Climate Change & Adaptation

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Climate Change & Adaptation. Robert K Hall – USEPA Region 9 David Gay – University of Illinois Dan Mosley – Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Sherman Swanson – University of Nevada, Reno. Climate Change & Adaptation. Carbon Ecosystems and Carbon What is Carbon Sequestration Ecological Function
Climate Change & AdaptationRobert K Hall – USEPA Region 9David Gay – University of IllinoisDan Mosley – Pyramid Lake Paiute TribeSherman Swanson – University of Nevada, RenoClimate Change & Adaptation
  • Carbon
  • Ecosystems and Carbon
  • What is Carbon Sequestration
  • Ecological Function
  • Adaptation
  • CarbonGreen House Gases (GHG)
  • Water Vapor (H2O)
  • 36–70% of the greenhouse effect
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • 9–26%
  • Methane (CH4)
  • 4–9%
  • Ozone (O3)
  • 3–7%
  • Carbon CycleCarbon Footprint
  • A measure in units of carbon dioxide of the amount of greenhouse gases emitted directly and indirectly through our (i.e., human) daily activities. Carbon footprints are separated into primary and secondary categories.
  • primary footprint is the sum of direct emissions of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels
  • secondary footprint is the sum of indirect emissions of greenhouse gases during the lifecycle of products. For example, carbon lost from soil due to plowing a field is a secondary footprint.
  • Carbon Footprint Calculators
  • US Environmental Protection Agency – Household
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • and Carbon
  • Vannote’s “River Continuum Concept”
  • “Based on the energy equilibrium theory of fluvial geomorphologists ….. the structural and functional characteristics of stream communities are adapted to conform to the …. mean state of the physical system………producer and consumer communities characteristic of a given river reach become established in harmony with the dynamic physical conditions of the channel….. Thus, the biological system moves towards a balance …………. Downstream communities are fashioned to capitalize on upstream processing inefficiencies.”Atmospheric CO2 ConcentrationsEcosystem loss – In the tropical lowland forests of the Andean Foothill of Colombia, deforestation rate from 1938 – 1955 was <0.1% than increased to 4.4% in the 1970s and 80s (Vina and Cavelier, 1999). In Boreno, major deforestation began in the 1950s with intensive logging occurring in the 1980s and 90s. From 1950 to 1985, half of Madagascar’s disappeared. In North Lampung, Sumatra, between 1969 and 1985 major changes occurred (e.g., cultivation) reducing the natural forest to 10% of its original extent (Imbernon, 1999). Seasonal amplitudes - Atmospheric scrubbing via precipitation – water (H2O)Ecosystems and Carbon
  • The Earth’s ecosystem is constantly changing
  • Latitude – equator to the poles
  • Redfield Ratio
  • C: N: P = Earth - Carbon based plant. Ergo, carbon is good/necessary
  • 105: 16: 1 by molecule 51:7.5: 1 by weight
  • The median C:N:P atomic ratio of benthic marine macroalgae and sea grasses is about 550:30:1
  • Atmospheric CO2 ConcentrationsNote: Seasonal EffectEcosystems and Carbon
  • Losses
  • Between 1780’s and 1980’s, in the lower 48 states, 51% of the original wetland habitat (211 million acres), or about 104 million acres have been lost.
  • From 1950 to 1985, half of Madagascar’s forests disappeared.
  • In North Lampung, Sumatra, between 1969 and 1985 major changes occurred (e.g., cultivation) reducing the natural forest to 10% of its original extent.
  • etc., etc., etc.,
  • Plant succession
  • Beginning of succession
  • Increased carbon storage, as well as other nutrients
  • End of succession
  • Decreased carbon storage, as well as other nutrients
  • Stressed plants
  • Decreased carbon storage
  • Carbon storage in soil and root masses
  • What is carbon sequestrationIndustrial
  • Carbon sequestration is the capture and storage of carbon.
  • In industry, it is the mechanical capture and storage of carbon.
  • Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies capture carbon dioxide (CO2) at industrial point sources (i.e., fossil-fuel combustion, natural gas refining, ethanol production and cement manufacturing plants). 
  • Once captured, the CO2 gas is compressed and transported to a suitable location for injection and storage (e.g., in deep geologic formations).
  • Once stored, the CO2 is isolated from drinking water supplies and prevented from release into the atmosphere by a confining zone that includes a dense layer of rock, which acts as a seal, and through additional trapping mechanisms.  
  • What is carbon sequestrationAg/Ranch Land
  • Soil carbon (C) is vital for retaining water and nutrients.
  • Storing carbon (C) in soil can have the added benefit of increasing the soil’s long-term productivity.
  • The amount of carbon (C) stored in the soil is influenced by
  • past and present management practices
  • Climate by modifying the time it takes to mineralize soil organic C into CO2.
  • Carbon fixation and organic-matter mineralization increase with rainfall and temperature.
  • A cost effective approach is to maintain or achieve ecosystem function potential.
  • Functinoal ecosystems sequester more carbon than they produce via plant respiration.
  • A stressed, or non-functinoal, ecosystem produces more carbon than it sequesters.
  • A stressed ecosystem is easily invaded by other plant communities.
  • What are carbon credits
  • Carbon Credits provide a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as part of a tradable permit scheme.
  • Credits can be purchase and redeem when a facility exceeds their carbon production allotment (e.g., burning of fossil fuels).
  • A credit provides the owner the right to emit one ton of carbon dioxide.
  • For nations that have signed the Kyoto Protocol
  • Greenhouse gas-emissions trading is mandatory.
  • In the United States, which did not sign the environmental agreement, corporate participation is voluntary.
