Will global warming increase plant frost damage?
March 3, 2008 09:12 AM - American Institute of Biological Sciences
Widespread damage to plants from a sudden freeze that occurred across the Eastern United States from 5 April to 9 April 2007 was made worse because it had been preceded by two weeks of unusual warmth, according to an analysis published in the March 2008 issue of BioScience. The authors of the report, Lianhong Gu and his colleagues at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and collaborators at NASA, the University of Missouri, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found that the freeze killed new leaves, shoots, flowers, and fruit of natural vegetation, caused crown dieback of trees, and led to severe damage to crops in an area encompassing Nebraska, Maryland, South Carolina, and Texas. Subsequent drought limited regrowth.
Spanish breeder to clone fighting bull
March 1, 2008 11:13 AM - Reuters
MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish breeder of fighting bulls has decided to clone his favorite stud rather than risk buying a traditionally bred replacement. Victoriano del Rio wants to repeat the success he has enjoyed with Alcalde, who sired two bulls that so impressed famous bullfighter El Juli in the ring that he keeps their heads mounted at home.
Corporate Watch: The Selling of Organic
March 1, 2008 09:21 AM - , Organic Consumers Association
Organic farms have historically been small, family-run mixed farms producing for local markets, but this story is starting to change as conventional agribusiness and the supermarkets move in. Organic shops, too, are expanding, or being bought up, and increasingly resembling their non-organic counterparts.
Wither the Grapes of Worth?
February 28, 2008 09:53 AM - , Global Policy Innovations Program
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened in Norway this week, providing a permafrost home for the genetic diversity of the world's food plants. According to the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the vault can store 4.5 million different seed samples, duplicating seed collections from genebanks around the world. Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are currently not allowed in the vault without special approval. Though the underground facility is fortified against global warming, French Chardonnay is not, and a non-GMO version could become a thing of the past if temperature trends continue.
How to Save the Rainforests
February 27, 2008 09:50 AM - , Organic Consumers Association
While we have fixated on our little local worries over the past week, the biggest news story of the year passed unnoticed in the night. The Brazilian government was forced to admit that the destruction of the Amazon rainforest has returned to ecocidal levels. An area the size of Belgium, taking thousands of years to evolve, was destroyed in the past year alone. Some 20 per cent of the forest has now been trashed, with a further 40 per cent set to be slashed in my lifetime. This is steadily happening to all the rainforests on earth.
High food prices push China towards GMO: scientist
February 27, 2008 04:50 AM - Reuters
BEIJING (Reuters) - Rising food prices and concerns over grains security have caused a shift in Chinese regulators' attitude towards genetically modified crops, a prominent Chinese researcher and GMO advocate said on Wednesday. More than two-thirds of Chinese cotton fields are planted with biotech cotton, but the government has stalled on approving biotech rice to be grown commercially despite expectations it would get the go-ahead a few years ago.
South Korea breaks GMO taboo with first corn deal
February 26, 2008 05:59 AM - Reuters
SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea has for the first time bought genetically-modified corn for food, risking a backlash from consumer groups to secure cheaper grains. With record high global wheat, corn and other food prices making governments increasingly anxious about staple supplies and quickening inflation, the debate over the merits and safety of GMO crops is taking on new urgency.
Dust in West up 500 percent in past 2 centuries
February 25, 2008 09:55 AM - University of Colorado at Boulder
The West has become 500 percent dustier in the past two centuries due to westward U.S. expansion and accompanying human activity beginning in the 1800s, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder. Sediment records from dust blown into alpine lakes in southwest Colorado's San Juan Mountains over millennia indicates the sharp rise in dust deposits coincided with railroad, ranching and livestock activity in the middle of the last century, said geological sciences Assistant Professor Jason Neff, lead author on the study. The results have implications ranging from ecosystem alteration to human health, he said.
Using organic fertilizers could protect against climate change
February 25, 2008 09:25 AM - ENN
Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, and Singapore (25 February, 2008) — Applying organic fertilizers, such as those resulting from composting, to agricultural land could increase the amount of carbon stored in these soils and contribute significantly to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, according to new research published in a special issue of Waste Management & Research (Special issue published today by SAGE).
Amazon nuts help fuel first biofuel flight
February 24, 2008 08:22 AM - Reuters
LONDON (Reuters) - Nuts picked from Amazon rainforests helped fuel the world's first commercial airline flight powered by renewable energy on Sunday. A Virgin Atlantic jumbo jet flew from London to Amsterdam with one of its fuel tanks filled with a bio-jet blend including babassu oil and coconut oil.