Congressional briefing highlights climate adaptation, mitigation efforts in Midwestern United States
Jul22

Congressional briefing highlights climate adaptation, mitigation efforts in Midwestern United States

On July 17th, the Environment and Energy Study Institute held a briefing entitled “Climate Impacts in the Midwest: Becoming More Resilient.” The briefing showcased a variety of climate change effects happening now in the Midwest as well as various local efforts to mitigate and adapt to these environmental changes. Rosina Bierbaum, Professor of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy at the University of Michigan, outlined the...

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Vegetables under plastic

Weighing the costs and benefits of plastic vegetable greenhouses over conventional vegetable production. By Liza Lester, ESA communications officer The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service offers “seasonal high tunnel” kits as part of a three year trial to assess the potential of the plastic houses for conserving water and soil, reducing pesticide use, and improving yields for small farmers. Credit, NRCS. THE economic benefits,...

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A perspective on ecological consequences of GM crops

This post contributed by ESA member Sean Hoban, a post-doc in conservation genetics at the University of Ferrara, Italy. In the opening pages of his book, Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan quotes agrarian writer Wendell Berry in reminding us that, “Eating is an ecological act.”  Simultaneously, eating is also a political act.  Indeed, in the past year, headlines about local food and the US Farm Bill have reminded us...

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Social immunity of bees

by Liza Lester, ESA communications officer A honey bee (Apis mellifera) afflicted with Varroa destructor, a parasitic mite that sucks away its vital, blood-like hemolymph, often passing along viruses in the process, and leaving open wounds. The mite spreads by bee-to-bee contact, accelerated by yearly circuits of agricultural bee broods transported to pollinate almonds and blueberries and other crops. Varroa is a suspect in the still...

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So you want to be a conservationist? Think of the community

This post contributed by Lina Oliveros, a native Colombian and administrative assistant/governance at the Ecological Society of America.   When we consider all the conservation challenges facing our world and society, we know that communicating effectively to the community is not only helpful but necessary. However, many inspiring projects in various conservation areas have failed to succeed—not because the scientific background was...

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Human-induced erosion as powerful as glaciers

Soil erosion in a wheat field near Washington State University. Soil erosion has always been a big problem for ecosystems, and often increases with decreased ecosystem health, such as the dry conditions often encouraged by climate change. We normally think of rivers and glaciers as the most powerful eroders, but a study out today in Nature Geoscience finds that agriculture can erode the landscape at rates comparable to glaciers and...

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Reduced tilling improves soil microbe biodiversity

The theme of this year’s ESA meeting is “Ecological Knowledge and a Global Sustainable Society, and the program shows it: there are at least six sessions devoted completely to sustainable agriculture and agroforestry.  Most studies approach the problem of increasing cropland productivity while causing little harm to the environment by assessing above-ground processes, like cropland biodiversity or the use of pesticides....

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