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Lula faces stiff challenge to fulfil vow to reverse Amazon deforestation in Brazil

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Monday, December 5, 2022

President’s predecessor Bolsonaro unleashed record destruction and emboldened loggers, land grabbers and illegal minersLuiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s narrow victory over President Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s October elections was hailed as the potential salvation of the Amazon, after four years of unbridled destruction which have brought the rainforest close to a tipping point, threatening the very survival of the Indigenous populations whose lives depend upon it.Lula has vowed to reverse the environmental destruction wreaked under his far-right predecessor and work towards zero deforestation by tackling crime in the Amazon and guaranteeing the protection of Indigenous rights. But the president-elect, who takes office on 1 January 2023, faces an uphill battle to meet these big promises he has made to the Brazilian people and the international community. Continue reading...

President’s predecessor Bolsonaro unleashed record destruction and emboldened loggers, land grabbers and illegal minersLuiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s narrow victory over President Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s October elections was hailed as the potential salvation of the Amazon, after four years of unbridled destruction which have brought the rainforest close to a tipping point, threatening the very survival of the Indigenous populations whose lives depend upon it.Lula has vowed to reverse the environmental destruction wreaked under his far-right predecessor and work towards zero deforestation by tackling crime in the Amazon and guaranteeing the protection of Indigenous rights. But the president-elect, who takes office on 1 January 2023, faces an uphill battle to meet these big promises he has made to the Brazilian people and the international community. Continue reading...

President’s predecessor Bolsonaro unleashed record destruction and emboldened loggers, land grabbers and illegal miners

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s narrow victory over President Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil’s October elections was hailed as the potential salvation of the Amazon, after four years of unbridled destruction which have brought the rainforest close to a tipping point, threatening the very survival of the Indigenous populations whose lives depend upon it.

Lula has vowed to reverse the environmental destruction wreaked under his far-right predecessor and work towards zero deforestation by tackling crime in the Amazon and guaranteeing the protection of Indigenous rights. But the president-elect, who takes office on 1 January 2023, faces an uphill battle to meet these big promises he has made to the Brazilian people and the international community.

Continue reading...
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Eastern US forests show remarkable cooling effect, study reveals

A new study highlights the significant role of reforestation in the eastern United States in mitigating climate crisis-induced temperature rises.Oliver Milman reports for The Guardian.In short:The eastern U.S. has experienced a "warming hole" where temperatures have stabilized or decreased, contrary to global trends.Reforestation in this region, covering an area larger than England, has been a key factor in this localized cooling effect.The cooling is primarily due to trees' transpiration process, which releases water vapor into the air, reducing surrounding temperatures.Key quote:"Nature-based climate solutions like tree planting won’t get us out of this climate change problem."— Mallory Barnes, an environmental scientist at Indiana University Why this matters:This study underscores the power of reforestation in combating climate change, particularly in urban areas facing extreme heat. It's a vital reminder that alongside reducing emissions, nature-based solutions like tree planting play a crucial role in our overall climate strategy.Researchers say "proforestation" policies are the fastest and most effective way to draw excess CO2 out of the atmosphere.

A new study highlights the significant role of reforestation in the eastern United States in mitigating climate crisis-induced temperature rises.Oliver Milman reports for The Guardian.In short:The eastern U.S. has experienced a "warming hole" where temperatures have stabilized or decreased, contrary to global trends.Reforestation in this region, covering an area larger than England, has been a key factor in this localized cooling effect.The cooling is primarily due to trees' transpiration process, which releases water vapor into the air, reducing surrounding temperatures.Key quote:"Nature-based climate solutions like tree planting won’t get us out of this climate change problem."— Mallory Barnes, an environmental scientist at Indiana University Why this matters:This study underscores the power of reforestation in combating climate change, particularly in urban areas facing extreme heat. It's a vital reminder that alongside reducing emissions, nature-based solutions like tree planting play a crucial role in our overall climate strategy.Researchers say "proforestation" policies are the fastest and most effective way to draw excess CO2 out of the atmosphere.

