Deforestation in Equatorial Asia has been increasing in recent decades, as oil palm plantations spread out into the tropical forests of Borneo and Indonesia . 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. 
Continue reading How smoky are peat fires?
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
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.
Continue reading Increased deforestation and the Amazon basin rainfall
The pioneering tree planting efforts of one of UBoC’s founding partners, the Bettys & Taylors Group, have been highlighted in a recent Financial Times piece available here.
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.
Continue reading The potential for solar cooking
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.
Continue reading Trees help to form atmospheric particles
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).
Continue reading Bettys & Taylors commit to Kenyan forest conservation for a second year
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.
Continue reading UBoC helps plant 4000 trees in the Lake District
New research from UBoC scientists indicates that molecules emitted by plants may be having a cooling effect on the planet.
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?
The United Bank of Carbon (UBoC) is working with partners and seeks information on engineering challenges for off-grid communities in the developing world to help aid the design of green technologies that can make a real difference to people’s lives.
Continue reading Call for information to identify engineering challenges for off-grid isolated communities in the developing world