Science on Tap is Back
3:28 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Science on Tap Brings Overseas Adventure Stories

After a summer hiatus Science on Tap is resuming Wednesday, with a discussion of land use…but with a bit of a world traveler twist.

Land-use research often relies on satellite images, like this one of Yaroslavl, Russia.
Credit NASA

“Adventure Science” is the title of this month’s casual science discussion at the Minocqua Brewing Company.  Volker Radeloff is an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison.  He’ll be sharing stories from research that has taken him all over the world…often to countries experiencing big land use changes after the fall of socialism. Radeloff says though humans can have a pretty severe impact on the environment…the situation is not always so straightforward.   

“As societies we’re changing the world that we live in very rapidly.  And so what I’m interested in is this change over the last 10, 20, 30 years to get a better understanding of what will happen in the future.  Part of my fascination with Russia is that there is not just widespread deforestation, it is actually a place where there is a lot of wilderness coming back.”

Radeloff looks at satellite data to analyze what areas are forested versus developed or used for agriculture. And despite his research focus abroad, Radeloff also has insights for northern Wisconsin.  He’s looked at how lakefront development can take a toll on wildlife here in the Northwoods.

“The issue of course is that with that development, we’re changing the lakes themselves, we’re changing the habitat for birds and all that.  So the risk is that as areas become more developed they lose the very character that people sought out when they moved there in the first place.”

Science on Tap is coming up Wednesday at 6:30 pm at the Minocqua Brewing Company.