SU's ESRGC Earns Indonesian Mangrove Loss Study Grant
SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University’s Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative (ESRGC) has been awarded a contract for an international project with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to monitor mangrove loss in Indonesia.
Under the guidance of Dr. Stuart Hamilton, faculty in SU’s Geography and Geosciences Department, SU undergraduate and graduate students will identify changes, since 2000, in the mangrove forest inventory of the archipelago in Southeast Asia/Oceania. They also will help compile a report to be presented to the Moore Foundation on the driving forces behind mangrove loss.
The SU students are being funded to conduct research tracking the land cover that has replaced mangroves in Indonesia. They will utilize satellite imagery, GIS (geographic information systems) technologies, and Hamilton’s CGMFC-21 database of global mangrove forest cover in the 21st century.
Containing just under one-third of mangroves globally, Indonesia is the most important frontier for such conservation efforts, Hamilton said. Mangroves are an effective tool in mitigating global climate change, he added, as they contain one of the largest forest “carbon sinks” per hectare worldwide. Additionally, they help power globally significant fisheries, protect coastlines during weather events, and provide bordering communities with food security and income opportunities.
“Projects such as this not only help undergraduate and graduate students become involved in the process of research, but actually contribute real meaningful findings to institutions such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that are at the forefront of research into the driving mechanism behind global warming,” Hamilton said. “As part of our commitment to undergraduate research, this type of work allows students to apply cross-curricular components of their SU education to address real-world environmental problems.”
Hamilton has researched and published extensively on Ecuador’s coastal environments, including mangrove deforestation. He hopes this grant, valued at $27,000, may lead to additional work for SU and the ESRGC with the Moore Foundation, which he says, typically funds only major research universities.
The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation seeks to create enduring impact in the areas of environmental conservation, patient care and science. Intel co-founder Gordon and his wife Betty established the foundation to create positive change around the world and at home in the San Francisco Bay Area. The foundation’s environmental conservation efforts promote sustainability, protect critical ecological systems and align conservation needs with human development.
For more information, call 410-543-6030 or visit www.salisbury.edu.