School of forestry and environmental studies

School Notes: School of the Environment
July/August 2022

Ingrid C. “Indy” Burke |

Report highlights how cities can help curb climate change

The final part of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released in April included a chapter on urban mitigation, of which Karen Seto, Frederick C. Hixon Professor of Geography and Urbanization Science at YSE, was one of two coordinating authors. The chapter outlines how cities have an opportunity to increase resource efficiency and significantly reduce GHG emissions through smarter design and greener infrastructure. The chapter states that the global share of emissions from urban areas increased between 5 and 10 percent between 2015 and 2020; and that concentration of people and activity presents an opportunity to enact innovative climate mitigation strategies within cities—which would result in beneficial cascading effects for smaller cities and towns and across numerous supply chains and sectors, particularly energy. “There are a number of strategies that could be deployed that change our demand for energy, but we need to have an enabling policy environment and to rethink how we design and build infrastructure,” Seto said.

Analysis of wood frog evolution wins doctoral research prize

Andis Arietta ’22PhD was recognized with the 2022 Bormann Prize at YSE’s 38th annual Research Day, for his research into how human-induced landscape and climate changes influence rapid, fine-scale evolution. Reassessing a 2001 study by his advisor David Skelly, Frank R. Oastler Professor of Ecology at YSE, Arietta analyzed populations of wood frogs in Yale-Myers Forest, finding that the frogs have rapidly evolved in response to changes in climate in recent years, but that continued warming would likely outpace the species’ ability to adapt to extreme environmental change. Skelly called Arietta’s findings “perhaps the most important publication to come out of my lab group,” adding, “This result is one of the very few to demonstrate evolution by vertebrates to changing climate, and one of the only ones to provide a sense of the limits to such rapid evolution.”

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