Earth

PORTLAND, Ore. December 3, 2008. The first 5-year forest inventory report for California's private and public lands is now available to the public: California's Forest Resources, 2001-2005: Five-Year Forest Inventory and Analysis Report.

Here are some key findings from the report:

PASADENA, Calif.--The subduction zone that brought us the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake and tsunami is ripe for yet another large event, despite a sequence of quakes that occurred in the Mentawai Islands area in 2007, according to a group of earthquake researchers led by scientists from the Tectonics Observatory at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

A recent ESA campaign has demonstrated how a technique using lasers could be employed to measure carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The campaign supports one of the main objectives of the candidate Earth Explorer A-SCOPE mission.

MADISON, WI, DECEMBER 1, 2008 -- As the United States continues to develop alternative energy methods and push towards energy independence, cellulosic-based ethanol has emerged as one of the most commercially viable technologies. Corn stover remains the most popular source available, but the loss of soil organic carbon (SOC) associated with the removal of corn fodder as a cellulosic ethanol feedstock is of agricultural and environmental concern.

MADISON, WI, DECEMBER 1, 2008 -- Soil researchers pay close attention to bulk density, as it is one of the most common soil measurements and it is often used as a measure of soil quality. A soil's bulk density can be indicative of the ease of root penetration, water movement, and soil strength. Measuring this value with traditional methods has been difficult in the past, but researchers have developed a new method using laser scanning technology.

Climate change is hampering the long-term recovery of rivers from the effects of acid rain, with wet weather offsetting improvements, according to a new study by Cardiff University.

The research, by Professor Steve Ormerod and Dr Isabelle Durance of the School of Biosciences took place over a 25 year period around Llyn Brianne in mid-Wales. Their findings are published online today in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology.

With their sedentary lifestyles and filter-feeding habits, clams have been silent witnesses to the changes that humans have inflicted upon their waters. These clams are silent no more, as Dr. Ruth H. Carmichael of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and her colleagues have reported in their recent paper in the prestigious journal Aquatic Biology. Using stable isotope techniques, Carmichael demonstrated it is possible to identify and trace wastewater inputs to estuaries and coastal food webs by studying the organic matrix in the shell of the hard clam Mercenaria mercenaria.

Converting forests or fields to biofuel crops can increase or decrease greenhouse gas emissions, depending on where – and which – biofuel crops are used, University of Illinois researchers report this month.

The researchers analyzed data from dozens of studies to determine how planting new biofuel crops can influence the carbon content of the soil. Their findings appear this month in the journal Global Change Biology Bioenergy.

The Arctic is undergoing rapid transformation due to climate change, pollution and human activity. ESA's ERS and Envisat satellites have been providing satellite data of the region for the last 17 years. These long term data sets in combination with ESA's future missions will be key in implementing the newly adopted European Commission policy called 'The European Union and the Arctic Region'.

African cities are growing faster than anywhere else in the world. This is having a major impact, but few ecologists are studying the urban environment and effect of cities on rural areas. One of the most important ecological changes in Africa's history is being over-looked.