March 4, 2014: Student Lecture
Angela Eykelbosh & Kieran Findlater

12:30pm to 1:20pm, AERL Theatre (room 120)

The AERL building (Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory) is located on 2202 Main Mall at UBC Vancouver.

The co-presenters, Angela Eykelbosh and Kieran Findlater, are PhD Candidates at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia.

Angela Eykelbosh’s Seminar:

Closing the carbon loop in sugarcane cultivation: filtercake biochar as a value-added soil amendment

Abstract: Commodity prices and rural development strategies are driving the rapid conversion of the Cerrado biome, a highly diverse ecosystem with nutrient-poor soils. The expanding agricultural footprint includes sugarcane for bioethanol production, which boasts one of the highest net energy yields of current commercial biofuels. However, energetic assessments fail to consider ecosystem costs, including soil degradation (and subsequent further expansion), and impacts on water quality through the release of organic effluents. This thesis examined the use of charcoal made of ‘waste’ biomass (biochar) as a soil amendment to reduce soil carbon loss and water impairment, using both field and laboratory studies. Importantly, this project identifies a valuable opportunity to better manage solid and liquid organic agricultural wastes in bioethanol production, with the potential to close nutrient loops and improve soil quality.

Kieran Findlater’s Seminar:

Adaptation in practice: Autonomous, proactive, accidental and potentially maladaptive

Agriculture is integral to the climate change problem, both for mitigation and for adaptation. Commercial-scale farmers are thought to be highly adaptive and to have a treasure trove of experience from which to draw, since they are truly dependent on climate and have always coped with weather variability and cyclical climate patterns. In South Africa’s Western Cape, commercial grain farmers – who enjoy little policy support and few subsidies – are autonomously and simultaneously adopting multiple practices to improve their climate resilience in a climatically vulnerable region, creating a fascinating case study with which to examine private sector climate change adaptation in practice.

Video not available for Kieran’s seminar.