Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Telecoupling science shows China’s forest sustainability packs global impact

20.12.2013
As China increases its forests, a Michigan State University (MSU) sustainability scholar proposes a new way to answer the question: if a tree doesn’t fall in China, can you hear it elsewhere in the world?

In this week’s journal Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, MSU’s University Distinguished Professor Jianguo “Jack” Liu dissects the global impact of China’s struggle to preserve and expand its forests even as its cities and population balloon.

Because China’s supersized global role makes each domestic decision a world event, Liu shows how China’s efforts to sustain forests influences other countries, and in turn how those changes may rebound to China. He is the author of “Forest Sustainability in China and Implications for a Telecoupled World.”

“For a long time, many scientists have focused specifically on one place to understand environmental impact, but that no longer is enough,” said Liu, the director of MSU’s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability and the Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability. “Economic development and environmental conservation in one place are increasingly having substantial influence elsewhere, and spill over into places we don’t consider.”

Deforestation that eases in China tends to reappear in the countries that sell them lumber and food to meet their ravenous appetite for housing and furniture as well as food. But Liu notes that that’s just the beginning. He deploys the telecoupling framework – a new multidisciplinary research tool that embraces the minutia of give and take. Telecoupling is socioeconomic and environmental interactions over distances. It goes beyond the idea of connection, as telecoupling factors in actions and reactions over distances.

In the past three decades, China has succeeded in increasing its forest cover. Sweeping policies thatForest products import and export - China limit logging or encourage returning farmland to forest are credited with some of the success. Importing food, such as soybean and meat, and forest products like timber or wood furniture, also contributes. But that seems to have caused forests to decline in the countries selling the forest goods to China, as well as a spray of other impacts.

Importing food to China can allow more land to be returned to forest in China, yet when food demand from China becomes higher, farmers in other countries such as Brazil have more incentive to mow forests down or intensify agriculture by applying more fertilizers and pesticides.

Liu has introduces the telecoupling framework as an integrated way to understand how distance is shrinking and connections are strengthening between nature and humans.

Liu also shows there’s more to this than trade. He points out how growing foreign investment in China has led to more houses, factories and infrastructure, all of which carve into forests. Even getting smarter – and sharing knowledge and technology more freely – can benefit or harm forests. Spreading the message of environmental protection can be a forest’s friend, while spreading knowledge of technology can make powerful, efficient machinery available that harvests forests more efficiently.

And telecoupling science also allows scientists to consider “spillover” systems – the countries that are left out of the direct equations of trade between China and its partners in food and forest goods, but who produce the machinery to harvest and transport timber, or process timber, or even are home to routes for smugglers.

“The days of simply looking at sustainability at one place are over,” Liu said. “We need to understand how the world really works and acknowledge that the world isn’t as big and disconnected as we sometimes treat it. “

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, NASA and Michigan State University AgBioResearch.

Contact:
Sue Nichols,
(517) 432-0206,
nichols@msu.edu

Sue Nichols | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.msu.edu
http://csis.msu.edu/news/telecoupling-science-shows-china%E2%80%99s-forest-sustainability-packs-global-impact

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Shallow soils promote savannas in South America

20.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

How Obesity Promotes Breast Cancer

20.10.2017 | Life Sciences

How the smallest bacterial pathogens outwit host immune defences by stealth mechanisms

20.10.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>