fostering sustainable behavior
More on this shortly.
regeneration of mahogany
My master's thesis is entitled: "The regeneration of mahogany from planted seedlings on clearings in community forests of Quintana Roo, Mexico."
Big leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla King) is the most commercially valuable tree species in the Neotropics, but it usually does not regenerate successfully after harvesting. In order to ensure the presence of mahogany for future harvests, communities have been planting mahogany seedlings in clearings made by the timber extraction process. This study examines the growth of mahogany seedlings planted in two different years in landings and tree fall gaps, and the biophysical factors that influence seedling size. Landings had significantly less canopy cover and more soil compaction than tree fall gaps, and older plants were significantly taller than younger plants. Seedlings showed significantly greater growth in landings, growing approximately twice as much as seedlings planted in tree fall gaps, primarily in response to reduced canopy cover in those clearings. Soil compaction was greater in landings and younger sites and had a negative effect on tree size. However, the effects of soil compaction seem to last for several years after creation of the clearing, affecting seedlings in the older sites. Analyses of ground cover and climber infestation of seedlings demonstrate a negative effect of competition on seedling growth in older sites. The findings suggest that light availability is the most important factor promoting seedling growth, especially within the first few years after planting. While the results support previous knowledge about mahogany growth, this study provides information about enrichment that may have implications for silvicultural management.
Full paper available soon.
religion and environmental ethics
It strikes me that religion is inherently anthropocentric, given that it is for humans about humans (and, some might argue, by humans). However, it holds a central role in so many people's lives, and dictates how people should live those lives - not only basic codes of conduct, morality and ethics, but also how people should view, act towards and respond to their worlds.
When American evangelical Christians spoke out in favor of action in response to global warming, I began to wonder how religion relates to conservation. What specifically do religious texts say about our relationship with the natural world? How have scholars interpreted such passages to give new meaning to them? Where do modern movements stand with respect to contemporary environmental issues? Who is actively responding to these problems? And why aren't more religious leaders following in the footsteps of those who are taking action?
To explore these questions, I teamed up with Rabbi Billy Dreskin and his congregation at Woodlands Community Temple. Through discussion and adult learning courses, I discovered the roots of environmentalism in Judaism, and how Reform Judaism challenges its followers to respond to contemporary environmental problems. Since Judaism, like many other religions, is deeply devoted to social action, I hope to continue to examine the links between helping those in need and improving the quality of the environment. Through our efforts, Rabbi Billy and I were able to foster environmental action at Woodlands, and I hope to begin similar efforts at other congregations in the area.
If you are interested in learning more about this project, or in joining me in this exploration of religion and environmentalism, please .