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Durbin J.,Climate | Funk S.M.,Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust | Hawkins R.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Hills D.M.,Natural History Museum in London | And 3 more authors.
Systematics and Biodiversity | Year: 2010

Evidence is presented from morphological observations, multivariate and molecular analyses on the taxonomic status of specimens of Salanoia newly discovered at Lac Alaotra, Madagascar, which resemble but are phenotypically highly divergent from the monotypic species S. concolor. A detailed comparative description is provided, together with information on the ecology of the region. Principal Component and Canonical Variate Analyses of craniodental morphometrics revealed high divergence supporting the status of a new species. Conversely, genetic distances from S. concolor based on the mitochondrial cytochrome b locus are small, not supporting new species status. A literature review indicates that some accepted species also exhibit low genetic distances at cytochrome b, which might be caused by rapid recent evolution, hybridization or introgression of mtDNA between lineages that otherwise might be genetically more distinct. Conflicting information from the analyses is discussed. Adaptation to highly divergent habitats might account for phenotypic plasticity, but the observed morphological difference is sufficiently great that the formal description as a new species is warranted. The biodiversity of Lac Alaotra and the importance of conservation issues are highlighted in relation to this discovery. © 2010 The Natural History Museum.


Kalabokidis K.,University of Aegean | Xanthopoulos G.,Greek National Agricultural Research Foundation | Moore P.,Climate | Caballero D.,TECNOMA S.A. | And 4 more authors.
European Journal of Forest Research | Year: 2012

This paper describes the development of a decision support system (DSS) for prevention planning and emergency management of forest fire events that incorporates weather data management, a geographical data viewer, a priori danger forecasting and fire propagation modeling, automatic fire detection, and optimal resource dispatching. Collection, input, storage, management, and analysis of the information rely on advanced and automated methodologies using remote sensing, GPS, digital mapping, and geographic information systems. The results included short-term dynamic fire danger indices developed for improved and realistic prevention and pre-suppression planning. An automatic fire detection technology based on infrared video was developed and successfully tested on site. Several models for understanding fire propagation on forest fires have been proposed for practical application. Additionally, a DSS was developed with the innovation of covering wildland fire hazard management entirely, providing a complete coverage of technical and administrative activities that support decision makers in real time. The DSS was tested for high fire seasons in two different sites in South Europe. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.


