deforestation

May 21, 2011

Reforesting reduces flooding and lifts economy

Gretchen Daily

photo: BrokenSphere

In rural China, reforesting cropland on steep slopes has reduced erosion, leading to decreased flooding, according to a new study co-authored by Gretchen Daily (1999). To provide for families who lost farmland to reforestation, the study team used InVEST software to help the Chinese government target farmers to receive subsidies for giving up their cropland and moving to the city. In the city, families earned more on average than they did in the country, except families with only a single parent who could move, suggesting a possible change for future subsidies.

 

April 6, 2011

Saving Ethiopia's forests

Margaret Lowman

photo of "church forest": Google Maps

Ethiopian Christian Orthodox clergy have long maintained small forests, some of the last in the country, around their churches as symbols of the Garden of Eden. In recent years, they have unintentionally threatened the forests by using trees in them for firewood and building materials. Meg Lowman (2006) is partnering with Ethiopian clergy to help local communities sustainably support their "church forests" not just as symbols but also as an essential part of their local ecosystems.

November 8, 2010

Clearing forests cuts down on carbon storage

Jonathan Foley

photo: TJ Watt

Expanding farmland into rain forests is cutting down on the Earth's ability to store carbon. When clearing forests to make farmland, the tropics release twice as much carbon as temperate regions for the same amount of land, according to a new study co-authored by Jonathan Foley (2000). The study also found that tropical farmland yielded half as much crop as temperate farmland.

 

 

June 18, 2010

Deforestation impacts malaria rates

Jonathan Patz

photo: CDC

Malaria-bearing mosquitoes thrive and rates of the disease jump where Amazonian rainforests are cut down, according to a new study led by Jonathan Patz (2005). In the case of one county in Brazil, the researchers found that a reduction in forest coverage of 4% led to a 48% rise in malaria cases.

May 31, 2010

Calculating the effects of land use

Evan DeLucia

photo: Tony Atkin

Methods that declare biofuel use as "zero-emissions" don't account for the entire life cycle of these fuels, from clearing forests to planting crops to putting the fuel in our cars. A new method, described in a paper co-authored by Evan DeLucia (2000), accounts for sources that previous methods miss, like future absorption of carbon by the leveled trees and impacts of nitrogen from fertilizers.

 

February 12, 2010

Demands from growing cities drive tropical forest loss

Ruth DeFries

photo: Thomas Pintaric (for cityscape)

Demands from ever-growing cities in the developing world drive tropical forest loss, finds a study by Ruth DeFries (2001). DeFries analyzed satellite images of deforestation in 41 tropical countries and found a link with national agricultural exports and city growth. She comments, "What we're seeing is a shift from small-scale farmers driving deforestation to distant demands from urban growth, agricultural trade, and exports being more important drivers." See more coverage in The Guardian.