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Natural Resources and Conservation

2017

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Full-Text Articles in Physical Sciences and Mathematics

Building Our Way To A Better Future, Brad Shaner Dec 2017

Building Our Way To A Better Future, Brad Shaner

Op-Eds from ENSC230 Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policies

The potential demolishing of the Clean Power Plan by the federal government in early October is looking like a losing fight in our war against carbon emissions at one of the biggest sources of these emissions. But we can continue to fight in this war and make an even bigger impact by focusing our efforts on the most ordinary and consistent thing in our modern lives; the buildings we live and work in. Some would say that high efficiency or green buildings are a commodity that only the wealthy individuals or businesses can achieve, but this doesn’t have to ...


The Fossil Fuel Energy Industry Vs. The Endangered Species Act, Cody Willnerd Dec 2017

The Fossil Fuel Energy Industry Vs. The Endangered Species Act, Cody Willnerd

Op-Eds from ENSC230 Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policies

It was several weeks ago that the Congressional Republicans made a push to reform the landmark Endangered Species Act to make it more friendly to landowners and fossil fuel industries. They would do this by releasing species earlier on the ESA list than before and instead focus on species that are in the greatest of need of attention. The reform would also have agencies focus on the economic costs to deny listings of species, require the agency to listen towards states concerns, and limit payouts for attorney fees in ESA litigations. This would be incredibly damaging to many species that ...


A Forgotten Resource: Thorium, Daniel Rico Dec 2017

A Forgotten Resource: Thorium, Daniel Rico

Op-Eds from ENSC230 Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policies

The year is 1945, the morning of August 6th, 8:16am to be exact. The United States just dropped the world’s first militarized atomic weapon on Hiroshima, Japan. With this singular act the world virtually witnessed the end of its second world war, the birth of warfare like never before, and the foreseeable death of nuclear power. With this act an aura of negativity and destruction accompanied the word nuclear that it would likely never be rid of despite untapped high grade energy potential that can outweigh its military application. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima was composed of ...


Lithium-Ion Batteries: It’S Not About The Lithium., Jace Kranau Dec 2017

Lithium-Ion Batteries: It’S Not About The Lithium., Jace Kranau

Op-Eds from ENSC230 Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policies

Malnourished children and tired men chip away with ancient tools at Cobalt-containing rock for you to have the next best electronic device. The impoverished, artisanal workers of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) supply up to 25 percent of global Cobalt according to The Washington Post. The battery manufacturers don’t care. Their dominant thought is profit.

Artisanal workers are paid between two and three U.S. dollars a day. “We are suffering. And our suffering is for what?”, 29-year-old digger, Nathan Muyamba, told The Post.

The batteries in phones, laptops and for some, their cars, contain Lithium, Cobalt, Nickel ...


Cardboard Ban Is An Investment Opportunity, John Schwaninger Dec 2017

Cardboard Ban Is An Investment Opportunity, John Schwaninger

Op-Eds from ENSC230 Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policies

Lincoln’s cardboard ban was a hot topic in 2016, but 2017 has shifted focus to the city’s recycling education contract. Gone is discussion of Mayor Chris Beutler’s failed, revived and ultimately victorious struggle to reform Lincoln’s recycling program. In its place, an air of financial discomfort stagnates over the city’s already troubled budget.

The cardboard ban will take effect April 2018. The recycling education program was drafted in part to support the ban by educating households about recycling drop-off locations and sorting requirements. However, the recycling education contract’s $850,000 cost raised eyebrows, undermining ...


Energy Star Tax Holiday Simply Advertising Gimmick, Lauren Klaasmeyer Dec 2017

Energy Star Tax Holiday Simply Advertising Gimmick, Lauren Klaasmeyer

Op-Eds from ENSC230 Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policies

In January of this year, Senator Harr introduced Legislative Bill 325. From 12:01 A.M. on the first Friday of October through midnight of the first Sunday, all Energy Star products less than $1500 will be exempt from sales and use taxes. The special interest group, Nebraska Retail Federation, proposed the idea to Senator Harr. There was no move to advance the bill last session, so it could be brought back up this coming session or amended to another bill. When speaking with people at the capitol, it was said that the main reason it was not advanced was ...


