Main

Oliver Hoidn

Deforestation

Second Presentation

First Presentation

Questions from the second presentation

  1. What is currently being done about deforestation in Brazil and Indonesia? Is there an international agenda in place? And if so, how effective is the policy?
  2. In your second presentation you mentioned that American corn-ethanol subsidies were driving up the global prices of other food-stocks, including soy beans, thereby providing an economic incentive for Brazilians to convert parts of the Amazon to soy-bean farms. What political action has taken place to prevent this kind of thing from happening, if any? Does the Kyoto Protocol, for example, count deforestation as a kind of carbon emission since unperturbed forests absorb carbon dioxide? [SJL]

Questions from the first presentation

  1. Zooming in on the seasonal CO2 change due to the earth’s tilt, the change seems to have stayed constant. Wouldn’t this indicate that deforestation has not had a large effect since the trees are still having the same effect on seasonal variation.
  2. What atmospheric level of CO2 can the oceans absorb without changing their pH significantly?
  3. Where are the peat bogs on Earth? (map?)
  4. What are the consequences of the yearly addition of 3.5 gigatons of carbon to the atmosphere? Assuming we were able to regrow 25% of the forests, what effect would that have on the carbon in the atmosphere?
  5. What exactly is the release of carbon doing to the atmosphere?
  6. How important is it to address these issues and how likely is there to be a solution?
  7. How long would reforestation efforts have to be in effect before they create a noticeable change in the environment?
  8. In light of the data on peat bogs, is deforestation a big problem or should we be focusing our conservation efforts on peat bogs?
  9. Could a company that solely bought land and grew trees be economically profitable? (assuming cap and trade etc) And what kind of regulation from the Government could help protect the amount of land dedicated to tree growth?
  10. What are the economic pressures driving deforestation? What do people do with the cleared land in the Amazon? Indonesia?
  11. Where are the bogs and how fast do they grow? Could we carpet huge amounts of land in bog to hold in CO2?

Some further questions

  1. Does planting plantations of trees sequester a significant amount of carbon? Do you have to cut them down, bury them, and plant more to have a significant impact?
  2. If the northern hemisphere warms enough to thaw parts of Siberia and Canada, what consequence will this have for greenhouse gas emissions?
  3. Is desertification in Africa being accelerated by deforestation? If so, what can be done about it?
  4. Are there places in the world where significant reforestation is taking place?
  5. What strategies are being employed to dissuade Brazilians from slashing and burning the rainforest? What are the power dynamics around rainforest policy within Brazil? Same questions for Indonesia.

~Peter Saeta 2010 March 10 at 01:54 PM PST


  • Impact of deforestation on global climate change.
    • Forests as both sinks and sources of carbon dioxide. What's the total biomass of the world's forests; how large a repository for carbon do they make up, compared to the current atmosphere?
    • Reforestation as a means of bringing down carbon dioxide concentrations?
    • Capacity for other crops to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.
  • Local environmental and economic impacts of deforestation
    • Erosion; long-term effects for agriculture?
    • Regional climate change
    • Water treatment by forests
    • Where will pandas sleep if the forests are gone?
    • biodiversity
  • Motivations for deforestation
    • Agriculture: commercial and subsistence
    • Forests as a fuel source
    • Wood as a commodity

Nuclear waste

  • Types of waste
  • Sources of waste
    • Nuclear energy generation
    • Burning of fossil fuels (radioactive impurities in coal)
  • Human uses for waste
    • Reprocessing of used fuel
    • Other industrial uses (non-energy generation)
    • Nuclear weapons proliferation
  • Methods of sequestration/disposal
    • Geologic sequestration. Storage timescale; risk of contamination as a result of future geologic activity?
    • Life and demise of the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.
    • Disposal into the ocean. Subduction zones?

References

  1. Boom-and-Bust Development Patterns Across the Amazon Deforestation Frontier, http://scienceonline.org/cgi/content/full/324/5933/1435
  2. 'Major World Ecosystem Complexes Ranked by Carbon in Live Vegetation: A Database, http://cdiac.ornl.gov/epubs/ndp/ndp017/ndp017.html
  3. Temperature sensitivity of soil respiration is affected by prevailing climatic conditions and soil organic carbon content: A trans-China based case study, Zheng et al., http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6TC7-4W73KP5-3&_user=945391&_coverDate=07%2F31%2F2009&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1289687387&_rerunOrigin=scholar.google&_acct=C000048959&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=945391&md5=e20a3ecfcafdb768733f9f8b38e0f9b5
  4. Peat and Repeat: Can Major Carbon Sinks Be Restored by Rewetting the World's Drained Bogs?, http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=peat-and-repeat-rewetting-carbon-sinks
  5. Once a Dream Fuel, Palm Oil May Be an Eco-Nightmare, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/31/business/worldbusiness/31biofuel.html?_r=1
  6. Estimates of total carbon storage in various important reservoirs, http://www.esd.ornl.gov/projects/qen/carbon2.html
  7. Carbon Stocks in Brazilian Latosols (Oxisols) from Different Morphoclimatic Regions and Management Systems; F. V. Andrade ; C. E. G. R. Schaefer ; M. L. T. Correa ;E. S. Mendonça; Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 1532-2416, Volume 35, Issue 15, 2004, Pages 2125 – 2136
  8. Monitoring and Measuring Wood Carbon, http://www.sampsongroup.com/Papers/Monitoring%20and%20Measuring%20Wood%20Carbon.pdf
  9. India's Groundwater Disappearing at Alarming Rate, according to recent survey by Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2009/08/10-01.html
  10. Ecological Complexity, including discussion of the impacts of human land cultivation, http://www.ciesin.columbia.edu/docs/002-109/002-109.html
  11. Deforestation and Greenhouse-Gas Emissions, http://www.cfr.org/publication/14919/
  12. The Decomposition of Forest Products in Landfills, http://comenius.susqu.edu/BIOL/312/mical97a.pdf

[PNS] Prof. Cardenas may be able to give you good tips for sources on nuclear waste disposal issues. Bernard L. Cohen (Univ. of Pittsburgh) may have useful information, much available online. See http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/index.html and other postings at http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/