Nelson Institute researcher Seth Spawn discusses land-use change and carbon emissions

May 14, 2019

UW-Madison Geography graduate student and Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) researcher, Seth Spawn was recently featured in the Physics World article,  Expanding US cropland emits same as 36 new power plants. The article highlights Spawn’s research into land-use change and its impact on carbon emissions.

In particular, Spawn has been studying the impact of grassland loss on carbon levels. Grassland can contribute to a significant decrease in carbon emissions as the plants have natural carbon absorption and storage properties. In fact, in 2018 Spawn participated in a study led by The Nature Conservancy which showed that improved maintenance of grassland would allow for the annual absorption of one fifth of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, which is equivalent to emissions from all U.S. vehicles. Read more.