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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Scientist studies canopy structure for carbon sequestration and roadside management

Connecticut’s forests have been transformed over the years to meet the needs of its inhabitants. Before the arrival of European settlers, Native Americans burned forests in order to clear underbrush and create habitat for the game species they hunted. In the early 1800s, when European settlers arrived in large numbers, forests were cut down to make room for agricultural production and wood was used to build structures, create products and burned for heat. By 1820, the state’s forest cover was reduced to 25 percent. With the decline of agriculture in the state and the passage of conservation acts, Connecticut’s forests have regrown and now cover an estimated 70 percent of the land.

Fahey and colleagues from Purdue and Virginia Commonwealth Universities collecting lidar data

Fahey and colleagues from Purdue and Virginia Commonwealth Universities collecting LiDAR data.

Robert Fahey, assistant professor in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, notes that while it would appear that some of these returning forests are unused, they are serving as a carbon sink. This refers to the ecosystem’s ability to absorb, or sequester, carbon from the atmosphere and store it.

Connecticut trees are part of a vast regrowth of forest in the northern US and Canada. As these forests begin to mature, scientists know little about how the aging of these trees will change the ecosystem’s capacity to continue storing carbon or if they might begin to emit carbon into the atmosphere.

“Over the past hundred years or so the forests of the Northeastern US have been a carbon sink, meaning that they have been pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, offsetting some anthropogenic emissions. But these forests are aging and their potential to continue to be a carbon sink is questionable at best,” says Fahey.

In order to understand how the structure of forest ecosystems affects carbon storage, Fahey, who has a joint appointment in UConn’s Center for Environmental Science and Engineering, is studying forest canopy structure through examination of the specific arrangement of leaves. He believes canopy structural complexity is a prime indicator of efficiency in the ecosystem, which can shed light on how the environment functions. (more…)

CAHNR takes students to Ireland in May

Ireland is the perfect location for CAHNR students to participate in education abroad and to receive learning beyond the classroom, according to two faculty members who are taking a group there this May.

countryside

CAHNR’s education abroad experience includes a one-week stay in the Irish countryside.

Professors Sheila Andrew, of animal science, and Sandra Bushmich, of pathobiology and veterinary science, are leading the new three-week UConn Global One Health: Irish and US Perspective education abroad program. They noted that this opportunity offers three UConn graded credits in a beautiful place with no language barrier for under $5,000.

Study animal, human and environmental health
Being able to compare and contrast how the One Health concept is implemented in two different cultures is a plus, as well. “We are excited for our students to gain an in-depth understanding of how our food systems are closely tied to human health and environmental sustainability. Visiting Ireland will provide the students not only a comparison to US food systems, but also an opportunity to experience a vibrant culture in a beautiful country,” Andrew said.

The group will be small and stay together for three weeks, which will allow for meeting others with similar interests and for easy access to hands-on learning. The students begin the program in the United States on May 15. (more…)

CAHNR in the news

newsprintSome of CAHNR’s people, places and programs made the news recently. The bolded topics are linked to media coverage. The roman text links go to additional information.

Office of the Vice President for Research website. Spring 2017. Announced the recipients of the Scholarship Facilitation Fund Awards, which support faculty research, scholarly activities, creative works and interdisciplinary initiatives. Awardees include Assistant Professor Christopher Blesso from nutritional sciences whose project is Defining the Role of the HDL Receptor, SR-B1, in Adipocyte Lipid Metabolism and Inflammation.

UConn Engaged. Spring 2017. Listed Deborah Bubela, an assistant professor in residence in kinesiology, as a member of the newest Service Learning Faculty Fellow Cohort.  The group was described as committed and innovative faculty to design, develop, and deliver service learning curriculum. (more…)

CLEAR receives Provost’s Award for Excellence in Public Engagement

Mike Dietz, left, and Dave Dickson, right, take Congressman Joe Courtney on a tour highlighting UConn's innovative storm water management practices.

Mike Dietz, left, and Dave Dickson, right, take Congressman Joe Courtney on a tour highlighting UConn’s innovative storm water management practices.

The College’s Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR) received the 2016 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Public Engagement, Career Recognition for a Team. A reception was held at the William Benton Museum of Art on November 17, with awards presented by Provost Mun Choi and Carol Polifroni, director of the University’s Office of Public Engagement.

The Provost’s Awards recognize faculty, staff, students and alumni, for programs that engage the public and address social issues.

“We’re honored to be recognized,” said Chet Arnold, director of CLEAR . “This is an award for many different programs and projects that are all interwoven amongst a team that works very closely together. Every single person on this team deserves this award.”

Since 2002, CLEAR has developed award-winning programs designed to address issues related water management, land use planning, climate resiliency and geospatial technology. CLEAR is a partnership between the Department of Extension, the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment and Connecticut Sea Grant. (more…)

Image of the week

Dairy Bar, ATL and ABL buildings at sunset

Dairy Bar, ATL and ABL buildings at sunset. (Kevin Noonan / UConn CAHNR photo)