Sustainability

Factories that forage
May 26, 2017 11:48 AM - University of Cambridge

Professor Steve Evans calls himself "an angry environmental optimist". Angry because he feels we are borrowing from the future, but optimistic because many of the problems with regard to the environment are perfectly solvable.

"We have reached clean energy parity," he says. "Renewable energy is not just cleaner than other forms; it is now cheaper."

Factories that forage
May 26, 2017 11:48 AM - University of Cambridge

Professor Steve Evans calls himself "an angry environmental optimist". Angry because he feels we are borrowing from the future, but optimistic because many of the problems with regard to the environment are perfectly solvable.

"We have reached clean energy parity," he says. "Renewable energy is not just cleaner than other forms; it is now cheaper."

Increasing Aridity and Land-use Overlap Have Potential to Cause Social and Economic Conflict in Dryland Areas
May 25, 2017 08:06 AM - USGS

Climate change combined with overlapping high-intensity land uses are likely to create conditions detrimental to the recreation economy, wildlife habitat, water availability and other resources in hyper-arid landscapes, or drylands, in the future, according to a recent paper published in Ecosphere.

Drylands are of concern because broad-scale changes in these systems have the potential to affect 36 percent of the world’s human population.

Fall Calving Season May Yield Higher Returns for Tennessee Beef Producers - Risk and returns evaluated
May 24, 2017 08:16 AM - University of Tennessee

The vast majority of cow-calf producers in Tennessee and the Southeast using a defined calving season have long favored spring calving; however, researchers at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture have evaluated the risk and returns for a fall calving season, proving once again that timing is everything.

Selecting an optimal calving season involves a complex set of factors including nutritional demands of brood cows, forage availability, calf weaning weights, calving rates, seasonality in cattle, and feed prices and labor availability.

Wolves need space to roam to control expanding coyote populations
May 24, 2017 08:16 AM - University of Washington

Wolves and other top predators need large ranges to be able to control smaller predators whose populations have expanded to the detriment of a balanced ecosystem.

That’s the main finding of a study appearing May 23 in Nature Communications that analyzed the relationship between top predators on three different continents and the next-in-line predators they eat and compete with. The results were similar across continents, showing that as top predators’ ranges were cut back and fragmented, they were no longer able to control smaller predators.

NOAA names University of Michigan to host cooperative institute for Great Lakes region
May 23, 2017 08:23 AM - NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration today announced it has selected the University of Michigan to continue hosting NOAA’s cooperative institute in the Great Lakes region. 

NOAA made the selection after an open, competitive evaluation to continue funding the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR), formerly called the Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research. 

Vanishing Borneo: Saving One of the World's Last Great Places
May 19, 2017 02:13 PM - Alex Shoumatoff via Yale Environment 360

Palm oil is the second-most important oil in the modern consumer society, after petroleum. Producing it is a $50-billion-a-year business. It’s in a multitude of the household products in North America, Europe, and Australia: margarine, toothpaste, shampoo, lipstick, cookies, Nutella, you name it. Doritos are saturated with palm oil. It’s what gives chocolate bars their appetizing sheen – otherwise, they would look like mud. Palm oil has replaced artery-clogging ghee as India’s main cooking oil. India is now the major consumer of this clear, tasteless oil squeezed from the nuts of the oil-palm tree, Elais guyanensis, originally from West Africa, but now grown pantropically, mainly within ten degrees north and south of the Equator.

Vanishing Borneo: Saving One of the World's Last Great Places
May 19, 2017 02:13 PM - Alex Shoumatoff via Yale Environment 360

Palm oil is the second-most important oil in the modern consumer society, after petroleum. Producing it is a $50-billion-a-year business. It’s in a multitude of the household products in North America, Europe, and Australia: margarine, toothpaste, shampoo, lipstick, cookies, Nutella, you name it. Doritos are saturated with palm oil. It’s what gives chocolate bars their appetizing sheen – otherwise, they would look like mud. Palm oil has replaced artery-clogging ghee as India’s main cooking oil. India is now the major consumer of this clear, tasteless oil squeezed from the nuts of the oil-palm tree, Elais guyanensis, originally from West Africa, but now grown pantropically, mainly within ten degrees north and south of the Equator.

Significant groundwater loss in California's Central Valley during recent droughts
May 19, 2017 08:21 AM - NOAA

A new study from researchers at UCLA and the University of Houston reveals estimates of significant groundwater loss in California’s Central Valley during the recent drought and sparks questions of sustainability for the important agricultural area.

Producing fertilizer from air could be five times as efficient
May 15, 2017 01:15 PM - Eindhoven University of Technology

African farmers who are able to produce their own fertilizer from only air. Bhaskar S. Patil brings this prospect closer with a revolutionary reactor that coverts nitrogen from the atmosphere into NOx, the raw material for fertilizer. His method, in theory, is up to five times as efficient as existing processes, enabling farms to have a small-scale installation without the need for a big investment. He receives his doctorate on 10 May at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e).
The production of one of the key raw materials for fertilizer, ammonia (NH3) or nitrogen oxide (NOx), is a very energy-intensive process that is responsible for about 2% of all global CO2 emissions. However, it is hardly possible any longer to cut the energy consumption via current production processes since the theoretically minimal feasible energy consumption has already been more or less reached.

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