Category Archives: blog

Trees for Bradford

UBoC are delighted to have facilitated a generous donation by the Yorkshire-based Safestyle UK  to a planting project at Dealburn managed by our partners Trees For Cities.

Stephen Birmingham, Safestyle UK’s CEO said; “As an environmentally conscious company we are passionate about looking for ways we can help support the environment as well as benefiting the local community. We’re really excited about our partnership with UBoC and Trees For Cities which will help to reduce pollution and bring people together through community planting events.”

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How smoky are peat fires?

Deforestation in Equatorial Asia has been increasing in recent decades, as oil palm plantations spread out into the tropical forests of Borneo and Indonesia [1]. And as UBoC PhD student Laura Kiely has found from her research, while loss of habitat from this encroachment is often shown in the media, deforestation can have other, less well known impacts on the air quality and climate.

Fires are used to clear land for plantations, and the land is then drained, so it becomes more susceptible to future fires. [2]

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Terrific Scientific Trees: The Results!

Terrific Scientific is BBC Learning’s science project for 2017.

In May, UBoC and LEAF hosted the Trees experiment, in which children from the UK’s 25,000+ primary schools found out why trees are important for the climate, oxygen, biodiversity, flood prevention, air quality and more – and then surveyed the trees that grow in or around their school.

King Edward’s School, Bath

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Impacts of Future Bioenergy on Global Land Use Change and the Climate

Bioenergy is expected to play a key role in the global energy mix over the next century. This is due to its potential for providing energy security and the advantages it has as a land-based mitigation strategy.

However, there are large uncertainties with regards to deployment levels of bioenergy and its impact on the land system. Bioenergy deployment could potentially reach around 324 EJ/year by 2100 which could correspond to an increase of up to 550 million ha of cropland used for second generation energy crops, equivalent to 35% of current total cropland. The introduction of another large land use sector could further accelerate deforestation and biodiversity loss, and may in fact increase GHGs. It is therefore important to assess the impacts that large-scale energy crop cultivation could have on global land use change (LUC), the emissions it produces from deforestation and its impact on climate change.

Figure 1 Schematic diagram of biogeochemical and biogeophysical effects of land use change for bioenergy crop plantations and the impacts of these effects on near surface air temperature (TNS).

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i-Tree Community Day

As part of our work exploring the application of the i-Tree natural capital valuation software to the UK and Leeds in particular, we are offering a community awareness/training day for environmental groups in Leeds tomorrow.

Places are limited, so please sign up here if you would like to attend.

Delta Energy and Environment continue to offset their travel

Delta Energy & Environment is a research and consulting company that provides its clients with independent information, analysis, insight and advice into low carbon heat and distributed energy markets.

They have been offsetting their travel with UBoC for a number of years, and calculated that in 2016 they had been responsible for 172 tonnes of unavoidable carbon carbon emissions, which we were pleased to offset on their behalf using certificates for Plan Vivo’s Trees of Hope project in Malawi.Delta

At Delta-ee we produce high quality, client orientated research and consultation on distributed heat and energy, which inevitably involves national and international travel. We always choose the greenest options, but our company still produces some CO2 emissions. So we offset by various means, and this year have again offset all emissions from flights and train journeys with UBoC”. 

Dr Philippa Hardy Research Manager

PlanVivo_logo

‘Seeing the Wood for the Trees’

The House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee published in March 2017. Their report makes for interesting reading:

Forests and woodlands provide many environmental, social and economic benefits to society. In order to continue to provide these benefits the creation of new woodland is essential. Private landowners clearly have the right to decide what they do with their land, however, the Government can provide incentives to landowners to use their land for forestry. We have found that woodland creation is reliant upon a well-functioning grant scheme to incentivise landowners to use their land for forestry.

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Announcing Terrific Tropical Trees!

UBoC is arranging for at least one Terrific Tropical Tree to be planted in Africa  for every school sending Terrific Scientific data to the University of Leeds.  

Terrific Scientific is BBC Learning’s science project for 2017, and UBoC is delighted to be a partner with LEAF in the Trees experiment, which takes place in May.

There are four Terrific Tropical Tree projects – in Tanzania (sponsored by Samuel Grant Packaging), in Kenya (sponsored by Bettys & Taylors), and in Uganda and Madagascar (both sponsored by private donation via UBoC).

See more here.

Biomass and carbon: a climate disaster?

Recently there have been a few reasonably sensational articles in the news about using biomass for heating and power. These include Most wood energy schemes are a ‘disaster’ for climate change by the BBC, and £450m lost over failed green power programme by the Times. They have both been sparked by a paper published by Chatham House which essentially suggests that the use of biomass as a fuel is not sustainable, because of adverse effects on the climate (‘worse than coal’ apparently) when they are burnt.

Since this report seems to have sparked a wider debate in the media about the relative carbon benefits of biomass fuels, I thought that it might be helpful if I pointed out some of the ways that this is argued, to shed a bit of light on the subject.

First things first: trees absorb carbon as they grow, and typically release it when they die (through decomposition or combustion) though this is not automatically the case, and trees which are harvested for long lived timber products or which are left in low oxygen conditions (such as bogs) may retain carbon for many years. Taken in isolation, burning wood may look like a bad thing as it immediately releases carbon dioxide but this is certainly not the whole story. Continue reading Biomass and carbon: a climate disaster?