Published on January 19th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Audi rewards undergraduate for environmental disseration
Audi’s Foundation for the Environment (Audi Stiftung für Umwelt GmbH) awarded its Sustainable Resource Management Award (SRM Award) on Monday evening for the fifth time. With this prize, the Foundation for the Environment each year recognizes the best dissertations of the degree program for sustainable resource management at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). This year, the prize goes to the Australian Samuel Gordon Munro for his master’s dissertation on carbon absorption in the semi arid Mongolian steppes. The winner receives prize money of 1,500 euros.
During the prize giving, the jury of the SRM Award praised the outstanding dissertation by the Australian winner. Munro investigated the potential of the Mongolian grasslands for absorbing atmospheric CO2. Focusing on largely untouched grasslands, he succeeded in creating the first ever reference for their maximum carbon storage capacity. Soil is regarded as the biggest terrestrial carbon sink. In his dissertation, Munro discovers that, surprisingly, ground featuring severe erosion, arable farming or intensive grazing has a high level of carbon saturation and therefore only very low CO2 storage capacity. This means that the quantitative contribution of grasslands to the world’s carbon storage capacity must be reassessed ‑ contrary to previous assumptions. His work therefore supplies important data on how land usage can be changed in the future in order to benefit climate protection.