Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Satellites have changed our ability to see the globe. We can now use satellite data is to monitor change in the amount of land covered by forests, and determine the reasons for that change. In this article, we discuss recent findings global forest monitoring and the impact of supply chain decisions by corporate actors.

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Are your choices really climate friendly?

Emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere are driving global climate change and increasing the occurrence of extreme weather events. Technological advances are not enough to reach the needed reduction in emissions to mitigate impacts of climate change. Households have to pull their weight by altering consumption patterns. Perhaps you already do – by choosing not to own a car and taking public transportation or walking. But have you thought about how you (re)-spend the money you saved by this choice? And how it affects the bottom line of green-house gases emissions.

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Something to chew on: the environmental impacts of our food choices

Hamburger or fish sandwich? Which lunch option has the lowest environmental impact? Consumers and policy makers aiming to make informed choices about what animal protein food sources to support have a new resource available this month, thanks to a review led by University of Washington researchers.

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What’s a Forest Without Trees?

Trees are one of the most important natural resources: they consume carbon dioxide and provide us with oxygen, building materials, and fuel. However, global forest degradation exceeds the total CO2 emissions in the US for both highway vehicles (1.7 Gt CO2e/year) and power generation (1.9 Gt CO2e/year)! A new study discusses the difference between deforestation and forest degradation and why it’s essential to account for both in greenhouse gas emissions management.

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Work smarter and harder: a fieldwork fable involving the investigation of lake greenhouse gas emissions

“Are you sure this is the ramp?” my colleague, Dr. Jake Beaulieu asked the head field researcher, Adam Balz, as we drove up to the site.

The three of us took in the view of the crumbling asphalt inclined plane that disappeared into the lake. According to the map, this was the boat launch. But the usage of the lake had changed from allowing motorized craft to “paddle craft only” several years ago, and now the disused ramp was covered in layers of sandy sediment.  

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What happened to the Great Barrier Reef in 2016?

In 2016, a severe coral reef bleaching event killed ~30% of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef. Abnormally warm global ocean temperatures are becoming more common and intense which will increase the frequency of bleaching events. Forward-looking projections indicate potential coral reef benefits associated with moving toward lower greenhouse gas emission futures. How do we get there?

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Can seaweed farming help fight climate change?

Seaweed farming is the fastest growing sector of food production and provides healthy, nutritious sea vegetables. Farming seaweed can also have positive benefits by decreasing wave action, taking up carbon dioxide, and locally reducing the effects of ocean acidification. Spatial planning, market analyses, and infrastructure development are needed to facilitate the expansion of seaweed aquaculture.

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Rejuvenating Agricultural Soils

Soils play an important role in the global carbon cycle because they can absorb carbon from and emit carbon into the atmosphere. Currently, agricultural soils are not home to very large carbon pools. Recent research investigated the effects of adding carbonized crop residue to soils in agricultural environments in the hopes of finding ways to increase the amount of carbon retained by these soils.

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