Publications by authors named "Rik Leemans"

21 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The Mekong's future flows under multiple drivers: How climate change, hydropower developments and irrigation expansions drive hydrological changes.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Feb 17;649:601-609. Epub 2018 Aug 17.

Water Systems and Global Change Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands.

The river flow regime and water resources are highly important for economic growths, flood security, and ecosystem dynamics in the Mekong basin - an important transboundary river basin in South East Asia. The river flow, although remains relatively unregulated, is expected to be increasingly perturbed by climate change and rapidly accelerating socioeconomic developments. Current understanding about hydrological changes under the combined impacts of these drivers, however, remains limited. This study presents projected hydrological changes caused by multiple drivers, namely climate change, large-scale hydropower developments, and irrigated land expansions by 2050s. We found that the future flow regime is highly susceptible to all considered drivers, shown by substantial changes in both annual and seasonal flow distribution. While hydropower developments exhibit limited impacts on annual total flows, climate change and irrigation expansions cause changes of +15% and -3% in annual flows, respectively. However, hydropower developments show the largest seasonal impacts characterized by higher dry season flows (up to +70%) and lower wet season flows (-15%). These strong seasonal impacts tend to outplay those of the other drivers, resulting in the overall hydrological change pattern of strong increases of the dry season flow (up to +160%); flow reduction in the first half of the wet season (up to -25%); and slight flow increase in the second half of the wet season (up to 40%). Furthermore, the cumulative impacts of all drivers cause substantial flow reductions during the early wet season (up to -25% in July), posing challenges for crop production and saltwater intrusion in the downstream Mekong Delta. Substantial flow changes and their consequences require careful considerations of future development activities, as well as timely adaptation to future changes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.08.160DOI Listing
February 2019

Data for developing allometric models and evaluating carbon stocks of the Zambezi Teak Forests in Zambia.

Data Brief 2018 Apr 28;17:1361-1373. Epub 2018 Feb 28.

Environmental Systems Analysis Group, Wageningen University and Research, P.O Box 47, 6700AA Wageningen, The Netherlands.

This paper presents data on carbon stocks of tropical tree species along a rainfall gradient. The data was generated from the Sesheke, Namwala, and Kabompo sites in Zambia. Though above-ground data was generated for all these three sites, we uprooted trees to determine below-ground biomass from the Sesheke site only. The vegetation was assessed in all three sites. The data includes tree diameter at breast height (DBH), total tree height, wood density, wood dry weight and root dry weight for large (≥ 5 cm DBH) and small (< 5 cm DBH) trees. We further presented Root-to-Shoot Ratios of uprooted trees. Data on the importance-value indices of various species for large and small trees are also determined. Below and above-ground carbon stocks of the surveyed tree species are presented per site. This data were used by Ngoma et al. (2018) [1] to develop above and below-ground biomass models and the reader is referred to this study for additional information, interpretation, and reflection on applying this data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.dib.2018.02.057DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5854870PMC
April 2018

Managing flood risks in the Mekong Delta: How to address emerging challenges under climate change and socioeconomic developments.

Ambio 2018 Oct 24;47(6):635-649. Epub 2018 Feb 24.

Water Systems and Global Change Group, Wageningen University, Droevendaalsesteeg 3, 6700 AA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Climate change and accelerating socioeconomic developments increasingly challenge flood-risk management in the Vietnamese Mekong River Delta-a typical large, economically dynamic and highly vulnerable delta. This study identifies and addresses the emerging challenges for flood-risk management. Furthermore, we identify and analyse response solutions, focusing on meaningful configurations of the individual solutions and how they can be tailored to specific challenges using expert surveys, content analysis techniques and statistical inferences. Our findings show that the challenges for flood-risk management are diverse, but critical challenges predominantly arise from the current governance and institutional settings. The top-three challenges include weak collaboration, conflicting management objectives and low responsiveness to new issues. We identified 114 reported solutions and developed six flood management strategies that are tailored to specific challenges. We conclude that the current technology-centric flood management approach is insufficient given the rapid socioecological changes. This approach therefore should be adapted towards a more balanced management configuration where technical and infrastructural measures are combined with institutional and governance resolutions. Insights from this study contribute to the emerging repertoire of contemporary flood management solutions, especially through their configurations and tailoring to specific challenges.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13280-017-1009-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6131129PMC
October 2018

Modelling the impact of future socio-economic and climate change scenarios on river microbial water quality.

