Video recording of “Forest restoration theory and practice based on Indigenous cultural tending”

17 11 2020

Here a Youtube video of my recent lecture and discussion in the course FORESTS, hosted by the Humanities Center of Texas Tech University. Many thanks to Bruce Clarke and Michael Borshuk for facilitating this talk!

Upcoming zoom lecture (Thursday, Nov. 12) – “Forest restoration theory and practice based on Indigenous cultural tending”

7 11 2020

This Thursday, November 12, (5:30 pm Pacific Time) I will be conducting a zoom lecture and discussion for the online course FORESTS, hosted by Texas Tech University, on the topic of “Forest Restoration Theory and Practice Based on Indigenous Cultural Tending”. The points I will be addressing are: Gaia theory, ecological succession, fire ecology of California, evidence of cultural modification of trees and landscapes, and approaches to forest restoration. The lecture is open to all, just be sure to register beforehand. Follow the embedded link to register.

The Evolution of Gaian Science

19 09 2020

Here is a perspective piece I wrote on the evolution of Gaian science …

Lovelock Centenary talk by Lee Klinger recorded on July 31, 2019

7 09 2019

Here is my presentation “Indigenous-based forest management: Looking to the past for a way forward” at the recent Lovelock Centenary conference at the University of Exeter, UK

My talk begins at 59:38 and ends at 117:00. Enjoy!


Invited talk – “Indigenous-based forest management: Looking to the past for a way forward”

23 07 2019

UPDATE: Here is the video of my talk –

I am heading to England soon to attend and speak at the Lovelock Centenary (July 29-31), a meeting of Gaian scientists sponsored by the Geological Society of London and the University of Exeter, and inspired by the 100th birthday of James Lovelock, who developed the theory that the earth is a living system (Gaia). James Lovelock will happily be attending and speaking at the conference.

I first met James Lovelock in 1988 at an American Geophysical Union meeting in San Diego, CA hosted by my postdoctoral advisor Stephen Schneider. I presented results that supported Lovelock’s contention that “Gaia likes it cold”, as discussed in Lovelock’s book The Ages of Gaia.


James Lovelock

After attending the “Gaia in Oxford” meetings in the 1990s I worked with James Lovelock and Susan Canney (University of Oxford) to help found the Gaia Society, which later became the Gaia: Earth System Science specialty group of the Geological Society of London.

My talk at the upcoming meeting will focus on the topic of Applied Gaia, which, as the name implies, is the application of Gaia theory to solving real world problems. I will be speaking on the ways in which indigenous cultures can inform us on how to improve our forest management in California. Dr Susan Canney will follow up with a talk on her successful work applying Gaia theory to elephant conservation in western Africa. The conference program is listed here.

The entire conference will be lived streamed and I encourage you to watch, as there are few chances to see this many Gaian scientists speaking in one setting.

Lovelock Centenary talk final

Gaia University Webinar on Climate Change

3 05 2017


On May 16 I’ll be giving a free online seminar titled “Gaia and Climate Change” via Gaia Radio (sponsored by Gaia University). Please visit the following site to register for the seminar:

Talk on Gaia and trees for Gaia University

21 06 2016

A few weeks ago I gave a talk on “Applying Gaia theory to forest restoration”. The talk was arranged and recorded by my lovely daughter Ava Klinger, who works for Gaia University. I’m also proud to be involved with Gaia University as an external reviewer of students.

The link to talk is here. Enjoy!

AK Eklutna Clouds copy

Scientific meeting on Gaia at the Geological Society of London – November 11, 2015

5 10 2015

Carlsbad caverns. Photo by Lee Klinger.

Carlsbad caverns. Photo by Lee Klinger.

On November 11, 2015 there will be a meeting entitled “Puzzle of Earth’s Uninterrupted Habitability” to be held at the Geological Society of London (GSL). This meeting will have a strong emphasis on Gaia theory and several prominent Gaian scholars will be speaking, including Tim Lenton, David Wilkinson, Toby Tyrrell, and David Schwartzman. As a Fellow of the GSL I have been invited to speak at this meeting. Here are the title and abstract of my talk:

Biological mediation of acidity and alkalinity: Does habitability require regulation of environmental pH?

Lee Klinger, Independent Scientist, Big Sur, CA USA

Abstract – Climatic cycles such as ice ages represent large excursions in global temperatures and are associated with significant changes in atmospheric CO2, non-sea salt sulfate, and dust, as recorded in ice cores. Ice age excursions in the pH of marine waters are predicted to result from the altered concentrations of CO2 in those waters. In addition, there are a number of biologically mediated processes affecting the pH of terrestrial and marine environments.

During interglacials terrestrial ecosystems are dominated by forests and grasslands that experience frequent disturbances, especially fire, which tends to alkalinize the soils. At the onset of glaciation higher latitude fire regimes subside and the forests become podzolized, with a corresponding decrease in soil pH. Many of these areas are eventually paludified, owing primarily to the acidifying and swamping effects of mosses and lichens, which eventually dominate the expanding peatlands. Mosses and lichens are known to stimulate silicate weathering rates to levels that could significantly reduce atmospheric CO2, and the cooling effects of peatlands are thought to play a role in ice age initiation. There is evidence that the production of iron-rich organic acids by peatlands greatly enhances phytoplankton blooms in adjacent coastal areas. Rainfall chemistry from the Pacific northwest points to the occurrence of biogenic acid rain likely originating from DMS and other biogenic sulfur compounds emitted by the phytoplankton. A feedback results through the nss-sulfate deposition enhancing the growth of mosses.

As ice ages progress and glaciers grow, dust levels in the atmosphere are also seen to rise. Much of this dust is due to an increase in glacial loess. The iron content of the dust stimulates marine productivity in open ocean areas. Oceanic inputs of iron from volcanic ash and glacial outwash are also seen to increase during glacial periods.

The culmination of the glacial period is defined by feedbacks involving the expansion of glaciers into areas formerly occupied by peatlands. The high mineral content of the glacial loess, along with episodes of volcanic ash would tend to alkalinize the terrestrial ecosystems and discourage the proliferation of mosses and other acidifying organisms.

Thus, the pH excursions in the ice age cycle may be related to the biogeochemical coupling of the iron and sulfur cycles. This coupling could have its roots in the Precambrian banded iron formations (BIFs), cyclic depositions of iron-rich minerals that are likely biogenic in origin. BIFs are seen to be closely associated with snowball earth conditions.

Recent directions in the science of Gaia

15 01 2015

Congo Canopy

In June of 1988 I attended the first Chapman Conference on the Gaia Hypothesis held in San Diego, CA. There I was introduced to James Lovelock and a host of other influential scientists studying Gaia, including Lynn Margulis, Stephen Schneider, Tyler Volk, and Lee Kump. This pivotal meeting set the stage for my career in exploring the science of Gaia.

In the 1990s I attended the three Gaia in Oxford meetings, which drew scientists like Stephan Harding, Andrew Watson, Susan Canney, and Tim Lenton, all of whom have made significant contributions to the science of Gaia. Read the rest of this entry »

Gaia and Climate Change

10 01 2015


Today an article I wrote on Gaia and climate change was published in The Ecologist [link here]. The article summarizes my thoughts and concerns around the science of climate change. This is the comment and discussion thread for that article.