Local knowledge vital to help tackle climate change, new research shows

Local knowledge vital to help tackle climate change, new research shows

University of Aberdeen scientists have contributed to new research which shows that plans to tackle the impacts of climate change on food security must integrate local knowledge to help preserve the Earth's critical zone.

Aberdeen researchers led a UK government funded project involving 11 UK and 13 Chinese research institutions.  Collaborating with partners at the University of Glasgow, University of Stirling, University of Exeter, SRUC – Scotland’s Rural College, Queen’s University, Belfast, Peking University, Guizhou Medical University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in China for the paper titled ‘Achieving sustainable Earth futures in the Anthropocene by including local communities in Critical Zone Science’.

The critical zone is the thin layer of the planet’s surface that stretches from the roots of drinking water aquifers to the tops of plants and trees. It supports and sustains animal and plant life by regulating the flow of water, greenhouse gases, nutrients and energy.

Access to food, drinking water and clean air depend on a well-functioning critical zone, but decades of human activity have degraded the zone’s condition around the world. A new paper has shown how the critical zone can be better managed and protected.

Professor Paul Hallett of the University of Aberdeen’s School of Biological Sciences was the project’s lead investigator.  He is among a team of researchers who contributed their expertise to the paper, which is based on their experience of working with farmers on land heavily altered by human activity.

Professor Hallett said: “Across a number of critical zone observatories in China we obtained new knowledge on how the earth, from the bedrock up to the vegetation above, responds to the impacts of people. Adding to this we explored how people are driven to make decisions about farming, considering the best ways that the environment and farmer livelihoods could be protected.”

The team’s insights are summarised in a new diagram, which seeks to visually convey human impact on the Earth’s critical zone more clearly than ever before.

 

The researchers suggest that the new diagram should replace a widely used, more simplified graphic, introduced in 2007, which focused on the natural processes that shape the critical zone without addressing human impact on landscapes.

The new diagram is intended for use by academics across a range of fields for research and teaching purposes, by government agencies that fund science and landscape management, and in fundamental teaching resources such as textbooks. It more clearly shows how human activities like farming, mining, forestry and industry can contaminate water, cause soil erosion, and pollute the atmosphere.

The research is published in the journal Earth’s Future. A second paper, published simultaneously in the same journal, further outlines lessons from the researchers’ work with smallholder farmers in China and suggests new social science approaches to understanding the learning preferences of local people involved in Critical Zone Observatories.

The research was supported by funding from the Natural Environmental Research Council, China CZO and MIDST-CZO projects, along with the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Search News

Browse by Month

2024

  1. Jan
  2. Feb
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May There are no items to show for May 2024
  6. Jun There are no items to show for June 2024
  7. Jul There are no items to show for July 2024
  8. Aug There are no items to show for August 2024
  9. Sep There are no items to show for September 2024
  10. Oct There are no items to show for October 2024
  11. Nov There are no items to show for November 2024
  12. Dec There are no items to show for December 2024

2023

  1. Jan
  2. Feb
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul There are no items to show for July 2023
  8. Aug There are no items to show for August 2023
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov
  12. Dec

2022

  1. Jan There are no items to show for January 2022
  2. Feb
  3. Mar There are no items to show for March 2022
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov
  12. Dec

2021

  1. Jan
  2. Feb
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov
  12. Dec There are no items to show for December 2021

2020

  1. Jan
  2. Feb
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun There are no items to show for June 2020
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep There are no items to show for September 2020
  10. Oct
  11. Nov
  12. Dec There are no items to show for December 2020

2019

  1. Jan
  2. Feb There are no items to show for February 2019
  3. Mar There are no items to show for March 2019
  4. Apr There are no items to show for April 2019
  5. May There are no items to show for May 2019
  6. Jun There are no items to show for June 2019
  7. Jul There are no items to show for July 2019
  8. Aug There are no items to show for August 2019
  9. Sep There are no items to show for September 2019
  10. Oct There are no items to show for October 2019
  11. Nov
  12. Dec

2018

  1. Jan There are no items to show for January 2018
  2. Feb
  3. Mar There are no items to show for March 2018
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun There are no items to show for June 2018
  7. Jul There are no items to show for July 2018
  8. Aug There are no items to show for August 2018
  9. Sep There are no items to show for September 2018
  10. Oct There are no items to show for October 2018
  11. Nov There are no items to show for November 2018
  12. Dec There are no items to show for December 2018

2017

  1. Jan
  2. Feb
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul There are no items to show for July 2017
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov There are no items to show for November 2017
  12. Dec There are no items to show for December 2017

2016

  1. Jan
  2. Feb There are no items to show for February 2016
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct There are no items to show for October 2016
  11. Nov
  12. Dec There are no items to show for December 2016

2015

  1. Jan
  2. Feb There are no items to show for February 2015
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov There are no items to show for November 2015
  12. Dec

2014

  1. Jan
  2. Feb
  3. Mar
  4. Apr
  5. May
  6. Jun
  7. Jul
  8. Aug There are no items to show for August 2014
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov There are no items to show for November 2014
  12. Dec

2013

  1. Jan There are no items to show for January 2013
  2. Feb There are no items to show for February 2013
  3. Mar There are no items to show for March 2013
  4. Apr There are no items to show for April 2013
  5. May There are no items to show for May 2013
  6. Jun There are no items to show for June 2013
  7. Jul
  8. Aug
  9. Sep
  10. Oct
  11. Nov
  12. Dec