Int J Hyg Environ Health 2018 03 5;221(2):283-292. Epub 2017 Dec 5.

Environmental Systems Analysis Group, Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands.

Microbial surface water quality is important, as it is related to health risk when the population is exposed through drinking, recreation or consumption of irrigated vegetables. The microbial surface water quality is expected to change with socio-economic development and climate change. This study explores the combined impacts of future socio-economic and climate change scenarios on microbial water quality using a coupled hydrodynamic and water quality model (MIKE21FM-ECOLab). The model was applied to simulate the baseline (2014-2015) and future (2040s and 2090s) faecal indicator bacteria (FIB: E. coli and enterococci) concentrations in the Betna river in Bangladesh. The scenarios comprise changes in socio-economic variables (e.g. population, urbanization, land use, sanitation and sewage treatment) and climate variables (temperature, precipitation and sea-level rise). Scenarios have been developed building on the most recent Shared Socio-economic Pathways: SSP1 and SSP3 and Representative Concentration Pathways: RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 in a matrix. An uncontrolled future results in a deterioration of the microbial water quality (+75% by the 2090s) due to socio-economic changes, such as higher population growth, and changes in rainfall patterns. However, microbial water quality improves under a sustainable scenario with improved sewage treatment (-98% by the 2090s). Contaminant loads were more influenced by changes in socio-economic factors than by climatic change. To our knowledge, this is the first study that combines climate change and socio-economic development scenarios to simulate the future microbial water quality of a river. This approach can also be used to assess future consequences for health risks.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheh.2017.11.006DOI Listing
March 2018

Thermal comfort in urban green spaces: a survey on a Dutch university campus.

Int J Biometeorol 2017 Jan 20;61(1):87-101. Epub 2016 Jun 20.

Environmental System Analysis Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 47, 6700 AA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

To better understand the influence of urban green infrastructure (UGI) on outdoor human thermal comfort, a survey and physical measurements were performed at the campus of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, in spring and summer 2015. Three hundred eighty-nine respondents were interviewed in five different green spaces. We aimed to analyze people's thermal comfort perception and preference in outdoor urban green spaces, and to specify the combined effects between the thermal environmental and personal factors. The results imply that non-physical environmental and subjective factors (e.g., natural view, quiet environment, and emotional background) were more important in perceiving comfort than the actual thermal conditions. By applying a linear regression and probit analysis, the comfort temperature was found to be 22.2 °C and the preferred temperature was at a surprisingly high 35.7 °C. This can be explained by the observation that most respondents, who live in temperate regions, have a natural tendency to describe their preferred state as "warmer" even when feeling "warm" already. Using the Kruskal-Wallis H test, the four significant factors influencing thermal comfort were people's exposure time in green spaces, previous thermal environment and activity, and their thermal history. However, the effect of thermal history needs further investigation due to the unequal sample sizes of respondents from different climate regions. By providing evidence for the role of the objective and subjective factors on human thermal comfort, the relationship between UGI, microclimate, and thermal comfort can assist urban planning to make better use of green spaces for microclimate regulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00484-016-1193-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5179593PMC
January 2017

An Integrated Coral Reef Ecosystem Model to Support Resource Management under a Changing Climate.

PLoS One 2015 16;10(12):e0144165. Epub 2015 Dec 16.

Pacific Island Fisheries Science Centre, NOAA Fisheries, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States of America.

