GGS Fall Speaker Series

The GGS Fall Speaker Series Continues!

“Tracking the Charcoal Trade: Investigating Dynamic Intersections between Urbanization and Land Use/Land Cover Change in Mozambique”

Dr. Julie Silva, Assistant Professor
Department of Geographical Sciences
University of Maryland, College Park

Where: Innovation Hall, rm 215G
When: Thursday, October 1 @ 5:00 pm

Abstract: This interdisciplinary study investigates critical elements of the coupled natural-human system that connects urban energy demands, rural livelihoods, and Miombo ecosystem degradation in rapidly urbanizing areas of southern Africa. This dynamic and complex system is expected to experience rapid changes in the coming years as a result of urbanization, particularly in mid-size cities like our case study Tete in Mozambique. Using eld data collected in 2015, we analyze socio-economic surveys conducted with urban charcoal consumers and rural producers as well as biophysical data to develop an expanded ecosystem model framework to produce more accurate forest degradation estimates under conditions of economic and environmental change. Preliminary study findings indicate that urban charcoal consumption is a function of social and cultural factors in addition to economic conditions. Furthermore, findings suggest that rural producers are slow to switch to the use of less preferred, but more abundant, tree species that produce lower quality charcoal even as urban demand for charcoal increases. This is caused by competition with producers from outside areas and other factors, including urban consumer preferences for high quality charcoal, social norms governing local resource use, ecological considerations, and the scarcity of other economic opportunities. Preliminary results also indicate that decision-making processes of rural producers result in larger ecological footprints of charcoal-driven forest degradation in Miombo woodlands than identified by remotely sensed imagery and official statistics.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Fall 2015 Speak Series_Julie Silva