Biweekly researcher forum, which offer an opportunity for researchers in ecology to present and discuss their work
CREAF runs an annual programme of seminars that showcase the global research work in the field of ecological science both within and beyond our centre. Each seminar normally lasts 30-40 minutes with plenty of time afterwards for questions and discussion. Seminars are usually on Wednesday at 3 pm.
Our free seminar programme is open to everyone. For more information, please email CREAF Talks coordinator email@example.com
Mediterranean climate conditions are found in five large regions of the world. Rivers in these regions (med-rivers) are unique ecosystems because of their predictable winter flooding and summer drought regimes. These characteristics are key drivers of aquatic and riparian organisms, and the ecosystem functions and services they provide. Med-rivers are hotspots of biodiversity, supporting species adapted to both floods and droughts or using them for part of their life histories. At the same time, flow seasonality drives fluxes of nutrients and organic matter and, consequently, food web dynamics. Med-rivers have been affected for centuries, in some cases millennia, by multiple human activities that increasingly threaten these ecosystems worldwide. These threats include changes in land use, nutrient loads, heavy metal concentrations, salinity, water withdrawals, invasive species and, more recently, xenobiotics or emerging organic pollutants. In addition, future climate change scenarios predict increases in drought conditions and in the occurrence of extreme events, such as floods, heat waves, and wildfires. The diversity of aquatic organisms is declining more rapidly in med-rivers than in rivers anywhere else in the world and, for some taxonomic groups, Mediterranean regions have more introduced than native species. River management in med-rivers requires innovative approaches to account for both natural and human disturbances. Most research conducted in med-rivers has focused on the effects of flow seasonality and human pressures on biodiversity and ecosystem processes; however, there is a still large gap in linking basic and applied research knowledge and in engaging the general public into conservation and management practices. Little ecological and biological information is also available in several Mediterranean regions, and consequently these regions are being slow on implementing sustainable river management policies and species conservation programs.
Forests have always been considered for the many benefits they provide society with, habitat provision for animals, erosion control, water regulation, wood provision. Since the 90s and the Kyoto protocol however, they are also seen as a lever in the fight against climate change. Forests appear in international climate agreements and national plans are set up to increase wood use as a replacement of fossil fuel based energy and material. A lot of uncertainty however remains on the carbon and climate effects of different forest management practices. I will present a suite of modeling experiments at different scales and with different modeling complexities that complement each other to give a complete picture of the potential of forest management to mitigate climate change. The time horizon considered appears as the main determinant to the carbon mitigation potential, while the biogeophysical versus biophysical effects of forest cover change appear to compensate, reducing the climate benefits of increased carbon sequestration.
Aude Valade is a “Marie Curie” researcher at CREAF mainly focusing on forest management's role for climate change mitigation and adaptation. She received a PhD in environmental science at the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement (Saclay), studying the importance of trait parameters for mechanistic modeling of crop yields. As a post-doctoral researcher at Institut Pierre Simon Laplace (Paris) she turned from crops to forests, developing and using a range of models of forest growth, management and wood use to understand the potential of forestry to mitigate carbon emissions and climate change. Her current research focuses on the adaptation of Mediterranean forests to climate change through phenotypic plasticity by integrating trait variability in a mechanistic model of land surface. Other ongoing projects involve the study of the drivers of carbon substitution in the forest sector and the mechanistic modeling of hydraulic architecture in land surface models.
International trade can make a huge difference towards sustainability, as over half of what is produced globally crosses national borders. Several of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals – such as ‘no poverty’, ensuring ‘decent work’, and taking ‘climate action’ – crucially depend on transforming the way international trade is organized. But, transitioning to sustainability in international trade has all the traits of a ‘wicked problem’: everyone involved recognizes that change is needed, but no single entity acting on its own can make it happen. Therefore, various players – businesses, governments, NGOs, farmers, unions, and trade associations – must work together in coalitions, and they must design innovations within and across several domains, such as technology, policy, and economics, simultaneously.
In this presentation, Carla will explain how at IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, they work towards achieving sustainability transitions in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and South America, by creating collaborations between companies, governments and civil society organizations, that stimulate sustainable production and trade of tropical agricultural commodities such as palm oil, cocoa, tea, coffee, and bananas.
Carla is the Senior Manager of Strategy & Innovation at IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative. IDH is an international organization that convenes, finances and manages large programs to accelerate transitions towards sustainability together with companies, governments and civil society. IDH is headquartered in the Netherlands and is funded by different governments of the north of Europe and several foundations such as Bill & Belinda Gates Foundation.
Within IDH, Carla drives IDH learning and innovation agenda to achieve a fairer distribution of value along the supply chains of several sectors such as cocoa, tea, bananas and coffee.