Keeping Cool: Unlocking the Climate Secrets of Eastern U.S. Reforestation

Much of the U.S. warmed during the 20th century, but the eastern part of the country remained mysteriously cool. The recovery of forests could explain...

Reforestation in the eastern U.S. has been shown to mitigate regional warming trends, with research highlighting forests’ significant cooling effects on both land and air temperatures. This underscores the potential of reforestation as a tool for climate adaptation and mitigation.Much of the U.S. warmed during the 20th century, but the eastern part of the country remained mysteriously cool. The recovery of forests could explain why.Widespread 20th-century reforestation in the eastern United States helped counter rising temperatures due to climate change, according to new research. The authors highlight the potential of forests as regional climate adaptation tools, which are needed along with a decrease in carbon emissions.“It’s all about figuring out how much forests can cool down our environment and the extent of the effect,” said Mallory Barnes, lead author of the study and an environmental scientist at Indiana University. “This knowledge is key not only for large-scale reforestation projections aimed at climate mitigation, but also for initiatives like urban tree planting.” The study was published in the AGU journal Earth’s Future, which publishes interdisciplinary research on the past, present, and future of our planet and its inhabitants.Historical Context of Eastern U.S. ReforestationBefore European colonization, the eastern United States was almost entirely covered in temperate forests. From the late 18th to early 20th centuries, timber harvests and clearing for agriculture led to forest losses exceeding 90% in some areas. In the 1930s, efforts to revive the forests, coupled with the abandonment and subsequent reforestation of subpar agricultural fields, kicked off an almost century-long comeback for eastern forests. About 15 million hectares of forest have since grown in these areas.“The extent of the deforestation that happened in the eastern United States is remarkable, and the consequences were grave,” said Kim Novick, an environmental scientist at Indiana University and co-author of the new study. “It was a dramatic land cover change, and not that long ago.”The “warming hole,” or anomalously cool region, is shown in blue. Credit: Barnes et al.During the period of regrowth, global warming was well underway, with temperatures across North America rising 0.7 degrees Celsius (1.23 degrees Fahrenheit) on average. In contrast, from 1900 to 2000, the East Coast and Southeast cooled by about 0.3 degrees Celsius (0.5 degrees Fahrenheit), with the strongest cooling in the southeast.Previous studies suggested the cooling could be caused by aerosols, agricultural activity or increased precipitation, but many of these factors would only explain highly localized cooling. Despite known relationships between forests and cooling, studies had not considered forests as a possible explanation for the anomalous, widespread cooling.“This widespread history of reforestation, a huge shift in land cover, hasn’t been widely studied for how it could’ve contributed to the anomalous lack of warming in the eastern U.S., which climate scientists call a ‘warming hole,’” Barnes said. “That’s why we initially set out to do this work.”Analyzing the Cooling Effect of ForestsBarnes, Novick, and their team used a combination of data from satellites and 58 meteorological towers to compare forests to nearby grasslands and croplands, allowing an examination of how changes in forest cover can influence ground surface temperatures and in the few meters of air right above the surface.The researchers found that forests in the eastern U.S. today cool the land’s surface by 1 to 2 degrees Celsius (1.8 to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) annually. The strongest cooling effect occurs at midday in the summer, when trees lower temperatures by 2 to 5 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit) — providing relief when it’s needed most.Using data from a network of gas-measuring towers, the team showed that this cooling effect also extends to the air, with forests lowering the near-surface air temperature by up to 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) during midday. (Previous work on trees’ cooling effect has focused on land, not air, temperatures.)Loggers in the Hudson Valley. Credit: Adirondack History MuseumThe team then used historic land cover and daily weather data from 398 weather stations to track the relationship between forest cover and land and near-surface air temperatures from 1900 to 2010. They found that by the end of the 20th century, weather stations surrounded by forests were up to 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than locations that did not undergo reforestation. Spots up to 300 meters (984 feet) away were also cooled, suggesting the cooling effect of reforestation could have extended even to unforested parts of the landscape.Other factors, such as changes in agricultural irrigation, may have also had a cooling effect on the study region. The reforestation of the eastern United States in the 20th century likely contributed to, but cannot fully explain, the cooling anomaly, the authors said.“It’s exciting to be able to contribute additional information to the long-standing and perplexing question of, ‘Why hasn’t the eastern United States warmed at a rate commensurate with the rest of the world?’” Barnes said. “We can’t explain all of the cooling, but we propose that reforestation is an important part of the story.”Implications for Climate Adaptation StrategiesReforestation in the eastern United States is generally regarded as a viable strategy for climate mitigation due to the capacity of these forests to sequester and store carbon. The authors note that their work suggests that eastern United States reforestation also represents an important tool for climate adaptation.However, in different environments, such as snow-covered boreal regions, adding trees could have a warming effect. In some locations, reforestation can also affect precipitation, cloud cover, and other regional scale processes in ways that may or may not be beneficial. Land managers must therefore consider other environmental factors when evaluating the utility of forests as a climate adaptation tool.Reference: “A Century of Reforestation Reduced Anthropogenic Warming in the Eastern United States” by Mallory L. Barnes, Quan Zhang, Scott M. Robeson, Lily Young, Elizabeth A. Burakowski, A. Christopher. Oishi, Paul C. Stoy, Gaby Katul and Kimberly A. Novick, 13 February 2024, Earth’s Future.DOI: 10.1029/2023EF003663

