Minnegram Winter 2016
For decades, scientists have been researching the cycling and sequestration of carbon in forests and other terrestrial ecosystems. More recently, the process of carbon burial in lakes and other inland waters has caught the attention of water and climate researchers.
As part of his doctoral research, Water Resource Sciences PhD candidate Robert Dietz has brought a Minnesota focus to the research in his exploration of the long-term historical relationships between land use and carbon burial in 116 lakes Minnesota lakes spanning multiple ecoregions.
Over 700 water professionals attended the Minnesota Water Conference at RiverCentre in downtown St. Paul, October 12 and 13. Plenary presentations and concurrent sessions offered information on topics ranging from the history of Minnesota water policy, corporate/environmental partnerships that benefit water quality and economic bottom lines, and possible solutions to the problem of spent water from the oil fracking process.
WRS Faculty Joe Magner and Karlyn Eckman are working with faculty from Mizoram University (MZU) on water resources, agroforestry and shifting cultivation in the remote northeastern Indian hill state of Mizoram. It is extremely isolated geographically, and is landlocked between Bangladesh to the west and Myanmar to the east. Between 1958 and 2011 foreigners were restricted from travel in Mizoram due to the Indian Protected Area Law of 1958. Mizoram was opened to tourism in 2011 but is still rarely visited by foreigners. The challenges of sustainable development in Mizoram are compelling. 95% of the population is listed as scheduled tribes (minority), and has increased ten-fold in forty years. 90% of the rural population practices subsistence-based shifting cultivation (jhum) on hillsides using only manual labor. Crop yields, soil fertility, forest regeneration and biological diversity are thought to be declining, although there is no reliable data. Water sources dry up in the midst of the growing season, causing significant hardship for people.