School of forestry and environmental studies

School Notes: School of the Environment
May/June 2020

Ingrid C. “Indy” Burke |

F&ES to become Yale School of the Environment

Effective July 1, the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies will change its name to the Yale School of the Environment. Simultaneously, to honor the school’s founding mission and in recognition of the ongoing importance of forestry, we will establish the Forest School at the Yale School of the Environment. The new name better represents the breadth of the school’s mission and impact, and that reflects the deeply technical and applied nature of its work, said Dean Indy Burke. “At a time of global crisis for the planet, our faculty, students, and alumni are working with colleagues throughout Yale on a wide scope of urgent and important issues—issues that include climate change, clean energy policy, urban science, green chemistry, forestry, and environmental justice, among many others,” Burke said. “As the Yale School of the Environment, we will be accurately communicating the breadth and depth of our scholarship, research, impact, and mission.” The change was approved by Yale president Peter Salovey and the Yale Corporation, the university’s board of trustees, on February 8.

Wood construction can turn cities from carbon source to carbon vault

The demand for new construction to meet the world’s growing urban population in the coming decades will likely escalate global carbon emissions to dangerous levels and intensify climate change—particularly if it relies on traditional materials such as concrete and steel. But if society is able to shift to more wood-based products, this urban growth might actually present an opportunity to mitigate climate change, according to an F&ES-led paper. Writing in the journal Nature Sustainability, a multidisciplinary team of researchers and architects predicted that designing mid-rise urban buildings with engineered timber—rather than relying mainly on carbon-intensive materials—has the potential to create a vast “bank vault” that can store within these buildings 10 to 68 million tons of carbon annually that might otherwise be released into the atmosphere. Simultaneously, society would drastically reduce carbon emissions associated with the construction sector. (Read a Yale Alumni Magazine report on this paper.)

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