As a broadly trained agroecologist, Jennifer Blesh, PhD, uses interdisciplinary research approaches to understand the ecological and social outcomes of food systems. Her ecological research focuses on diversified agroecosystems, soil nitrogen and carbon biogeochemical cycles, ecological nutrient management, and legume nitrogen fixation. She also studies social processes that lead to food system transformation, from food production through consumption. Blesh’s research program is guided by a pragmatic motivation to support transitions to more ecologically sustainable and socially just food systems. Prior to her position at SEAS, Blesh served as a post-doctoral fellow with the National Science Foundation International Research Fellowship Program at the Federal University of Mato Grosso in Brazil.
- Stratton, A.E., Wittman, H., and J. Blesh. 2021. Diversification supports farm income and improved working conditions during agroecological transitions in southern Brazil. Agronomy for Sustainable Development. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-021-00688-x.
- Blesh, J. and T. Ying. 2020. Soil fertility status controls the decomposition of litter mixture residues. Ecosphere 11 e03237. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.3237.
- Stratton, A.E., Kuhl, L., and J. Blesh. 2020. Ecological and nutritional functions of agroecosystems as indicators of smallholder resilience. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. doi:10.3389/fsufs.2020.543914.
- Zimnicki, T., Boring, T., Evenson, G., Kalcic, M., Karlen, D., Zhang, Y. and J. Blesh. 2020. On quantifying water quality benefits of healthy soils. BioScience. doi:10.1093/biosci/biaa011
- Jain, M., Singh, B., Rao, P., Srivastava, A.K., Poonia, S., Blesh, J., Azzari, G., McDonald, A.J., and D.B. Lobell. 2019. Using satellite data to evaluate and target sustainable intensification interventions can double their impact. Nature Sustainability 2: 931-934. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-019-0396-x.
- Blesh, J. 2019. Feedbacks between nitrogen fixation and soil organic matter increase ecosystem functions in diversified agroecosystems. Ecological Applications. https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.1986.
- Bukovsky-Reyes, S., Isaac, M., and J. Blesh. 2019. Effects of intercropping and soil properties on root functional traits of cover crops. Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Environment. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2019.106614.
- Blesh, J. Hoey, L., Jones, A.D., Perfecto, I. and H. Friedmann. 2019. Development pathways toward “zero hunger.” World Development 118: 1-14.
- Valencia, V., Wittman, H., and J. Blesh. 2019. Structuring markets for resilient farming systems. Agronomy for Sustainable Development 39: 25.
- Blesh, J., VanDusen, B.M., and D.C. Brainard. 2018. Managing ecosystem services with cover crop mixtures. Agronomy Journal 111: 826-840. doi:10.2134/agronj2018.06.0365
- Vandermeer, J., Aga, A., Allgeier, J.E., Badgley, C., Baucom, R., Blesh, J., Fink Shapiro, L., Jones, A.D., Hoey, L., Jain, M., Perfecto, I., and M.L. Wilson. 2018. Feeding Prometheus: An interdisciplinary approach for solving the global food crisis. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 2:39. doi: 10.3389/fsufs.2018.00039.
- King, A.E. and J. Blesh. 2017. Crop rotations for increased soil carbon: perenniality as a guiding principle. Ecological Applications. doi: 10.1002/eap.1648.
- Blesh, J. 2017. Functional traits in cover crop mixtures: biological nitrogen fixation and multifunctionality. Journal of Applied Ecology. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.13011.
- Schipanski, M.E., MacDonald, G.K., Rosenzweig, S., Chappell, M.J., Bennett, E.M., Bezner-Kerr, R., Blesh, J., Crews, T., Drinkwater, L.E., Lundgren, J., and C. Schnarr. 2016. Realizing resilient food systems. BioScience. doi:10.1093/biosci/biw052.
- Crews, T.E., Blesh, J., Culman, S.W., Hayes, R.C., Jensen, E.S., Mack, M.C., Peoples, M.B., and M.E. Schipanski. 2016. Going where no grains have gone before: from early to mid-succession. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 223:223-238. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2016.03.012.
- Blesh, J. and H. Wittman. 2015. “Brasilience”: Assessing resilience in land reform settlements in the Brazilian Cerrado. Human Ecology 43:4. doi:10.1007/s10745-015-9770-0.
- Blesh, J. and S.A. Wolf. 2014. Transitions to agroecological farming systems in the Mississippi River Basin: Toward an integrated socioecological analysis. Agriculture and Human Values 31:621-635. doi: 10.1007/s10460-014-9517-3.
- Blesh, J. and L.E. Drinkwater. 2013. The impact of nitrogen source and crop rotation on nitrogen mass balances in the Mississippi River Basin. Ecological Applications 23(5):1017-1035. doi:10.1890/12-0132.1.
- Managing functional diversity (e.g., cover cropping, intercropping, perennial grains) in agroecosystems to increase soil carbon storage, enhance internal nutrient cycling capacity, and reduce environmental impacts
- Understanding variation in legume nitrogen fixation in agroecosystems
- Identifying social and ecological factors that support or constrain adaptive, ecosystem-based management and social-ecological resilience of food systems
- Understanding linkages between agrobiodiversity, dietary diversity, and human and ecosystem health
PhD, Cornell University (Soil and Crop Sciences)
MS, Cornell University (Soil and Crop Sciences)
BS, University of Georgia (Ecology)