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DGE Newsletter, April 2009
Field & Berry Lab Groups
Seminars

April 6: Adam Wolf led a discussion of a 1964 paper by A. W. Kuchler published by the Amer. Geographical Soc. titled Potential Natural Vegetation of the United States. It was a Manual to accompany a large map of the US showing the location of many vegetation types. Our discussion focused on how the map was constructed and questioned its validity. Adam also showed us a similar-in-design soil map published by the USDA in 1938.
Tasting: Naupaka Zimmerman brought five flavors of Mochi from Japan including orange, melon, grapefruit, chocolate & mango. These were individually wrapped candies made from rice flour and powdered sugar. All were delicious, thank you Naupaka.
April 13: Chris Field discussed recent research, about to be published, by Elliott Campbell, Dave Lobell & himself titled Greater transportation energy and GHG offsets from bioelectricity than ethanol. The data clearly show that using biofuels to create electricity is more efficient than making alcohol for subsequent use in motor vehicles. Chris also presented some results (by Audrey Niboyet et al) from an accidental wildfire at some of the experimental plots on
Jasper Ridge. The data show that under certain conditions, fire may cause more release of nitrous oxide (a potent green house gas) than originally thought.
Tasting: To supplement the tortillas from a previous tasting, Chris brought five kinds of salsa. Two used a mango base and the rest tomato. They varied from hot to medium.
April 20: Eve-Lyn Hinckley described her new project with Rob Genova & others using the CENTURY model to look at potential yields of switchgrass (managed as a bioenergy crop) on abandoned agricultural lands in the U.S., as well as changes to soil carbon storage. They will be collecting data from lands under the US Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
Tasting: Eve provided a unique tasting of seven kinds of milk made from plants including cashew, almond, hazelnut, hemp, soy, rice and oats. I enjoyed all of them except for the almond.
April 21-23: Chris Field attended the 30th Session of the IPCC in Antalya, Turkey.
April 27: Chris Doughty described five different areas in which he is collecting data with the view of expanding his research into one or more of them in the near future. The include Geoengineering, Paleoclimatology, Remote Sensing, History (of Land Use), & Astrobiology.
Tasting: His tasting was of six varieties of gum, 2 yellow, 2 green and 2 blue. The yellows were fruity, blues were wintergreen, and the greens were minty.
 

April 7: Dr. Eric F. Lambin, Dept. Geography, Univ. Louvain, Belgium spoke to us with the title "From net deforestation to net reforestation in the tropics: pathways and impacts." His particular research has involved what has been happening in Vietnam. When
the political environment changed from Communism's collective farms to individual ownership, the farmers began to take much better care of their land and managed the forests accordingly.
April 14: Dr. Jan Hamrin, HMW International & the Center for Resource Solutions, Mill Valley, CA, spoke to us on Real World Issues with Making Alternative Energy a Reality. Her excellent presentation covered Sustainable Energy Planning, Policy Design, Key Barriers,
and Strategies to overcome these Barriers. She also discussed ways to reduce the cost gap between different sources of energy. Dr. Hamrin now does part-time consulting.
April 28: Benjamin S. Halpern, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at UC Santa Barbara, spoke on the title — The whole is greater than the sum of the parts: mapping human impacts on the oceans. He showed us world maps covering the effects of
climate change and direct human disturbances.
Caldeira Group
Welcomes Ho-Jeong Shin, Post Doc from So. Korea.
April 25: Ken Caldeira joined a Panel with four others to discus the documentary, A Sea Change at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas. The film is about Ocean Acidification: Imagining a World Without Fish.
Hawk Crashes Into DPB
April 22: A hawk broke through a 2nd story window of Carnegie's original building (1929) at 5:30 PM. Four members of the TAIR Group gently herded it downstairs and out the front door where it flew away. Great job!
Asner Group
April 28: The spring harvest at Jasper Ridge (JRGCE) began under Todd Tobeck's direction. The annual & perennial plants that had grown in small square areas were scraped off and stored separately in bags for future analysis from eight of the experimental plots. This work will continue and also include 4-6 small cores of the earth within the square areas using a new, faster coring device. The workers besides Todd were Jen Johnson, Rob Genova, Bill Gomez, Chris Doughty, Catie Wytychak, KT Martes, & Yuka Estrada.
The Group welcomed four new Lab. Technicians recently who are working with Robin Martin. They are: Aravindh Balaji, Jessica Hunt, Carey Lamprecht, and Parker Weiss.
April 15: Asner reported that the work of his Group on Remote Sensing was highlighted in an article on <http://news.mongabay.com/2009/
April 30: Last week, we completed the annual South African science meeting in Kruger National Park.  The CAO made its first big science debut since starting in Africa one year ago.  We presented 12 papers from 12 different lead authors -- representing about 10% of the entire meeting.  
In addition, CAO journal paper #2 came out in Biological Conservation during the meeting.  It is led by Shaun Levick, and is the second in a serieslooking at large-scale effects of herbivores and fire on savanna biodiversity and structure.  After more than a century of uncertain results from savanna field ecology, I am sure our program is quantitatively determining the role of large herbivores and fire in shaping the complex savanna landscape in southern Africa. Way to go, Shaun!
Best from Madagascar, Greg
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Editor Jan Brown, e-mail: jbrown1@stanford.edu