Tropical Forests, Agriculture, and Sparing Land for Nature - Seminar with Dr. Ruth DeFries, Monday May 14 2-3:30pm
Dr. DeFries is the Denning Professor of Sustainable Development with the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology at Columbia University.
Tropical forests are at the nexus of competing demands for agricultural commodities, biofuels, conservation, and carbon storage. As increasing appetites of growing populations rise, the demands on tropical forests will only increase further. Some have argued that intensifying agricultural production will spare land for nature by concentrating production on less land. Results based on satellite parts of the Amazon and elsewhere indicate that intensification can spare land for nature but only with targeted policies to reduce deforestation. Dr. DeFries' research focus is examining human transformation of the landscape and its consequences for climate, biogeochemical cycling, biodiversity, and other ecosystem services that make our planet habitable.