News Article | November 1, 2016
Site: www.eurekalert.org

During the Toronto Climathon, a 24-hour marathon session in downtown Toronto, students, entrepreneurs, big thinkers, technical experts and app developers from a range of academic and professional backgrounds came up with innovative new solutions to bring down the city's carbon emissions. HotPopRobot, the Toronto Climathon's youngest team, scooped the event's first prize as well as the Climate Hero prize for the largest emissions reduction with a surprisingly simple and implementable solution to reduce the city's carbon emissions. The team included technology enthusiasts Artash (10) and Arushi (7) along with their parents Rati and Vikas Nath. The hackathon was part of an unprecedented global climate action initiative that saw some 60 major cities across six continents such as Shanghai, Paris and Sydney take part in a challenge organised by the European Union's climate innovation partnership, Climate-KIC. The effort took place from Friday October 28 until Saturday afternoon and featured a kick-off speech by Ontario's climate change minister, Glen Murray. "Everything is connected to everything else, which is why hacking and the internet and coding are so important because you really are the people who can connect everything else and can see the ecosystem and complexity of ideas, and understand the role of technology and information and how that brings everything together to solve problems," Murray told participants, most of whom he said would be "touched by climate change in a much more profound way than those of us who are in the second half-century of our life." Organisers MaxQ Accelerator, Canada's first space-data startup accelerator, and Lighthouse Labs, which educates and transforms budding software development talent, provided the participants with data sets from sources such as NASA and the City of Toronto's Open Data Team. MaxQ Accelerator president Brodie Houlette commented: "I'm so pleased with the results of the Climathon. We set a very ambitious target to show city planners that the use of big data can provide real and actionable solutions. The rapidly increasing supply of satellite data is a particularly huge opportunity. Every team came up with a solution that could achieve significant reductions for the Toronto region and we look forward to working with the City of Toronto and other municipalities to see if they can be implemented." Each participating city had set a local climate change challenge for teams to respond to. Participants in Toronto were challenged to use big data in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions from the city's transportation grid - including public transport, private, commercial and other vehicles - by 5 percent, while keeping the solutions revenue-neutral. Transportation alone was responsible for 34 percent of Ontario's carbon emissions in 2012. City-level action to address climate change is needed at speed and scale, and is already offering major opportunities for jobs and growth in the innovation sector. Cities currently contribute more than two thirds of global carbon emissions and are rapidly growing, with 70 percent of the world's population expected to live in cities by 2050. A recent report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate published earlier this month revealed that over the next 15 years, USD $90 trillion will need to be invested in sustainable infrastructure ranging from transport systems to water sanitation and everything in between. Some of the Toronto Climathon teams built fully working smartphone apps and online applications to combine satellite and ground-level data and achieve efficiencies in Toronto's transportation system, deciding on the winning ideas was a major challenge for the jury. In the end, it was the simplicity of the Nath family's well-researched solution that won them the first prize: just plant more carbon-absorbing trees. The HotPopRobot team combined Toronto street tree map and traffic pattern data with their own measurements. Artash, Arushi and their serial-entrepreneur dad Vikas, counted the number of trees along busy streets and used a home-built infrared pollution sensor to calculate emission levels. Based on the data, the team determined that an increase of Toronto's tree population at street level and in open areas by 300 percent would achieve the 5 percent carbon reduction required by Toronto's Climathon challenge. "We also found out that some of the main streets, for instance King Street and Queen Street in downtown Toronto have widely different street tree densities. It would be possible to increase tree density on King Street by 90 percent to bring it at the same levels of Queen Street - with huge climate emissions reduction benefits," said Vikas Nath. The Nath family also pointed out that each additional tree would yield $7.95 of immediate economic benefits to Toronto, and at a benefit-cost ratio of $1.35 to $3.20 the project would be economically feasible. "There is also abundant space in Toronto to plant more trees - starting at the street levels to tree intensification in open spaces," Nath added. Although the Nath family's solution could offer a very effective way to achieve a 5 percent reduction of Toronto's transport emissions, more drastic measures will ultimately be needed to achieve the emission reductions required under the Paris Agreement. Almost all countries in the world have signed up to the historic climate accord, which envisions a zero carbon economy by 2050 to avoid climate change from spinning completely out of control. The Toronto Climathon's second prize went to the GasBusters team, which developed a cost-effective program that could see employers provide public transport passes to employees. The hackathon's third prize went to team QConnect which proposed a personal carbon tracking system that could provide benefits such as a free Netflix subscription to users with significant carbon reductions. The People's Prize, awarded by the other participants, went to the TTEZ team and their fully functional iPhone app. TTEZ developed an application that combines data sets to predict the most carbon friendly routes in Toronto. Other teams that built ready-to-go applications included RideAlong with a carpool app for parents, to be used within school communities. Team 6Map built a working system that incorporates carbon emissions data from NASA into google maps using the Skywatch interface as a tool for policy makers and consumers. Team MacAcer spoke to a Toronto bus driver about his frustration of occasionally driving an empty bus. The team built a working software model of stop button system at Toronto bus stops, with the aim of allowing bus drivers to avoid stretches without passengers and decreasing carbon emissions in the process. "It was fantastic to see how some of the teams were able to build completely functional applications over the course of the Climathon. Canada has some of the best technology talent in the world, and successful real-world problem tackling hackathons like these are a great reminder of the incredibly growth that we can expect in Canada's software development sector," said jury member Rachel Greenspan, general manager at Lighthouse Labs Toronto. Other ideas came from TeamTuring, which analyzed the data in Ontario's climate action plan and wants insurers to encourage newer and electric cars through lower premiums, ultimately resulting in lower costs for both insurers and consumers while reducing emissions. The BookThisStreet team created a new data set based on news reports to prove that construction causes congestion - which in turn increases carbon emissions - and proposed a data-driven platform for city planners. The global Climathon event took place for the second consecutive year and is organized by Climate-KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Community), the European Union's public-private partnership to address climate change through innovation with the aim of building a zero carbon economy. "The teams here in Toronto also exchanged ideas with participants in other cities in Europe, the United States and Australia via Skype and social media, which was incredibly inspiring to witness. Creating new connections between the best and the brightest is part of what Climate-KIC is all about, and it is a key element of the global response to climate change. The Climathon was also a great opportunity for Canada to further boost its international profile as a nation of forward-thinking innovators," said Peter Koekoek, a Toronto-based member of Climate-KIC's communications team. Presented by MaxQ Accelerator and Lighthouse Labs, the Toronto Climathon was supported by the business law firm Blakes, technology startups Skywatch and Promethean Labs, the Canadian Open Data Exchange (ODX) and the Toronto-headquartered global hacker community HackerNest. See this link for photos of winning and participating teams and relevant tweets: http://www. Climate-KIC is Europe's largest public-private innovation partnership focused on climate change. Our partnership consists of dynamic companies, the best academic institutions and public authorities. We drive innovation in tackling climate change through creative partnerships large and small, local and global, and between the private, public and academic sectors. Since 2010, Climate-KIC has developed a significant presence across Europe. We have played the role of innovation engine, matching and nurturing supply and demand and adding value through each stage of the climate innovation process. Climate-KIC is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union. Decreasing entry costs and a range of new, small satellites have massively increased the amount of data that is being transmitted back to the Earth. This is opening up opportunities for using the Big Data of space to radically transform our economies, societies and lives. A new community of aerospace companies is emerging in Canada. They are developing new applications for satellite data, low-cost access to space, and new space flight and satellite technologies. MaxQ's accelerator program helps market-ready startups with an intensive program of mentoring, business development assistance and access to industry experts. Founded in 2013, Lighthouse Labs is an immersive, modern approach to teaching web and mobile software development. With a hands on curriculum built by a community of industry experts, they focus on transforming passionate people into agile programmers. Lighthouse Labs maintains unprecedented employment rates of over 95% within 3 months of graduation and has graduated over 500 students into amazing careers.


