Tuesday, 30 April 2013
The Environment Agency's monthly water situation report for England routinely measures and reports on a range of hydrological parameters to assess the water situation across England. This is done using their own hydrometric data, together with data provided by the Met Office and water companies.They do this for:
- the amount of rain that falls
- how dry the soils are and how much rain they can soak up
- the amount of water flowing in rivers
- the amount of water stored below ground in aquifers and above ground in reservoirs
- the outlook for river flow and groundwater over the coming months
Participatory modelling with livestock farmers to help them remodel their farms is an original approach in livestock farm modelling. Two causal maps of livestock farming system operation were built, each with a group of five farmers including both those converting and converted to organic farming. The paper assesses the method’s strengths and weaknesses. One of its main advantages lay in its collective dimension: sharing, comparing and questioning interested the participating farmers greatly; however, it requires good facilitation skills and suitable group composition. Analysis of map structures identified similarities and differences between the two groups that were discussed with them; this continued farmers’ self-reflection about their systems, which may help lead to innovative and more sustainable livestock farming systems.
Monday, 29 April 2013
Historically, quality control standards have had the perverse effect of restricting the circulation of non-commercially bred vegetable cultivars in Britain. Recent attempts to compensate for this loss of agrodiversity have relaxed genetic purity standards and the cost of seed marketing for designated “Amateur” varieties. Drawing on fieldwork conducted at a British allotment site, this article cautions against bringing genetically heterogeneous cultivars into the commercial sphere. Such a move may intensify the horticultural “deskilling” of British allotment gardeners. The activities of dedicated seed savers who circulate the seed of genetically heterogeneous “heritage” varieties, in a manner similar to the management of landraces in the global South, may provide a better model for attempts to safeguard vegetable diversity.
This study reconsiders the purported benefits of community found in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Using an online survey of members who belong to CSAs in New York members’ reasons for joining a CSA are assessed. Results show an overwhelming majority of members joined for fresh, local, organic produce, while few respondents joined their CSA to build community, meet like-minded individuals or share financial risk with farmers. Members reported that they do not derive a strong sense of community from either their CSA or other forms of community, yet they volunteered at their CSA and appear to be engaged in activities within their communities.
Monday, 22 April 2013
Land concentration and land grabbing do not occur only in developing countries; in fact, both are underway in Europe today. A new report by European Coordination Via Campesina and Hands off the Land network shows that land grabbing and access to land are critical issues today in Europe, and also reveals that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and other policies are implicated. The report, involving 25 authors from 11 countries, reveals the hidden scandal of how just three per cent of landowners have come to control half of all farmed land. This massive concentration of land ownership and wealth is on a par with Brazil, Colombia and Philippines.
Tuesday, 9 April 2013
If you have limited outdoor space and would like to grow your food, this practical, illustrated guide will help you transform plant-free zones into thriving, productive and beautiful green spaces. Create an edible roof garden, grow crops on walls in special containers such as stacking planters or ladder allotments, or simply make the most of window boxes and hanging baskets.
A couple of years old (November 2010), but the cry to action contained in this report is still highly relevant to the global scientific community.
The International Council for Science proposes to mobilize the international global change scientific community around an unprecedented decade of research to support sustainable development in the context of global change. The pace and magnitude of human-induced global change is currently beyond human control and is manifest in increasingly dangerous threats to human societies and human well-being. There is an urgent need for the international scientific community to develop the knowledge that can inform and shape effective responses to these threats in ways that foster global justice and facilitate progress toward sustainable development goals.
The findings give weight to the growing phenomenon of citizen science, which sees data crowd-sourced from an army of avid twitchers, divers, walkers and other wildlife enthusiasts.
Thursday, 4 April 2013
The Permaculture Association is happy to announce the launch of the third stage of our International Permaculture Research Survey. Having first looked at what permaculture research is going on around the world and asking people what kind of research they think is needed, we are now looking for YOUR experiences sharing research and collaborating with others.
We hope that you are as excited as we are about this opportunity to bring permaculture researchers from all over the world together and make our work more visible, effective and connected. Keep up to date with the latest developments and learn more by following us on Facebook or via the Association's web-page. To take part in our third survey (which takes around 10 - 15 minutes) CLICKHERE
If you know other people who do permaculture-related research we would very much appreciate it if you could forward this to them to them.
Wednesday, 3 April 2013
Tuesday, 2 April 2013
Natural England Produces Scientific Reviews of the Upland EnvironmentNatural England has recently produced previews of a series of scientific reviews looking at the state of the environment in English upland areas. The six reports are:
NEER001 preview - Natural England Evidence Reviews: guidance on the development process and methods
NEER002 preview - The impacts of tracks on the integrity and hydrological function of blanket peat
NEER003 preview - Restoration of degraded blanket bog
NEER004 preview - The effects of managed burning on upland peatland biodiversity, carbon and water
NEER005 preview - Upland Hay Meadows: What management regimes maintain the diversity of meadow flora and populations of breeding birds?
NEER006 preview - Impact of moorland grazing and stocking rates