Undergraduate research intern (honors thesis)
B.S in Plant Sciences (Crop Production)
My research project aims to identify pragmatic carbon footprint mitigation opportunities for rice systems in Southeast Asia. In the face of increasing rice demand due to population growth coupled with adverse impacts from climate change, there is an urgent need for the region to produce rice sustainably without negatively impacting yield. This study takes an important first step in examining the sustainability of SEA rice cropping systems using a carbon footprint analysis of 4 key components - soil carbon storage, soil greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy inputs, and crop residue management. Through a systematic literature review, crop management practices that lead to the biggest reductions in carbon footprint across these components can be identified for the region.
Zhang was born in Anhui, China, but received his pre-university education and grew up in the Southeast Asian island state of Singapore. Zhang is a passionate student about agriculture and agricultural education. Outside of school, he is currently working with the Blue Lion Preschool in Singapore to develop an edible garden curriculum for young children in a country that otherwise has a reduced emphasis on agroeducation. On campus, he volunteers regularly at the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory, aiding in greenhouse operations as well as engaging with members of public on plant and agricultural knowledge.
I am interested in the relationship between management practices and environmental footprint in cropping systems, especially at the regional level. I am also interested in better understanding the concerns of growers and legislators when changes to policies and management occur. I hope to apply my knowledge as a bridge between these two parties for a quicker transition towards best management strategies from research to field.