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Quantifying the role of natural and anthropogenically driven geomorphic disturbances in forest landscapes on global carbon emissions


Project Description

Project Rationale:
This project aims to quantify (1985-2020) the extent to which the world’s forests have been fragmented by geomorphic disturbances (landsliding and river channel migration) and explore the implications with respect to determining the impacts of this fragmentation and loss on the global carbon cycle.

Recent studies have shown that the edge effects arising from fragmentation of tropical forests substantially (31% of annual carbon emissions associated with tropical forest deforestation are estimated to be driven by these edge effects) augments carbon emissions from tropical forests [1]. Although fragmentation is frequently driven by anthropogenic forest clearance, natural geomorphological processes (this project will focus on landsliding (in uplands) and river channel erosion in lowlands) are also widespread and frequent, and must therefore play a role today in fragmenting Earth’s forested landscapes. However, to date, there has been no quantification of such processes at the global scale and the changing rate of these geomorphic disturbances, meaning that the role of such geomorphic disturbance on forest dynamics and terrestrial carbon cycling remains completely unknown. This project seeks to employ big data analytical techniques (see Methods) to address this gap and quantify, for the first time, the extent to which geomorphic processes are driving disturbances that are augmenting carbon emissions at the global scale.

Funding Notes

You can apply for fully-funded studentships (stipend and fees) from INSPIRE if you:
Are a UK or EU national.
Have no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK.
Have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the project.

Please click View Website for more information on eligibilty and how to apply

References

[1] Brinck, K. et al. 2017. High resolution analysis of tropical forest fragmentation and its impact on the global carbon cycle. Nature Communications, 8, 14855. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms14855

[2] Monegaglia, F., Zolezzi, G., Güneralp, I., Henshaw, A. J., & Tubino, M. 2018. Automated extraction of meandering river morphodynamics from multitemporal remotely sensed data. Environmental Modelling and Software, 105, 171-186. DOI: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2018.03.028

[3] Pekel, J.F. et al. 2016. High-resolution mapping of global surface water and its long-term changes. Nature, 418-422. DOI: 10.1038/nature20584

How good is research at University of Southampton in Geography, Environmental Studies and Archaeology?
Geography

FTE Category A staff submitted: 32.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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