Japan to launch world’s first wooden satellite to combat space pollution

The environmentally friendly LignaSat probe – set to orbit this summer – has been created to combat harmful aluminium particlesJapanese scientists have created one of the world’s most unusual spacecraft – a tiny satellite that is made of timber.The LignoSat probe has been built of magnolia wood, which, in experiments carried out on the International Space Station (ISS), was found to be particularly stable and resistant to cracking. Now plans are being finalised for it to be launched on a US rocket this summer. Continue reading...

Japanese scientists have created one of the world’s most unusual spacecraft – a tiny satellite that is made of timber.The LignoSat probe has been built of magnolia wood, which, in experiments carried out on the International Space Station (ISS), was found to be particularly stable and resistant to cracking. Now plans are being finalised for it to be launched on a US rocket this summer.The timber satellite has been built by researchers at Kyoto University and the logging company Sumitomo Forestry in order to test the idea of using biodegradable materials such as wood to see if they can act as environmentally friendly alternatives to the metals from which all satellites are currently constructed.“All the satellites which re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere burn and create tiny alumina particles, which will float in the upper atmosphere for many years,” Takao Doi, a Japanese astronaut and aerospace engineer with Kyoto University, warned recently. “Eventually, it will affect the environment of the Earth.”To tackle the problem, Kyoto researchers set up a project to evaluate types of wood to determine how well they could withstand the rigours of space launch and lengthy flights in orbit round the Earth. The first tests were carried out in laboratories that recreated conditions in space, and wood samples were found to have suffered no measurable changes in mass or signs of decomposition or damage.“Wood’s ability to withstand these conditions astounded us,” said Koji Murata, head of the project.After these tests, samples were sent to the ISS, where they were subjected to exposure trials for almost a year before being brought back to Earth. Again they showed little signs of damage, a phenomenon that Murata attributed to the fact that there is no oxygen in space which could cause wood to burn, and no living creatures to cause it to rot.Space junk in low Earth orbit [artist’s impression]. Photograph: ESA/PASeveral types of wood were tested, including Japanese cherry, with wood from magnolia trees proving to be the most robust. This has now been used to build Kyoto’s wooden satellite, which will contain a number of experiments that will determine how well the spacecraft performs in orbit, said Murata.“One of the missions of the satellite is to measure the deformation of the wooden structure in space. Wood is durable and stable in one direction but may be prone to dimensional changes and cracking in the other direction,” he told the Observer.Murata added that a final decision had still to be made on the launch vehicle, with choices now narrowed down to a flight this summer on an Orbital Sciences Cygnus supply ship to the ISS or a similar SpaceX Dragon mission slightly later in the year. It is expected that the probe – which is the size of a coffee mug –will operate in space for at least six months before it is allowed to enter the upper atmosphere.skip past newsletter promotionThe planet's most important stories. Get all the week's environment news - the good, the bad and the essentialPrivacy Notice: Newsletters may contain info about charities, online ads, and content funded by outside parties. For more information see our Privacy Policy. We use Google reCaptcha to protect our website and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.after newsletter promotionIf the LignoSat performs well ­during its operation in orbit, then the door could be opened for the use of wood as a construction material for more satellites. It is estimated that more than 2,000 spacecraft are likely to be launched annually in coming years, and the aluminium that they are likely to deposit in the upper atmosphere as they burn up on re-entry could soon pose major environmental problems.Recent research carried out by scientists at the University of British Columbia, Canada, revealed that aluminium from re-entering satellites could cause serious depletion of the ozone layer which protects the Earth from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation and could also affect the amount of sunlight that travels through the atmosphere and reaches the ground.However, this should not be a problem with satellites built of wood, like LignoSat, which, when it burns up as it re-enters the atmosphere after completing its mission, will produce only a fine spray of ­biodegradable ash.

