Monday, August 6, 2012: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
A105, Oregon Convention Center
Robert W. Howarth
Robert B., Jackson
Natural gas is considered a relatively clean source of energy and a “bridge fuel” to a post-fossil energy future. However, extraction techniques and losses of gas in extraction, processing, transport and distribution could, if unchecked, reduce the environmental benefits of natural gas. Potential impacts include groundwater contamination; greenhouse warming potential of lost and unaccounted gas; land use change; and alteration of urban ecosystems due to distribution leaks. The goal of this Organized Oral Session is to examine the range of ecological, environmental, and economic interactions associated with the entire Natural Gas Process Chain. To date, studies have focused on individual aspects of natural gas, whether by type of impact or geography. Our objective is to synthesize knowledge and improve understanding across the entire process chain, from rural extraction to urban distribution, and to consider rural-urban interdependencies among communities dependent on natural gas.
This session is focused on natural gas, but has broader implications for ESA membership. This topic spans rural to urban geography, and will therefore appeal to ecologists working in either or both types of systems. Soil ecologists will be interested in how gas leaks may impact soil biogeochemical processes. Physiological ecologists will be interested in vegetation physiological response to the novel soil environment created by gas leaks. Landscape ecologists may be interested in how rural pipeline construction may fragment landscape and create ecological barriers or corridors. More broadly, this topic has important implications for global climate change, which is of clear importance to the entire ESA membership and to the theme of the meeting.