The cost of doing business
ecological
agricultural
>
>
Christine S. O’Connell
 Pre-Thesis Seminar
 2 October 2013
Amazon rundown:
Background
Key questions
The Amazon is an
Enormous gear 1
Amazonia’s biomass stores
100 billion tonnes of carbon
Saatchi et al. (2007)
of precipitation in
Amazonia is returned to
the atmosphere by plants.
60%
Brienen et al. (2012)
This plant evapotranspiration balances
excess solar energy
West et al. (2011)
West et al. (2011)
High
net
energy
Most of it lost via plantspumping water, notthrough surface heating
Whirlwind on deforested land, 
Mato Grosso, BRA
Human use is rapid
and changing 2
of the Amazon is
deforested
17%
Nepstad et al. (1999)
…much of that for agricultural
export commodities
DeFries et al. (2013), MacDonald et al. in prep
Brazilian
soybean
yields rose
by 50% from
1990 to 2008
Ray et al. (2013)
And head of cattle in
the Brazilian Amazon
rose by 100%
Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (2008)
There is no one
Amazon ecology 3
Let’s take a quick tour of the Amazon…
 - Total biomass
~= 130 MgC/ha
- NPP disputed,
possibly ~= 7
MgC/ha/yr
- Tree diver...
Let’s take a quick tour of the Amazon…
 - Total biomass
~= 130 MgC/ha
- NPP disputed,
possibly ~= 7
MgC/ha/yr
- Tree diver...
Amazon rundown:
Background
Key questions
The
Big Gap
How will Amazonia’s role in the earth
system be affected by human use?
And What are the Tradeoffs?
Tradeoffs, here, compare the ecological losses to
the agricultural gains from LULCC
Tradeoffs, here, compare the ecological losses to
the agricultural gains from LULCC 
A similar
calculation yields:

3/125 ...
Q What are the tradeoffs to
extensified
(expanding) agriculture?
Q
FIRST:
How do different
ecological tradeoffs vary
across space?
We combined data from remote
sensing, model output, and
geostatistical datasets to assess
spatial tradeoff variation
•  Ch...
O’Connell et al. in prep
C stock reductions relate to precip and flooding
Local drying post-LULCC is greater in the seasonal E
O’Connell et al. in prep
O’Connell et al. in prep
…and local warming is higher in the same area
All 3 taxa sets have highest diversity in the Andes
O’Connell et al. in prep
O’Connell et al. in prep
Tradeoffs consider both gains and losses
Calories gained / change
in ecosystem property
Climate Reg; Habitat; C Stock
O’Connell et al. in prep
The tradeoffs of agricultural extensification
depend on which environmental variable
is being prioritized and the biophysi...
Q
SECOND:
How do future LULC
scenarios compare to an
Amazonia managed for
tradeoff efficiency?
Estimate calories
produced in
2050 from a
projected LULC
arrangement
Step 1
Step 2
Solve for LULC in
Amazonia that
produce...
Expected Results
Business-As-Usual 


 Optimized
MeanReductioninBiomass
CarbonStocks/ha
Effects on C stocks to produce 
XX...
Amazon rundown:
Background
Key questions
Q What are the tradeoffs to
intensified
(industrial) agriculture?
Q
FIRST:
How is intensified
agriculture changing
nitrous oxide (N2O)
emissions?
N2O,
nitrous oxide, is a
greenhouse gas with
300 times the warming
potential of CO2.
•  Emitted by multiple distributed
mi...
•  Baseline forest
Extractable N pools: ~4-5
mg N/kg dry soil
•  Soybean cropland
N inputs: N-fixing crop
(~170 kg N/ha), ...
Field measurement of N pools and fluxes
designed to quantify spatial and temporal variation
J 
F 
M 
A 
M 
J 
J 
A 
S 
O 
N 
D
(--------2014--------)
 (--------------2013--------------)
Forest (control) Highest
Soy...
Intensifying Amazonian croplands via double
cropping with N fertilizer is a novel land use with
poorly understood N2O emis...
Q
SECOND:
How are N2O emissions
from intensification
affecting the regional
GHG budget?
From Galford et al. (2010)
Work with
collaborators to
quantify LULC trend
Step 1
Use field results with
a process-based
mo...
Intensification in eastern Amazonia yields double
the agricultural production.

