College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

News & Events

August 31, 2010

Billionaire funding climate change study on trees

By: Ken Miguel, KGO-ABC 7
Photo by: Christopher Schroeer-Heiermann

California's ancient Redwoods have survived floods, fires and the logger's axe, but the impact of global warming is still a big question mark.

What will climate change mean for the sequoias of the Southern Sierra and the Coast redwoods up north?

An unconventional experiment is taking place high above the ground in the branches of giant sequoias in the Whitaker Forest near Kings Canyon National Park.

Continue reading "Billionaire funding climate change study on trees" »

Listening to Earth breathe through 500 towers

Provided by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Photo by: Dennis Baldocchi


It takes a global village to monitor and analyze trends in Earth's "breathing" -- or the exchange of carbon dioxide, water vapor and energy between vegetation on the ground and the planet's atmosphere.

Today, hundreds of science groups in multiple countries have planted more than 500 micrometeorological towers across five continents to monitor these exchanges every 30 minutes. Each group gathers, stores, and sorts its data in its own way. Yet, in order to accurately track and predict long-term trends in climate—on local, regional and global scales—researchers need to bring together and navigate through these thousands of disparate datasets.

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August 26, 2010

Unusual Suspects: Resurgence, resilience and regeneration in the face of Climate Change

Rights, Resources, and Climate Change
Join us in a conversation with community leaders about the experiences of their communities, as they propose and implement novel climate change interventions. Alumni House, Toll Room. Friday, October 15, 2010 5 p.m. FREE! READ MORE

Greening the Greeks at UC Berkeley

By: Nate Seltenrich, East Bay Express
Where does the drunken frat brother leave his empty beer can? At Cal, the answer has traditionally been the trash bin — if not the neighbor's bushes — because almost none of the 31 fraternity houses have been regular recyclers. Yet things have begun to change. A frat house recycling program instituted earlier this semester by a pair of ambitious sorority sisters has put a dent in the load of cans, bottles, and cardboard that Cal's fraternities send to the dump every week.

Rebecca Mason and Kelley Doyle, co-founders of the initiative, began the program in February after obtaining grants for recycling bins. To assess their progress, they assumed the heroic duty of emptying unsorted frat-house trash onto the pavement and auditing its contents. They perform this task — or at least monitor dumpster levels — every two weeks at each of the ten currently enrolled fraternities. And after eleven weeks they've seen across-the-board increases in recycling.

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August 24, 2010

Professor Receives Prestigious Young Investigator Award

Stephanie M. Carlson, assistant professor of environmental science, policy, and management, is among this year’s recipients of the American Society of Naturalists’ Young Investigator Award, which is awarded by the Society to recognize outstanding and promising work by early career researchers.

The award was conferred at the 2010 meeting in Portland, Oregon, and included a presentation in the Young Investigator symposium.

Carlson presented on the topic of “Phenotypic selection in the wild”, which included an overview of her research examining the ecological context for natural selection, temporal patterns of selection in the wild, and recent research examining how natural selection influences ecological dynamics, namely ecosystem processes.

August 20, 2010

Will a 30-Percent Incentive on Fruits and Vegetables Lead to Healthier Eating?

Source: Abt Associates

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service has selected Abt Associates to lead a team evaluating a ground-breaking pilot program aimed at encouraging healthier eating among lower-income Americans. The Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) will enroll households in Hampden County, Massachusetts that participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program).

As a complement to the Let's Move campaign against childhood obesity led by the First Lady, the Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) aims to improve the diets of participants in SNAP. The evaluation will measure the impact of the incentive on consumption of fruits and vegetables and on diet quality, more generally. Researchers will also measure impacts on food retailers and other SNAP stakeholders as well as assess the feasibility of HIP, the lessons learned, and the potential for implementing HIP nationwide.

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Worldwide slowdown in plant carbon uptake

By: Sid Perkins, Science News

Deep and extended droughts are responsible for a recent slowdown in the amount of carbon dioxide that land plants pulled from the atmosphere as they grew, a new study suggests.

Satellite data suggest that between 1982 and 1999, the world’s net primary production — the amount of carbon pulled from the air as CO2 and stored in living plants each year — rose about 6 percent, says Maosheng Zhao, an ecologist at the University of Montana in Missoula. A rise in carbon storage matches what many scientists expected in a warming world with higher atmospheric concentrations of CO2, he notes. But new analyses by Zhao and Montana colleague Steven Running, reported in the Aug. 20 Science, indicate that the amount of carbon pulled from the atmosphere by the growth of terrestrial vegetation dropped about 1 percent during the first decade of this century.

