If we know the height of the world’s forests, then we can estimate how much carbon they store. That will improve our understanding of how forests interact with the atmosphere and their role in mitigating climate change. To make those measurements, a collaboration including Brown University ecologist Jim Kellner is putting a sophisticated laser scanner on the International Space Station in 2019. (more…)
Tag Archives: amazon basin
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Lowland South America, including the Amazon Basin, harbors most of the last indigenous societies that have limited contact with the outside world. Studying these tribes, located deep within Amazonian rainforests, gives scientists a glimpse at what tribal cultures may have been like before the arrival of Europeans. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have used satellite images to assess the demographic health of one particular village of isolated people on the border between Brazil and Peru. Remote surveillance is the only method to safely track uncontacted indigenous societies and may offer information that can improve their chances for long-term survival. (more…)
A new NASA-led study seven years in the making has confirmed that natural forests in the Amazon remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit, therefore reducing global warming. This finding resolves a long-standing debate about a key component of the overall carbon balance of the Amazon basin.
The Amazon’s carbon balance is a matter of life and death: living trees take carbon dioxide out of the air as they grow, and dead trees put the greenhouse gas back into the air as they decompose. The new study, published in Nature Communications on March 18, is the first to measure tree deaths caused by natural processes throughout the Amazon forest, even in remote areas where no data have been collected at ground level. (more…)
UD professor, scholar document culture of Peruvian community
As the elders of a small hunter-gatherer community told the story of how their people came to be, University of Delaware assistant professor of art Jonathan Cox and Summer Scholar Sarah Driver sat and listened, intrigued by the tale.
Over the course of seven days, they learned firsthand about the Ese’eja (ess-a-eha) Nation, a community of three distinct villages living in the remote areas of Infierno, Palma Real and Sonene, Peru. (more…)
In the United States, rivers and their floodplains are well-documented and monitored. Ecuador’s largest river, however, remains largely mysterious.
Research led by Michigan State University is helping the South American country unravel the Napo River’s mystique to better balance its economic and environmental treasures. (more…)
Berkeley Lab scientists devise new tools for detecting previously unknown tree mortality.
The Earth’s forests perform a well-known service to the planet, absorbing a great deal of the carbon dioxide pollution emitted into the atmosphere from human activities. But when trees are killed by natural disturbances, such as fire, drought or wind, their decay also releases carbon back into the atmosphere, making it critical to quantify tree mortality in order to understand the role of forests in the global climate system. Tropical old-growth forests may play a large role in this absorption service, yet tree mortality patterns for these forests are not well understood.
Now scientist Jeffrey Chambers and colleagues at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have devised an analytical method that combines satellite images, simulation modeling and painstaking fieldwork to help researchers detect forest mortality patterns and trends. This new tool will enhance understanding of the role of forests in carbon sequestration and the impact of climate change on such disturbances. (more…)
PASADENA, Calif. – An area of the Amazon rainforest twice the size of California continues to suffer from the effects of a megadrought that began in 2005, finds a new NASA-led study. These results, together with observed recurrences of droughts every few years and associated damage to the forests in southern and western Amazonia in the past decade, suggest these rainforests may be showing the first signs of potential large-scale degradation due to climate change.
An international research team led by Sassan Saatchi of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., analyzed more than a decade of satellite microwave radar data collected between 2000 and 2009 over Amazonia. The observations included measurements of rainfall from NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission and measurements of the moisture content and structure of the forest canopy (top layer) from the Seawinds scatterometer on NASA’s QuikScat spacecraft. (more…)
Brazil’s soybean yields have become competitive with those of the United States and Argentina, but the soil demands a lot of phosphorous, which is not renewable. In the United States, meanwhile, historical applications of the fertilizer have polluted waterways. What accounts for these problems? It’s the soils, according to a new study comparing agriculture in the three countries.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Just 20 years ago, the soils of the Amazon basin were thought unsuitable for large-scale agriculture, but then industrial agriculture — and the ability to fertilize on a massive scale — came to the Amazon. What were once the poorest soils in the world now produce crops at a rate that rivals that of global breadbaskets. Soils no longer seem to be the driver — or the limiter — of agricultural productivity. But a new Brown University-led study of three soybean growing regions, including Brazil, finds that soils have taken on a new role: mediating the environmental consequences of modern farming. (more…)