Earth and Environmental Sciences Faculty

Tara Pisani Gareau

Professor of the Practice

Director of the Environmental Studies Program


Nearly 40% of the Earth’s ice-free land has been converted from wild ecosystems to agriculture to support the growth of the human population.  The conversion of diverse perennial systems, like grasslands and forests, to predominantly annual crop systems of low diversity is connected to many environmental problems such as soil erosion, water pollution, marine dead zones, loss of the Earth’s biodiversity, and climate change.  Conventional agricultural systems have undermined the natural resources upon which they depend.  My research aims to apply ecological principles to restore ecological function and resiliency to agricultural landscapes, while minimizing environmental externalities.  I am interested in understanding how farming systems can be more sustainable in light of climate change.  My areas of interest are in conservation biological control, arthropod community diversity, wild bee pollination services, and interactions between climate and agriculture. 
My research projects include examining the effect of native plant hedgerows on biological control services in California, investigating the effects of tillage and cover crops on epigeal arthropod communities in Pennsylvania forage and feed systems, studying dragonflies and damselflies for their potential to regulate pest populations in the cranberry bog system, and assessing the impact of climate change on the sustainability of cranberry bogs in Massachusetts.  I currently teach EESC3310 Agroecology, EESC2202 Environmental Systems: Ecosystems, EESC1501 Global Implications of Climate Change, ENVS3315 Sustainable Agriculture, and ENVS4941|4942 Senior Research Seminar I and II.  
Recent Publications
  • Pisani Gareau, T. and Gareau, B. J. (2023) Importance of mentorship in core education geared towards educating the whole person. In M. Crane, D. Quigley, and A. Boynton (Eds) Curriculum by Design: Innovation and Liberal Arts Core. Fordham University Press. ISBN: 9781531501334
  • Gareau B. J., Huang, X.*, Pisani Gareau, T., and DiDonato, S.* (2022). Silent Spring at 60: Assessing Environmentalism in the Cranberry Treadmill of Production in Massachusetts. Journal of Rural Studies. 95: 505-520.  
  • Pisani Gareau, T. and Moscovitz, A.* (2021) An overview of urban agriculture youth programs in major cities of the US and the integration of STEM curriculum and activities. In L. Esthers, I., DeCoita, A. Patchen, and N. Knobloch (Eds.) Research Approaches in Urban Agriculture and Community Context. Springer.
  • Gareau, B. J., Huang X.*, Pisani Gareau, T. and DiDonato, S.* (2020) The Strength of Green Ties: Massachusetts Cranberry Grower Social Networks and Effects on Climate Change Attitudes and Action. Climatic Change. 162, 1637.
  • Pisani Gareau, T., Vortman, C., and Barbercheck, M. (2019) Carabid Beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) Differentially Respond to Soil Management Practices in Feed and Forage Systems in Transition to Organic Management. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.
  • Gareau B. J., Huang X.*, Pisani Gareau T. (2018) Social and Ecological Conditions of Cranberry Production and Climate Change Attitudes in New England, PLoS One 13 (12): e0207237,