School of forestry and environmental studies

School Notes: School of the Environment
November/December 2023

Ingrid C. “Indy” Burke |

Professor highlighted in Smithsonian exhibit

Dorceta Taylor ’85MFS, ’91PhD, senior associate dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion and professor of environmental justice at YSE, is among more than 25 US environmental leaders featured in an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery that traces the history of the environmental movement from early twentieth-century conservationism to present-day action on environmental justice, biodiversity, and climate. Taylor’s portrait, which was painted to mark the occasion, is on view along with those of Rachel Carson, George Washington Carver, Maya Lin ’81, ’86MArch, Henry David Thoreau, Edward O. Wilson, and others. “This exhibit is important because it recognizes diverse peoples and perspectives as foundational to the vitality of the past and future environmental movement,” Taylor says. Forces of Nature: Voices that Shaped Environmentalism is on view at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, through September 2, 2024.

Critical breakthrough in mapping global methane emissions

Yale School of the Environment scientists, working with an international team of researchers, have provided the most comprehensive estimate to date of monthly methane emissions from rivers and streams worldwide, an understanding that is key to climate change modeling and mitigation.

Freshwater ecosystems account for about half of global methane emissions in the atmosphere, but quantifying the specific amount has been difficult. A study published in Nature, coauthored by YSE professor of ecosystem ecology Peter Raymond, research scientist Guiseppe Amatulli, and postdoctoral associate Shaoda Liu, confirmed estimates that 27 teragrams of methane is emitted globally from rivers and streams, which is about a quarter of the methane produced by fossil fuel. One of their most critical, and surprising, findings was that temperature is not a key driver of methane emissions in rivers and streams. They are instead more sensitive to land-water connections and human activity.  

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