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Achten W.M.J.,Catholic University of Leuven | Trabucco A.,Catholic University of Leuven | Trabucco A.,Euro Mediterranean Center for Climate Changes | Maes W.H.,Ghent University | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Arid Environments | Year: 2013

Biofuels are considered as a climate-friendly energy alternative. However, their environmental sustainability is increasingly debated because of land competition with food production, negative carbon balances and impacts on biodiversity. Arid and semi-arid lands have been proposed as a more sustainable alternative without such impacts. In that context this paper evaluates the carbon balance of potential land conversion to Jatropha cultivation, biofuel production and use in arid and semi-arid areas. This evaluation includes the calculation of carbon debt created by these land conversions and calculation of the minimum Jatropha yield necessary to repay the respective carbon debts within 15 or 30 years.The carbon debts caused by conversion of arid and semi-arid lands to Jatropha vary largely as a function of the biomass carbon stocks of the land use types in these regions. Based on global ecosystem carbon mapping, cultivated lands and marginal areas (sparse shrubs, herbaceous and bare areas) show to have similar biomass carbon stocks (on average 4-8tCha-1) and together cover a total of 1.79billionha. Conversion of these lands might not cause a carbon debt, but still might have a negative impact on other sustainability dimensions (e.g. biodiversity or socio-economics). Jatropha establishment in shrubland (0.75 billion ha) would cause a carbon debt of 24-28tCha-1 on average (repayable within 30year with yield of 3.5-3.9tseed ha-1yr-1). Land use change in the 1.15 billion ha of forested area under arid and semi-arid climates could cause a carbon debt between 70 and 118t Cha-1. This debt requires 8.6-13.9tseed production ha-1yr-1 for repayment within 30 years. If repayment is required within 15 years, the necessary minimum yields almost double. Considering that 5tseedha-1yr-1 is the current maximum Jatropha yield, conversion of forests cannot be repaid within one human generation. Repayment of carbon debt from shrubland conversions in 30 years is challenging, but feasible. Repayment in 15 year is currently not attainable.Based on this analysis the paper discusses the carbon mitigation potential of biofuels in arid and semi-arid environments. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Damiano E.,The Second University of Naples | Mercogliano P.,Italian Aerospace Research Center | Mercogliano P.,Euro Mediterranean Center for Climate Changes
Landslide Science and Practice: Global Environmental Change | Year: 2013

Landslides are one of the most dangerous natural hazards since they degrade the productivity of soils, harm people, and damage property. Slope failures are caused by a combination of several factors; in unsaturated granular deposits which are often susceptible to rapid catastrophic landslides induced by rainwater infiltration, climatic conditions play a fundamental role. Therefore, global warming due to the greenhouse effect and changes in precipitation and evaporation patterns might affect future landslide hazard. The paper reports the results of a complex investigation in a sample site, including in situ suction and precipitation monitoring, soil characterization and numerical simulations which allowed us to focus on some aspects of climate change on slope behaviour. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013. Source


Comegna L.,The Second University of Naples | Tommasi P.,CNR Institute of Environmental Geology and Geoengineering | Picarelli L.,The Second University of Naples | Bucchignani E.,Euro Mediterranean Center for Climate Changes | And 3 more authors.
Landslide Science and Practice: Global Environmental Change | Year: 2013

Forecasting the effects of forthcoming climate changes on natural hazards is a new frontier of the research. The problem is crucial for landslide hazard but available data are still doubtful, thus only some hypotheses can be drawn. The paper examines the potential effects of climate during next 50 years on two active landslides in clay. Considerations are based on data regarding local rainfall history, available climatic scenarios, monitoring and results of simple geotechnical analyses. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013. Source


Mercogliano P.,Euro Mediterranean Center for Climate Changes | Mercogliano P.,Italian Aerospace Research Center | Casagli N.,University of Florence | Catani F.,University of Florence | And 13 more authors.
Landslide Science and Practice: Global Environmental Change | Year: 2013

The paper describes the activities developed within the work package 4.1 of the UE/FP7 SAFELAND Project. The first scope of this research activity is to define and to implement a warning system for shallow landslide prediction, at large and slope scale, based on the forecast precipitation. The warning system is based on different numerical tools and simulation models: stability analysis model at slope and regional scale and numerical weather prediction models (global and regional) and downscaling algorithms. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013. Source


Salis M.,University of Sassari | Salis M.,Euro Mediterranean Center for Climate Changes | Ager A.A.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Arca B.,CNR Institute for Biometeorology | And 5 more authors.
International Journal of Wildland Fire | Year: 2013

We used simulation modelling to analyse spatial variation in wildfire exposure relative to key social and economic features on the island of Sardinia, Italy. Sardinia contains a high density of urban interfaces, recreational values and highly valued agricultural areas that are increasingly being threatened by severe wildfires. Historical fire data and wildfire simulations were used to estimate burn probabilities, flame length and fire size. We examined how these risk factors varied among and within highly valued features located on the island. Estimates of burn probability excluding non-burnable fuels, ranged from 0-1.92×10-3, with a mean value of 6.48×10-5. Spatial patterns in modelled outputs were strongly related to fuel loadings, although topographic and other influences were apparent. Wide variation was observed among the land parcels for all the key values, providing a quantitative approach to inform wildfire risk management activities. © 2013 IAWF. Source

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