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Jim Peck presents Jack Liu, University Distinguished Professor, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and director, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, with an MSU coin on behalf of President Lou Anna K. Simon.

Beyond the warm and fuzzy

Everyone loves animals, and in Michigan, we’re particularly fascinated by our Isle Royale wolves and reports of cougars lurking about. But whether we’re talking about wildlife in Michigan, Africa, or Asia, loss of natural habitat creates issues for animals and humans alike.

When the problem begins to affect rare or endangered species or humans become threatened, the concern is elevated to a new level.

Important information about these interactions is coming from researcher Jack Liu and his colleagues in the Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability in their work in China to monitor and study the pandas beloved by people everywhere. Working with partners around the globe, we’re getting new insight into our own interrelationships with wildlife and their habitat through such research—knowledge that will help us develop models for human/environment interactions that can have widespread relevance.

The effects of industrial development might be well embedded in the United States, but in the remote area of China, we’re afforded an opportunity to watch environmental degradation problems as they emerge, and perhaps the worst effects can be arrested before they have irreversible consequences for species such as the panda.