In a recent study published in Landscape Ecology, University of Illinois researchers and others found that a common cattle forage grass, tall fescue, is associated with nest failure in dickcissels, small grassland birds similar to sparrows.
Scientists at Oregon State University have shed light on the evolutionary history of a soil-borne bacteria that is so dangerous to grazing animals it is kept behind lock-and-key to prevent its spread.
Diversifying working lands -- including farmland, rangeland and forests -- may be key to preserving biodiversity in the face of climate change, says a new review paper published this week in Science by biologists at the University of California, Berkeley. These changes could extend the habitat of critters like bats, but also much larger creatures like bears, elk and other wildlife, outside the boundaries of protected areas, while creating more sustainable, and potentially more productive, working lands.
With scarce nutrients and weak gravity, growing potatoes on the Moon or on other planets seems unimaginable. But the plant hormone strigolactone could make it possible, plant biologists from the University of Zurich have shown. The hormone supports the symbiosis between fungi and plant roots, thus encouraging plants' growth -- even under the challenging conditions found in space.
Ground penetrating radar measures the amount of moisture in soil quickly and easily. Researchers' calculations from the data informs agricultural water use and climate models.
A new policy brief released today -- World Food Day -- highlights the link between recognizing community land rights and ensuring global food security and climate protection. The brief notes that the failure of governments around the world to recognize community land rights leaves community lands vulnerable to expropriation for large-scale agriculture, mining, or infrastructure, which typically benefit fewer people and are more environmentally destructive than land use by local communities.
Additional climate benefits through sustainable forest management will be modest and local rather than global. Even if Europe's forests are managed in such a way that their carbon sequestration is maximized it will not impact the climate significantly.
Europe's future climate will be characterised by more frequent heat waves and more widespread drought. Heat and drought will both challenge crop production, but drought in particular will be a problem -- especially for spring sown crops such as maize.
For the first time, a Cornell University study of strawberry crops on New York farms tested this theory and found that wildflower strips on farms added pollinators when the farm lay within a "Goldilocks zone," where 25 to 55 percent of the surrounding area contained natural lands. Outside this zone, flower plantings also drew more strawberry pests, while having no effect on wasps that kill those pests.
Researchers at the University of Missouri have successfully produced a litter of pigs that are genetically resistant to Transmissible Gastroenteritis Virus (TGEV), which commonly infects the intestines of pigs and causes almost 100 percent mortality in young pigs.