But perhaps at an ecological cost of risin...
Q
What do the ecological
tradeoffs of agriculture
imply for governance and
policy?
Thanks very much
Photo credits
Flickr CC Users
CIFOR
Billtacular
Jacsonquerubin
flinner!
Carine06
LeoFFreitas
terrydu
ggal...
Backup slides
Intensified agricultural management is
changing N availability via fertilizer use
…increasingly now in the Amazon
•  Baseline forest
Extractable N pools:
~4-5 mg N/kg dry soil
Organic C: rel. high
Soil moisture: rel. high
N inputs: N-fi...
•  Baseline forest
•  Soybean cropland
Extractable N pools: rel.
lower?
Organic C: rel. lower
Soil moisture: rel. lower
N ...
•  Baseline forest
•  Soybean cropland
•  Soy/maize double
cropping
Extractable N pools: rel.
lower?
Organic C: rel. lower...
West et al. (2011)
High
net
energy
Most of it lost via plantspumping water, notthrough surface heating
Deforestation has become uncoupled from commodity
production in some portions of the Brazilian Amazon
Macedo et al. (2012)
Supplemental	
  Table	
  2:	
  Current	
  harvested	
  area	
  and	
  quan6ty	
  produced	
  for	
  key	
  
crops	
  in	
 ...
Macedo et al. (2012), INPE
Annual deforestation, Brazilian AmazonAreadeforested(km2)
Peaked in
the
mid-2000s
0
50000
100000
150000
200000
250000
Amazon
 Next Six Largest Rivers
AverageDischarge(m3/s)
Amazon
Ganges
Congo
Orinoco
Yan...
Agricultural yield, main text
Biodiv taxa maps, supplemental fig
Climate reg, supplemental fig
Net	
  Radia)on	
   Latent	
  Heat	
  Flux	
   Sensible	
  Heat	
  Flux	
  
Natural	
  Veget...
Climate reg, supplemental fig
-30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30
W·m-2
mm H2O
-1.1 -0.8 -0.4 0 0.4 0.8 1.1
-30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30
W·m-...
We combined data from remote
sensing, model output, and
geostatistical datasets to assess
tradeoff variation across space
...
Chapin, Matson, Vitousek (2011)
Venterea et al. (2012)
Venterea et al. (2012)
We are limited by
ideas, not by tools
- Peter Groffman
The ecological cost of doing agricultural business
The ecological cost of doing agricultural business
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The ecological cost of doing agricultural business

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"The ecological cost of doing agricultural business:
Tradeoffs in the Amazon between agricultural production and ecosystem functioning"

Presented at the University of Minnesota, 2 Oct 2013, as a pre-thesis public seminar and as a portion of my preliminary oral PhD exam.

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The ecological cost of doing agricultural business

