Academic Research

Machine learning detects importance of land stewardship in conservation policy

Machine learning detects importance of land stewardship in conservation policy

At the southern tip of the Himalayas, farmers in the Kangra region of India’s Himachal Pradesh graze cattle among rolling hills and forests. The forests, under management by the state or farmer cooperatives, are thriving. But a new University of Illinois study shows, unlike state-managed forests, farmer cooperatives directly benefit both forest health and farmers.

Children and smokers face pesticide danger

Pesticides used in food, tobacco and marijuana production are placing children and smokers in potential risk, a study has found. Farmers across the world use pesticides to keep bugs and weeds at bay during the growing process. However, this often means these potent chemicals find their way into our bodies and can build up over time. An analysis of data from the US suggests that children and smokers of tobacco are being exposed to the highest levels of pesticide residues.

Dangerous for soil? First experimental study on the influence of micro-plastics on soil & its micro-organisms

Dangerous for soil? First experimental study on the influence of micro-plastics on soil & its micro-organisms

Soil microorganisms play a central role in many biogeochemical cycles, such as the decomposition of organic matter and the binding of carbon in soil. A research project at the Freie Universität in Berlin has provided the first experimental evidence that microplastics can change the biophysical conditions of soil as well as the functional activity of microbes.

Adolescents’ cooking skills strongly predict future nutritional well-being

Adolescents’ cooking skills strongly predict future nutritional well-being

Confidence in cooking ability led to fewer fast food meals, more meals as a family, and more frequent preparation of meals with vegetables in adulthood, according to a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior

Evidence suggests that developing cooking and food preparation skills is important for health and nutrition, yet the practice of home cooking is declining and now rarely taught in school. A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that developing cooking skills as a young adult may have long-term benefits for health and nutrition.

Is your Easter egg bad for the environment?

Is your Easter egg bad for the environment?

A recent study by researchers at The University of Manchester and published in the journal Food Research International has looked at the carbon footprint of chocolate and its other environmental impacts. It has done this by assessing the impacts of ingredients, manufacturing processes, packaging and waste.

The study estimates that the UK chocolate industry produces about 2.1m tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHG) a year. This is equivalent to the annual emissions of the whole population of a city as large as Belfast. It also found that it takes around 1000 litres of water to produce just one chocolate bar.

Communicating why pollinators matter could help save them and ensure food security worldwide, researchers say

Communicating why pollinators matter could help save them and ensure food security worldwide, researchers say

International researchers met in Leiden (Netherlands) in early March, to discuss the latest research on pollinators and stress the need to communicate their value more actively to citizens and policy advisors. Better science communication, backed by more research funding, could help ensure sustainable pollination worldwide.

Scientists engineer crops to conserve water, resist drought

Scientists engineer crops to conserve water, resist drought

Agriculture already monopolizes 90 percent of global freshwater—yet production still needs to dramatically increase to feed and fuel this century’s growing population. For the first time, scientists have improved how a crop uses water by 25 percent without compromising yield by altering the expression of one gene that is found in all plants, as reported in Nature Communications.

Reducing the impact of fishing fleets on the most threatened marine birds

Reducing the impact of fishing fleets on the most threatened marine birds

Accidental by-catch –which affects around 5,000 birds stuck in longlines every year- is the most severe effect on marine birds by the fishing activity in the Mediterranean. The exploitation of fishing resources is threatening more and more the future of many marine birds with regression populations, such as Cory’s shearwater or the Balearic shearwater.