Crop Productivity In The Ag Belt On Borrowed Time, Logan Winters Dec 2017

Crop Productivity In The Ag Belt On Borrowed Time, Logan Winters

Op-Eds from ENSC230 Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policies

Most people by now have heard the terms “climate change” and global warming. Many acknowledge that it’s a problem, but they may not know how it can impact them directly. This is especially true for those living in the middle of the country, because most of the media attention goes to the coastal impacts of climate change. While putting adequate focus on the coastal impacts is a good start, since the most widespread and severe impacts will be coastal, but there needs to be more talk and discussion about the future impacts over the middle of the country. One ...


How Innovative Companies Gain From A Cap And Trade Agreement, Lucian Montgomery Dec 2017

How Innovative Companies Gain From A Cap And Trade Agreement, Lucian Montgomery

Op-Eds from ENSC230 Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policies

The purpose of both a cap and trade agreement and a carbon tax is to reduce emissions by setting a price on carbon. However, that is where the similarities end.

A cap and trade agreement gives a certain amount of allowances to each company that adds up to an emissions cap, allows companies to trade them. Companies only pay for carbon emissions if they produce more than the amount of allowances they are given, either by paying penalties to the government, or by buying more allowances from other companies. This creates a market for allowances, and based on demand, sets ...


Gmo Regulations Are Killing Biofuels, Megan Franklin Dec 2017

Gmo Regulations Are Killing Biofuels, Megan Franklin

Op-Eds from ENSC230 Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policies

Progress in creating profitable biofuels is being slowed down by strict regulations on genetically engineered (GE) crops (aka GMOs). Setbacks that biofuels face can be addressed with genetic engineering. However, public pushback and regulations make it extremely difficult to implement solutions. We should have more lenient regulations on GE crops so that we can speed up the progress of improving biofuels.

A genetically engineered crop is one that has DNA from a different species inserted into its own DNA. As a result from GE crop benefits, CO2 emissions were reduced by 26.7 billion kg in 2012, and poverty was ...


The Tax That Will Actually Do Something Is Not In The Current Bill, Steven Kirchner Dec 2017

The Tax That Will Actually Do Something Is Not In The Current Bill, Steven Kirchner

Op-Eds from ENSC230 Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policies

If we are going to be talking about tax reform, we should be talking about solutions that will actually solve a problem. The combustion of fossil fuels has much more than environmental implications. Burning fossil fuels is a blatant catastrophe for our entire economic system. The current American energy market is entirely reliant on fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas). Negative externalities have flooded the American economic system because of the combustion of fossil fuels. A negative externality is a cost that indirectly affects someone outside of the economic transaction. That third party entity must bear the burden of ...


Recent Increase In Deadly Storms, Westin Longacre Dec 2017

Recent Increase In Deadly Storms, Westin Longacre

Op-Eds from ENSC230 Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policies

These last few years have hit us with some devastating storms that continue to wreck havoc on our earth. We have been hit with multiple storms that are so strong that they are predicted to happen every 50 years, so is God punishing us? Or do we have something to do with this? This issue should be a huge concern to us because who knows how many more of these devastating storms we can handle. When looking at why these tragic storms are happening more frequently the main factor that is leading to these events is the increase in atmospheric ...


Palm Oil: The Hidden Costs, Rachel Goehring Dec 2017

Palm Oil: The Hidden Costs, Rachel Goehring

Op-Eds from ENSC230 Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policies

ENSC 230. Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policy

12/7/2017

Palm Oil: The Hidden Costs

Lurking behind your soaps, cosmetics, pantry groceries, and household cleaning supplies is a product killing endangered species in Southeast Asia. This same product is destroying the survival mechanisms for local communities in Southeast Asia while pumping large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. To keep its identity hidden, it uses over twenty different names on ingredient labels. What is this product? Palm oil. Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world and increased demand for palm oil ...


