published in the scientific journal Environmental Management. You might suppose that after four or more years of thinking about the nation’s grass, Milesi might be a little sick of the topic. But she says she’s still interested in lawns.

  Page 3
  Aerial photo of a city park

Among her next projects, she says, “I am planning on extending the research to other components of urban vegetation, such as the urban tree cover and seeing how it compares to lawns. And I want to look at how water use and carbon cycling are impacted by changes in climate, such as during droughts or with longer growing seasons due to increases in temperature. I am also interested in quantifying other benefits of urban vegetation to urban living, such as its contribution to the mitigation of the urban heat island effect and to pollution removal.”

So, she’ll still be thinking about lawns, she says, just not her own. “Obviously, I don’t fit completely into my model’s control group of ‘no water and no fertilizer,’ because if so, I wouldn’t be able to grow a lawn in northern California.” But you won’t find streams of water running from sprinklers in her yard. Instead, she gives her lawn just barely enough water to hang on through the hot, dry summers. Laughing, she admits that her family’s small lawn “is easily the worst-looking lawn on the block,” and unless northern California undergoes a radical climate revolution, it’s likely to stay that way.

  • References:
  • Milesi, C., S.W. Running, C.D. Elvidge, J.B. Dietz, B.T. Tuttle, R.R. Nemani. (2005) Mapping and modeling the biogeochemical cycling of turf grasses in the United States. Environmental Management 36(3), 426-438.

In future projects, Milesi wants to extend her research to other types of urban vegetation, for example comparing urban tree cover to lawn area. She is also interested in studying the potential benefits of different types of urban vegetation on urban living, for example, how vegetation helps to cool urban areas and to reduce pollution. (Image courtesy Photos.com)