Jenna Ladd | June 20, 2016
This week’s On The Radio segment discusses University of Iowa Assistant Professor Xun Zhou’s mathematical model that measures gains and losses of vegetation in urban areas.
Transcript: Iowa researcher creates mathematical model to track human impact on greenspace
A University of Iowa researcher has developed a formula that allows city planners to closely monitor the effects of human activity on vegetation.
This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.
Xun Zhou, an assistant professor in the Tippie College of Business, designed a model that identifies the losses and gains of green space caused by human activity. Zhou says that human migration, traffic, and urban development can leave environmental footprints not easily observed by the naked eye. His model allows policymakers and planners to see and target areas most affected by humans. He hopes his research will allow for more informed and sustainable decision-making.
“By using our algorithm they can efficiently track every corner of the city or the urban areas and identify some potential change processes as early as possible so this could help them make some decisions to respond to human movement, climate change, environment change and so on and so forth.”
Variation in vegetation can have a number of causes. Zhou is testing his model in areas of the world that scientists have closely monitored for years, like the Amazon Rainforest. Comparing his data, Zhou can separate human-induced change from that which is naturally occurring.
For more information about Zhou’s research and why it matters in Iowa, visit Iowa-Environmental-Focus dot org.
From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Betsy Stone.