Eliminate The Carbon Externality, Connor Mcfayden Dec 2017

Eliminate The Carbon Externality, Connor Mcfayden

Op-Eds from ENSC230 Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policies

Before we do anything else, let’s establish two things: the global climate is changing at an alarming rate and the primary cause is human CO2 emissions. There is a worldwide scientific consensus on this fact. Even our own government, despite a remarkably vocal minority, has confirmed this. A report released this year by 13 government agencies identifies humans as the primary cause of global climate change and links this phenomenon to rising sea levels, increased incidence of droughts and floods, and the intensification of large storms. These events are the result of the carbon externality, the social costs of ...


Wind Is Nebraska’S Future, With Or Without The Clean Power Plan, Megan Pamperin Dec 2017

Wind Is Nebraska’S Future, With Or Without The Clean Power Plan, Megan Pamperin

Op-Eds from ENSC230 Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policies

The Clean Power Plan was issued in October 2015. President Trump called for a review of the plan this March and on October 16th, 2017 the EPA released a proposal to repeal it. The Clean Power Plan would have reduced Nebraska’s state emissions to 22,250,000 tons of carbon dioxide by 2024, down by about 5 million tons compared to 2012 emissions.1 The new projection for 2020 without the plan is 34 million tons of CO2 emitted.

Coal and other fossil fuel energy sources are the main culprits of these carbon emissions, and here in ...


Anaerobic Digestion In Nebraska, Anthony Leapley Dec 2017

Anaerobic Digestion In Nebraska, Anthony Leapley

Op-Eds from ENSC230 Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policies

Climate change is a global crisis that can be fought by all locally. Nebraska is my home, and it’s one of nine states in the U.S. in which cows outnumber humans. Statistically, there are three cows for every person (1,868,516 humans to 6,150,000 cows). While we have fewer humans than cows, it’s not hard to understand that we rank very low in CO2 emissions when ranking all states in the country. However, our emission of the more potent greenhouse gas CH4, or methane, is significantly higher. Methane is released by cows via gas ...


Recycling Clean Energy, Amanda Vaughn Dec 2017

Recycling Clean Energy, Amanda Vaughn

Op-Eds from ENSC230 Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policies

Nuclear energy is one of the cleanest sources of energy available. It does not produce carbon dioxide as the beta decay of Uranium is an exothermic spontaneous process that produces helium. Unfortunately, nuclear waste storage is a large problem in the United States, the cost of maintaining the waste storage facilities alone is 46.7 billion dollars. There is the constant threat of leaks and contaminated water leaking into drinking supplies. Then there is the danger of the current geological storage tanks lasting longer than humanity and spoiling the future environment as current nuclear waste takes millions of years to ...


Use Of An Alternative Natural Weed Suppressant: Effects Of Parboiled Rice Hull Mulch On The Growth Of Container Weeds, Amy R. Fields-Taylor, Vanessa Slinger-Friedman Dec 2017

Use Of An Alternative Natural Weed Suppressant: Effects Of Parboiled Rice Hull Mulch On The Growth Of Container Weeds, Amy R. Fields-Taylor, Vanessa Slinger-Friedman

The Kennesaw Journal of Undergraduate Research

The Chattahoochee Nature Center (CNC) is one of the leading educational centers in Georgia about the ecology of the Chattahoochee River. Due to lack of man power, keeping down the weeds in the CNC plant nursery is one of those tasks that often gets left undone. The nursery becomes overgrown with invasive weed species. Understandably, they must sometimes resort to the use of herbicides, such as Roundup®, to keep the hundreds of native and endangered species of plants housed at CNC from being choked out by invasive weeds. This study tests the ability to suppress weed growth by use of ...


