Category Archives: blog

‘Land for Life’ project update

Thanks to new information from The INGA Foundation, we’ve just updated our page for this innovative and extremely worthwhile project – which is currently seeking support to help keep up with demand from local farmers:

Stopping slash and burn agriculture in Central America through innovative and sustainable farming

Across Northern Honduras, a region of critical conservation importance, slash and burn agriculture is still responsible for significant levels of deforestation. Land which has been slashed and burnt will produce a harvest for only a few years, after which the fertility of the soil is too poor to grow crops, and families have little choice but to clear more land.

        Ally cropping with Inge trees (Image from The INGA Foundation)

Sixteen years of research in Costa Rica and Honduras, led by the University of Cambridge, has produced a new agricultural system based on alley-cropping with Inga trees, which naturally fertilise the soil.

See our project page

Household Combustion Damages Global Health (UBoC Paper)

Nearly 3 billion people around the world, largely in developing countries, depend on solid fuels (wood, charcoal, coal and agricultural / animal waste) for cooking and heating at home.

The burning of these fuels usually takes place in simple stoves or on open fires with poor combustion that releases large quantities of pollutants into the air.

Until recently, the largest known impact of this was on domestic health within poor households, where indoor air quality is causing around 3 million premature deaths every year.

However, a recent study by UBoC researchers, published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, has complimented other findings which show that these emissions also make a contribution to ambient outdoor air pollution, and so will be partially responsible for hundreds of thousands of extra premature deaths around the world.

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UBoC authors Ed Butt, Cat Scott and Dom Spracklen

Continue reading Household Combustion Damages Global Health (UBoC Paper)

Leeds 4 Trees!

UBoC are embarking on an exciting new partnership with Leeds City Council and the Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere and Forest (LEAF) centre at the University of Leeds. The Leeds4Trees partnership aims to enhance woodlands and encourage conservation both in Leeds and overseas.

Leeds4Trees will see the first “forest twinning” between the Forest of Leeds (all the Council managed woodland in the Leeds City region) and forests in the East Usambara Mountains of Tanzania. The East Usambara Mountains lie within the Eastern Arc of Tanzania, a biodiversity hotspot which has been compared to the Galapagos Islands due to the high number of species that are unique to the area.

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Continue reading Leeds 4 Trees!

Tackling climate change by protecting rainforests

UBoC’s Dom Spracklen has a new paper in Forest Ecology and Management

Carbon storage and sequestration of re-growing montane forests in southern Ecuador

The storage and sequestration of carbon by tropical montane forests is poorly understood. Dom and his team quantified the biomass of forests in southern Ecuador and found that  accumulation rates were similar to those observed in lowland humid tropical forests. This suggests that regenerating tropical  forests do provide important carbon sequestration.

Screen Shot 2012-10-16 at 15.52.02 Continue reading Tackling climate change by protecting rainforests

Paris Agreement on Climate Change

The world gets serious about tackling climate change but the jury is still out on whether the UK government is.

Piers Forster, University of Leeds

The world grew up on 12 December 2015. Old differences between rich and poor, west and east were laid aside. Unbeknownst to anyone, 6 months ago and in secret, the sinking Marshall islanders had raised an army of over 100 ambitious nations that rose above the flotsam and jetsam of self-interest to create a stronger climate agreement than anyone thought possible.

Green Eiffel(The 2012 scheme to green the Eiffel Tower by Ginger engineering firm, Vinci Construction and the architect Claude Bucher).

The Paris Agreement  has been criticised by some NGOs for being too weak, because despite its lofty ambition to limit temperature rise to “well below 2C”, the actual country commitments, when summed, bring us closer to 3C. Yet I firmly believe that the negotiations last week achieved the strongest deal possible. Continue reading Paris Agreement on Climate Change

UboC on the Radio

IMG_4468Look North’s weather man, Paul Hudson, (left) came into the University of Leeds School of Earth and Environment (where UBoC is based) on the 16th of December, to record an edition of the BBC Weather Show. Paul spoke to a number of staff from across the faculty including; Jim McQuaid, Kirsty Pringle, Duncan Quincey, UBoC’s Tom Bliss (right), Suraje Dessai and Lisa Smith. The programme is available on BBC iPlayer (Tom’s contribution can be heard at about 37 minutes).

Meanwhile, UBoC have added an interactive map to the website, and finalised a new Newsletter for the start of 2016: Continue reading UboC on the Radio

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.”

Continue reading School Tree Planting in India

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 http://newsroom.unfccc.int/.

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.

Continue reading The Climate Conference – what will it mean?