Previously she worked 8 years as a researcher at the University of Oxford (UK), the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain) and the University of California (USA). During her time in academia, her main research projects related to cotton farming (in India), biofuel feedstock production in Africa and citrus farming in the USA and Spain. She holds a PhD on Terrestrial Ecology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and a MSc in Interdisciplinary Studies in Environmental, Economic and Social Sustainability from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA). She has published twelve peer-reviewed publications on agriculture, sustainability, ecosystem services and poverty.
R has come a long way in becoming one of the main software environments for statistics and data science. Since its early days, there has always been a strong involvement of spatial statisticians in R. Reproducibility of computational research, which scientists often like to preach but rarely practice, is a key reason for many to use R or other open source computing environments. In the talk I will discuss how R is used for spatial problems, how it tries to break from the restrictive 1980s GIS metaphor that the world consists of map layers, and how modern developments (e.g. data base connections, tidyverse) have helped developing modern spatial packages. I will also discuss the need, and value, of integrating the OSGEO software stack (GDAL, GEOS, PROJ) in R, and what this requires from e.g. the CRAN team. Finally I will shed some light on recent developments aiming at reproducible analysis of large amounts of satellite imagery, mainly carried out in the context of the H2020-funded openEO (https://openeo.org/) project.
Edzer Pebesma is professor geoinformatics at institute for geoinformatics of the the university of Muenster, Germany. He is an active member of the R community, focusing on analysis of spatial and spatiotemporal data; he is author of a number of R packages including sp, sf, stars, gstat, spacetime and trajectories, and one of the authors of the book "Applied Spatial Data Analysis with R". He was recently elected as an ordinary member of the R foundation. He serves as one of the editors-in-chief for the Journal of Statistical Software, and as an associate editor for Spatial Statistics.
The Paris Agreement has made the world simple. We have one common goal: to limit global temperature rise to clearly below 2o. The physical consequence is, that we have to reduce global net CO2 emissions by 2050 to 0 (zero). This ‘0 for all’ implies that sectors cannot hide any longer behind others (“I am too important to reduce, so others have to do more”) and that after 2050 transferring emission reductions from one sector/company to the other (“offsetting”) becomes impossible. Furthermore, the goal has to be reached “…in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty”. The challenges are thus enormous, also for peatlands, which are currently responsible for 5% of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions and which could precipitate a runaway greenhouse effect when their global stocks of over 500 Gt of Carbon, mainly in the Northern circumpolar region and in the tropics, are mobilized by inadequate management.
The peatland pathway to 2050 implies the complete fading out of the fossil resource ‘peat’ and of drained peatland use. For peat as an energy resource, cost-effective alternatives are available and rapidly being further developed. For growing media, promising new alternatives are being prospected, whereas substantial reduction must initially be achieved by shrinkage of lower-quality markets, such as hobby gardening and garden and landscape care.
The fading out of drained peatland use is not only necessary from the perspective of climate change mitigation but also urgently for climate change adaptation, including the stopping of coastal land subsidence, the cooling of the regional climate and the buffering against more unstable weather conditions. As the growing demand for biomass implies that the 500,000 km2 of drained peatlands worldwide must largely maintain their production function, peatland agriculture and forestry must rapidly advance the development of paludicultures.
The physical complexity of permafrost peatlands and the significant potential risks of their degradation and disruption require a more holistic multi-disciplinary approach to research, land-use planning and management, to cope with the complex relationships between soil carbon, hydrology, permafrost, vegetation, and people.
Hans Joosten (1955) studied biology and worked as university researcher and policy officer (Ministry of Agriculture) in the Netherlands. Since 1996 he leads the Department of Peatland Studies and Palaeoecology of Greifswald University (Germany), partner in the Greifswald Mire Centre, since 2008 as an Extraordinary Professor. His department studies peatlands in an integrative way at the crossroads between palaeo-ecology, ecology, landscape ecology, nature conservation and wise use. He produced 600 publications, of which 80 in ISI-listed journals with an h-index of 38 (Google Scholar).
Key research topics of his department are paludiculture, on which he edited the first handbook in 2016, and peatland restoration on which he edited an overview for Cambridge University Press in 2016.
Since 2000 Hans is Secretary-General of the International Mire Conservation Group (IMCG), the world organization of peatland conservationists. For IMCG he produced the books ‘Wise use of mires and peatlands’ (2002) and ‘Mires and peatlands of Europe’ (2017).
Since 2009 Hans has been intensively involved in UNFCCC negotiations and IPCC guidance development, especially with respect to accounting for emissions from organic soils, and in FAO in advancing climate-responsible peatland management. Since 2017 he is steering committee member of the Global Peatlands Initiative.
In 2010 Hans Joosten received an Honorary Doctorate of the University of Batumi for his efforts in studying and protecting the mires of Colchis (Georgia). In 2013 he was awarded the European CULTURA Prize for Sustainable Land Use, and the Research Award Sustainability of the German Federal Government. In 2014 he was elected as foreign member of Det Kongelige Norske Videnskabers Selskabs Akademi, the oldest learned academy of Norway. In 2018 “his” International Peat Mapping Team won the $1 million Indonesian Peat Prize.
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