Beyond Carbon Neutral Seminar Series: The Climate Change Mitigation Potential of Waste Conversion for Soil Carbon Sequestration

Thursday, February 22, 2018
3:30 PM to 5:00 PM
Koessler Room, 911 N University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Speaker: Whendee Silver, University of California, Berkeley

Location: Koessler Room at the Michigan League

Abstract: The fields of ecology and biogeochemistry hold tremendous potential to contribute to our understanding of climate change. The majority of research to date has focused on describing the problem – estimating rates of carbon losses and greenhouse gas emissions from natural and managed ecosystems. More research is needed to explore potential solutions to climate change through mitigation and adaptation. I will discuss an integrated set of studies aimed at critically evaluating the ecological and biogeochemical potential of agriculture and grasslands to help mitigate climate change through soil carbon sequestration. I will start by discussing a study where we ‘queried the atmosphere’ to identify the global potential of agricultural management to lower global temperatures. I will then present results from field and modeling studies that examine the potential to convert high emitting organic waste to soil amendments for carbon sequestration and ecosystem rehabilitation.

Bio: Dr. Whendee Silver is the Rudy Grah Chair and Professor of Ecosystem Ecology and Biogeochemistry in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at U.C. Berkeley. She received her PhD in Ecosystem Ecology from Yale University. Her work seeks to determine the biogeochemical effects of climate change and human impacts on the environment, and the potential for mitigating these effects. Professor Silver is the lead scientist of the Marin Carbon Project, which is determining the potential for land-based climate change mitigation, particularly by composting high-emission organic waste for soil amendments to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide. The Silver Lab was recently awarded the Innovation Prize by the American Carbon Registry. Professor Silver is a fellow of the Ecological Society of America and was named a University of California Climate Champion for 2016 for outstanding teaching, research and public service in the areas of climate change solutions, action and broad engagement.​

These talks are made possible through the U-M Distinguished Faculty and Graduate Student Seminar series award from the Provost and the Office of Research and are co-hosted by the Energy Institute, School for Environment and Sustainability, and Erb Institute for Sustainable Enterprise.