AUBURN – An Auburn University professor has been awarded a $580,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture, or NIFA, to study the effects of climate change on agriculture and forest production.
Professor Lisa Samuelson, director of the Center for Longleaf Pine Ecosystems in Auburn’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, received the funding as part of a $20 million, five-year grant awarded to a collaboration of 12 institutions. More than 50 investigators from universities and federal agencies are participating in the project.
The project, “Integrating research, education and extension for enhancing southern pine climate change mitigation and adaptation,” is funded by the NIFA Southern Conifer Climate Change Coordinated Agricultural Projects Program, with the University of Florida as the lead institution.
The project will integrate existing southeastern U.S. cooperative forestry research to increase forest carbon sequestration and aid in adaption to climate change. The 12 institutions will establish a regional network to monitor the effects of climate change and use the information to develop programs to breed trees that can better adapt to changes in climate.
“Auburn University’s role is to measure carbon pools and fluxes in southern pine forests,” said Samuelson. “This will assist us in mitigating greenhouse gases and help better maintain forest resilience in variable and changing climates.”
She says pine trees are one of the most important agricultural products — the most widespread being loblolly pine which accounts for about 80 percent of planted forest in the Southeast. Loblolly is widely used for lumber, pulp and paper production and has great potential for bio-fuel production.
The NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people’s daily lives and the nation’s future. Its Southern Conifer Climate Change Coordinated Agricultural Projects Program aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration in agricultural and forest production systems.
(Written by Alison Hop.)