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Friday, January 22, 2010

Visit by Dr Oliveras and seminar on fire dynamics and carbon losses

Dr. Imma Oliveras, environmental scientist at the University of Oxford, is visiting the fire group and will give a seminar to IIE on 4 Feb at 1pm in the Alexander Graham Bell Bldg (seminar room, 3rd floor).

Dr Oliveras is a Post Doctoral Research Associate working on the dynamics and carbon implications of fires. She is interested on how human-induced disturbances affect ecological processes, and implications for climate change and biodiversity conservation. She has studied the cloud forests of the Peruvian Andes, the Brazilian savannah grasslands and the Mediterranean ecosystems.

Seminar abstract:


Dr. Imma Oliveras
School of Geography and the Environment
University of Oxford

In the Andes, humid Tropical Montane Cloud Forests (TMCFs) sit immediately below highly flammable, high altitude dry grasslands (the puna) that have suffered from recurrent anthropogenic fires for millennia, with the treeline sitting at approximately 3000 m. This treeline is a zone of ecological and climatic tension: on the one hand, rising temperatures and cloud heights may have a tendency to push the ecotone upwards, encouraging forest expansion into the puna. On the other hand, increased aridity in the puna (driven by rising temperates and evapotranspiration, and possibly by reducing precipitation), coupled with intensified human pressure, is increasing fire occurrence and penetration into the cloud forest. This research project aims analyze the fire dynamics of this treeline, and to perform accurate estimates to carbon losses due to combustion by combining fire satellite detection, on-ground observations and experimental tests.

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