Fossil Fuel Subsidies In America, Jackson Cutsor Dec 2017

Fossil Fuel Subsidies In America, Jackson Cutsor

Op-Eds from ENSC230 Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policies

Two of the most controversial topics in American politics today are climate change and the federal budget. Subsidies for energy generation fit into both categories.

Subsidies given to the energy industry artificially decrease the price of energy and electricity. Low energy prices help stimulate the market, however, the negative externalities like the social cost of carbon and political corruption are not taken into consideration.

Subsidies can come in many forms including: failure to impose external costs, tax breaks, and low interest loans. Even without imposing the social cost of carbon a removal of fossil fuel energy subsidies can have a ...


Remote Sensing Of Forests Using Discrete Return Airborne Lidar, Hamid Hamraz, Marco A. Contreras Dec 2017

Remote Sensing Of Forests Using Discrete Return Airborne Lidar, Hamid Hamraz, Marco A. Contreras

Forestry and Natural Resources Faculty Publications

Airborne discrete return light detection and ranging (LiDAR) point clouds covering forested areas can be processed to segment individual trees and retrieve their morphological attributes. Segmenting individual trees in natural deciduous forests, however, remained a challenge because of the complex and multi-layered canopy. In this chapter, we present (i) a robust segmentation method that avoids a priori assumptions about the canopy structure, (ii) a vertical canopy stratification procedure that improves segmentation of understory trees, (iii) an occlusion model for estimating the point density of each canopy stratum, and (iv) a distributed computing approach for efficient processing at the forest level ...


Predicted Suitable Habitat Declines For Midwestern United States Amphibians Under Future Climate And Land-Use Change Scenarios, Brock Struecker, Joseph Milanovich Dec 2017

Predicted Suitable Habitat Declines For Midwestern United States Amphibians Under Future Climate And Land-Use Change Scenarios, Brock Struecker, Joseph Milanovich

Biology: Faculty Publications and Other Works

With current declines of vertebrate taxa meeting or exceeding those of historic mass extinction events, there is a growing need to investigate the main drivers of losses. Two of the main drivers of declines are global climate and land-use changes, both affecting multiple groups of taxa. Amphibians are at great risk from these two drivers of change and investigations into the impact of future change could assist with the formation of conservation plans to mitigate losses. Forecasting changes in suitable habitat with ecological niche modeling serves as a useful tool to begin to understand how species may respond to anthropogenic ...


Rethinking Holocene Ecological Relationships Among Caribou, Muskoxen, And Human Hunters On Banks Island, Nwt, Canada: A Stable Isotope Approach, Jordon S. Munizzi Dec 2017

Rethinking Holocene Ecological Relationships Among Caribou, Muskoxen, And Human Hunters On Banks Island, Nwt, Canada: A Stable Isotope Approach, Jordon S. Munizzi

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

This dissertation explores the ecology of caribou (Rangifer tarandus spp.) and muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus), and its relevance to human hunters on Banks Island, NWT, Canada, over the last 4000 years, primarily through the isotopic analysis of modern and archaeological faunal remains.

First, we establish baseline carbon and nitrogen isotope relationships between modern vegetation and caribou and muskox bone collagen using Bayesian mixing models. The models indicate that dwarf shrub (Salix arctica) does not contribute significantly to bone collagen isotopic compositions in either species, while sedges and yellow lichen (Cetraria tilesii) do. These findings are ecologically significant considering that shrub phytomass ...


Seasonal Resource Selection And Habitat Treatment Use By A Fringe Population Of Greater Sage-Grouse, Rhett Boswell Dec 2017

Seasonal Resource Selection And Habitat Treatment Use By A Fringe Population Of Greater Sage-Grouse, Rhett Boswell

All Graduate Plan B and other Reports

Movement and habitat selection by Greater Sage-grouse (Centrocercus uropasianus) is of great interest to wildlife managers tasked with applying conservation measures for this iconic western species. Current technology has created small and lightweight GPS (Global Positioning Systems) transmitters that can be attached to sage-grouse. Using GIS software and statistical programs such as Program R, land managers can analyze GPS location data to assess how sage-grouse are geospatially interacting with their habitats. Within the Panguitch Sage-Grouse Management Area (SGMA) thousands of acres of land have been restored or manipulated to enhance sage-grouse habitat; this usually involves removal of pinyon pine (P ...


