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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Accounting for Greenhouse Gases: Methane in India

How do we know how much heat-trapping greenhouse gas there is in the atmosphere? What about where these greenhouse gases are coming from? Scientists work hard to answer these questions on global, national, and regional levels. Recently, a group of scientists from India, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States collaborated to evaluate India’s emissions of the greenhouse gas methane. This blog post explains how greenhouse gas accounting is similar to tracking your bank account. The post then discusses in more detail how the India study was conducted, and why its findings are important.

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