Volunteers in Costa Rica Team Up to Shield National Park from Blazes

One hundred volunteers will work over the weekend to create an eight-kilometer protective perimeter that will help defend Barra Honda National Park in Guanacaste from forest fires. The team, 50% of which is made up of certified forestry brigadistas, will create a firebreak to keep sensitive sectors of the protected area safe. The intervention consists […] The post Volunteers in Costa Rica Team Up to Shield National Park from Blazes appeared first on The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate.

One hundred volunteers will work over the weekend to create an eight-kilometer protective perimeter that will help defend Barra Honda National Park in Guanacaste from forest fires. The team, 50% of which is made up of certified forestry brigadistas, will create a firebreak to keep sensitive sectors of the protected area safe. The intervention consists of clearing the ground until the soil is exposed and free of vegetation to minimize the material that could serve as fuel for the flames. When there is no more flora to consume, the fire slows its advance and is extinguished. The brigade will clear a strip of four meters wide and three meters high. The intervention will take place in Barra Honda National Park because it is the territory with the highest risk of forest fires during this dry season in the Tempisque Conservation Area. Reserva Conchal, FIFCO’s hospitality division, organized the volunteer day as part of the corporate Climate Action strategy. Of the 100 participating volunteers, 44 are employees of the company. Among them, 14 are part of Reserva Conchal’s Emergency Brigade and are certified by the Fire Management program of the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC). The other certified volunteers are residents of neighboring communities, both independent and members of the Guanacaste Conservation Area Brigade (ACG), the Tamarindo Coastal Brigade (BRICA), and the Las Delicias Brigade (BRIDENA). Non-brigade volunteers will participate in maintaining the National Park’s visitors’ area, including cleaning the surroundings, varnishing the façade, and painting the facilities. The volunteer day will be carried out in partnership with the administration of Barra Honda National Park, a part of SINAC; the Santa Cruz Environmental Commission, and community brigades. With its Climate Action Strategy, Reserva Conchal and FIFCO seek to develop greater resilience to climate change, requiring both the company and communities to adapt, reduce their environmental footprint, and manage their impacts to progress. As part of this commitment, FIFCO’s volunteer program Elegí Ayudar and Reserva Conchal’s Emergency Brigade have been implementing specific actions for the prevention of fire emergencies in Guanacaste since 2022. Previous interventions have been carried out in Barra Honda, Santa Rosa, Palo Verde, and Pocosol National Parks. The post Volunteers in Costa Rica Team Up to Shield National Park from Blazes appeared first on The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate.

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