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Nitrogen fixation helps double some African farm yields
November 5, 2013 08:59 AM - Joris Tielens, SciDevNet
A large-scale research and development project has shown that giving farmers resources and advice on nitrogen fixation through legume plants can double yields and boost incomes in Africa. But not all farmers are benefiting from this practice due to a lack of access to inputs, such as fertilizers says Ken Giller, the leader of the N2Africa project, as a second phase to widen access to the initiative is announced with US$25.3 million funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the next five years.
Do dams bring more harm or more good?
November 4, 2013 09:01 AM - Editor, ENN
As China forges ahead with its goal to generate 120,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020, they are damming more and more rivers. According to China, this is a safe strategy that will curb pollution, control floods, and minimize climate change. Conservationists and scientists across the globe however, disagree.
Los Angeles aqueduct celebrates 100 years of service
November 4, 2013 06:22 AM - NPR STAFF - NPR
Today the beauty of Los Angeles is dramatically symbolic of the ancient prophecy: The desert shall "blossom like a rose." This blossoming was made possible by the birth of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, opened 100 years ago this month. The opening of the aqueduct might as well have been the birth of the modern West and the image of the city as a "Garden of Eden." The vast quantities of water the aqueduct moved made Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix and other cities across the region possible.
Safe passage at last for the Pronghorn
November 1, 2013 04:56 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
U.S. Highway 191 in Trapper's Point, Wyoming is safer today for motorists and pronghorns alike as a result of a newly built 8-part overpass/underpass system designed to facilitate the travel and migration of local populations of pronghorn, mule deer, moose, elk and other wildlife safely over the highway. While the overpass was completed in time for last year’s migration, the pronghorn were hesitant to use the system last year making researchers nervous. However, this year the pronghorn were less confused by the alteration and used the passages willingly.
Impacts of climate change on soils
November 1, 2013 06:13 AM - Ollivier Girard/CIFOR, SciDevNet
The increased aridity expected this century as a result of climate change may disrupt the balance of key soil nutrients with a knock-on effect on soil fertility threatening livelihoods of more than two billion people, a study finds. The drop in nitrogen and carbon concentrations that occurs as soils become dryer could have serious effects on ecosystem services such as food production, carbon storage and biodiversity, according to the Nature paper published today.
Climate change to disrupt soil nutrients in drylands
October 31, 2013 11:36 AM - Jan Piotrowski, SciDevNet
The increased aridity expected this century as a result of change may disrupt the balance of key soil nutrients with a knock-on effect on soil fertility threatening livelihoods of more than two billion people, a study finds. The drop in nitrogen and carbon concentrations that occurs as soils become dryer could have serious effects on ecosystem services such as food, carbon storage and biodiversity, according to the Nature paper published today.
The Great Latex Defense
October 30, 2013 10:48 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Latex from plants is a naturally occurring white opaque sap that emanates from a plant's point of damage. About 10% of plants use Latex as a method of defense. Latex is also an essential ingredient in natural rubber. But different plants use latex in different ways. Researchers at the University of Oxford wanted to understand the mechanical properties of natural latex in relation to their respective defense application. As a result, researchers tested two latex producing plant species that use it differently: the Euphorbia and the Ficus.
Mercury Sediment Carried Forth by California Floods
October 29, 2013 01:59 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Mercury contamination in sediment has been a big concern in the Central Valley lowland areas of California. But associate researcher from the University of California, Michael Singer has unearthed new information and considerations utilizing modern topographic datasets and modeling to track mercury-laden sediment. Singer hypothesizes that the progradation process resulting from 10-year flooding events within the valleys below the Sierra Nevada Mountains are the key to understanding and tracking the presence of mercury. Singer has connected the mercury amalgamation process, which was used to extract gold from the mountains during the 19th century with the current high incidence of mercury in regional delta sediment.
GM Crops Causing a Stir in Washington State, Mexico, and Hawaii
October 28, 2013 10:30 AM - Sophie Wenzlau, Worldwatch Institute
Courts, councils, and voters across North America are weighing in on genetically modified (GM) crops this month In Washington state, voters are beginning to cast ballots in favor of or opposing Initiative 522, which would mandate that all GM food products, seeds, and seed stocks carry labels in the state.
Forecasting heat waves far in advance
October 28, 2013 06:49 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
Heat waves create unpleasant, sometimes deadly conditions. They also create serious problems for farmers who can suffer serious crop losses. Forecasting heat waves more than a few days in advance would enable more time to prepare for them. Scientists have fingerprinted a distinctive atmospheric wave pattern high above the Northern Hemisphere that can foreshadow the emergence of summertime heat waves in the United States more than two weeks in advance. The new research, led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), could potentially enable probability forecasts of U.S. heat waves 15-20 days out, giving society more time to prepare for these often-deadly events.