Millions of people rely on the ecosystem services provided by coral reefs, but sustaining these benefits requires an understanding of how reefs and their biotic communities are affected by local human-induced disturbances and global climate change. Ecosystem-based management that explicitly considers the indirect and cumulative effects of multiple disturbances has been recommended and adopted in policies in many places around the globe. Ecosystem models give insight into complex reef dynamics and their responses to multiple disturbances and are useful tools to support planning and implementation of ecosystem-based management. We adapted the Atlantis Ecosystem Model to incorporate key dynamics for a coral reef ecosystem around Guam in the tropical western Pacific. We used this model to quantify the effects of predicted climate and ocean changes and current levels of current land-based sources of pollution (LBSP) and fishing. We used the following six ecosystem metrics as indicators of ecosystem state, resilience and harvest potential: 1) ratio of calcifying to non-calcifying benthic groups, 2) trophic level of the community, 3) biomass of apex predators, 4) biomass of herbivorous fishes, 5) total biomass of living groups and 6) the end-to-start ratio of exploited fish groups. Simulation tests of the effects of each of the three drivers separately suggest that by mid-century climate change will have the largest overall effect on this suite of ecosystem metrics due to substantial negative effects on coral cover. The effects of fishing were also important, negatively influencing five out of the six metrics. Moreover, LBSP exacerbates this effect for all metrics but not quite as badly as would be expected under additive assumptions, although the magnitude of the effects of LBSP are sensitive to uncertainty associated with primary productivity. Over longer time spans (i.e., 65 year simulations), climate change impacts have a slight positive interaction with other drivers, generally meaning that declines in ecosystem metrics are not as steep as the sum of individual effects of the drivers. These analyses offer one way to quantify impacts and interactions of particular stressors in an ecosystem context and so provide guidance to managers. For example, the model showed that improving water quality, rather than prohibiting fishing, extended the timescales over which corals can maintain high abundance by at least 5-8 years. This result, in turn, provides more scope for corals to adapt or for resilient species to become established and for local and global management efforts to reduce or reverse stressors.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0144165PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4682628PMC
June 2016

Effects of urban green infrastructure (UGI) on local outdoor microclimate during the growing season.

Environ Monit Assess 2015 Dec 7;187(12):732. Epub 2015 Nov 7.

Environmental System Analysis group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 47, 6700 AA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

This study analyzed how the variations of plant area index (PAI) and weather conditions alter the influence of urban green infrastructure (UGI) on microclimate. To observe how diverse UGIs affect the ambient microclimate through the seasons, microclimatic data were measured during the growing season at five sites in a local urban area in The Netherlands. Site A was located in an open space; sites B, C, and D were covered by different types and configurations of green infrastructure (grove, a single deciduous tree, and street trees, respectively); and site E was adjacent to buildings to study the effects of their façades on microclimate. Hemispherical photography and globe thermometers were used to quantify PAI and thermal comfort at both shaded and unshaded locations. The results showed that groves with high tree density (site B) have the strongest effect on microclimate conditions. Monthly variations in the differences of mean radiant temperature (∆Tmrt) between shaded and unshaded areas followed the same pattern as the PAI. Linear regression showed a significant positive correlation between PAI and ∆Tmrt. The difference of daily average air temperature (∆T a ) between shaded and unshaded areas was also positively correlated to PAI, but with a slope coefficient below the measurement accuracy (±0.5 °C). This study showed that weather conditions can significantly impact the effectiveness of UGI in regulating microclimate. The results of this study can support the development of appropriate UGI measures to enhance thermal comfort in urban areas.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10661-015-4943-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4636989PMC
December 2015

Exploring the climate change concerns of striped catfish producers in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam.

Springerplus 2015 1;4:46. Epub 2015 Feb 1.

School of Life & Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Warrnambool, VIC 3280 Australia.

This study investigated the perceptions on and adaptations to climate change impacts of 235 pangasius farmers in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Data were collected using semi-structured household surveys in six provinces, from three regions along the Mekong river branches. A Chi-Square test was used to determine the association between variables, and a logit regression model was employed to identify factors correlated with farmer's perception and adaptation. Less than half of respondents were concerned about climate change and sought suitable adaptation measures to alleviate its impacts. Improving information on climate change and introducing early warning systems could improve the adaptive capacity of pangasius farmers, in particularly for those farmers, who were not concerned yet. Farmers relied strongly on technical support from government agencies, but farmers in the coastal provinces did not express the need for training by these institutions. This contrasting result requires further assessment of the effectiveness of adaptation measures such as breeding salinity tolerant pangasius.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40064-015-0822-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4317406PMC
February 2015

Simulated impacts of climate change on current farming locations of striped catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus; Sauvage) in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam.

