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Simone Rawal ’20 is Exploring how Accelerated Changes in Land Use and Anthropogenic Biomes affect Carbon Output

Simone Rawal ’20 investigates issues surrounding land use and carbon emissions.

Simone Rawl, ’20, is an Environmental Geology Major, minoring in Computer Science. She is exploring how accelerated changes in land use and anthropogenic biomes affect carbon output.

Land use is at the center of one of the most vexing challenges for the coming decades. The consequences of land use change due to the never-ending demands of the world’s population has had unintended consequences. Six anthromes are used to integrate humans into global ecology. Settlements, Villages, Croplands, Rangelands, Forests and Barren Land. To understand these anthromes and to analyze their carbon output in 1700, 1800, 1900, and 2000, seven countries from South Asia; Nepal, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan are chosen as the study area.

Carbon emissions as a result of anthropogenic land use over the pre-industrial Holocene may have had a significant impact on the global carbon cycle. To better
understand this impact, each of the six anthromes was assigned a carbon output, which was calculated using ArcGIS. To calculate the carbon output, changes in net primary production (NPP) is used as an indicator. Each country shows different results as they differ in population, geography, and ecology. The study shows that human priorities have changed through time. Trends of increase in area and carbon output of the Settlements and Villages anthromes along with the decrease in the area and carbon output of the Woodlands and Barren Land is observed. Building off of Ruddiman’s
‘Early Anthropogenic Hypothesis’, the aim of her project was to contribute to a better understanding of the role of humans in the Earth’s climate system during the Holocene. Her thesis advisor is Sue Swanson.

June 01, 2020

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