Agriculture

Stanford researchers measure African farm yields using high-resolution satellites
February 14, 2017 08:42 AM - Stanford University

Stanford researchers have developed a new way to estimate crop yields from space, using high-resolution photos snapped by a new wave of compact satellites.

The approach, detailed in the Feb. 13 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could help estimate agricultural productivity and test intervention strategies in poor regions of the world where data are currently extremely scarce.

New doubts on whether early humans were forced to start farming
February 7, 2017 09:28 AM - University of Oxford

The development of agriculture is universally believed to underpin some of the most significant advances made by humans worldwide. In New Guinea, where one of the earliest human experiments with tropical forest agriculture occurred, researchers have cast doubt on two views about the origins of agriculture.

Increasing the water table in agricultural peatland could hold key to reducing UK's greenhouse gas emissions
February 6, 2017 01:55 PM - The University of Sheffield

The research, led by scientists from the University of Sheffield, found increasing the level below which the ground is saturated with water – known as the water table – in radish fields by 20cm not only reduced soil CO2 emissions, but also improved the growth of crops.

African Nations and Scientists Sound Alarm Over Spread of Crop Pest
February 6, 2017 01:43 PM - E360

Scientists and government officials are growing increasingly concerned about the rapid spread of fall armyworm — an agricultural pest known to cause major damage to staple crops such as maize — across Africa in recent months. 

Genetically modified insects could disrupt international food trade
February 1, 2017 12:10 PM - Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

Genetically modified organisms for pest control could end up as contaminants in agricultural products throughout the globe.

 

Land-use change possibly produces more Carbon Dioxide than assumed so far
January 31, 2017 01:08 PM - Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

CO2 emissions caused by changes of land use may possibly be higher than assumed so far. This is the outcome of a study made by the team of Professor Almut Arneth of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The work presented in Nature Geoscience (DOI: 10.1038/NGEO2882) for the first time considers processes, such as slash-and–burn agriculture or different ways of managing forests and cropland. The results also imply that reforestation is important to increase the ecologically important CO2 uptake by land ecosystems.

New tool helps oyster growers prepare for changing ocean chemistry
January 27, 2017 08:38 AM - NOAA

For Bill Mook, coastal acidification is one thing his oyster hatchery cannot afford to ignore.

Mook Sea Farm depends on seawater from the Gulf of Maine pumped into a Quonset hut-style building where tiny oysters are grown in tanks. Mook sells these tiny oysters to other oyster farmers or transfers them to his oyster farm on the Damariscotta River where they grow large enough to sell to restaurants and markets on the East Coast.

The global ocean has soaked up one third of human-caused carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions since the start of the Industrial Era, increasing the CO2 and acidity of seawater. Increased seawater acidity reduces available carbonate, the building blocks used by shellfish to grow their shells. Rain washing fertilizer and other nutrients into nearshore waters can also increase ocean acidity.

New tool helps oyster growers prepare for changing ocean chemistry
January 27, 2017 08:38 AM - NOAA

For Bill Mook, coastal acidification is one thing his oyster hatchery cannot afford to ignore.

Mook Sea Farm depends on seawater from the Gulf of Maine pumped into a Quonset hut-style building where tiny oysters are grown in tanks. Mook sells these tiny oysters to other oyster farmers or transfers them to his oyster farm on the Damariscotta River where they grow large enough to sell to restaurants and markets on the East Coast.

The global ocean has soaked up one third of human-caused carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions since the start of the Industrial Era, increasing the CO2 and acidity of seawater. Increased seawater acidity reduces available carbonate, the building blocks used by shellfish to grow their shells. Rain washing fertilizer and other nutrients into nearshore waters can also increase ocean acidity.

Researchers Work to Restore the Long-Lost Flavor of Tomatoes
January 26, 2017 04:29 PM - Michelle Hampson

New research reveals which genes are needed to reinstate the rich, original flavor of tomatoes, now absent in many grocery shelf varieties of this fruit. The results are published in the 27 January issue of Science.

Agricultural fires in Brazil harm infant health, a warning for the developing world
January 26, 2017 10:02 AM - Michael Hotchkiss via Princeton University

Pollution from the controlled fires that burn across Brazil's São Paulo state during the sugarcane-harvesting season has a negative impact on infant health nearby. But the health of those same infants likely benefits from the economic opportunities the fires bring to their parents.

Researchers at Princeton and Duke universities gathered information from satellites, pollution monitors and birth records to untangle those competing influences and accurately measure the impact of pollution from the fires. They found that exposure to pollution from the fires in the last few months of gestation leads to earlier birth and smaller babies, and they found some evidence of increased fetal mortality. Conditions in early life, including in utero, have been shown to affect children's long-term outcomes, not only in terms of health but also their educational and economic success.

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