- Soil scientists determine how abandoned arable land recovers
Soil scientists from RUDN University have found that the rate of accumulation of organic carbon in wild, cultivated, and abandoned soils depends mainly on the type and composition of the soil, and, to a lesser extent, on the time elapsed since it was no longer cultivated. This data will help more accurately calculate soil fertility and the total amount of carbon on the planet, as well as predict climate change.
- How states are helping farmers adopt sustainable practices
Programs that use creative pathways to fund and enlist farmers in agricultural conservation are the subject of a new report aimed at calling attention to the various ways states are innovating so that others can follow suit. The report was produced in collaboration with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), an organization that represents the commissioners, secretaries, and directors of agriculture in all 50 states. Its official release was part of a bigger focus on addressing environmental issues at the organization's annual meeting in September.
- Can sustainable farming save Iowa's precious soil and water?
Iowa is a powerhouse producer of corn and soybeans. But all the industrial farming has come at a cost to the environment. Today, there's a growing number of farmers adopting more sustainable practices in a bid to save Iowa's precious soil and water.
- New report says accelerating global agricultural productivity growth is critical
The 2019 Global Agricultural Productivity Report, "Productivity Growth for Sustainable Diets, and More," released Oct. 16 by Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, shows agricultural productivity growth — increasing output of crops and livestock with existing or fewer inputs — is growing globally at an average annual rate of 1.63%. According to the report's Global Agricultural Productivity Index, global agricultural productivity needs to increase at an average annual rate of 1.73% to sustainably produce food, feed, fiber and bioenergy for 10 billion people in 2050.
- Antibiotics could affect soil health
Use of antibiotics is under heightened scrutiny due to the increased prevalence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. While the primary focus is on more stringent use of antibiotics in medical settings, the use of antibiotics in the livestock sector is gaining increased attention. A new study led by Colorado State University and the University of Idaho found multiple effects on soils from exposure to manure from cows administered antibiotics, including alteration of the soil microbiome and ecosystem functions, soil respiration and elemental cycling.
- Lakes worldwide are experiencing more severe algal blooms
The intensity of summer algal blooms has increased over the past three decades, according to a first-ever global survey of dozens of large, freshwater lakes. Reports of harmful algal blooms are growing. But before this research effort, it was unclear whether the problem was truly getting worse on a global scale. Likewise, the degree to which human activity — including agriculture, urban development, and climate change — was contributing to this problem was uncertain.
- Artificial intelligence and farmer knowledge boost smallholder maize yields
Farmers in Colombia's maize-growing region of Córdoba had seen it all: too much rain one year, a searing drought the next. Yields were down and their livelihoods hung in the balance. To better deal with climate stress, farmers in Colombia's maize-growing region of Córdoba needed information services that would help them decide what varieties to plant, when they should sow and how they should manage their crops.
- Irrigation is draining rivers, lakes and streams
There are certain parts of the world that would be perfect for agriculture except for one thing: water. Those regions include some of the high plains of the American West, the Central Valley in California, as well as parts of China and India. Without enough rainfall, these regions have to get water from somewhere, and that often comes from drilling beneath the ground. Unfortunately, that's bad news for many of the streams and rivers that rely on that groundwater.
- Farmers face economic barriers to sustainable farming, amid climate change reports
In light of current political discourse and scientific reports about climate change, the agriculture sector has been under public scrutiny for its role in contributing to warming temperatures, but not all farmers can afford to fix it.
- Galapagos study highlights importance of biodiversity in the face of climate change
As the world's climate continues to change, biologically diverse communities may be most capable of adapting to environmental challenges. While biodiversity's importance in adaptation may be well appreciated already, new research by Brown University biologists studying the effects of wave turbulence on sea creatures paints a clearer picture of why biologically diverse communities are more likely to thrive.