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National Science Foundation (USA) 2010

Soil organic carbon dynamics in response to long-term ecological changes in drylands : an integrated program for carbon cycle research and enhancing climate change literacy

Soil Carbon Drylands

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

Titre : Soil organic carbon dynamics in response to long-term ecological changes in drylands : an integrated program for carbon cycle research and enhancing climate change literacy

Organismes NSF : Division Of Environmental Biology (DEB)

Durée : July 1, 2010 — January 31, 2016

Description
Understanding the consequences and controls of changes in the global carbon cycle is critical to both science and society. Equally crucial to society is an informed public that is able to respond to the societal challenges of climate change with sound scientific knowledge. This project is an integrated research and teaching program that will enhance understanding of the controls over the storage of carbon in dryland soils, and implement educational initiatives to enhance ecological and climate literacy in rural southern New Mexico. Drylands are extremely important in the global carbon cycle : they account for a large proportion of global land area, and widespread changes in land cover and disturbances in these areas may strongly affect soil carbon pools. Soil carbon dynamics are particularly poorly understood in drylands, where controls may be distinctly different from those in better-studied, less dry systems due to differences in plant inputs, vegetation cover, disturbance regimes, and climate. A suite of new analytical techniques will be used to assess the sources and stability of soil carbon pools in drylands. These techniques will be used to address three questions : 1) How do changes in above- and belowground plant inputs affect dryland soil carbon content and stability ? 2) How do differences in historical land management and vegetation affect soil carbon ? 3) How do soil disturbances and vegetation change caused by desert rodents affect soil carbon content and stability ? Together, these studies will provide important information about current and future soil carbon dynamics and their feedback to the climate system.
Educational outreach is a central focus of this project. Early exposure to scientific ideas in children is vital for stimulating interest in science and laying the foundation for scientific literacy. As such, educational initiatives in this project will focus on enhancing ecological and climate literacy in elementary-level students and teachers. An inquiry based elementary curriculum focused on desert ecology and climate change will be developed, field-tested, and disseminated. To further enhance elementary education, courses will be developed for teachers on the use of innovative technological tools to engage students in ecosystem science. Elementary curriculum development and field testing will provide support to an after-school program in a high-poverty school district with high minority enrollment. Climate change literacy in the local community will be enhanced through curriculum dissemination and teacher education courses and workshops.

Partenaire (s) : Heather Throop heather.throop asu.edu (Principal Investigator)

Sponsor  : New Mexico State University Corner of Espina St. & Stewart Las Cruces, NM 88003-8002 (575)646-1590

Financement : $902,771.00

Présentation (National Science Foundation)

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