Increased deforestation and the Amazon basin rainfall

UBoC’s Dr Dominick Spracklen and his colleague, Dr Luis Garcia-Carrerasalso from School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds, report that continued deforestation of the Amazon rainforest could diminish rainfall levels in the Amazon River basin – which may impact the region’s climate, ecosystems and economies.

A new study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, predicts that by the middle of the century annual rainfall in the Amazon could be less than the yearly amount of rain the region receives during drought years if deforestation rates revert back to pre-2004 levels.







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School Tree Planting in India

Great news from Trees for Water in India – a project funded by UBoC with generous donations from The Lions Clubs of Scotland and North East England.

“Greetings from CIRHEP. Thank you very much for your support  and guidance.  We gave 200 seedlings to School Children from CIRHEP contribution. The students have planted around School Building. The students and teachers are maintaining the seedlings. We hope it would give good result . Herewith we have attached some photos for your kind perusal.”

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The Climate Conference – what will it mean?

Professor Piers Forster asks: “What will the Paris climate conference mean for trees – and for me?”

Many will be aware that the UN is gearing up for a big climate change conference in Paris at the end of the month

At this meeting international leaders will, hopefully, agree on the most important set of measures ever taken to lessen future climate change, and make the world more resilient to its effects.

It’s easy to get frustrated about the glacial rates of progress towards an agreement, but progress is being made. The first such meeting, at Kyoto in 1997, was successful in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from most developed countries, and we’ve learned lessons after the disastrous Copenhagen meeting in 2009. Paris is deliberately set up so that it cannot fail, so we can all look forward to watching François Holland on our TV screens on 8th December announcing great successes.

And we already know what most of these will be.

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LEAF-let goes down well

Together with our academic parters at the University of Leeds (the Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere and Forest Centre; LEAF), we have produced a summary booklet of the impacts of urban green spaces:

A Brief Guide to the Benefits of Urban Green Spaces

LEAF Benefits of Green Spaces

Feedback from planners, urban designers, landscape architects and local groups has been very positive.

“A good-looking tract to throw at sceptical decision makers or policy makers!” said one admirer.

Dominick Spracklen receives Philip Leverhulme Prize

d.spracklenUBoC’s Dominick Spracklen has been awarded a 2015 Philip Leverhulme Prize in recognition of his research in understanding interactions between the Earth’s biosphere, atmosphere and climate and the way that these are being altered by human activity.

Dom’s recent work includes a Nature article which relates lowering deforestation rates in Brazil to improvements in air quality.  This improved air quality can also be linked with improved human health (Reddington et al., 2015).

Leverhulme prizes are awarded to outstanding scholars who have made a substantial and recognised contribution to their particular field of study, recognised at an international level and whose future contributions are held to be of correspondingly high promise.

Philip Leverhulme Prizes commemorate the contribution to the work of the Trust made by Philip Leverhulme, the Third Viscount Leverhulme and grandson of the Founder. Each Prize has a value of £100,000 which can be used for any purpose which can advance the Prize holder’s research.

Brazil saves lives by reducing deforestation

Slash and burnA new study led by UBoC scientists at the University of Leeds shows that the recent drop in Brazilian deforestation rates has improved air quality across South America, saving thousands of lives.

Each year in the Amazon, thousands of fires are lit to clear trees and vegetation in order to prepare the land for agriculture. Smoke from these fires causes a polluted haze over large areas of southern Brazil with serious consequences for human health.

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Twice the Size of Wales!

UBoC’s long-standing partners, Size of Wales – a unique Welsh initiative tackling climate change by helping to preserve tropical forests – have made a bold decision to double their commitment – and protect an area double the size of the Principality.

Alice Davies & Juliet Muyama - Schools Links between Wales & Africa CREDIT Size of Wales
Alice Davies & Juliet Muyama – Schools Links between Wales & Africa CREDIT Size of Wales

‘The size of Wales’ is a term often used as a measure of tropical forest destruction, and UBoC worked with this Cardiff-based charity in 2012, on the Tongwe Trust’s Ten Million Trees in Tanzania project.

Size of Wales have spent the last 5 years successfully raising funds to help sustain approximately 2 million hectares, (4.9m acres) in both Africa and South America – supporting 15 local forest projects which ensure that forests are kept standing – to benefit local communities and also tackle climate change. This downloadable report details their recent work.

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UBoC visit Flamingo Land

Poster for Tanzania Community Crafts

Last week, members of the UBoC team visited Flamingo Land theme park and zoo to meet with members of the Collaboration for Integrated Research, Conservation and Learning (CIRCLE).

CIRCLE, a partnership between the University of York and Flamingo Land, carries out ground-breaking scientific research into conservation at both the local and global scale. UBoC have helped with CIRCLE’s conservation efforts by funding aspects of the Udzungwa Forest Project (UFP) in Tanzania. The UFP is based in the Magombera Forest and aims to conserve and research threatened species and their habitats, whilst improving the livelihoods of, and educating, local communities.

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