Tubiello F.N.,Climate | Salvatore M.,Climate | Rossi S.,Climate | Ferrara A.,Climate | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Research Letters | Year: 2013

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture, including crop and livestock production, forestry and associated land use changes, are responsible for a significant fraction of anthropogenic emissions, up to 30% according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Yet while emissions from fossil fuels are updated yearly and by multiple sources - including national-level statistics from the International Energy Agency (IEA) - no comparable efforts for reporting global statistics for agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) emissions exist: the latest complete assessment was the 2007 IPCC report, based on 2005 emission data. This gap is critical for several reasons. First, potentially large climate funding could be linked in coming decades to more precise estimates of emissions and mitigation potentials. For many developing countries, and especially the least developed ones, this requires improved assessments of AFOLU emissions. Second, growth in global emissions from fossil fuels has outpaced that from AFOLU during every decade of the period 1961-2010, so the relative contribution of the latter to total climate forcing has diminished over time, with a need for regular updates. We present results from a new GHG database developed at FAO, providing a complete and coherent time series of emission statistics over a reference period 1961-2010, at country level, based on FAOSTAT activity data and IPCC Tier 1 methodology. We discuss results at global and regional level, focusing on trends in the agriculture sector and net deforestation. Our results complement those available from the IPCC, extending trend analysis to a longer historical period and, critically, beyond 2005 to more recent years. In particular, from 2000 to 2010, we find that agricultural emissions increased by 1.1% annually, reaching 4.6 Gt CO2 yr-1 in 2010 (up to 5.4-5.8 Gt CO2 yr-1 with emissions from biomass burning and organic soils included). Over the same decade 2000-2010, the ratio of agriculture to fossil fuel emissions has decreased, from 17.2% to 13.7%, and the decrease is even greater for the ratio of net deforestation to fossil fuel emissions: from 19.1% to 10.1%. In fact, in the year 2000, emissions from agriculture have been consistently larger - about 1.2 Gt CO2 yr-1 in 2010 - than those from net deforestation. © 2013 IOP Publishing Ltd.


