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Holly Gibbs
Journal Articles

Global Congruence of Carbon Storage and Biodiversity in Terrestrial Ecosystems

Holly Gibbs, et al.
Conservation Letters, 2010 December 31, 2010

Deforestation is a main driver of climate change and biodiversity loss. An incentive mechanism to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) is being negotiated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Here we use the best available global datasets on terrestrial biodiversity and carbon storage to map and investigate potential synergies between carbon and biodiversity-oriented conservation. A strong association (rS= 0.82) between carbon stocks and species richness suggests such synergies would be high, but unevenly distributed.

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Journal Articles

Trading carbon for food: Global comparison of carbon stocks vs. crop yields on agricultural land

Holly Gibbs
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010 November 1, 2010

Expanding croplands to meet the needs of a growing population, changing diets, and biofuel production comes at the cost of reduced carbon stocks in natural vegetation and soils. Here, we present a spatially explicit global analysis of tradeoffs between carbon stocks and current crop yields. The difference among regions is striking. For example, for each unit of land cleared, the tropics lose nearly two times as much carbon (∼120 tons·ha-1 vs. ∼63 tons·ha-1) and produce less than one-half the annual crop yield compared with temperate regions (1.71 tons·ha-1·y-1 vs. 3.84 tons·ha-1·y-1).

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Journal Articles

Tropical Forests Were the Primary Source of New Agricultural Land in the 1980s and 1990s

Holly Gibbs, A. S. Ruesch, F. Achard, M. K. Clayton, P. Holmgren, N. Ramankutty, J. A. Foley
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010 August 31, 2010

Global demand for agricultural products such as food, feed, and fuel is now a major driver of cropland and pasture expansion across much of the developing world. Whether these new agricultural lands replace forests, degraded forests, or grasslands greatly influences the environmental consequences of expansion. Although the general pattern is known, there still is no definitive quantification of these land-cover changes.

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Working Papers

Mapping Land Sources for New Biofuel Croplands

Holly Gibbs
AAAS Annual Meeting, 2009 December 31, 2009

Presentation from the session session "Biofuels, Tropical Deforestation, and Climate Policy: Key Challenges and Opportunities" at the annual AAAS meeting, Feb 14 2009.

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Journal Articles

Carbon Payback Times for Crop-based Biofuel Expansion in the Tropics: The Effects of Changing Yield and Technology

Holly Gibbs, et al
Environmental Research Letters, 2008 December 31, 2008

Biofuels from land-rich tropical countries may help displace foreign petroleum imports for many industrialized nations, providing a possible solution to the twin challenges of energy security and climate change. But concern is mounting that crop-based biofuels will increase net greenhouse gas emissions if feedstocks are produced by expanding agricultural lands. Here we quantify the 'carbon payback time' for a range of biofuel crop expansion pathways in the tropics.

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Journal Articles

Disease Emergence from Global Climate and Land Use Change

Holly Gibbs, et al.
Medical Clinics of North America, 2008 November 1, 2008

Climate change and land use change can affect multiple infectious diseases of humans, acting either independently or synergistically. Expanded efforts in empiric and future scenario-based risk assessment are required to anticipate problems. Moreover, the many health impacts of climate and land use change must be examined in the context of the myriad other environmental and behavioral determinants of disease. To optimize prevention capabilities, upstream environmental approaches must be part of any intervention, rather than assaults on single agents of disease.

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Journal Articles

Sustainable Biofuels Redux

Holly Gibbs, et al.
Science, 2008 October 3, 2008
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Journal Articles

Reference Scenarios for Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Support of REDD: a Review of Data and Methods

Holly Gibbs, et al.
Environmental Research Letters, 2008 June 11, 2008

Global climate policy initiatives are now being proposed to compensate tropical forest nations for reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). These proposals have the potential to include developing countries more actively in international greenhouse gas mitigation and to address a substantial share of the world's emissions which come from tropical deforestation. For such a policy to be viable it must have a credible benchmark against which emissions reduction can be calculated.

