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PhD Studentship: Developing Low-Cost Methods for Tropical Forest and Peatland Carbon Monitoring

Cranfield University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Cranfield
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: Fully-funded NERC - CENTA PhD Studentship
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 25th November 2021
Closes: 7th January 2022
Reference: SWEE0167

Application Deadline: 07/JAN/2022

Start date: October 2022

Eligibility

Any Fee Status (Uk/EU & RoW)

Duration *: 3.5 years

Supervisors- 1st Supervisor: Dr Daniel Simms; 2nd Supervisor: Dr Nick Girkin

Sponsored by NERC through CENTA DTP, Cranfield University

Tropical forests and peatlands are globally important carbon stores but are under threat from land use and climate change. To offset hard-to-reduce emissions, many businesses invest in carbon credit schemes to preserve and/or restore these ecosystems. Underpinning such schemes is a need to accurately assess their extent, carbon storage intensity, and to undertake ongoing high-resolution monitoring. In this project you will test a range of novel remote-sensing methodologies for cost-effective monitoring of carbon storage and sequestration in tropical forests and peatlands, validating approaches with literature data, and optional fieldwork to collect new measurements of above and belowground carbon storage.

It is an exciting opportunity for a fully-funded NERC - CENTA PhD Studentship for 3.5 years. CENTA is a consortium of Universities and research institutes that are working together to provide excellence in doctoral research training within the remit of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Successful home-fees-eligible candidates will receive an annual stipend, set at £15,609, paid directly to the student in monthly increments, full university fees and a research training support grant of £8,000.

Project Highlights:

  • Understanding carbon sequestration in forested tropical peatlands
  • Evidence-based and transparent approach to validating carbon credits schemes
  • Use of novel technology for new insight and data-driven decision making

Overview

Tropical forests are recognised as globally important carbon stores, sequestering significant quantities of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Less well understood are tropical peatlands.

To offset emissions, many businesses are investing in carbon credit schemes which focus on removing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Underpinning all such schemes is the need to accurately quantify carbon storage baselines, and to carry out regular monitoring.

A range of new remote sensing technologies, when combined with a comprehensive understanding of tropical forest and tropical peatland ecosystem dynamics, have the potential to develop new approaches for validating such schemes. Working to meet the needs of businesses developing carbon credits, the project proposes to develop novel methodologies for cost-effective monitoring of carbon storage and sequestration in tropical forests and peatlands. In the long-term this will help businesses by allowing them to scale their projects and achieve cost-savings through monitoring projects more rapidly. This will be achieved through a combination of synthesising existing datasets, developing new models, and through optional fieldwork primarily focussing on poorly mapped tropical peatlands in Central America (Panama and Costa Rica).

Entry requirements

At least a 2:1 at UK BSc level or at least a pass at UK MSc level or equivalent in a related discipline.

Funding

The project is open to all applicants who meet the academic requirements. Please note the grant covers fee costs for a Home award. Unless you are eligible for such a Home award, you will need to consider how you will be able to meet any shortfall in funding for tuition fees.

How to apply

For further information please contact:
Name: Daniel Simms
Email: d.m.simms@cranfield.ac.uk

If you are eligible to apply, please complete the online application form.

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