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Syracuse, NY, United States

Bain C.,Iowa State University | Selfa T.,SUNY ESF
Agriculture and Human Values | Year: 2013

Recent research exposing environmental and social externalities of biofuels has undermined the earlier national consensus that they would provide climate mitigation and rural development benefits, but support for ethanol remains strong in Iowa. The objective of this paper is to understand how stakeholder groups in Iowa have framed the benefits and risks associated with ethanol's impact on the local economy and environment. Our case study draws on in-depth, semi-structured interviews conducted with key informants from agricultural organizations, environmental organizations, and government departments in the state. We find that in Iowa, widespread support for ethanol production exists among government, energy, and farm groups, and that they frame ethanol production as economically beneficial to rural communities and agriculture, while minimizing the possibility of associated environmental risks. Although participants from environmental organizations in Iowa express apprehension about the environmental impacts of expanded corn ethanol production, their unease is muted in relation to economic benefits and in relation to other environmental issues, and few have publicly voiced their concerns. To understand these findings, we draw from the environmental sociology literature that examines the role of powerful natural resource interests in framing the importance of resource extraction and commodity production to community identity and economy and in delegitimizing and naturalizing associated environmental issues and problems. We argue that powerful natural resource interests in Iowa both naturalize environmental problems related to ethanol production and engage in diversionary reframing to emphasize the economic benefits while minimizing or rejecting the potential environmental risks. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

White S.S.,University of Kansas | Selfa T.,SUNY ESF
Environmental Management | Year: 2013

While farming has been the subject of frequent critical analysis with respect to its environmental impacts, including its greenhouse gas emissions, there has been relatively little consideration of the potentially positive role of agriculture in responding to a future greatly influenced by climate change. One possible realm for agriculture to contribute successfully to this future is through biofuels cultivation. This paper uses the state of Kansas as an example to examine factors that are influencing farmer decision-making during a time of heightened debates about climate and energy. Drawing on interviews with key informants and Kansas farmers, we apply and refine a conceptual model for understanding farmer decisions. We find that farmers have largely positive perceptions of the natural environment. Climate change, especially, is not a salient concern at this time. Factors that appear most likely to influence farmer decisions to adopt a new practice include the relative advantage of that practice and the ability to learn about and discuss it through existing social networks. Successful policy incentives must provide farmers with a continued sense of both independence and contribution to greater societal good. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Green infrastructure (GI) is gaining wide popularity as a means to reduce urban stormwater runoff. The challenges to long-term success of many GI policies, however, depend on citizen understanding and willingness to be engaged in the process of GI implementation. In this study, we developed a conceptual model that incorporated human preferences and biophysical processes in a coupled manner to estimate stormwater runoff variation at the sewershed scale under different acceptable GI implementation scenarios. To investigate resident receptivity toward GI implementation, we conducted surveys in selected Syracuse sewersheds and developed the scenario of residents implementing rain barrels and rain gardens in their private properties based on the survey results. We simulated this scenario at the lot level using the model we developed within the framework of the EPA SWMM 5 model to estimate reductions in peak flow and total runoff volume for major storm events. With our model, we also tested the effect of planned government tree planting scenarios. The scenario simulations were applied in three urban sewersheds of varying socio-economic and biophysical structures in the City of Syracuse, New York. The simulation results indicated that both the "government participation" and "household participation" scenarios, compared to pre-GI-development conditions, would contribute to a modest reduction in stormwater peak flow (>4 %) and total runoff volume (>5 %) across the simulated sewersheds. This study provides decision makers with a scientific methodology to quantify how human decisions can shape ecosystem function, and thus support sustainable stormwater management planning while addressing citizen preferences and needs. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Mitchell M.J.,SUNY ESF | Likens G.E.,Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2011

North American atmospheric S emissions peaked in the early 1970s followed by a dramatic decrease that resulted in marked declines in sulfate (SO 4 2-) concentrations in precipitation and many surface waters. These changes in S biogeochemistry have important implications with respect to the mobilization of toxic (Al n+, H +) and nutrient (Ca 2+, Mg 2+, K +) cations and the acidification of watersheds. We used the continuous long-term record for watersheds 1, 3, 5, and 6 (37-44 years from 1965 through 2008) of SO 4 2- concentrations and fluxes at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire (U.S.) for evaluating S budgets. Analysis revealed that the annual discrepancies in the watershed S budgets (SO 4 2- flux in drainage waters minus total atmospheric S deposition) have become significantly (p < 0.001) more negative, indicating the increasing importance of the release of S from internal sources with time. Watershed wetness, as a function of log 10 annual water flux, was highly significant (p < 0.001) and explained 57% (n = 157) of the annual variation for the combined results from watersheds 1, 3, 5, and 6. The biogeochemical control of annual SO 4 2- export in streamwater of forested watersheds has shifted from atmospheric S deposition to climatic factors by affecting soil moisture. © 2011 American Chemical Society.

Giner J.-L.,SUNY ESF | Wikfors G.H.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Phytochemistry | Year: 2011

Sterol compositions for three diatom species, recently shown to contain sterols with side chains typically found in dinoflagellates, were determined by HPLC and 1H NMR spectroscopic analyses. The centric diatom Triceratium dubium (= Biddulphia sp., CCMP 147) contained the highest percentage of 23-methylated sterols (37.2% (24R)-23-methylergosta-5,22-dienol), whereas the pennate diatom Delphineis sp. (CCMP 1095) contained the cyclopropyl sterol gorgosterol, as well as the 27-norsterol occelasterol. The sterol composition of Ditylum brightwellii (CCMP 358) was the most complex, containing Δ0- and Δ7-sterols, in addition to the predominant Δ5-sterols. A pair of previously unknown sterols, stigmasta-5,24,28-trienol and stigmasta-24,28-dienol, were detected in D. brightwellii and their structures were determined by NMR spectroscopic analysis and by synthesis of the former sterol from saringosterol. Also detected in D. brightwellii was the previously unknown 23-methylcholesta-7,22-dienol. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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