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Stanford Earth Matters

Science and insights for people who care about Earth, its resources and its environment.

Stack of cut logs in front of forest.

Getting to Zero Deforestation

A synthesis paper led by Eric Lambin reveals the strengths and weaknesses of corporate environmental pledges, and prescribes solutions to boost effectiveness.

Photo credit: Florence Low/DWR

Share the Wealth: A Cap-And-Trade System of Water Conservation and Resiliency?

In order to meet the California’s future water needs, researchers propose a cap and trade approach to water conservation based on local supply and demand realities.

Student snorkeling among coral reefs.

Learning through fieldwork on Pacific coral reefs

Stanford undergraduates study links between human and natural systems through an interdisciplinary seminar in Palau.

neodymium on the periodic table

Critical minerals scarcity could threaten renewable energy future

The supply chains for critical and rare minerals are vulnerable to political and economic disruptions that could hamper the global shift to a renewable energy future.

Leafy green vegetables in a growing facility.

Grocery store program improves farmers’ adoption of environmental practices

In one of the first analyses of a company-led sustainability program in the food and agriculture space, Stanford researchers found a major grocery chain fostered increased adoption of environmental practices at the farm level.

2017

Top 10 Stanford Earth research stories of 2017

From laying the groundwork for a billion-sensor quake network to finding lithium deposits around supervolcanoes, these were our favorite research stories of 2017.

Steel industry in Benxi, China.

After years of nearly flat growth, global fossil fuel emissions are inching up

An international research team reports that the increase in global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels has resumed after a 3-year respite and may increase again next year. Despite the findings, improved energy efficiency and a booming renewables market provide signs of hope.

Sea turtle swimming near reef.

Q&A: Loss of protections for marine sanctuaries could threaten oceanic environment and fisheries

Researchers who have studied marine national monuments and adjacent areas discuss their value and the potential impacts of a change in protected status.

Plastic bag floating through ocean.

Q&A: The history and future of the global plastics economy

Stanford chemist Robert Waymouth discusses changes in incentives and technologies to create a more sustainable future for plastics.

Water faucet.

Media attention to drought linked to household water savings

With a new web-scraping and search algorithm and real water utility data, Stanford researchers have shown a relationship between media coverage of the recent historic California drought and household water savings.

Giraffes in front of sunset.

Diversity of large animals plays an important role in carbon cycle

With abundant data on plants, large animals and their activity, and carbon soil levels in the Amazon, Stanford research suggests that large animal diversity influences carbon stocks and contributes to climate change mitigation.

Ugandan forest

Paying Farmers Not to Cut Down Trees in Uganda Helps Fight Climate Change

A new study demonstrates a cost-effective strategy to combat climate change by paying farmers in Uganda to conserve and plant trees.

Forest with sun shining through.

Growing Carbon Offsets on Trees

A pioneering California program to sell carbon offsets has surprising environmental benefits – including providing habitat for endangered species – and provides lessons for initiatives under development in other states and countries.

Reducing brick kiln pollution

A Stanford team is now combining satellite data and political persuasion to track kilns and incentivize kiln owners to use cleaner technologies.

Pam Matson

What is sustainability? A conversation with Stanford Earth Dean Pamela Matson

Sustainability efforts today are critical to meet the needs of people now and over the long term, and Stanford has a leadership role.

Oil palms at an oil palm nursery and research facility in Cameroon.

Exploring risks of deforestation as agriculture expands in Africa

Multinational companies are increasingly looking to Africa to expand production of in-demand commodity crops such as soy and oil palm. A first-of-its-kind study highlights the real and potential impacts on the continent’s valuable tropical forests.

Child wearing mask.

Rob Jackson urges community to convey benefits of climate action

Rather than talk about the negative things, point to the co-benefits of finding climate solutions – from economics and jobs to water and the air we breathe.

chinese fishing boats

How China is poised for marine fisheries reform

China has introduced an unprecedented policy platform for stewarding its fisheries and other marine resources.

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