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Free public lecture

TO OPEN the forthcoming “Sir Mark Oliphant Canopy Processes in a Changing Climate”, Dr David Whitehead, of New Zealand’s Landcare Research. will be presenting a public lecture, titled “Forests as carbon sinks:benefits and consequences” at the State Library of Victoria on the evening of 7 October. The lecture will be followed by questions and discussion and will be chaired by Professor Gordon Duff, CEO of the Forestry CRC.
With the ratifi cation of the Kyoto Protocol, many countries embraced the opportunity to encourage the establishment of new forests with the view of offsetting greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels and from the agricultural sector. While the establishment of forests on previously non-forested land undisputedly results in increased storage of carbon in above-ground biomass, consideration of other major implications is often neglected. Forest establishment results in reduced run-off and downstream water availability, changes in albedo and soil carbon storage and impacts on biodiversity. Such trade-offs may be less desirable from environmental, economic and social perspectives. Further, the relative magnitude of the benefits and trade-offs of forestry need to be considered in the context of a changing climate with elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, decreased capability of the oceans to absorb carbon dioxide, shifts in rainfall distribution and large uncertainties in the increased likelihood of the incidence of pests and diseases.
David leads a research program with a focus on measuring, modeling and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from terrestrial systems. David is also a Principal Investigator for soil carbon research in the newly formed New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre. David’s research speciality is the regulation of water use and carbon sources and sinks in ecosystems and his focus has spanned the response of forest ecosystems to elevated carbon dioxide concentration and carbon exchange in indigenous forest ecosystems. David has co-authored more than 130 research papers, he has mentored Post Doctoral Fellows and PhD students and he received a certifi cate acknowledging his contribution to the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 awarded to the IPCC.
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