Category: Agriculture

Can Traditional Agriculture Restore the Reef?

Ninety percent of the land was covered with invasive weeds. But that degraded land could hold the key to restoring the reef on the island of Oʻahu. Just add agriculture.

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Global Agriculture Trends: Are We Actually Using Less Land?

Sustainable agricultural intensification sounds promising. Over 15 years, global food production increased while agricultural land use decreased. But, how sustainable is it?

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Climate-Smart Agriculture: Integrating Adaptation and Mitigation in the Tropics

Both adaptation and mitigation strategies will help farmers in the tropics deal with climate change. The problem? These strategies are often pursued separately, reducing their effectiveness in meeting broader conservation goals.

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Working with Farmers and Nature

Agriculture presents one of the most difficult challenges for conservation. What if we could improve our food supply by taking lessons from nature rather than continually struggling against it?

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Are We Losing Our Wetlands Conservation Legacy?

Wetlands conservation has been one of the greatest successes of the conservation movement. But are we at risk of draining that legacy away?

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Weird Nature: Is “Ugly” Produce the Next Big Thing at the Farmers’ Market?

Jon Fisher looks at unsprayed but “ugly” produce at the farmer’s market and asks: Could blemished apples be the next big thing? And are there environmental benefits?

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Is China’s Coastal Aquaculture Production a House of Cards?

No country exports more shrimp than China. Yet how sustainable is shrimp aquaculture production in China? Conservancy senior social scientist Craig Leisher looks to the literature for answers, and what he finds isn’t promising.

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Research: Can Restoring Oyster Reefs Combat Nitrogen Pollution?

Oysters filter nitrogen from water — and nitrogen pollution is a huge and growing problem along many coastlines, not just for the United States, but worldwide. So could restoring oyster reefs combat nitrogen pollution? And if the answer is yes, could that service generate enough funding for broad-scale oyster restoration?

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Too Many Deer: A Bigger Threat to Eastern Forests than Climate Change?

Yes, white-tailed deer are beautiful, charismatic creatures. But there can be too much of a good thing. Three Nature Conservancy authors argue that deer are now the greatest threat to Eastern forest. To address the problem means not only managing deer, but managing people. What do you think?

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New Science: Wild Pollinator Habitat Benefits Agriculture

When most people think of pollinators, honey bees are the first thing that comes to mind. But wild pollinators–like bumblebees, sweat bees and squash bees–can be more effective at pollinating than managed honey bees. Despite the evidence of wild pollinators being a viable alternative to managed honey bees, they are only just beginning to catch on as a strategy in the agricultural community, primarily due to a lack of understanding of the costs and benefits of investing in them. The Nature Conservancy has completed an economic analysis of wild pollinator contribution to 10 major crops grown in the northeastern United States – tomatoes, blueberries, watermelons, cantaloupes, soybeans, cucumbers, squash, apples, peaches, and bell peppers.

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Quick Study: What Do New Food Safety Protocols Mean For Habitat and Wildlife?

No one wants to eat a salad full of E.coli. But are new farm-based food safety practices that aim to reduce potential contamination from wildlife really helping? And what impact could these practices have on nature and wildlife?

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Kareiva: Are We Thinking Globally When We Do Conservation?

Conservancy chief scientist Peter Kareiva argues that a key lesson in conservation — and one backed up by recent research — is to realize that when we impose strong conservation policy in one country, there is almost always leakage of our impacts, such that protected areas set up in one country may simply mean damage is done elsewhere.

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Disrupting Bacterial “Communication”: A New Idea for Sustainable Agriculture

Group communication may seem tough at times for humans, but not for bacteria. But new research suggests that we might be able to disrupt that bacterial “group communication” (also known as “quorum sensing”) in ways that could make agriculture safer without the use of traditional pesticides.

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Book Week: Magnus Nilsson’s ‘Faviken’

Cool Green Science Book Week continues with science writer Matt Miller’s review of a most unusual cookbook, Magnus Nisson’s Faviken. Follow Nilsson’s advice and you’ll know how to prepare lichens, thoughtfully peel a carrot and shoot grouse. And you’ll have fun.

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Conservation Future: Announcing the 2013 NatureNet Fellows

Nine young scientists — with specialties ranging from energy infrastructure to urban ecology, Kenyan pastoral techniques to nanotechnology — inaugurate a program designed to help kick-start conservation toward addressing the challenges facing people and nature in the 21st century.

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