CO2 Impacts Tropical Forest Resistance to Climate Change

by Leta Ames

It is well known that fire can play a crucial role in the reproduction and development of plant populations. The availability of water and CO2 also impact plant growth, especially of larger species. It is believed that the interactions of climate, fire, and CO2 greatly influence the shift between savanna and tropical forest ecosystems and their permanence thereafter. Previous research has relied on data collected from intact tropical forests, but although useful, these data only provide a snapshot of the impact of CO2, fire, and climate on these ecosystems. To gain a better understanding of what factors influence tropical ecosystems Shanahan et al. (2016) used the concentrations of carbon and hydrogen stable isotopes from sedimentary leaf wax n-alkanes (δ13Cwax and δDwax) and the frequency of charcoal layers from sediment obtained from Lake Bosumtwi in Ghana to construct a history of changes in vegetation and hydrology, as well as to estimate the annual fire frequency. Continue reading

How Climate Change Affects Women in Ghana

by Phoebe Shum

Who knew that gender bias could exist even in a topic such as climate change?

According to the UN, women are most vulnerable to climate change due to their role in food production. After all, 70% of the world’s farmers are women, and these women produce 60-80% of the world’s food crops. Trish Glazebrook (2011), Philosophy Professor from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, explains how climate change particularly affects women subsistence farmers in areas of poverty. In northeast Ghana, the successful growing of crops is highly dependent on the rainy season due to the lack of irrigation technology. The rainy season is the only growing cycle per year, and when anthropogenic climate change causes extreme and abnormal weather conditions like droughts and floods, farming patterns are altered and the women are not able to provide subsistence for their families. Land degradation, desertification and soil erosion heavily affect the women, and the many people they provide for. On average, one woman can be responsible for 6 to 17 people, from children to the elderly to the sick to the handicapped. Their survival heavily depends on natural resources. Continue reading