Monday 20th MAY
Tropical environments Daisy Dent Lecturer, Biological & Environmenta lSciences
We all know that tropical forests store huge amounts of carbon, but forests that grow back on abandoned pasture or agricultural land actively take up atmospheric carbon and store it away in woody stems and branches. In tropical Central and South America, regenerating forests take up carbon at 11 times the rate of undisturbed primary forests. Imagine what a powerful tool reforestation could be for combating climate change! I will discuss the potential of reforesting degraded farmland for carbon storage, and how we can scale up reforestation from farms to landscapes to regions.
Climate smart decisions Jens Arne Subke Associate Professor, Biological & Environmental Sciences
We’re often told that we can off-set emissions from e.g. air travel by “planting a tree”, as they remove CO2 from the atmosphere and store carbon in their biomass. But where does the carbon really end up? I will outline some of the interactions between plants and soil organisms that influence the storage of carbon in ecosystems (which is more than just the plants!), and how environmental changes may affect the effectiveness of this carbon store. In some cases planting a tree may be smart, but in others it may not – we have to focus on the soil to make “climate smart” decisions.
What and when is a native species? Alistair Jump Professor, Biological & Environ Sciences
Species don’t occur everywhere and climate often limits their spread, so as our climate warms we expect species to shift too. Humans also move species around the globe through trade and transport. However, species distributions have changed in the past and the native species of today are just a snapshot in time. How should we cope with ‘new species’? Should we try and keep everything the same or accept some as ‘new natives’? I’ll explore some examples of past and present range shifts and how we decide which species to accept and which we should remove.
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