Ambio 2014 Dec 9;43(8):1059-68. Epub 2014 Apr 9.

Institute of Aquaculture, Nha Trang University, 2 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Str., Nha Trang City, Vietnam,

In Vietnam, culturing striped catfish makes an important contribution to the Mekong Delta's economy. Water level rise during rainy season and salt intrusion during dry season affect the water exchange and quality for this culture. Sea level rise as a consequence of climate change will worsen these influences. In this study, water level rise and salt water intrusion for three sea level rise (SLR) scenarios (i.e., +30, +50, and +75 cm) were simulated. The results showed that at SLR +50, the 3-m-flood level would spread downstream and threaten farms located in AnGiang, DongThap and CanTho provinces. Rising salinity levels for SLR +75 would reduce the window appropriate for the culture in SocTrang and BenTre provinces, and in TienGiang's coastal districts. Next to increasing dikes to reduce the impacts, the most tenable and least disruptive option to the farming community would be to shift to a salinity tolerant strain of catfish.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13280-014-0519-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4235896PMC
December 2014

The determination of an optimal waste management scenario for Kampala, Uganda.

Waste Manag Res 2013 Dec 12;31(12):1203-16. Epub 2013 Nov 12.

Environmental Systems Analysis Group/Environmental Policy group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands.

The quality of the environment in the city of Kampala is deteriorating. The city needs a novel waste management approach to improve the environmental quality in its heterogeneous settlement patterns. Earlier, an integrated urban waste flow model (IUWFM) was applied to project the future waste flows and their impacts on the environment of Kampala using four waste management scenarios. These scenarios were 'business-as-usual', 'more enforcement', 'more collection' and 'proper management'. The robustness of the scenario results was determined by using a multi-criteria decision analysis. Twenty-four criteria were identified and grouped as environmental, economic, social, technological and general. Equal weights were assigned to these five sets of criteria. The four scenarios were evaluated against all criteria, and a sensitivity analysis was performed on the role of the equal weights on the choice of the scenarios. The results showed that 'proper management' scenario, which integrates diverse technologies and management programs matching with the local context, is the optimal approach to improve Kampala's environmental quality. Scenarios that emphasized more waste collection, but less resource recovery were ranked in the middle. The scenario of maintaining the status quo performed worst. Application of a mix of diverse technologies and management programs matching the local conditions is the most optimal solution to improve Kampala's environmental quality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0734242X13507307DOI Listing
December 2013

The impact of first-generation biofuels on the depletion of the global phosphorus reserve.

Ambio 2012 Jun 16;41(4):341-9. Epub 2012 Feb 16.

Environmental Systems Analysis Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

The large majority of biofuels to date is "first-generation" biofuel made from agricultural commodities. All first-generation biofuel production systems require phosphorus (P) fertilization. P is an essential plant nutrient, yet global reserves are finite. We argue that committing scarce P to biofuel production involves a trade-off between climate change mitigation and future food production. We examine biofuel production from seven types of feedstock, and find that biofuels at present consume around 2% of the global inorganic P fertilizer production. For all examined biofuels, with the possible exception of sugarcane, the contribution to P depletion exceeds the contribution to mitigating climate change. The relative benefits of biofuels can be increased through enhanced recycling of P, but high increases in P efficiency are required to balance climate change mitigation and P depletion impacts. We conclude that, with the current production systems, the production of first-generation biofuels compromises food production in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13280-012-0253-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3393060PMC
June 2012

Effective monitoring of agriculture: a response.

J Environ Monit 2012 Mar 1;14(3):738-42. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

The Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.

The development of effective agricultural monitoring networks is essential to track, anticipate and manage changes in the social, economic and environmental aspects of agriculture. We welcome the perspective of Lindenmayer and Likens (J. Environ. Monit., 2011, 13, 1559) as published in the Journal of Environmental Monitoring on our earlier paper, "Monitoring the World's Agriculture" (Sachs et al., Nature, 2010, 466, 558-560). In this response, we address their three main critiques labeled as 'the passive approach', 'the problem with uniform metrics' and 'the problem with composite metrics'. We expand on specific research questions at the core of the network design, on the distinction between key universal and site-specific metrics to detect change over time and across scales, and on the need for composite metrics in decision-making. We believe that simultaneously measuring indicators of the three pillars of sustainability (environmentally sound, social responsible and economically viable) in an effectively integrated monitoring system will ultimately allow scientists and land managers alike to find solutions to the most pressing problems facing global food security.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c2em10584eDOI Listing
March 2012

Monitoring the world's agriculture.