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Journal Articles

Health Impact Assessment of Global Climate Change: Expanding upon Comparative Risk Assessment Approaches for Policy Making

Holly Gibbs, et al.
Annual Reviews of Public Health, 2008 April 1, 2008

Climate change is projected to have adverse impacts on public health. Cobenefits may be possible from more upstream mitigation of greenhouse gases causing climate change. To help measure such cobenefits alongside averted disease-specific risks, a health impact assessment (HIA) framework can more comprehensively serve as a decision support tool. HIA also considers health equity, clearly part of the climate change problem.

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Journal Articles

Monitoring and Measuring Tropical Forest Carbon Stocks: Making REDD a Reality

Holly Gibbs, et al.
Environmental Research Letters, 2007 December 31, 2007

Reducing carbon emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries is of central importance in efforts to combat climate change. Key scientific challenges must be addressed to prevent any policy roadblocks. Foremost among the challenges is quantifying nations' carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, which requires information on forest clearing and carbon storage. Here we review a range of methods available to estimate national-level forest carbon stocks in developing countries.

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Journal Articles

Tropical Deforestation and Carbon Emissions: Introduction to Special Issue

Holly Gibbs, M. Herold
Environmental Research Letters, 2007 December 31, 2007

Carbon emissions from tropical deforestation have long been recognized as a key component of the global carbon budget, and more recently of our global climate system. Tropical forest clearing accounts for roughly 20% of anthropogenic carbon emissions and destroys globally significant carbon sinks (IPCC 2007). Global climate policy initiatives are now being proposed to address these emissions and to more actively include developing countries in greenhouse gas mitigation (e.g. Santilli et al 2005, Gullison et al 2007).

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Journal Articles

Climate Change and Global Health: Quantifying a Growing Ethical Crisis

Holly Gibbs, et al.
EcoHealth, 2007 November 30, 2007

Climate change, as an environmental hazard operating at the global scale, poses a unique and "involuntary exposure" to many societies, and therefore represents possibly the largest health inequity of our time. According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), regions or populations already experiencing the most increase in diseases attributable to temperature rise in the past 30 years ironically contain those populations least responsible for causing greenhouse gas warming of the planet. Average global carbon emissions approximate one metric ton per year (tC/yr) per person.

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Journal Articles

Amazonia Revealed: Forest Degradation and Loss of Ecosystem Goods and Services in the Amazon Basin

Holly Gibbs, et al.
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2007 February 1, 2007

The Amazon Basin is one of the world's most important bioregions, harboring a rich array of plant and animal species and offering a wealth of goods and services to society. For years, ecological science has shown how large-scale forest clearings cause declines in biodiversity and the availability of forest products. Yet some important changes in the rainforests, and in the ecosystem services they provide, have been underappreciated until recently.

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Journal Articles

Challenges to Estimating Carbon Emissions from Tropical Deforestation

Holly Gibbs, et al.
Global Change Biology, 2006 October 19, 2006

An accurate estimate of carbon fluxes associated with tropical deforestation from the last two decades is needed to balance the global carbon budget. Several studies have already estimated carbon emissions from tropical deforestation, but the estimates vary greatly and are difficult to compare due to differences in data sources, assumptions, and methodologies. In this paper, we review the different estimates and datasets, and the various challenges associated with comparing them and with accurately estimating carbon emissions from deforestation.

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Journal Articles

Global Consequences of Land Use

Holly Gibbs, et al.
Science, 2005 July 22, 2005

Land use has generally been considered a local environmental issue, but it is becoming a
force of global importance. Worldwide changes to forests, farmlands, waterways, and
air are being driven by the need to provide food, fiber, water, and shelter to more than
six billion people. Global croplands, pastures, plantations, and urban areas have expanded
in recent decades, accompanied by large increases in energy, water, and fertilizer consumption, along with considerable losses of biodiversity. Such changes in land use have

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