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Impacts of land use/land cover change and climate change on social-ecological systems, and exploring sustainable solutions

July 19, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

About the Speaker: Yihun Dile Taddele, PhD, Texas A&M University

Yihun Dile Taddele was born and grew up in Ethiopia. He received a BSc degree in Hydraulic Engineering from Arba Minch University, Ethiopia, in 2005. He served as an Assistant Lecturer at Jimma University in Ethiopia from 2005 to 2007. In 2007, he was awarded the Master for Key Personnel (MKP) scholarship from the Swedish Institute to pursue his postgraduate study in Water Resources at Lund University, Sweden. Upon a successful completion of his MSc study, he joined the Stockholm University’s Stockholm Resilience Center to pursue his PhD study in Natural Resources Management program in August of 2009 and graduated in June of 2014. His Ph.D. research focused on understanding the implications of intensifications of small scale water management practices on upstream and downstream social-ecological resilience. While he was pursuing his Ph.D. degree, he was a research associate at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) where he got the opportunity to involve studying the impacts of agricultural Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) on water resources, nexus approach to managing water-land-energy, and integrated green-blue water management paradigm. After completing his Ph.D., he was promoted as a research fellow at SEI and was studying the impacts of small scale irrigation on the resilience of social-ecological systems, improving biophysical modeling capabilities using remotely sensed data, and the impacts of traded commodities on local water resources. Since June 2015, he has been working as a postdoctoral research associate at Texas A&M University on a multimillion dollar project called Innovation Laboratory for Small Scale Irrigation (ILSSI). The project assesses the impacts of small scale irrigation on agricultural production, environmental sustainability, and household economy and nutrition using field data, household surveys, and Integrated Decision Support Systems (IDSS). He uses conceptual framework, field studies, hydrological modeling, and spatial analysis to address his research questions. He has published several papers on climate change, land use change, land and water management, social-ecological resilience and related topics on first tier refereed journals. Global environmental changes, population increase and dietary change are putting pressure on our natural resources. This is aggravating the land use change and climate change, and their impacts on social-ecological systems. He is highly motivated to make an impact and leave his legacy in this scientific endeavor.


Global environmental changes, population growth, and dietary change are putting pressure on natural resources. For example, climate change is increasing climatic risks such as dry spells, droughts and flooding, which are affecting the productivity of agricultural systems. While increase in population and change of dietary pattern are increasing the demand for food, fiber and biofuel, which is driving land use/land cover change. The land use change in turn is contributing to climate change by releasing more carbon into the atmosphere. Land use/land cover change and climate change affect different ecosystem processes such as soil, water, plant that are inextricably linked to each other, and a change in one process would have effects on the other. This highlights the need to address land use/land cover change and climate change impacts on social-ecological systems using an integrated approach.
This talk will discuss the challenges of land use/land cover change, land management change, and climate change on social-ecological systems. Sustainable land and water management practices that showed promising results in mitigating the impacts of land use/land cover change and climate change will be presented. I will also discuss my future research program at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. While biofuel industry was believed to be a viable alternative to fossil fuel energy, studies indicated that biofuel production compete for land that could be used for food production and carbon storage. The current approach of using biofuels as energy sources may aggravate the negative externalities of land use/land cover change and climate change on social-ecological systems. My research will focus to understand the impacts of biofuel production on ecosystem processes such as water fluxes, carbon stocks, soil erosion, water quality, biodiversity, and social-ecological resilience. My research will also explore crops that have better biofuel productivity with minimal environmental cost. In addition, my research program will also investigate energy efficient agricultural practices that would help local to global climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts. Since the challenges from the land use/land cover change and climate change are multidimensional and non-linear, my research will employ multidisciplinary approaches to address these issues.

Host: Bill Collins


LBNL, Building 84, Room 318
1 Cyclotron Road
Berkeley, CA 94720 United States
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