Nature 2010 Jul;466(7306):558-60

Earth Institute, Columbia University.

To feed the world without further damaging the planet, Jeffrey Sachs and 24 foodsystem experts call for a global data collection and dissemination network to track the myriad impacts of different farming practices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/466558aDOI Listing
July 2010

Modelling recovery from soil acidification in European forests under climate change.

Sci Total Environ 2009 Oct 3;407(21):5663-73. Epub 2009 Aug 3.

Alterra, Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR), P.O. Box 47, NL-6700 AA Wageningen, Netherlands.

A simple soil acidification model was applied to evaluate the effects of sulphur and nitrogen emission reductions on the recovery of acidified European forest soils. In addition we included the effects of climate change on soil solution chemistry, by modelling temperature effects on soil chemical processes and including temperature and precipitation effects on nitrogen uptake and on leaching. Model results showed a strong effect of the emission reduction scenarios on soil solution chemistry. Using the Current Legislation (CLE) scenario, the forest area in Europe with soil solution Al/Bc >1 mol mol(-1) (a widely used critical limit) decreased from about 4% in 1990 to about 1.7% in 2050. Under Maximum Feasible Reductions (MFR), the exceeded area will be <1% in 2050. In addition, the area where limits for the nitrate concentration in soils are violated is predicted to be smaller under MFR than under CLE. Using the most stringent criterion for nitrate ([NO(3)] <0.3mg l(-1)), the area with nitrate concentrations in excess of the critical limit is about 33% in 2050 under CLE, but only 12% under MFR. Recovery, i.e. attaining non-violation of the criterion, is also much faster under MFR than under CLE. Climate change leads to higher weathering rates and nitrogen uptake in the model, but positive effects on recovery from acidification are limited compared to current climate, and differences between the A1 and B2 climate change scenarios were small. Target loads for 2050 exist for 4% of the area for Al/Bc=1 and for 12% of the area when using a criterion of ANC=0 for the soil solution. In about 30% of the area where meaningful target loads exists, the computed target load is lower than the deposition under MFR, and thus cannot be attained with current emission abatement technologies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2009.07.013DOI Listing
October 2009

A comparison of baseline methodologies for 'Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation'.

Carbon Balance Manag 2009 Jul 13;4. Epub 2009 Jul 13.

Max-Planck-Institute for Biogeochemistry, Hans-Knöll-Str 10, 07745 Jena, Germany.

Background: A mechanism for emission reductions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) is very likely to be included in a future climate agreement. The choice of REDD baseline methodologies will crucially influence the environmental and economic effectiveness of the climate regime. We compare three different historical baseline methods and one innovative dynamic model baseline approach to appraise their applicability under a future REDD policy framework using a weighted multi-criteria analysis.

Results: The results show that each baseline method has its specific strengths and weaknesses. Although the dynamic model allows for the best environmental and for comparatively good economic performance, its high demand for data and technical capacity limit the current applicability in many developing countries.

Conclusion: The adoption of a multi-tier approach will allow countries to select the baseline method best suiting their specific capabilities and data availability while simultaneously ensuring scientific transparency, environmental effectiveness and broad political support.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1750-0680-4-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2717061PMC
July 2009

Quantifying the effectiveness of climate change mitigation through forest plantations and carbon sequestration with an integrated land-use model.

Carbon Balance Manag 2008 Apr 15;3. Epub 2008 Apr 15.

Environmental Systems Analysis Group, Wageningen University, P,O, Box 47, NL-6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Background: Carbon plantations are introduced in climate change policy as an option to slow the build-up of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations. Here we present a methodology to evaluate the potential effectiveness of carbon plantations. The methodology explicitly considers future long-term land-use change around the world and all relevant carbon (C) fluxes, including all natural fluxes. Both issues have generally been ignored in earlier studies.

