California Drought May Cause Higher Food Prices For All Americans
February 12, 2014 09:55 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit
Living in rural Fresno County these days means reading about the drought in the local newspaper every day, seeing reports about it on the local news and praying for rain. The Fresno area is smack dab in the middle of California’s fertile San Joaquin Valley. It is considered to be the "agriculture center of the world." Valley farmers supply many of the nation’s fruit and vegetables. The Valley is also home to cotton, dairy and cattle ranches.
Marine Protected Areas deemed largely ineffective
February 12, 2014 09:25 AM - Loren Bell, MONGABAY.COM
Protecting large, isolated areas of no-take zones for over 10 years with strong enforcement is the key to effective Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), according to a letter published this week in Nature. However, 59% of all MPAs meet less than three of the five criteria, making them protected in name only.
Climate migration in the face of climate change
February 11, 2014 09:41 AM - Julie Cohen, University of California, Santa Barbara
As climate change unfolds over the next century, plants and animals will need to adapt or shift locations to follow their ideal climate. A new study provides an innovative global map of where species are likely to succeed or fail in keeping up with a changing climate. The findings appear in the science journal Nature.
Calculating your water footprint
February 10, 2014 11:01 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Water scarcity affects 2.7 billion people worldwide for at least a month each year and in the same way that each of us has a carbon footprint, Professor Arjen Hoekstra of the University of Twente in the Netherlands posits that every person also has a "water footprint". Our water footprint is calculated by counting the amount of fresh water that we each use daily and the amount of water required to produce the goods and services that we consume. Due in large part to our monthly water bill, we recognize our daily fresh water use more than we do the amount of water that it takes to produce other foods and products that we consume. We more commonly think about water consumption in terms daily showers dishwasher and sprinkler usage or dripping spigots.
African Monsoon Project to Benefit Crops and Healthcare
February 10, 2014 09:06 AM - Nick Kennedy, SciDevNet
Researchers unraveling the complexities of the West African monsoon say they are set to bring major agricultural and health benefits to people in the region — despite setbacks caused by terrorist threats and wars in the Sahel region. The African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis (AMMA) programme, a consortium of over 400 researchers from 30 countries that was started 14 years ago, has gathered a wealth of new data about the West African monsoon from across the Sahel, and is now inspiring similar projects elsewhere in Africa.
A Mexican "bee-rometer"
February 7, 2014 05:17 PM - Beth King, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Mexico is the fourth largest honey producer and fifth largest honey exporter in the world. A Smithsonian researcher and colleagues helped rural farmers in Mexico to quantify the genetically modified organism (GMO) soybean pollen in honey samples rejected for sale in Germany. Their results will appear Feb. 7 in the online journal, Scientific Reports.
The first big bite!
February 7, 2014 11:43 AM - Gareth Trickey, University of Toronto
The first top predators to walk on land were not afraid to bite off more than they could chew, a University of Toronto, Mississauga study has found. Graduate student and lead author Kirstin Brink and U of T Biology Professor Robert Reisz suggest that Dimetrodon, a carnivore that walked on land between 298 million and 272 million years ago, was the first terrestrial vertebrate to develop serrated ziphodont teeth. According to the study published in Nature Communications, ziphodont teeth, with their serrated edges, produced a more-efficient bite and would have allowed Dimetrodon to eat prey much larger than itself. While most meat-eating dinosaurs possessed ziphodont teeth, fossil evidence suggests serrated teeth first evolved in Dimetrodon some 40 million years earlier than theropod dinosaurs.
Peatland plantations drive steep GHG gas emissions in Indonesia's Riau Province
February 6, 2014 08:09 AM - Michael Buelna, MONGABAY.COM
Versatile is the best way to describe the reddish brown fruit born from oil palm trees. Both the flesh and seed of the fruit is used in many applications including cooking, cosmetics, and biofuel.
Achoo! Native Echinacea angustifolia plant is blown away
February 5, 2014 08:17 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Echinacea, a genus of flower in the daisy family is sold in many over-the-counter cold and flu remedies and sold in pharmacies and health and nutrition stores. Echinacea has nine wild species in eastern and central North America that grow in moist to dry prairies and in open wooded areas. The genus includes the purple coneflower, pale purple coneflower and narrow-leaved purple coneflower. All have large magenta petals that unfurl from early to late summer.
Slowing down the floodwaters
January 29, 2014 10:41 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Putting something called "Natural Engineering" to work in a five-year research project, Newcastle University in cooperation with the Environment Agency are discovering the benefits utilizing the land's natural defenses to slow river flow downstream and prevent flooding. Slowing down water in anticipation of flooding events is being tested all over the world. Strategies include the use of retention basins; wetlands development; levee systems and floodwalls but Newcastle University researchers directed by Dr. Mark Wilkinson are employing additional water retention strategies further up in the catchment system. The Belford Burn is a small catchment system located in Northumberland, a community just south of the Scottish border.