China’s forest recovery offers hope for mitigating climate change

The vast destruction of China’s forests, leveled after decades of logging, floods and conversion to farmland, has become a story of recovery, according to the first independent verification published in…Science Advances by Michigan State University researchers.

“It is encouraging that China’s forest has been recovering in the midst of its daunting environmental challenges such as severe air pollution and water shortages,” said co-author Jianguo “Jack” Liu…director of MSU’s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability…

Forests are crucial to ensuring soil and water conservation and climate regulation. The fate of forests in the world’s most populous nation has global consequences by virtue of the country’s sheer magnitude and its rapid development.

Since the beginning of the 21st Century, China has implemented the largest forest conservation andRecovering forests, with deforested areas in the background in Wolong China restoration programs in the world, the Natural Forest Conservation Program, which bans logging, and in some forested areas compensates residents for monitoring activities preventing illegal timber harvesting…

The MSU scientists used a unique combination of data, including the big-picture view of NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer annual…tree cover product, along with high spatial resolution imagery available in Google Earth. Then they combined data at different scales to correlate the status of the forests with the implementation of the NFCP.

And, as the Chinese government has contended, the program is working and forests are recovering, with about 1.6 percent, or nearly 61,000 square miles, of China’s territory seeing a significant gain in tree cover, while 0.38 percent, or 14,400 square miles, experienced significant loss…

Andrés Viña noted more research is needed to document the broader impacts of forest degradation and recovery around the world. He also noted that the voracious appetite for natural resources — both timber and the agricultural products grown on converted forestland — is not just China’s issue.

The work was supported by the National Science Foundation and MSU AgBioResearch. Another fine example of computational analysis from digital measurement sources. In this case, a lot of it in the sky. 🙂

Pic of the Day


Click to enlargeMary Bove/Bloomsburg Press Enterprise

Espy, Pa. firefighter Scott Dawson kneels down with Finn, a chihuahua mix, after pulling him out of a house fire in Bloomsburg, Pa. on March 18. The dog was one of three saved from the burning home.

Bravo!

The new generation gap

Something interesting has emerged in voting patterns on both sides of the Atlantic: Young people are voting in ways that are markedly different from their elders. A great divide appears to have opened up, based not so much on income, education, or gender as on the voters’ generation.

There are good reasons for this divide. The lives of both old and young, as they are now lived, are different. Their pasts are different, and so are their prospects.

The Cold War, for example, was over even before some were born and while others were still children. Words like socialism do not convey the meaning they once did. If socialism means creating a society where shared concerns are not given short shrift – where people care about other people and the environment in which they live – so be it…

Older upper-middle-class Americans and Europeans have had a good life. When they entered the labor force, well-compensated jobs were waiting for them. The question they asked was what they wanted to do, not how long they would have to live with their parents before they got a job that enabled them to move out…

Today, the expectations of young people, wherever they are in the income distribution, are the opposite. They face job insecurity throughout their lives. On average, many college graduates will search for months before they find a job – often only after having taken one or two unpaid internships. And they count themselves lucky, because they know that their poorer counterparts, some of whom did better in school, cannot afford to spend a year or two without income, and do not have the connections to get an internship in the first place.

Today’s young university graduates are burdened with debt – the poorer they are, the more they owe. So they do not ask what job they would like; they simply ask what job will enable them to pay their college loans, which often will burden them for 20 years or more. Likewise, buying a home is a distant dream…

In short, today’s young people view the world through the lens of intergenerational fairness. The children of the upper middle class may do well in the end, because they will inherit wealth from their parents. While they may not like this kind of dependence, they dislike even more the alternative: a “fresh start” in which the cards are stacked against their attainment of anything approaching what was once viewed as a basic middle-class lifestyle.

RTFA to see where Joe Stiglitz goes with his analysis, what and who he thinks may offer some solutions to the questions asked by today’s new generation. Whether those answers are complete or not? Whether solutions forthcoming from political formations any of us accept anymore – is a question you’ll have to answer for yourself.

Doctors more likely to misdiagnose patients who are jerks

Going to see the doctor can bring out the worst in people. Being sick and fitting an appointment into an overcrowded schedule can be stressful. So can a long sit in the colorless cube of a waiting room.

But if you’ve ever given a doctor attitude, next time you might want to think twice — or risk being misdiagnosed.

That’s the implication of two new studies published in the journal BMJ Quality & Safety. Separately, the authors demonstrated that clinicians are more likely to make errors of judgment when they’re treating frustrating and difficult patients…

The researchers suspected physicians’ mental resources are so taxed from thinking about how to deal with tricky patients that their ability to process medical information becomes impaired. “If resource depletion affects simpler, everyday problems,” they wrote, “it is not surprising that these highly complex cognitive processes are impaired if a substantial proportion of mental resources is seized by the confrontation with emotional experiences triggered by patients’ troublesome behaviors…”

From the patient perspective, leaving any attitude outside the doctor’s office is probably a good idea, lest you risk being misdiagnosed.

I’ll second that emotion.

RTFA for an outline of the two studies. Actually, the suggestion is useful in many a context. I’d suggest you treat your doctor like a friendly, professional; but, overworked copper. And vice versa.

Politeness counts.