Colin K. Khoury of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture looks at claims that 75% of crop diversity has been lost in the modern era. Instead, he finds that though there have been winners and losers among crops as agriculture has intensified, over the past 50 years, almost all countries’ diets actually became more diverse, not less, for the crops that FAO statistics do report.
New research concludes that a total ban on the practice of transshipment on the high seas is necessary to help stop illegal fishing and reduce the human trafficking and labor rights abuses that often accompany unlawful fishing activities.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil has frozen Goodhope Asia Holdings palm oil operations on seven concessions in Indonesia. The company had been linked to various cases of environmental and human rights abuses in the archipelago country, including allegations of grabbing land from an indigenous community in Papua province, on the heavily forested island of New Guinea, where the industry is quickly expanding.
Companies have said they need more support from governments of tropical forest nations to make their Zero Deforestation Commitments a reality, citing a maze of administrative and regulatory frameworks across palm oil producing countries as hampering their efforts.
The new HCS Approach Toolkit might help address this very issue, however, as it is intended to standardize the methodology for protecting tropical forests and identifying suitable landscapes for the sustainable production of palm oil.
Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley of Gastropod cover the history of calorie measurement and the ways calorie counting is inaccurate and unhelpful. They then look at a number of proposed alternative to nudge people towards successful weight loss.
While crop probiotics offer an ecologically friendly option for farmers looking to improve and protect their harvests, the Australian market is far from reliable.
Our research group was asked to evaluate commercial crop probiotics. Over a year of experimentation on a sugarcane farm, we tracked the supposedly beneficial bacteria and fungi of two Australian probiotics products from soil to crop.
DNA analysis didn’t detect changes in root-associated bacteria, but the composition of root-associated fungi changed.
Farmers around the world have come to depend on manufactured inorganic fertilizers containing key plant nutrients phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium to enhance soil fertility, especially in the otherwise poor soils of most tropical settings. But while all three are relatively abundant in nature, commercially viable sources of phosphorus to make these fertilizers could be exhausted just a few decades from now. That prospect, which remains a source of heated debate, has spurred a drive to recover the significant quantities of this element that disappear in the waste streams of cities and farms.
When scientists gather to march for science, we want them to know about this body of research. In addition to carrying signs, they can take up the toolbox of effective communication known as the rhetorical tradition. Rhetoricians will be marching by their side, allies in the battle to protect science from politically motivated attacks on one of the greatest treasures of the nation.
Wild coffee exhibits much greater genetic diversity than commercial varieties, which increases its chances of adapting to new challenges and reduces the possibility of extinction. It represents an insurance policy for plantation coffee, in case commercial strains are ever badly damaged.
Dietitian and science communicator Leah McGrath lays down ten tell tale signs you are watching a food related shockumentary. Plus, we’ve got Shockumentary Bingo cards ready to print!
Whoever thought that France and organic agriculture would be world leaders for the introduction of GE (genetically engineered) wheat? A stretch? Not as much as it might seem. What follows is the story of how plant breeders engineered a unlikely new crop through a series of sophisticated “conventional” techniques to move a use gene from a wild plant into wheat, despite the fact that the two plants could not be naturally crossbred.
With shifting political winds and poor commodity prices, farmers may now be willing to consider new ways of generating income by adopting environmentally friendly practices, such as planting cover crops, extending crop rotations or eliminating tillage. Many farmers are already using these practices on a small scale. To combat climate change and stabilize incomes, farmers should look to policy to tackle both in tandem.
Neuroscientist Alison Bernstein sorts out some of the issues around acute and chronic toxicity and then compares chronic toxicity of glyphosate and caffeine with our exposures to those to compounds.
Some 705,000 tons of fishing gear are lost or discarded in the ocean every year, and each year this gear captures and kills, among other things, an estimated 136,000 seals, sea lions and whales. A few companies and harbor masters are taking steps to address that.
Historically, agriculture has always moved forward through technological innovation. The current moment is no different. Look for remote sensing, genetic engineering and CRISPR, robotics, and drones to continue to push agricultural productivity forward in 2017.
Reagan Waskom, Director, Colorado Water Institute and David Cooper, of Colorado State University discuss the ins and outs of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule change and what it means for agriculture.
Stuart Thompson, Senior Lecturer in Plant Biochemistry at the University of Westminster lays four key challenges to global food security: drought, emerging diseases, salty soils, and fertilizer dependence.
Stuart Thompson, Senior Lecturer in Plant Biochemistry at the University of Westminster lays out three areas; disease resistance, improved photosynthesis, and improved nutrition; where breakthroughs in biotech crop breeding could go a long way to improving the impact of agriculture.
As rents rise and independent businesses in Minneapolis lose their leases to large national chains, a first-of-its-kind co-op found a solution. They created the economic space for a cooperative brewery and brewpub and other co-ops in their neighborhood.
The continued representation of famines as disastrous events largely sprung upon populations by the forces of nature, prevents us from understanding famine – and food insecurity – as a socio-political process, even though doing so is especially important for realising its future prevention.