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We can farm on Mars!

By: Rebecca Boyle, Wired Science Magazine

photo by: Nasa

If we ever decide to colonize Mars, it might be fairly simple to grow crops in that red soil, according to a new study. Mars’ reduced gravity could let us use less water and fertilizer than we do on Earth.

Visions of future space farms usually involve greenery thriving inside hydroponic systems, but as bio-geo researchers Federico Maggia and Céline Pallud note, using old-fashioned soil has plenty of advantages.

Soil-based agriculture can use settlers’ waste for fertilizer; it can sequester carbon and produce oxygen; and it’s a reliable way to biologically filter water, for instance.

The problem is that Mars is not Earth, gravitationally speaking. Gravity affects the rate at which water and nutrients flow through soil, and plants have evolved to these constraints.

Continue reading "We can farm on Mars!" »

Dirt! The Movie

By: Anneli Rufus, East Bay Express

Pedology is the study of soils, and that's what Ronald Amundson teaches as a soil-science professor and the chair of UC Berkeley's Division of Ecosystem Sciences. He lectures on strategies for restoring the health of the ground beneath our feet at the Albany Library (1247 Marin Ave., Albany) on Sunday, Aug. 22, following a screening of Dirt! The Movie, a film about the history and science of soil. 1:30 p.m., free.

August 12, 2010

In Memoriam of Dr. Arnold Zellner

Dr. Arnold Zellner, ARE adjunct professor, passed away on Tuesday August 10, 2010 at the age of 83. He was one of the great thinkers of our times, a wonderful person, and a major contributor to the ARE department.

One of the world's foremost econometricians, he was particularly known for his pioneering work in Bayesian analysis, systems of equations, time series analysis, as well as his work in applying his revolutionary techniques to data.

He was born on January 2, 1927 in Brooklyn, New York to Ukranian immigrants, Dora Kleiman Zellner and Israel (Sam) Zellner, who, along with a loving Grandmother, reared Arnold, and his older brother Norman, with a great appreciation for the American freedoms and opportunities denied to citizens of their native country.

Arnold attended Harvard University on a scholarship, earning a Bachelors degree in Physics in 1949. Upon completing his tour of duty in the Army, he used his GI Bill benefits to attend the University of California, Berkeley and earned a Ph.D. in Economics in 1957.

He held appointments in the Department of Economics at the University of Washington (1955-1960) and the University of Wisconsin (1961-1966) before accepting an appointment as the H.G.B. Alexander Professor of Economics and Statistics at the University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business (1966-1996).

Since retiring in 1996 from the University of Chicago, he has been a frequent lecturer throughout the world and a frequent visiting professor in the Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics at his alma mater, College of Natural Resources, the University of California, Berkeley.

He will be greatly missed.

To Read Arnold Zellner's Interview conducted by Kathy Morrissey in 2004 Click Here

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August 9, 2010

Dimmer view of Earth

By Suzanne Bohan, Contra Costa Times

When Stanford climate scientist Christopher Field looks at visual feeds from a satellite monitoring deforestation in the Amazon basin, he sees images streaked with white lines devoid of data.

The satellite, Lansat 7, is broken. And it's emblematic of the nation's battered satellite environmental monitoring program. The bad news: It's only going to get worse, unless the federal agencies criticized for their poor management of the satellite systems over the past decade stage a fast turnaround. Many, however, view that prospect as a long shot.

"I would say our ability to observe the Earth from space is at grave risk of dying from neglect," said Field, director of the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University.

Inez Fung, a noted climatologist at UC Berkeley, was shocked as she scanned a recent federal report warning of impending gaps in the country's ability to monitor Earth from space.

Continue reading "Dimmer view of Earth" »

Secrets of the redwoods: HSU, UCB scientists work to unlock mysteries

By: Donna Tam Contra Costa Times


Humboldt State University professor Stephen Sillett marveled at the mystery locked inside the rings of a redwood tree.

”These trees store all this information in their wood. It's awesome,” he said, standing on a trail in the middle of the Rockefeller Forest.

Sillett, the Kenneth L. Fisher Chair in Redwood Forest Ecology at HSU, and a team of scientists from HSU and the University of California, Berkeley, have just completed their first year of a three-year research project to unlock the secrets of the redwoods.