Translating Statistical Species-Habitat Models To Interactive Decision Support Tools, Lyndsie S. Wszola, Victoria L. Simonsen, Erica F. Stuber, Caitlyn R. Gillespie, Lindsey N. Messinger, Karie L. Decker, Jeffrey J. Lusk, Christopher F. Jorgensen, Andrew A. Bishop, Joseph J. Fontaine Dec 2017

Translating Statistical Species-Habitat Models To Interactive Decision Support Tools, Lyndsie S. Wszola, Victoria L. Simonsen, Erica F. Stuber, Caitlyn R. Gillespie, Lindsey N. Messinger, Karie L. Decker, Jeffrey J. Lusk, Christopher F. Jorgensen, Andrew A. Bishop, Joseph J. Fontaine

Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit -- Staff Publications

Understanding species-habitat relationships is vital to successful conservation, but the tools used to communicate species-habitat relationships are often poorly suited to the information needs of conservation practitioners. Here we present a novel method for translating a statistical species-habitat model, a regression analysis relating ring-necked pheasant abundance to landcover, into an interactive online tool. The Pheasant Habitat Simulator combines the analytical power of the R programming environment with the user-friendly Shiny web interface to create an online platform in which wildlife professionals can explore the effects of variation in local landcover on relative pheasant habitat suitability within spatial scales relevant to ...


Assessing Preservation Priorities Of Caves And Karst Areas Using The Frequency Of Endemic Cave-Dwelling Species, Eugen Nitzu, Marius Vlaicu, Andrei Giurginca, Ioana N. Meleg, Ionut Popa, Augustin Nae, Ştefan Baba Dec 2017

Assessing Preservation Priorities Of Caves And Karst Areas Using The Frequency Of Endemic Cave-Dwelling Species, Eugen Nitzu, Marius Vlaicu, Andrei Giurginca, Ioana N. Meleg, Ionut Popa, Augustin Nae, Ştefan Baba

International Journal of Speleology

Endemic and rare species as bioindicators of habitat vulnerability were used to develop protection and management plans for biotope prioritization (mainly islands habitats, lava tubes or groundwaters). Due to their narrow distribution, the endemic species (species confined to a restricted geographic area) are more susceptible to ecological disequilibrium and habitat loss than the widespread ones. Consequently, endemics become endangered in the context of ecological disturbance caused by anthropogenic pressure, making them suitable candidates to assess environmental preservation needs. Taking into consideration that most of the stygobitic and troglobitic species are endemic and confined to specific karst areas, based on their ...


Improving The Accuracy Of Cosmic-Ray Neutron Probe Estimate Of Soil Water Content Using Multiple Detectors And Remote Sensing Estimates Of Vegetation, Xiaochen Dong Dec 2017

Improving The Accuracy Of Cosmic-Ray Neutron Probe Estimate Of Soil Water Content Using Multiple Detectors And Remote Sensing Estimates Of Vegetation, Xiaochen Dong

Dissertations & Theses in Natural Resources

The recently developed Cosmic-ray Neutron Probe (CRNP) for estimating soil water content (SWC) fills a critical measurement gap between point scale methods and large scale measurements collected from remote sensing. CRNP works by measuring the change in low-energy neutron intensity over time. However, the accuracy of CRNP to measure SWC is well known to be affected by other hydrogen sources (e.g. soil organic content, atmospheric water vapor, vegetation and surface water). This study focuses on the influence of rapidly growing vegetation in agricultural fields on the accuracy of the CRNP method. Here we use data from three long-term CRNP ...


