Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. 24/7 Space News .




WATER WORLD
Harvard study shows sprawl threatens water quality, climate protection, and land conservation gains
by Staff Writers
Boston MA (SPX) Dec 16, 2013


File image.

A groundbreaking study by Harvard University's Harvard Forest and the Smithsonian Institution reveals that, if left unchecked, recent trends in the loss of forests to development will undermine significant land conservation gains in Massachusetts, jeopardize water quality, and limit the natural landscape's ability to protect against climate change.

The scientists researched and analyzed four plausible scenarios for what Massachusetts could look like in the future. The scenarios were developed by a group of forestry professionals, land-use planning and water policy experts, and conservation groups. The scenarios reflect contrasting patterns and intensities of land development, wood harvesting, conservation, and agriculture.

The two-year study is unique in its forward-looking approach and its use of sophisticated computer models to conduct a detailed acre-by-acre analysis of the entire forested landscape of Massachusetts over 50 years.

"What we found is that land-use decisions have immediate and dramatic impacts on many of the forest benefits people depend on," said Jonathan Thompson, Senior Ecologist at Harvard Forest and lead author of the new study. This is the first time a study of this magnitude has been conducted for an entire state.

Thompson goes on to say, "Massachusetts is an important place to study land-use because it is densely populated, heavily forested, and experiencing rapid change - much like the broader forested landscape of the eastern U.S. The results of the study show that sprawl, coupled with a permanent loss of forest cover in Massachusetts, create an urgent need to address land-use choices."

"We know from decades of research that forests are more than a collection of trees, they are 'living infrastructure' that works 24-hours a day to provide climate protection, clean water, local wood products, and natural areas for people and wildlife. The results of this new study show that seemingly imperceptible changes to the land add-up in ways that can significantly enhance or erode these vital benefits, depending on the choices we all make," said David Foster, Director of the Harvard Forest and co-author of the study.

The stakes are high but there is good news in the study. "The Forests as Infrastructure scenario shows it's possible to protect forest benefits while also increasing local wood production and supporting economic development, by making important but achievable changes," said Thompson.

Forests as Infrastructure clusters more of the development, implements "improvement forestry" on much of the harvested land, and increases the rate of forest conservation with a focus on priority habitat. By 2060, compared to Recent Trends, this scenario would:

+ Limit flooding risks in virtually all of the state's major watersheds

+ Protect water quality by minimizing impervious surfaces like roads and parking lots

+ Grow 20% more high-value trees like large oak, sugar maple, and white pine

+ Double the amount of local wood harvested

+ Maintain a 35% increase in the storage of carbon that would otherwise warm the earth

+ Reduce forest fragmentation by 25%

+ Protect a quarter-million more acres of high-priority wildlife habitat

Kathy Fallon Lambert, Director of Science and Policy at the Harvard Forest and co-author of the study, says the timing of the study is critical for the Commonwealth. "Not only are we experiencing this historic downturn in forest cover, but the legislature is contemplating changing our zoning laws for the first time in 40 years.

In addition, the environmental bond bill will set conservation funding levels for the next five years." Lambert says the study's findings point to three broad policy directions: recommitting to land conservation, promoting sustainable forestry in the Commonwealth, and redoubling land-use planning and smart-growth efforts.

The team has received funding from the National Science Foundation to extend the study to include the five other New England states. By using science to understand and inform land-use decisions here in Massachusetts, the researchers are building on the Commonwealth's history as a leader in science and conservation to help shape the future of one of the most globally significant forested regions in the world.

.


Related Links
Harvard University
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





WATER WORLD
Upper Rio Grande Impact Reveals Growing Gap in Supply and Demand
Albuquerque NM (SPX) Dec 16, 2013
Increasing temperatures and changes in the timing of snowmelt runoff could impact the amount of water available on the upper Rio Grande in the future. These are some of the results of the Upper Rio Grande Impact Assessment released by Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Anne Castle. "This report uses the most current information and state of the art scienti ... read more


WATER WORLD
Mining the moon is pie in the sky for China: experts

Ancient crater could hold clues about moon's mantle

Minerals in giant impact crater may be clues to moon's makeup, origin

Silent Orbit for China's Moon Lander

WATER WORLD
NASA poised to launch Mars atmosphere probe

The Tough Task of Finding Fossils While Wearing a Spacesuit

Mars One Selects Lockheed Martin to Study First Private Unmanned Mission to Mars

SSTL selected for first private Mars mission

WATER WORLD
European consortium space company to offer 'affordable' trips to space

Planning group calls for National Space Policy in Britain

Quails in orbit: French cuisine aims for the stars

Heat Shield for NASA's Orion Spacecraft Arrives at Kennedy Space Center

WATER WORLD
China deploys 'Jade Rabbit' rover on moon

The Dragon Has Landed

Chinaese moon rover and lander photograph each other

China's Jade Rabbit lunar rover sends first photos from moon

WATER WORLD
Altitude of International Space Station raised

NASA mulls spacewalks to fix space station

NASA reports coolant loop problem at ISS

Space station cooling breakdown may delay Orbital launch

WATER WORLD
Arianespace orders 18 rockets for 2 bn euros

Iran sends second monkey into space

SpaceX to bid for rights to historic NASA launch pad

Arianespace to launch GSAT-15 and GSAT-16 satellites for India

WATER WORLD
Feature of Earth's atmosphere may help in search for habitable planets

Astronomers discover planet that shouldn't be there

Hot Jupiters Highlight Challenges in the Search for Life Beyond Earth

Astronomers find strange planet orbiting where there shouldn't be one

WATER WORLD
New sensor tracks zinc in cells

Morphing material has mighty potential

Polymers can be semimetals

A Stopwatch for Electron Flashes




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement