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Frontiers of Science Lecture to explore ecosystems, economics in African savanna

November 05, 2008

Judy Holmes
(315) 443-2201

Judy Holmes

Syracuse University's Fall 2008 Frontiers of Science Lecture Series will conclude on Wednesday, Nov. 12, with "Ecosystems and Economics in the African Savanna," presented by Mark Ritchie, biology professor in SU's College of Arts and Sciences. The lecture-from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the Gifford Auditorium, located in H.B. Crouse Hall-is free and open to the public. Parking is available in the Irving Garage for $3.50.

Three great challenges for human society in the 21st century are reducing emissions of greenhouse gases to slow global climate change, reducing or eliminating human poverty in developing countries, and conserving the Earth's biodiversity. Natural ecosystems, in the form of forests and grasslands, have a large potential to remove or "scrub" greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, from the atmosphere by storing carbon in the wood of trees or the organic matter in soils. However, widespread human poverty fosters land use practices that diminish the potential to preserve these natural ecosystems.

Ritchie's lecture will focus on recent discoveries in the Serengeti region of East Africa that suggest that wildlife grazing leads to greater carbon storage and how emerging carbon markets may provide income for rural Africans as well as economic incentives for wildlife conservation.

The Frontiers of Science Lecture Series is presented by the Department of Science Teaching in The College of Arts and Sciences and is co-sponsored by several of the college's departments, the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science and several engineering departments, SU's School of Education, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Office of the Dean of Hendricks Chapel and the Syracuse Biomaterials Institute.

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