Failing Food Supply: Permaculture's Potential, John Faltin Dec 2017

Failing Food Supply: Permaculture's Potential, John Faltin

Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Theses

Conventional agriculture is the currently leading production method to grow crops in the western hemisphere. Long-term sustainability of the system and all the components is secondary to producing high yields each growing season, which leads to issues such as erosion and reduced soil quality. Other agricultural production methods such as permaculture aim to build soil and improve quality every growing season. This experiment intends to look at the potential of permaculture to improve soil quality on small-scales at the end of each growing season. The parameters to gauge success are a larger concentration of macronutrients at the end of the ...


Assessing Relationships Between Angling Effort And Larval Trematodes In Small Bluegill, Alexis Park Dec 2017

Assessing Relationships Between Angling Effort And Larval Trematodes In Small Bluegill, Alexis Park

Dissertations & Theses in Natural Resources

I wanted to determine if catch-and-release angling increased larval trematodes in small (50-160 mm) bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus). I used angling effort as a proxy for amount of catch-and-release angling. I assumed bluegill assessed, due to their size and age, experienced catch-and-release events. I assessed larval trematode intensity, black spot (Crassiphiala bulboglossa), and white grub (Posthodiplostomum minimum centrarchi), in 750 bluegill. The first objective was to quantify the association between angling effort and reservoir area. Angling effort and reservoir area were positively correlated. The second objective was to determine if angling effort, reservoir area, bluegill age, and total length affect larval ...


Energy Sprawl Solutions, Nicola Koper Dec 2017

Energy Sprawl Solutions, Nicola Koper

The Prairie Naturalist

Energy sprawl affects all the major conservation issues of our age, from habitat loss and fragmentation to anthropogenic noise and climate change. As such, minimizing and solving its associated problems should be a key focus for conservation biologists. Kiesecker and Naugle provide an impressive and compact book that focusses on solving environmental and social problems likely to result from a transition from non- renewable to far less efficient renewable energy sources.

Energy Sprawl Solutions summarizes numerous relevant peer-reviewed academic papers, and outlines management and planning implications of each one, ultimately resolving these into fairly clear prescriptive recommendations for moving forward ...


Field Discrimination Of Prairie Deer Mice And White-Footed Mice Using Morphological Characteristics, Jacob L. Berl, Kelton M. Verble, Elizabeth A. Flaherty, Robert K.S. Swihart Dec 2017

Field Discrimination Of Prairie Deer Mice And White-Footed Mice Using Morphological Characteristics, Jacob L. Berl, Kelton M. Verble, Elizabeth A. Flaherty, Robert K.S. Swihart

The Prairie Naturalist

Field discrimination of prairie deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus bairdii) and white-footed mice (P. leucopus noveboracensis) can be difficult throughout much of the central United States where they co-occur. We live-trapped prairie deer mice and white-footed mice within forested and row-crop habitats in central Indiana and used multiplex PCR with species-specific primers to positively determine species identification. We collected a suite of commonly measured external morphological traits (body weight and lengths of ear, hindfoot, tail, and body) from each captured animal. Individuals were assigned to species based on analysis of DNA; discriminant function analysis was used to identify morphological characteristics that ...


Notes: Range Extension Of The Virginia Opossum (Didelphis Virginiana) In North Dakota, Lisa L. Walsh, Robert Seabloom, Cody W. Thompson Dec 2017

Notes: Range Extension Of The Virginia Opossum (Didelphis Virginiana) In North Dakota, Lisa L. Walsh, Robert Seabloom, Cody W. Thompson

The Prairie Naturalist

The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is broadly distributed across North America from Costa Rica in the south to southern Ontario in the north and from the southern Great Plains in the west to the eastern United States. The Virginia opossum also was introduced multiple times to thePacific Coast beginning in the late 1800s and has established populations in that region (Gardner and Sunquist 2003). This species is a habitat generalist known to frequent wetland and hardwood habitats but also can be found in grasslands, along forest edges, and in agricultural and suburban settings throughout its range (Gardner and Sunquist 2003 ...