• Illegal palm oil from an Indonesian national park used by Asian Agri, Wilmar, WWF report says

    Illegal palm oil expansion inside Indonesia's Tesso Nilo National Park is threatening protected forests and the reputation of two companies who claim to be sources of sustainably-produced palm oil, says a new WWF-Indonesia report. In its June 26 report, "Palming Off a National Park," WWF-Indonesia found that over 52,000 hectares of natural forests in the area have already been illegally converted into palm oil plantations. And fruits from the illegal plantations have made their way into the supply chains of at least two global companies – Asian Agri and Wilmar. >> Read the Full Article
  • Plants Under Attack Release VOCs, Attract Herbivore Predators and Caterpillars

    Did you know that plants emit airborne distress signals when they are getting eaten? When damaged, plants release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and according to a new study, these compounds can serve two functions, one to attract enemies that might attack the herbivorous insects eating the plant, and two, to ward off the herbivorous insects, which avoid the herbivore-induced VOCs. A team of researchers has found that the odor released by maize plants under attack by insects attract not only parasitic wasps, which prey on herbivorous insects, but it also attracts caterpillars of the Egyptian cotton leafworm moth Spodoptera littoralis, a species that feeds on maize leaves. >> Read the Full Article
  • Very Little Soy is Actually Sustainably Produced

    While other commodity crops have much higher sustainable certification levels, only three percent of the world’s soy supply is certified sustainable, according to a new paper by KPMG International, titled A Roadmap to Responsible Soy. By contrast, 50 percent of non-farmed whitefish is certified, 16 percent of coffee, and 14 percent of global palm oil production. The paper is part of KMPG's Sustainable Insight Series. >> Read the Full Article
  • Chipotle Makes History by Becoming First Fast Food Chain to Tag GMOs

    Let's face it, it's good to be first, at least if you happen to be the first to do something worthwhile. In the ongoing debate about the safety of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food, Denver, CO-based Chipotle Mexican Grill made what may turn out to be an important food history "first" in the United States. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Produce is Alive!

    The fruits and vegetables we buy in the grocery store are actually still alive and according to new research from Rice University and the University of California at Davis, produce may be healthier for us depending on the time of day. "Vegetables and fruits don't die the moment they are harvested," said Rice biologist Janet Braam, lead researcher of the study. Once picked, produce can continue to metabolize and survive independently for some time. Even when they are cut, their cells remain active and alive. >> Read the Full Article
  • Increased Monsoon Rainfall Expected with Global Warming

    When we hear about monsoons, we often think about the rainy phase of a season usually occurring in tropical climates. Even though monsoons are associated with much more than just rainfall, as global warming occurs, these complex systems will have several repercussions for precipitation. For example, with warming air, there is potential for a higher holding capacity for rain. In addition, any cooling in the higher atmosphere can change current air pressures thus affecting rainfall patterns. This has consequences of increased flooding, implications to national water supply, and a potential loss of agricultural productivity due to crop failure for countries across the globe. >> Read the Full Article
  • Crop Yields

    According to the Malthusian theory of population, population increases in a geometrical ratio, whereas food supply increases in an arithmetic ratio. He was wrong because technology pushed improvements in yield at a far faster pace than population could grow. Still the idea is simple: There is only so much food that can be produced and if population grows then some one will starve Crop yields worldwide are not increasing quickly enough to support estimated global needs in 2050, according to a study published June 19 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Deepak Ray and colleagues from the Institute on the Environment (IonE) at the University of Minnesota. >> Read the Full Article
  • Wildlife Migration Detours

    Migration is a strategy used by many mammals in order to take advantage of food, shelter, and water that vary with seasons. Interestingly, there is strong evidence that genetics plays a role in migratory behavior that animals inherit. Many species rely not only on their senses to help them navigate, but they can also use mental maps to guide them to where they are supposed to go. But with considerable human development, how are animals supposed to find their way? According to research conducted by the University of Washington, half a dozen areas could experience heavier migration traffic compared with the average species-movement across the Western Hemisphere in response to a warming climate. >> Read the Full Article
  • Hawaii's Fishermen: Scapegoats for Forces Outside their Control

    Climate change is affecting fisheries in the Western Pacific and around the world, but a host of other factors, including land use, are threatening fisheries and the health and integrity of marine ecosystems. Aiming for sustainable fisheries, marine policymakers, resource managers, fishermen and other stakeholders are increasingly looking to take a more holistic, integrated approach to fisheries management, as evidenced during the latest meeting of the Western Regional Fishery Management Council (WRFMC) meeting, which was held in Oahu. Often blamed for overexploiting fish stocks, local fishermen in Hawaii are keenly aware of external impacts on the health and integrity of marine ecosystems and fish populations. At the latest WRFMC meeting in Honolulu, they argued in support of taking a more comprehensive ecosystems management approach, specifically zooming in on how land use and associated runoff from cities, agriculture and industry are harming marine ecosystems and fisheries. >> Read the Full Article
  • Aquatic Environment Biodiversity Threatened by Pesticides

    The use of pesticides have been debated for some time now, as research indicates their use can have a negative effect on the environment. As an agent meant to prevent, destroy or mitigate any pest, pesticides target unwanted plants and animals that can alter ecosystems, cause nuisance, or spread disease. Besides potentially being toxic to humans and other animals, new research conducted by an international team of scientists has revealed that pesticides are responsible for reducing regional biodiversity of invertebrates by up to 42 percent. >> Read the Full Article