For the most accurate accounting of a product's environmental impact, scientists look at the product's entire life cycle, from cradle to grave. It's a grand calculation known as a life cycle assessment (LCA), and greenhouse gas emissions are a key component. For corn ethanol, most greenhouse gas emissions can be mapped to the fuel's production, transportation, and combustion, but a large portion of the greenhouse gas calculation can be traced right back to the farm.
Nitrogen from agriculture, vehicle emissions and industry is endangering butterflies in Switzerland. The element is deposited in the soil via the air and has an impact on vegetation -- to the detriment of the butterflies, as researchers at the University of Basel have discovered.
A destructive pest beetle is edging closer to Australia as biological controls fail, destroying home gardens, plantations and biodiversity as they surge through nearby Pacific islands.
Glyphosate is an herbicide commonly used in forestry operations throughout British Columbia, Canada. Researchers investigated how the chemical may affect the reproductive health of prickly wild rose, a perennial plant found beneath the forest canopy. The new study, by the open access publisher Frontiers, found that pollen viability decreased by an average of 66 percent compared to untreated plants a year after the herbicide was initially applied, with traces of glyphosate persisting for at least two years.
Pesticides safeguard agricultural yields by controlling insects, fungi, and weeds. However, they also enter streams and damage the aquatic communities. In a nationwide monitoring program, scientists led by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research have shown that the governmental thresholds for pesticides are too high and that these levels are still exceeded in over 80% of water bodies. The loss of biodiversity can only be halted if the environmental risk assessment of pesticides is revised.
A novel fish solids treatment system inspired by wastewater and sewage plant systems has been shown to be an effective treatment in aquaculture systems to boost nutrients available for hydroponic plant cultivation in a manner similarly efficient to commercial fertilizers. Researchers demonstrated that the system developed could improve nutrient remineralization while removing excess nitrogen and carbon from the system, creating a healthier environment for fish. The study was published by the open access publisher Frontiers.
Researchers at the University of São Paulo discover that the fungus Fusarium verticillioides uses volatile compounds to manipulate insects and plants, promoting its own dissemination.
Many invasive plants are expanding their growing range in response to climate change, making early detection and rapid response more critical than ever. Limited resources, though, can make it impossible to track and manage every range-shifting species.
Researchers at the University of Central Florida have published a first- of-its-kind study that shows that near-infrared (NIR) spectrum cameras can help python hunters more effectively track down these invasive snakes, especially at night.
Scientists are hoping the RNA of an obscure infection can one day be used like a Trojan horse to deliver life-saving treatments to citrus trees.