  1. 1. The cost of doing business ecological agricultural > > Christine S. O’Connell Pre-Thesis Seminar 2 October 2013
  2. 2. Amazon rundown: Background Key questions
  3. 3. The Amazon is an Enormous gear 1
  4. 4. Amazonia’s biomass stores 100 billion tonnes of carbon Saatchi et al. (2007)
  5. 5. of precipitation in Amazonia is returned to the atmosphere by plants. 60% Brienen et al. (2012)
  6. 6. This plant evapotranspiration balances excess solar energy West et al. (2011)
  7. 7. West et al. (2011) High net energy Most of it lost via plantspumping water, notthrough surface heating
  8. 8. Whirlwind on deforested land, Mato Grosso, BRA
  9. 9. Human use is rapid and changing 2
  10. 10. of the Amazon is deforested 17% Nepstad et al. (1999)
  11. 11. …much of that for agricultural export commodities DeFries et al. (2013), MacDonald et al. in prep
  12. 12. Brazilian soybean yields rose by 50% from 1990 to 2008 Ray et al. (2013)
  13. 13. And head of cattle in the Brazilian Amazon rose by 100% Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (2008)
  14. 14. There is no one Amazon ecology 3
  15. 15. Let’s take a quick tour of the Amazon… - Total biomass ~= 130 MgC/ha - NPP disputed, possibly ~= 7 MgC/ha/yr - Tree diversity as Fisher’s α ~= 60 - Total biomass ~= 175 MgC/ha - NPP ~= 10 MgC/ha/yr - Tree diversity as Fisher’s α ~= 200 Saatchi et al. (2011), Aragao et al. (2009), Del Grosso et al. (2008), Ter Steege et al. (2003) NPP = net primary productivity; LULCC = land-use/land-cover change
  16. 16. Let’s take a quick tour of the Amazon… - Total biomass ~= 130 MgC/ha - NPP disputed, possibly ~= 7 MgC/ha/yr - Tree diversity as Fisher’s α ~= 60 - Total biomass ~= 175 MgC/ha - NPP ~= 10 MgC/ha/yr - Tree diversity as Fisher’s α ~= 200 Monfreda et al. (2008), Aragao et al. (2009), Del Grosso et al. (2008), Ter Steege et al. (2003) - Total biomass ~= 175 MgC/ha - NPP ~= 10 MgC/ha/yr - Tree diversity as Fisher’s α ~= 200 - Low amounts of LULCC - Total biomass ~= 130 MgC/ha - NPP disputed, possibly ~= 7 MgC/ha/yr - Tree diversity as Fisher’s α ~= 60 - High amounts of LULCC NPP = net primary productivity; LULCC = land-use/land-cover change
  17. 17. Amazon rundown: Background Key questions
  18. 18. The Big Gap
  19. 19. How will Amazonia’s role in the earth system be affected by human use? And What are the Tradeoffs?
  20. 20. Tradeoffs, here, compare the ecological losses to the agricultural gains from LULCC
  21. 21. Tradeoffs, here, compare the ecological losses to the agricultural gains from LULCC A similar calculation yields: 3/125 = 24*10-3 Mg soy gained/Mg C lost/ ha (30% more ag per unit C lost) Modeled ag gains Soybean fields yield 3.1 Mg/ha Modeled C losses Forest à ag transition loses 170 MgC/ha Ex. Ag/C Tradeoff 3.1/170 = 18*10-3 Mg soy gained/Mg C lost/ha Monfreda et al. (2008), O’Connell et al. in prep
  22. 22. Q What are the tradeoffs to extensified (expanding) agriculture?
  23. 23. Q FIRST: How do different ecological tradeoffs vary across space?
  24. 24. We combined data from remote sensing, model output, and geostatistical datasets to assess spatial tradeoff variation •  Changes in carbon (C) stocks •  Energy balance regulation •  Habitat quality •  Agricultural productivity
  25. 25. O’Connell et al. in prep C stock reductions relate to precip and flooding
  26. 26. Local drying post-LULCC is greater in the seasonal E O’Connell et al. in prep
  27. 27. O’Connell et al. in prep …and local warming is higher in the same area
  28. 28. All 3 taxa sets have highest diversity in the Andes O’Connell et al. in prep
  29. 29. O’Connell et al. in prep Tradeoffs consider both gains and losses Calories gained / change in ecosystem property
  30. 30. Climate Reg; Habitat; C Stock O’Connell et al. in prep
  31. 31. The tradeoffs of agricultural extensification depend on which environmental variable is being prioritized and the biophysical regional context.
  32. 32. Q SECOND: How do future LULC scenarios compare to an Amazonia managed for tradeoff efficiency?
  33. 33. Estimate calories produced in 2050 from a projected LULC arrangement Step 1 Step 2 Solve for LULC in Amazonia that produces the same number of calories at least cost to ecological functioning Soares-Filho et al. (2006)
  34. 34. Expected Results Business-As-Usual Optimized MeanReductioninBiomass CarbonStocks/ha Effects on C stocks to produce XX agricultural output Same agricultural output with a lower ecological impact when managing fortradeoffs
  35. 35. Amazon rundown: Background Key questions
  36. 36. Q What are the tradeoffs to intensified (industrial) agriculture?
  37. 37. Q FIRST: How is intensified agriculture changing nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions?
  38. 38. N2O, nitrous oxide, is a greenhouse gas with 300 times the warming potential of CO2. •  Emitted by multiple distributed microbial processes •  Regulated by temp, pH, H2O, and availability of oxygen, organic carbon, labile nitrogen •  Intensified agricultural management alters N availability – now in Amazonia
  39. 39. •  Baseline forest Extractable N pools: ~4-5 mg N/kg dry soil •  Soybean cropland N inputs: N-fixing crop (~170 kg N/ha), lower C and H2O •  Soy/maize double cropping N inputs: N fertilizer addition (~60 kg N/ha), lower C and H2O Treatments vary by LULC
