College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

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June 27, 2011

Environmental Leaders Gather at CNR

By Ann Brody Guy

As chief park warden of the Udzungwa Mountains National Park in Tanzania, Fortunata Msoffe works with local communities to combat poaching and protect one of the world’s key biodiversity areas.

Negash Teklu, a former news manager, parliament member, and liberation fighter in Ethiopia, now runs a non-governmental organization (NGO) dedicated to integrating reproductive health with the environment and with livelihoods in rural communities.

Roberta Rubim del Guidice is an environmental lawyer from Brazil who is working to make that country’s complex web of regulation a more effective tool for conservation and sustainable use of forests.

These disparate and far-flung environmental professionals have one thing in common: they are all on the Berkeley campus this summer to attend the 2011 Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program.

Farzana Yasmin, left, a researcher at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute in Islamabad, Pakistan, welcomes her cohort with a love song while ELP co-director Robin Marsh looks on. Photos by Julian Sproul.

The unique three-week College of Natural Resources (CNR) summer residential program brings together emerging international environmental leaders who are working to affect change within their communities: to conserve natural resources, protect wildlife, both mitigate and prepare for global warming, and improve food security and market access - often for the poorest and most marginalized populations.

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June 23, 2011

Latinos Have Higher Exposure to Nitrate-Contaminated Drinking Water, Study Finds

By Ann Brody Guy

San Joaquin Valley communities with large Latino populations are exposed to disproportionately high levels of the agricultural chemical nitrate through their drinking water, a team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley found in a study published in the June issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

The study explored whether there were demographics-related inequalities in nitrate exposure of residents in 327 drinking water systems throughout the San Joaquin Valley’s eight counties, from 1999 to 2001. This is the first peer-reviewed study in the United States to directly analyze the relationship between nitrate contamination, race and class.

Nitrate is a chemical used as fertilizer by farmers, and also derives from animal manure, human septic systems and the atmosphere. When ingested via drinking water it can cause reproductive harm to women, cause the often fatal “blue baby syndrome,” and may be associated with thyroid cancer, among other health effects, according to the U.S. EPA and numerous epidemiological studies.

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June 20, 2011

Wild pollinators worth up to $2.4 billion to farmers, study finds

By Ann Brody Guy

California agriculture reaps $937 million to $2.4 billion per year in economic value from wild, free-living bee species that serve the critical function of pollinating crops, according to a new study by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, published this week in the June issue of the journal Rangelands.

About one-third of the value of California agriculture comes from pollinator-dependent crops, representing a net value of $11.7 billion per year, according to the study. Currently, many farmers rent European honeybees to ensure crop pollination, and it has been widely assumed that wild pollinators were not a significant source of crop pollination. However, the new study found that wild pollinators residing in California’s natural habitats, chiefly rangelands, provide 35-39 percent, or more than one-third, of all pollination “services” to the state’s crops.

“This means that preserving rangelands has significant economic value, not only to the ranchers who graze their cattle there, but also to farmers who need the pollinators,” said Claire Kremen, UC Berkeley associate professor of environmental science, policy and management, and senior author of the study.

wildbee140.jpgThe study is the first to calculate the percentage of crop pollinators that are wild, free-living species based on their proximity to natural habitats, and thus to identify the economic value of the pollination service due to wild pollinators.

Above: The California native bee species Bombus vosnesenskii, the yellow-faced bumble bee, forages on almond flowers that are located right next to rangelands habitat. (Alexandra Maria-Klein photo)

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June 9, 2011

Range Management Expert Harold Heady Dies at 95

By Ann Brody Guy

heady_crop_1977_150%20pix.jpgProfessor Emeritus of Forestry Harold F. Heady passed away at the age of 95 on April 28, 2011 in La Grande, Ore. Heady was a range management ecologist at the University of California, Berkeley from 1951 to 1984, and in 1991 was awarded the Berkeley Citation for his extraordinary contributions to the University and his field.

After the schools of agriculture and forestry merged in 1974 to form the College of Natural Resources, Heady served as CNR’s associate dean of student affairs from 1974 to 1977. He also held numerous senior administrative positions at the University of California, including director of wildland resources, assistant vice-president for agriculture and university services, and associate director of the California Agricultural Experiment Station.

“Harold was passionate about the science and management of rangelands,” said Barbara Allen-Diaz, a professor and the Russell Rustici Chair in Rangeland Management at CNR and a Heady mentee. “He challenged students to be critical thinkers, to learn plant names and be able to identify them in the field, and to be critical observers of ecosystem functioning.”

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June 7, 2011

New Website Makes Climate Change Science Available to All

By Ann Brody Guy

Extensive climate change research being conducted at California universities and research centers is now openly available through a public website developed at the University of California, Berkeley. The announcement was made Tuesday, June 7 by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the California Natural Resources Agency, the sponsoring state agencies.

The website,, went live June 7 and has a variety of features tailored for different types of users, including members of the general public concerned about their neighborhood or region; decision-makers, such as city planners and resource managers; and experts who want to examine data.

The information on the website comes from peer-reviewed climate change research funded by the CEC’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program, which funds and oversees the Cal-Adapt website project. The site displays the research data in a variety of climate change-related scenarios and in map format, modeling various projections – such as changes in snow pack, wildfire danger and temperature – through the end of the century.

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June 2, 2011

Land Trust Honors Forestry Alum Bergen

By Ann Brody Guy

Geri_bergen_portriat_current_130pix.jpgLifelong conservationist Geri Bergen, B.S. Forestry, 1962, has been awarded the William Nickerl Award for Conservation Leadership by the Nevada County Land Trust (NCLT).

The award is given to individuals who demonstrate a long-time commitment to land conservation, successfully foster new efforts in the field of conservation, persevere in the face of challenges, and inspire others.

Bergen was the first woman to head a United States National Forest — one of many firsts her ground-breaking career in the male-dominated profession of forestry.

She began her career with the Forest Service in 1967 in a regional public–information post called “Women’s Activities,” where she handled a variety of outreach programs.

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Recent Posts

Environmental Leaders Gather at CNR
Latinos Have Higher Exposure to Nitrate-Contaminated Drinking Water, Study Finds
Wild pollinators worth up to $2.4 billion to farmers, study finds
Range Management Expert Harold Heady Dies at 95
New Website Makes Climate Change Science Available to All
Land Trust Honors Forestry Alum Bergen


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