Category Archives: Uncategorized

Thumbs Up for The Croc

The Carnivorous Crocodile, written by UBoC Chair Jonathan ‘Jonnie’ Wild, is getting some great reviews. Here’s a typical example from ‘English 4-11’ published by The English Association and the United Kingdom Literary Association (Number 64 – Autumn 2018).

This brightly illustrated tale of a greedy selfish crocodile who won’t share his water hole with other African animals is not only a great and funny read for younger children, but introduces the ideas of sharing, community and working together. The importance of conservation is explored at the back of the book and its purchase supports the work of Wildlife Conservation in Africa, so it could be used to explore issues beyond the storyline. The language is rich and the author uses alliteration effectively to enhance the text. ‘The ‘Carnivorous Crocodile who crunches creatures’ is outwitted by five flamingos, mischievous monkeys, eager elephants and gangly giraffes, who use their cunning and bravery to gain access to the waterhole. At first the selfish crocodile falls for their trickery but even he can see that two enormous elephants don’t bear much resemblance to flamingos, as they claim, and soon realises that he is going to have to share with his fellow animals. Recommended for animal lovers, adventurers, eco worriers, tricksters and children who love a funny story supported by bright bold illustrations. Age range: 3 to 7 years.”

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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Bodeker Scientific fly carbon neutral


New Zealand-based atmospheric research company Bodeker Scientific have again pledged to ensure that all company-related travel is carbon neutral.


Bodeker work with both local and international research organisations, such as the German Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to improve our understanding of the atmosphere and climate – which can involve a lot of air travel. Continue reading Bodeker Scientific fly carbon neutral

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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The potential for solar cooking

Using wood for cooking leads to deforestation and air pollution that can cause or exacerbate health problems. For many poor people, obtaining wood is either time-consuming or expensive. Where conflicts have led to displaced people, wood shortages can become acute, leading to often violent clashes between locals and refugees. For many refugee women this makes collecting wood a high-risk activity.

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Trees help to form atmospheric particles

trees_sun UBoC scientists contributed to a new study, published in the journal Science, indicating that molecules emitted by trees are helping to form particles in the atmosphere.

The distribution of particles in the atmosphere controls various properties of clouds and the Earth’s climate. Therefore it’s vitally important to understand the processes by which these particles form, and how this could change in the future.

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Bettys & Taylors commit to Kenyan forest conservation for a second year

Bettys & Taylors agree to work with Nature Kenya for second year to promote forest conservation and reforestation activities in South Nandi, western Kenya.


The project’s principle aim will be the restoration of 235 acres (95 hectares) of cleared forest in South Nandi, which is part of a forest complex that is home to an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area and the endangered Turner’s Eremomela (Eremomela turneri).

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UBoC helps plant 4000 trees in the Lake District

Over the weekend of 8th and 9th March, volunteers from UBoC, the Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere and Forest (LEAF) research centre, and academics from the University of Leeds joined forces with the Forestry Commission and successfully planted 4000 oak trees in the Lake District.


The tree planting was part of a push by the Forestry Commission to restore cleared felled upland commercial woodlands back to semi-natural woodlands.

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How cool are trees?

New research from UBoC scientists indicates that molecules emitted by plants may be having a cooling effect on the planet.

acp_paper_2014_copycrop Trees take in carbon dioxide, and give out oxygen – but they also emit other, highly reactive, gases into the air (such as monoterpenes). These gases react with other compounds, like ozone, forming more complicated molecules which are able to stick onto particles in the atmosphere, helping them to grow larger. This is important because particles have to reach a certain size before they are able to interact with sunlight in the atmosphere or form cloud droplets.

Continue reading How cool are trees?