Ogle S.M.,Colorado State University | Olander L.,Duke University | Wollenberg L.,University of Vermont | Rosenstock T.,International Center for Research in Agroforestry | And 5 more authors.
Global Change Biology | Year: 2014

Agriculture in developing countries has attracted increasing attention in international negotiations within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for both adaptation to climate change and greenhouse gas mitigation. However, there is limited understanding about potential complementarity between management practices that promote adaptation and mitigation, and limited basis to account for greenhouse gas emission reductions in this sector. The good news is that the global research community could provide the support needed to address these issues through further research linking adaptation and mitigation. In addition, a small shift in strategy by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and ongoing assistance from agricultural organizations could produce a framework to move the research and development from concept to reality. In turn, significant progress is possible in the near term providing the basis for UNFCCC negotiations to move beyond discussion to action for the agricultural sector in developing countries. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Bossa A.Y.,University of Bonn | Diekkruger B.,University of Bonn | Giertz S.,University of Bonn | Steup G.,University of Bonn | And 3 more authors.
Agricultural Water Management | Year: 2012

Assessment studies of N and P loads to water systems have developed from simple descriptions based on monitoring and sampling into the analysis of multiple scenarios using simulation models. In this study, water, sediment, and nutrient delivery to the stream flow at the Donga-Pont river catchment outlet (586km2) in the Republic of Benin, West Africa were simulated incorporating local management practices including detailed crop systems, fertilization and manure deposition, using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT).At the study scale (586km2), cropping systems are not mapped. Therefore, a land use map was refined for the study area, enabling the evaluation of four management scenarios: crop systems with fertilizer supplied only to cotton, rice and maize, as is common in Benin (Sc0); crop systems without the use of fertilizer (Sc0a); the original land use map with similar fertilizer inputs to all cropping systems (Sc1); and the original land use map without fertilizer inputs (Sc1a). Compared to the first scenario, the latter two scenarios, commonly used in regional scale modeling, exhibited distinct biases in plant growth parameters, crop yields, water yield, sediment yield and nitrogen load.Finally, it was apparent that at the catchment scale, decreases in water yield and nutrient loading were induced by reductions in rainfall (as the result of climate change scenarios), but the effects of the decline in precipitation were counteracted by the effects of changes in land use (land use scenarios). This indicates the strength of the relationship between agriculture and water quality (sediment and nutrient loads) within the Donga-Pont catchment. It was clear that management practices such as fertilizer inputs are among the principal factors controlling this dynamic. Moreover, high spatial variation in the groundwater nitrate concentration, reaching 42. mg/l, was observed. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Tolentino P.L.M.,University of the Philippines at Diliman | Poortinga A.,Wageningen University | Kanamaru H.,Climate | Keesstra S.,Wageningen University | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

The Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the potential impacts of climate change. To fully understand these potential impacts, especially on future hydrological regimes and water resources (2010-2050), 24 river basins located in the major agricultural provinces throughout the Philippines were assessed. Calibrated using existing historical interpolated climate data, the STREAM model was used to assess future river flows derived from three global climate models (BCM2, CNCM3 and MPEH5) under two plausible scenarios (A1B and A2) and then compared with baseline scenarios (20th century). Results predict a general increase in water availability for most parts of the country. For the A1B scenario, CNCM3 and MPEH5 models predict an overall increase in river flows and river flow variability for most basins, with higher flow magnitudes and flow variability, while an increase in peak flow return periods is predicted for the middle and southern parts of the country during the wet season. However, in the north, the prognosis is for an increase in peak flow return periods for both wet and dry seasons. These findings suggest a general increase in water availability for agriculture, however, there is also the increased threat of flooding and enhanced soil erosion throughout the country. © 2016 Tolentino et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Olander L.P.,Duke University | Wollenberg E.,University of Vermont | Tubiello F.N.,Climate | Herold M.,Wageningen University
Environmental Research Letters | Year: 2014

Reducing emissions of agricultural greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as methane and nitrous oxide, and sequestering carbon in the soil or in living biomass can help reduce the impact of agriculture on climate change while improving productivity and reducing resource use. There is an increasing demand for improved, low cost quantification of GHGs in agriculture, whether for national reporting to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), underpinning and stimulating improved practices, establishing crediting mechanisms, or supporting green products. This ERL focus issue highlights GHG quantification to call attention to our existing knowledge and opportunities for further progress. In this article we synthesize the findings of 21 papers on the current state of global capability for agricultural GHG quantification and visions for its improvement. We conclude that strategic investment in quantification can lead to significant global improvement in agricultural GHG estimation in the near term. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.


Lal M.,Climate
Regional Environmental Change | Year: 2011

One of the targets of the United Nations 'Millennium Development Goals' adopted in 2000 is to cut in half the number of people who are suffering from hunger between 1990 and 2015. However, crop yield growth has slowed down in much of the world because of declining investments in agricultural research, irrigation, and rural infrastructure and increasing water scarcity. New challenges to food security are posed by accelerated climatic change. Considerable uncertainties remain as to when, where and how climate change will affect agricultural production. Even less is known about how climate change might influence other aspects that determine food security, such as accessibility of food for various societal groups and the stability of food supply. This paper presents the likely impacts of thermal and hydrological stresses as a consequence of projected climate change in the future potential agriculture productivity in South Asia based on the crop simulation studies with a view to identify critical climate thresholds for sustained food productivity in the region. The study suggests that, on an aggregate level, there might not be a significant impact of global warming on food production of South Asia in the short term (<2°C; until 2020s), provided water for irrigation is available and agricultural pests could be kept under control. The increasing frequency of droughts and floods would, however, continue to seriously disrupt food supplies on year to year basis. In long term (2050s and beyond), productivity of Kharif crops would decline due to increased climate variability and pest incidence and virulence. Production of Rabi crops is likely to be more seriously threatened in response to 2°C warming. The net cereal production in South Asia is projected to decline at least between 4 and 10% under the most conservative climate change projections (a regional warming of 3°C) by the end of this century. In terms of the reference to UNFCCC Article 2 on dangerous anthropogenic (human-induced) interference with the climate system, the critical threshold for sustained food productivity in South Asia appears to be a rise in surface air temperature of ~2°C and a marginal decline in water availability for irrigation or decrease in rainfall during the cropping season. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.


Richards M.,Forest Trends | Panfil S.N.,Climate
International Forestry Review | Year: 2011

This paper describes some of the challenges of meeting standards for multiple benefit forest carbon and other land use based carbon projects. There is considerable current controversy about the social and equity impacts of such projects. The authors argue that a combination of more robust standards, such as the Climate Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards, for assessing the social performance of projects, and cost-effective impact assessment methods can do much to ensure positive outcomes for local people or communities, and greatly reduce the risk of negative ones. The paper is structured around the following main themes: what is meant by social impact assessment (SIA); a discussion of the requirements of the CCB Standards as regards SIA; key challenges to measuring the social impacts of land use based carbon projects; presentation of seven proposed SIA stages contained in a Manual for SIA released by four prominent non-governmental organisations; and some 'good practice'- principles for cost-effective SIA.

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