Results: Two different baseline scenarios up to 2100 indicate that uncertainties in future land-use change lead to a near 100% difference in estimates of carbon sequestration potentials. Moreover, social, economic and institutional barriers preventing carbon plantations in natural vegetation areas decrease the physical potential by 75-80% or more.Nevertheless, carbon plantations can still considerably contribute to slowing the increase in the atmospheric CO2 concentration but only in the long term. The most conservative set of assumptions lowers the increase of the atmospheric CO2 concentration in 2100 by a 27 ppm and compensates for 5-7% of the total energy-related CO2 emissions. The net sequestration up to 2020 is limited, given the short-term increased need for agricultural land in most regions and the long period needed to compensate for emissions through the establishment of the plantations. The potential is highest in the tropics, despite projections that most of the agricultural expansion will be in these regions. Plantations in high latitudes as Northern Europe and Northern Russia should only be established if the objective to sequester carbon is combined with other activities.

Conclusion: Carbon sequestration in plantations can play an important role in mitigating the build-up of atmospheric CO2. The actual magnitude depends on natural and management factors, social barriers, and the time frame considered. In addition, there are a number of ancillary benefits for local communities and the environment. Carbon plantations are, however, particularly effective in the long term. Furthermore, plantations do not offer the ultimate solution towards stabilizing CO2 concentrations but should be part of a broader package of options with clear energy emission reduction measures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1750-0680-3-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2359746PMC
April 2008

Sustainability or collapse: what can we learn from integrating the history of humans and the rest of nature?

Ambio 2007 Nov;36(7):522-7

Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources, The University of Vermont, Burlington 05405, USA.

Understanding the history of how humans have interacted with the rest of nature can help clarify the options for managing our increasingly interconnected global system. Simple, deterministic relationships between environmental stress and social change are inadequate. Extreme drought, for instance, triggered both social collapse and ingenious management of water through irrigation. Human responses to change, in turn, feed into climate and ecological systems, producing a complex web of multidirectional connections in time and space. Integrated records of the co-evolving human-environment system over millennia are needed to provide a basis for a deeper understanding of the present and for forecasting the future. This requires the major task of assembling and integrating regional and global historical, archaeological, and paleoenvironmental records. Humans cannot predict the future. But, if we can adequately understand the past, we can use that understanding to influence our decisions and to create a better, more sustainable and desirable future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1579/0044-7447(2007)36[522:socwcw]2.0.co;2DOI Listing
November 2007

Global desertification: building a science for dryland development.

Science 2007 May;316(5826):847-51

Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences and Department of Biology, Post Office Box 90328, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.

In this millennium, global drylands face a myriad of problems that present tough research, management, and policy challenges. Recent advances in dryland development, however, together with the integrative approaches of global change and sustainability science, suggest that concerns about land degradation, poverty, safeguarding biodiversity, and protecting the culture of 2.5 billion people can be confronted with renewed optimism. We review recent lessons about the functioning of dryland ecosystems and the livelihood systems of their human residents and introduce a new synthetic framework, the Drylands Development Paradigm (DDP). The DDP, supported by a growing and well-documented set of tools for policy and management action, helps navigate the inherent complexity of desertification and dryland development, identifying and synthesizing those factors important to research, management, and policy communities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1131634DOI Listing
May 2007

Ecosystem service supply and vulnerability to global change in Europe.

Science 2005 Nov 27;310(5752):1333-7. Epub 2005 Oct 27.

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, 14473 Potsdam, Germany.

Global change will alter the supply of ecosystem services that are vital for human well-being. To investigate ecosystem service supply during the 21st century, we used a range of ecosystem models and scenarios of climate and land-use change to conduct a Europe-wide assessment. Large changes in climate and land use typically resulted in large changes in ecosystem service supply. Some of these trends may be positive (for example, increases in forest area and productivity) or offer opportunities (for example, "surplus land" for agricultural extensification and bioenergy production). However, many changes increase vulnerability as a result of a decreasing supply of ecosystem services (for example, declining soil fertility, declining water availability, increasing risk of forest fires), especially in the Mediterranean and mountain regions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1115233DOI Listing
November 2005
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