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GM Plants Escape Into American Wild

By: Jessica Marshall, Discovery News

Genetically modified canola plants have been found growing wild in the U.S., in some cases far from fields of cultivated genetically modified canola.

Results reported today at a meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Pittsburgh, Penn., suggest that the plants are reproducing on their own, making this the first report of an established population of GM organisms in the wild in the U.S., according to the team.

Continue reading "GM Plants Escape Into American Wild" »

August 6, 2010

CRS Alum trains for the Olympics


May 2010 CRS Alum Shay Seager is determined to push herself to the top. She is currently training to compete in the upcoming Olympics in rowing and is planning to apply to medical school at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Her ultimate goal is to work in the sports medicine field, combining her two passions of athletics and science. She hopes to find a way to help athletes heal faster from support related injuries.

To read more about Shay Seager's story CLICK HERE.

Was Today’s Poverty Determined in 1000 B.C.?

By: Catherine Rampell, The New York Times

The recent finding that economic success in life is largely determined by what you learned in kindergarten has proven contentious (at least among our readers). So what if I told you that economic success was instead determined by what your ancestors did more than a millennium ago?

That is one implication of a provocative new study by Diego Comin, William Easterly (known for his skepticism of foreign aid programs) and Erick Gong.

Continue reading "Was Today’s Poverty Determined in 1000 B.C.?" »

August 4, 2010

CNR Professor contributes to new plan to reduce threat of catastrophic wildfires in California

By: Jim Miller, Scripps News

California has a new road map to guide efforts to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires in the coming years and Professor Max Mortiz is on top of it all.

The strategic fire plan comes after a series of major blazes destroyed thousands of structures and killed more than two-dozen people in the past decade, with some of the heaviest damage in the San Bernardino mountains and other parts of Southern California. State spending on fighting fires has surpassed $1 billion annually in recent years.

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August 3, 2010

Beahrs ELP Celebrated 10th Anniversary on July 8th


On July 8th, the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) kicked off its 10th anniversary celebration at the Alumni House with keynote speaker, Carl Pope (Chairman, Sierra Club), and a panel of distinguished ELP alumni on the topic: Environmental Leadership: A Force that Persists. Robin Marsh, Beahrs ELP co-director, welcomed the packed House by sharing a brief history of the ELP since its inception in 2010.


CNR Student awarded Switzer Environmental Fellowship

By Andrea Hicklin UC Berkeley News

Three University of California, Berkeley, students have been awarded the 2010 Switzer Fellowship. The Switzer Fellowship is given to outstanding environmental scholars who are pursuing graduate degrees in a variety of ecological disciplines.

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Several Members of ARE Faculty and Alumni win AAEA Awards

Several members of the ARE faculty and alumni have earned major awards in the last AAEA (Agricultural & Applied Economics Association) meeting in Denver. The awards were announced Monday, July 26. They include:

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August 2, 2010

Math whiz tackles the big carbon sink puzzle

by Seth Shulman, Grist Magazine


Inez Fung is on a mission to find and account for every gram of heat-trapping carbon dioxide on the planet. And she knows where most of it is hiding.

Fung is the director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment at the University of California-Berkeley. Her work has led to a more complete understanding of the current and future role played by Earth's so-called "carbon sinks" -- features such as oceans and forests that suck carbon dioxide out of the air. Fung's research shows that when the role of these carbon-absorbing mechanisms is taken fully into account, global warming is likely to accelerate even faster than scientists previously believed.

Continue reading "Math whiz tackles the big carbon sink puzzle " »

Zivnuska Hall Opening at UC’s Forestry Camp in Meadow Valley, CA


Cal Alumni foresters, faculty, staff, and friends of the College of Natural Resources gathered on July 17, 2010 for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new 1,400 square foot computer lab/multi-purpose building at camp.

More than 125 donors, including the Zivnuska family, Cal Alumni foresters, and several
timber companies, funded the construction.



CNR Calendar

Monthly Archives

Recent Posts

Billionaire funding climate change study on trees
Listening to Earth breathe through 500 towers
Unusual Suspects: Resurgence, resilience and regeneration in the face of Climate Change
Greening the Greeks at UC Berkeley
Professor Receives Prestigious Young Investigator Award
Will a 30-Percent Incentive on Fruits and Vegetables Lead to Healthier Eating?
Worldwide slowdown in plant carbon uptake
We can farm on Mars!
Dirt! The Movie
In Memoriam of Dr. Arnold Zellner


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