  • Carbon Trading is a cap-and-trade scheme.
  • Carbon Offsetting is where a company invests in carbon-reducing projects somewhere around the world.
  • In theory, for every ton of C02 emitted, a company can buy certificates attesting that the same amount of greenhouse gas was removed from the atmosphere through renewable energy projects such as tree planting.
  • Offset projects are not regulated so “caveat emptor” - let the buyer beware.
  • ConclusionEffects to Farms/Ranchers
  • By maintaining a functional ecosystem and reducing operation carbon footprint, the farmer/rancher can sell carbon credits. Or, can establish a carbon reduction/offset program by establishing restoration projects.
  • For example, the Farmers Union’s Carbon Credit Program allows ag producers and landowners to earn income by storing carbon in their soil through
  • no-till crop production,
  • conversion of cropland to grass,
  • sustainable management of native rangelands
  • tree plantings on previously non-forested or degraded land.
  • In addition, the capture of methane from anaerobic manure digester systems can also earn carbon credits.
  • Note: Farmers Union has earned approval from the Chicago Climate Exchange to aggregate carbon offsets (carbon credits) and sell them on behalf of producers.
  • Farmers Union enrolls producer acreage into blocks of marketable offsets that are traded on the Exchange, much like other agricultural commodities are sold. Proceeds from the sales are then forwarded to producers as each pool of carbon credits is marketed.
  • No-till crop production offsets are eligible in most central and eastern states. Seeded grass acres can be enrolled in most states and managed native rangeland offsets are offered mostly in central and western states.
  • Nitrogen is the growth-limiting nutrient for essentially all well
  • watered plants in their natural environments. Plants have grown and reproduced for eons
  • in an environment with uncertain supply of water and nutrients; survival has dictated a
  • conservative assessment and husbanding of nutrients. Plants must also regulate their
  • acquisition and metabolism of carbon and nitrogen to provide adequate amounts of these
  • nutrients in the proper stoichiometry required to synthesize their various component
  • proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, etc.
  • Soil carbon content is an integral component of productive soils
  • microbial activity is a key determining factor in the availability of the plant nutrients nitrogen and phosphorous.
  • Conclusions
  • Poor land management (overgrazing, farming, riparian loss, etc.) can lead to soil C loss.
  • Appropriate management practices (e.g., implementation of BMPs) will improve water quality, overall grazing land quality, wildlife habitat, and at the same time increase C sequestration.
  • Plug and PondBig Flat Meadow Re-Watering ProjectPlumas County, CA(Before) A before-restoration aerial photo (After) An after-restoration aerial photo of of the Big Flat Meadow "pond and plug" the Big Flat Meadow "pond and plug" project showing complete gully obliteration by excavating native material (thus creating the ponds) to fill the gully to meadow elevation (between the ponds). Also note the constructed E channel on the left of the ponds.Bear Creek 1977KGC-11KGC-118-Aug10-Aug12-Aug14-Aug16-Aug18-Aug20-Aug22-Aug24-Aug26-Aug28-Aug30-AugDaily Maximum Air & Water TemperaturesBear Creek - Central Oregon19761008060Air40WaterTemperature (Degrees F)20Difference0-20-40DateIFLM-2221 Years LaterKGC-12Daily Maximum Air & Water TemperaturesBear Creek - Central Oregon199812010080Air60WaterTemperature Degrees FDifference402007-Aug9-Aug11-Aug13-Aug15-Aug17-Aug19-Aug21-Aug23-Aug25-Aug27-Aug29-Aug31-AugDateIFLM-23Landscape Approach
  • Quiz.
  • What was the Best Management Practice (BMP) for Bear Creek?
  • A. Rest for one year
  • B. Increased livestock numbers
  • C. Change in season and duration of grazing to enable functions
  • D. All the above
  • RIPARIAN-WETLAND areas are functioning properly when adequate vegetation, landform, or large woody debris is present to:
  • Dissipate STREAM ENGERGY associated with high flows
  • Stabilize STREAMBANKS
  • Habitat for FISH and WILDLIFE
  • Improved WATER QUALITY
  • Decreased SOILEROSION
  • RIPARIAN-WETLAND areas that are in Functional Condition,
  • But, a Soil, Water, or Vegetation attribute makes them
  • RIPARIAN-WETLAND areas that CLEARLY ARE “NOTPROVIDING” adequate Vegetation, Landform or Large Woody Debris and do:
  • NOT dissipate Stream Energies associated with higher flows
  • NOT filter Sediment and Capture Bedload
  • NOT aid in Floodplain Development
  • NOT improve Floodwater Retention and Groundwater Recharge
  • NOT stabilize Streambanks
  • ROOT MASSSTABILITYLandscape Approach
  • Assess the watershed issues.
  • Assess riparian functions.
  • Manage uses (apply BMPs) to maintain or enhance ecosystem functions based on site-specific potential.
  • Monitor and adjust.
  • This - Improves water quality and prevents further unraveling of the system.Conclusion
  • Ecosystems are dynamic
  • Riparian areas vary
  • Riparian systems are resilient
  • Vegetations drives many functions
  • Conclusion
  • Areas that are Nonfunctional
  • DO NOT provide quality wildlife habitat
  • DO NOT provide improved Water Quality
  • DO NOTimprove ForageProduction, Aesthetics, and Land Values,
  • “…natural systems can be used but should not be abused.” (John Cairns Jr., 1999)“Riparian functions keep water on the land longer, reduce flood and drought effects, improve water quality, enhance forage and habitats, and focus monitoring for management.” (Sherman Swanson, 2009)
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