Agriculture

Antarctica, Australia and Climate Change
May 17, 2014 07:52 AM - Tim Radford, The Ecologist

Rising greenhouse gas levels are causing stronger winds over the Southern Ocean. It's good news for Antarctica, writes Tim Radford, as the circumpolar winds are keeping its ice caps cold. But Australia is getting hotter and drier - and its problems will only increase. The answer to one of the enduring puzzles of global warming - the apparently sluggish response of the Antarctic continent to rising greenhouse gas levels - may have been settled by Australian scientists.

Overwhelming the Mississippi
May 14, 2014 10:52 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

New evidence from University of Texas at Austin researchers posit that the great Mississippi's natural ability to chemically filter out nitrates is being overwhelmed. UT's hydrologists demonstrate the enormity of the filtering process for almost every drop of water that enters into the 311,000-mile long course ending in the Gulf of Mexico.

Bee booby-traps defend African farms from elephants
May 14, 2014 08:02 AM - Georgia Achia, SciDevNet

Wire fences booby-trapped with beehives are being built in five African countries to prevent elephants from raiding farms, while also providing local people with honey. 'Beehive fences' are now being put up in Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda by UK charity Save the Elephant, says Lucy King, leader of the Elephants and Bees Project in Kenya — and they are already in use at three communities in Kenya.

A greener barbecue
May 12, 2014 02:17 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer and outdoor cooking season is right around the corner. Unfortunately, outdoor cooking is too often connected with a tremendous amount of waste. Make this year's summer the "summer of green" with these eco-friendly alternatives for a low-impact summer barbecue:

GM food and toxic herbicides
May 11, 2014 09:01 AM - Pat Thomas, The Ecologist

GM crops that resist herbicides are bringing ever higher levels of toxic chemical residues to our food, even mothers' milk, writes Pat Thomas. As the 'endocrine disrupting' effects take place at minute concentrations, there is only one answer - to keep the herbicides off all food crops. If it is accumulating in breastmilk not only is it a danger to mothers, but it is being passed on to their babies as well with potential consequences for their developmental and reproductive health. Question: "How many government officials does it take to make sensible decisions about pesticide regulation?" Answer: "Nobody knows, because it's never been done."

First Standardized Global Land Cover Map Released
May 2, 2014 08:10 AM - Giovanni Sabato, SciDevNet

The first map of detailed information on worldwide land cover collected using uniform international standards, the Global Land Cover-SHARE database, was released in March by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Experts say it will help to improve research into natural resources and monitor global environmental changes.

Thoughtfully green Mother's Day gifts for your mother and Mother Nature
May 1, 2014 03:11 PM - Editor, ENN

No one is more special that your own mother - especially on Mother's Day. Celebrate your own mother and "Mother Nature" with one of these five great green gift ideas. These options offer a sustainable alternative to the chemical-laden flowers and mass-produced chocolates that dominate the market on Mother's Day. 1. Buy eco-friendly flowers- Although they are a beautiful part of nature, flowers aren't always eco-friendly. Most flowers are grown with a slew of chemicals and pesticides. They also typically come from warmer climates, such as South America, and have to make a long temperature-controlled journey before they reach your door. Opt for a greener option instead. There are several companies that sell eco-friendly flowers that are organically and locally grown. You could also purchase a potted plant from your local nursery. Not only are potted plants greener, they typically last a lot longer than a fresh-cut bouquet.

Gardens in space
April 29, 2014 10:15 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Catching floating raindrops, soil and seeds are making gardening just that much harder in the International Space Station. But this is how the astronauts function in their weightless environment. Even the plants don’t know which way to grow. Without gravity the soil and water simply float away unless contained; plant roots grow every which way. Without gravity the plant doesn’t know what is up or down. There is no rising or setting sun, just a 24 hour a day grow light.

Narcotics + Deforestation = Narco-Deforestation
April 21, 2014 02:12 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Narco-Deforestation, a newly coined term for the destruction of sensitive forest ecologies in Central and South America has been identified as a greater threat to the South and Central American forests than other previously identified concerns such as legal logging and development. The drug traffickers are creating new autoroutes and airplane strips for greater access to and through the forests and jungles of the Central and South America. These new routes make it easier to transport drugs from Mexico to South America and vice-versa.

That sinking feeling on the Mississippi Delta
April 21, 2014 09:49 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Every engineering control has its drawbacks. As communities upstream of the Mississippi Delta continue to emplace dams and other flood control measures to prevent community flooding, less sediment is pulled from the lands upstream. Flood control measures have eliminated about half of the annual supply of marshland sediment to the Mississippi Delta. The existing soils continue to compact and sink without sediment replenishment. But researchers have found that the river’s supply of sand, the key ingredient used by engineers for rebuilding, will remain constant for many centuries.

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