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.
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.
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.
In a paper published today (6th March 2018) in Journal of Applied Ecology, Marcelo Aizen from the Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Argentina, and colleagues from four countries draw attention to the severe conservation, economic and political consequences of intentional species introductions supported by government policies.
Plant lovers are familiar with peat moss as the major component of potting mix, but harvest of the material is becoming unsustainable. Not only is peat being removed faster than it can re-form, its use in potting mix contributes to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
In a recent study, researchers in the US investigated a material called biochar as an alternative to peat moss in potting mix. Similar to charcoal, biochar is produced through a process called pyrolysis, or heating to high temperatures in the absence of oxygen. And like charcoal, it can be derived from virtually any organic substance.
The importance of birds, mammals and reptiles pollinating plants around the world is the subject of a major new study led by the University of Southampton.
In the first global assessment of the importance of vertebrate pollinators to plant reproduction, scientists found that preventing vertebrates – predominantly bats and birds – from visiting flowers to feed can reduce the amount of fruits and/or seeds produced by the plants they feed on by an average of 63 per cent.
Experts from the Pharmacy Faculty and the Higher Technical School of Agricultural Engineering (Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Agronómica – ETSIA) of the University of Seville have published a study that shows that when reducing the water used to water cherry tomato crops by more than 50%, the product not only maintains its quality, both commercially and nutritionally, but it also even increases the level of carotenoids, compounds of great interest in the food-processing industry. In addition to being natural colourings, some are Vitamin-A precursors, which are beneficial for the health and have cosmetic uses.
Farming crops with crushed rocks could help to improve global food security and reduce the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere, a new study has found.
The pioneering research by scientists at the University of Sheffield together with international colleagues suggests that adding fast-reacting silicate rocks to croplands could capture CO2 and give increased protection from pests and diseases while restoring soil structure and fertility.