ResearchPad - environmental-studies https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Road development in Asia: Assessing the range-wide risks to tigers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15426 Roads are proliferating worldwide at an unprecedented rate, with potentially severe impacts on wildlife. We calculated the extent and potential impacts of road networks across the 1,160,000-km2, 13-country range of the globally endangered tiger (Panthera tigris)—a conservation umbrella species. We found that roads were pervasive, totaling 134,000 km across tiger conservation landscapes (TCLs), even in tiger priority sites and protected areas. Approximately 43% of the area where tiger breeding occurs and 57% of the area in TCLs fell within the road-effect zone. Consequently, current road networks may be decreasing tiger and prey abundances by more than 20%. Nearly 24,000 km of new roads will be built in TCLs by 2050, stimulated through major investment projects such as China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Given that roads will be a pervasive challenge to tiger recovery in the future, we urge decision-makers to make sustainable road development a top priority.

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<![CDATA[Global agricultural economic water scarcity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15415 Water scarcity raises major concerns on the sustainable future of humanity and the conservation of important ecosystem functions. To meet the increasing food demand without expanding cultivated areas, agriculture will likely need to introduce irrigation in croplands that are currently rain-fed but where enough water would be available for irrigation. “Agricultural economic water scarcity” is, here, defined as lack of irrigation due to limited institutional and economic capacity instead of hydrologic constraints. To date, the location and productivity potential of economically water scarce croplands remain unknown. We develop a monthly agrohydrological analysis to map agricultural regions affected by agricultural economic water scarcity. We find these regions account for up to 25% of the global croplands, mostly across Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. Sustainable irrigation of economically water scarce croplands could feed an additional 840 million people while preventing further aggravation of blue water scarcity.

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<![CDATA[Quantifying methane emissions from the largest oil-producing basin in the United States from space]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15393 Using new satellite observations and atmospheric inverse modeling, we report methane emissions from the Permian Basin, which is among the world’s most prolific oil-producing regions and accounts for >30% of total U.S. oil production. Based on satellite measurements from May 2018 to March 2019, Permian methane emissions from oil and natural gas production are estimated to be 2.7 ± 0.5 Tg a−1, representing the largest methane flux ever reported from a U.S. oil/gas-producing region and are more than two times higher than bottom-up inventory-based estimates. This magnitude of emissions is 3.7% of the gross gas extracted in the Permian, i.e., ~60% higher than the national average leakage rate. The high methane leakage rate is likely contributed by extensive venting and flaring, resulting from insufficient infrastructure to process and transport natural gas. This work demonstrates a high-resolution satellite data–based atmospheric inversion framework, providing a robust top-down analytical tool for quantifying and evaluating subregional methane emissions.

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<![CDATA[Anthropogenic alteration of nutrient supply increases the global freshwater carbon sink]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15361 Lakes have a disproportionate effect on the global carbon (C) cycle relative to their area, mediating C transfer from land to atmosphere, and burying organic-C in their sediments. The magnitude and temporal variability of C burial is, however, poorly constrained, and the degree to which humans have influenced lake C cycling through landscape alteration has not been systematically assessed. Here, we report global and biome specific trajectories of lake C sequestration based on 516 lakes and show that some lake C burial rates (i.e., those in tropical forest and grassland biomes) have quadrupled over the last 100 years. Global lake C-sequestration (~0.12 Pg year−1) has increased by ~72 Tg year−1 since 1900, offsetting 20% of annual CO2 freshwater emissions rising to ~30% if reservoirs are included and contributing to the residual continental C sink. Nutrient availability explains ~70% of the observed increase, while rising temperatures have a minimal effect.

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<![CDATA[Mitigating cavitation erosion using biomimetic gas-entrapping microtextured surfaces (GEMS)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N0b49f81c-52d6-4f4b-9dcf-c8b798a2a87b

Insect-inspired surfaces repel bubble jets.

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<![CDATA[Individual behavior drives ecosystem function and the impacts of harvest]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N82ae01c0-6b3b-4bf1-aaf1-eac2bd3ed455

Individual fish behavior has large and unpredictable impacts on ecosystem nutrient dynamics with implications for species harvest.

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<![CDATA[Critical transitions in Chinese dunes during the past 12,000 years]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N90288bd4-3d05-45ca-a669-d20da26cefc5

Like other complex systems, sand dunes alternate between stable states, which have coexisted for 12,000 years in northern China.

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<![CDATA[Illicit trade in marine fish catch and its effects on ecosystems and people worldwide]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N17c45928-3e18-459c-ae46-e030cf267d09

Illicit trade in marine fish catch results in losses to society that can be measured in billions of dollars each year.

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<![CDATA[Tropical forests did not recover from the strong 2015–2016 El Niño event]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N827a8c14-00d7-40f8-a026-9aefd24e2d4d

Microwave satellite observations reveal that tropical forests did not recover from the strong 2015–2016 El Niño event.

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<![CDATA[Informing trait-based ecology by assessing remotely sensed functional diversity across a broad tropical temperature gradient]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N631698da-959c-4bd8-8626-c4d2d52ead00

Remote sensing of trait-based ecology can improve our understanding of the effect of trait diversity on ecosystem functioning.

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<![CDATA[Moisture availability in the southwest United States over the last three glacial-interglacial cycles]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1225e6d5eed0c48485bcce

Caves in Death Valley National Park reveal past water table fluctuations in response to 350,000 years of global climate change.

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