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The Expansion of Rubber and its Implications for Water and Carbon Dynamics in Montane Mainland Southeast Asia

Related Research Areas
Carbon Cycle & Ecosystems
Project Description
My Website: http://www.eastwestcenter.org/research/research-projects/?class_call=view&resproj;_ID=388 In the early 1950s, China decided that in order to secure its economic development it needed to produce its own natural rubber. The Chinese government subsequently invested heavily in research on growing rubber in marginal environments and eventually established state rubber plantations in Hainan and Yunnan provinces in areas that lie as far north as 22° north latitude. China’s success in growing rubber in these ‘non-traditional’ environments greatly expanded the habitat in which rubber was perceived to be productive. Today entrepreneurs from China, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Thailand are investing heavily in rubber plantations in non-traditional rubber growing areas of Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, as well as in non-traditional rubber growing areas of their own countries—northwest Vietnam, and northeast Thailand. Under a previous grant from NASA we documented that soil moisture increases with depth for agriculture and secondary forest, and decreases for rubber plantation. Also, soil moisture oscillations at the surface are mimicked in deeper layers for secondary and agriculture vegetation but are dampened with depth under rubber (http://research.eastwestcenter.org/mmsea/).The overarching science question to be addressed by this proposal is: How will the expansion of rubber cultivation in non-traditional rubber growing areas of mainland Southeast Asia affect local and regional energy, water, and carbon fluxes, and what are the consequences of those changes for local and regional hydrology and carbon sequestration?
Project Administrator(s):
Jefferson Fox

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Jefferson Fox