  40. 40. Field measurement of N pools and fluxes designed to quantify spatial and temporal variation
  41. 41. J F M A M J J A S O N D (--------2014--------) (--------------2013--------------) Forest (control) Highest Soy/Maize Middle Soy Lowest J F M A M J J A S O N D (--------2014--------) (--------------2013--------------) Annual N2O Emissions Forest (control) Middle Soy/Maize Highest Soy Lowest Annual N2O Emissions Expected Results N2Ofluxes (μgNm−2hr−1) N2Ofluxes (μgNm−2hr−1)
  42. 42. Intensifying Amazonian croplands via double cropping with N fertilizer is a novel land use with poorly understood N2O emissions consequences.
  43. 43. Q SECOND: How are N2O emissions from intensification affecting the regional GHG budget?
  44. 44. From Galford et al. (2010) Work with collaborators to quantify LULC trend Step 1 Use field results with a process-based model to correct for abiotic factors Step 2 Step 3 Scale across region
  45. 45. Intensification in eastern Amazonia yields double the agricultural production. But perhaps at an ecological cost of rising greenhouse gas emissions …a tradeoff specific to intensified agriculture.
  46. 46. Q What do the ecological tradeoffs of agriculture imply for governance and policy?
  47. 47. Thanks very much Photo credits Flickr CC Users CIFOR Billtacular Jacsonquerubin flinner! Carine06 LeoFFreitas terrydu ggallice Icelight MODIS images via NASA Obrigada to The Foley, Polasky, Powers and Hobbie lab groups BCE: Aaron, Charlotte, Jane, Kristen, Tricia Supporting agencies, institutions and collaborators below, especially the IPAM field team Friends and family Christine S. O’Connell, coconn@umn.edu, UMN EEB/IonE
  48. 48. Backup slides
  49. 49. Intensified agricultural management is changing N availability via fertilizer use …increasingly now in the Amazon
  50. 50. •  Baseline forest Extractable N pools: ~4-5 mg N/kg dry soil Organic C: rel. high Soil moisture: rel. high N inputs: N-fixing tree species •  Soybean cropland •  Soy/maize double cropping Treatments vary by LULC
  51. 51. •  Baseline forest •  Soybean cropland Extractable N pools: rel. lower? Organic C: rel. lower Soil moisture: rel. lower N inputs: N-fixing crop (~170 kg N/ha) •  Soy/maize double cropping Treatments vary by LULC
  52. 52. •  Baseline forest •  Soybean cropland •  Soy/maize double cropping Extractable N pools: rel. lower? Organic C: rel. lower Soil moisture: re. lower N inputs: N fertilizer addition (~60 kg N/ha) Treatments vary by LULC
  53. 53. West et al. (2011) High net energy Most of it lost via plantspumping water, notthrough surface heating
  54. 54. Deforestation has become uncoupled from commodity production in some portions of the Brazilian Amazon Macedo et al. (2012)
  55. 55. Supplemental  Table  2:  Current  harvested  area  and  quan6ty  produced  for  key   crops  in  Brazil  and  the  Brazilian  Legal  Amazon  (data:  IGBE).    Key  crops  here  are   Brazil’s  top  ten  crops  by  harvested  area  (2009-­‐11  average)  and  banana  and   tomato,  which  are  in  Brazil’s  top  ten  crops  by  produc6on  (2009-­‐2011  average).     O’Connell et al. in prep
  56. 56. Macedo et al. (2012), INPE Annual deforestation, Brazilian AmazonAreadeforested(km2) Peaked in the mid-2000s
  57. 57. 0 50000 100000 150000 200000 250000 Amazon Next Six Largest Rivers AverageDischarge(m3/s) Amazon Ganges Congo Orinoco Yangtze Parana Yenisei 209,000 m3/s The water flow out of the Amazon River is greater than the world’s next six largest rivers combined 191,000 m3/s (total)
  58. 58. Agricultural yield, main text
  59. 59. Biodiv taxa maps, supplemental fig
  60. 60. Climate reg, supplemental fig Net  Radia)on   Latent  Heat  Flux   Sensible  Heat  Flux   Natural  Vegeta)on  Soybean  Grass   0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 W·m-2 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 W·m-2 Degrees Celsius 0                          1.3                      2.7                      4.0                        5.3                      6.7                      8.0                    9.3 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 W·m-2 mm H2O 0                          0.8                      1.5                      2.3                      3.1                      3.8                      4.6                    5.4
  61. 61. Climate reg, supplemental fig -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 W·m-2 mm H2O -1.1 -0.8 -0.4 0 0.4 0.8 1.1 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 W·m-2 Degrees Celsius -2.0 -1.3 -0.7 0 0.7 1.3 2.0 -35 -30 -25 -20 -15 -10 -5 0 W·m-2 mm H2O -1.3 -1.1 -1.0 -0.8 -0.6 -0.4 -0.2 0 -35 -30 -25 -20 -15 -10 -5 0 W·m-2 Degrees Celsius -2.3 -2.0 -1.7 -1.3 -1.0 -0.7 -0.3 0
  62. 62. We combined data from remote sensing, model output, and geostatistical datasets to assess tradeoff variation across space Carbon stock Combined satellite data and land-use information Regional climate Process-based model runs Habitat quality Statistical species range models Agricultural production Regression models using public agricultural data
  63. 63. Chapin, Matson, Vitousek (2011)
  64. 64. Venterea et al. (2012)
  65. 65. Venterea et al. (2012)
  66. 66. We are limited by ideas, not by tools - Peter Groffman

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