Wednesday, 18 April 2018

New report sheds light on how UK farming can meet the sustainability challenge

New report with aim to investigate how the science of agroecology can play a central role in the way our green and pleasant land is managed in the future.

A new report commissioned by the Land Use Policy Group and funded by Scottish Natural Heritage has taken a unique approach to help UK farmers meet the sustainability challenge by using the experiences of farmers that have ‘redesigned’ their farming systems utilising natural resources, such as clover grass leys in the crop rotation, to secure a healthier future for the environment and their businesses.

The aim was to investigate how the science of agroecology can play a central role in the way our green and pleasant land is managed in the future.

Analysing the practical experiences of a group of farmers from Scotland, England and Wales the report aims to unravel farmer expectations, risks and opportunities to help form future policy in the UK based on agroecological farming practices.

The group of fourteen farmers involved in the study were quite diverse and wide ranging – from small scale to large commercial enterprises with on-farm approaches covering agroforestry, pasture-fed livestock systems, organic and integrated farming with direct drilling and/or integration of livestock in arable operations.

The report has recommendations for further action to support agroecology, including the need to develop a support programme to facilitate the transition towards more sustainable farming systems.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Key questions for restoring degraded ecosystems (journal)



One hundred priority questions for landscape restoration in Europe


Free open access until 3rd May 2018

Scientists and researchers outline the key questions that we need to answer to ensure restoration of marine and terrestrial landscapes in Europe is as effective as possible.

Ecological restoration is the process of assisting or allowing the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed.  It is an increasingly important element in strategies aimed at reducing biodiversity loss and reversing declines. It is especially relevant in the intensively managed, farmed, urbanised and industrialised landscapes common in Europe.

The questions are usefully divided into eight sections:

  • conservation of biodiversity; 
  • connectivity, migration and translocations; 
  • delivering and evaluating restoration; 
  • natural processes; 
  • ecosystem services; 
  • social and cultural aspects of restoration; 
  • policy and governance; and economics


The growing research effort investigating larger-scale ecological processes and connectivity (such as the needs of migratory species, the impacts of climate change on species' ranges, and the need to restore ecosystem function) is increasingly focusing attention on large or landscape-scale conservation and restoration. The questions presented in this paper highlight areas where this research could usefully be focused, in order to ensure that restoration projects are carried out in the most appropriate locations, using the best methods and effectively including all stakeholders, in order to maximise their success.



Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Regen ag for profit and biodiversity (journal)

Regenerative agriculture: merging farming and natural resource conservation profitably

Most cropland in the United States is characterized by large monocultures, whose productivity is maintained through a strong reliance on costly tillage, external fertilizers, and pesticides. Despite this, farmers have developed a regenerative model of farm production that promotes soil health and biodiversity, while producing nutrient-dense farm products profitably. When evaluated, regenerative farming systems provided greater ecosystem services and profitability. Pests were 10-fold more abundant in insecticide-treated corn fields, and although regenerative fields had 29% lower grain production they had 78% higher profits over traditional corn production systems.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Transition in Portugal

Transition in Portugal Study
A team led by Anabela Carvalho of Minho University have recently completed an important new study on the status and prospects of Transition in Portugal.

You can read a summary account of their work, which links to an open access version of the original paper, in a wonderful guest post they have contributed to the Transition Research Network blog.

Permaculture for refugees in camps (report)

Permaculture for Refugees in Camps

Rowe Morrow and her Permaculture and Refugees Working Group have developed a new booklet: 'Permaculture for Refugees in Camps'. The current migration situation is not unusual or temporary, and permaculture is well-placed to embrace an uncertain global future that includes the mass movement of people. Permaculture strategies can transform physical and social spaces into
supportive and restorative systems.

Natural processes to reduce flood risk (report)

Working with natural processes to reduce flood risk

The UK government has assembled a very thorough evidence base for working with natural processes to reduce flood risk. There has been much research on Working with Natural Processes, but it has never before been synthesised into one location. This has meant that it has been hard for flood risk managers to access up-to-date information on WWNP measures and to understand their potential benefits.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Free online course, all about soil (opportunity)

A short introduction to GROW - Sign up to Citizen Science: From Soil to Sky, Feb 2018


GROW is a European-wide project engaging thousands of growers, scientists and others passionate about the land. In this video find out how we are using simple tools to better manage soil, while contributing to vital scientific environmental monitoring. Watch this video to learn more. For more info: http://growobservatory.org/
And its still not too late to sign up for GROW's first free MOOC, From Soil to Sky; registration is open until 24th February. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/g...


This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement 690199
 


Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Species richness linked to a healthy diet (journal)

Dietary species richness as a measure of food biodiversity and nutritional quality of diets

Biodiversity is key for human and environmental health. Available dietary and ecological indicators are not designed to assess the intricate relationship between food biodiversity and diet quality. The authors applied biodiversity indicators to dietary intake data and assessed associations with diet quality of women and young children. Data from 24-hour diet recalls of 6,226 participants (34% women) in rural areas from seven low- and middle-income countries were analyzed. A total of 234 different species were consumed, of which <30% were consumed in more than one country. Compared with Simpson’s index of diversity and functional diversity, species richness (SR) showed stronger associations and better diagnostic properties with micronutrient adequacy. For every additional species consumed, dietary nutrient adequacy increased by 0.03 (P < 0.001). Dietary SR is recommended as the most appropriate measure of food biodiversity in diets.

Forest farming youtube channel (videos)

Forest Farming Youtube Channel

A great youtube channel that showcases forest farming and gardening across the world, from the Appalachians to Cameroon and from foraging medicinal herbs to growing mushrooms. The channel already features over different 150 videos, with something for everyone!


Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Why we must keep carbon unburned (online)


We need to stay below 1.5 Degrees: Un-burnable Carbon overtakes Peak Oil

While the peak oil conversation has been very important in the first decade of the 21st Century, climate change has now almost eclipsed this issue. Now that there is increasing scientific certainty that to be safe humanity would be wise to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, the issue is less whether and when we will run out of fossil fuels and much more how we will manage to agree on a global carbon budget and declare almost 80% of the remaining fossil fuel reserves as unburnable. While the potential fossil fuel reserves left might be twice as much as the current listed reserves, the carbon budget we have to stick to in order to have 50% chance to stay under 1.5 ÂșC of global average warming is less than a fifth of current fossil fuel reserves.

Coke CEO promises a world without waste (online)


Why a World Without Waste is Possible

Every hour, an estimated 900 metric tons of plastic waste entered our oceans. That’s the mass of nearly 600 mid-size sedans. That’s unacceptable. It’s also unsustainable. If left unchecked, plastic waste will slowly choke our oceans and waterways. That’s why Coca-Cola have announced a bold, ambitious goal: to help collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one we sell by 2030. Regardless of where it comes from, we want every package to have more than one life. This is our vision for a World Without Waste.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Climate and tech: biggest global risks (online)

Climate and tech pose the biggest risks to our world in 2018

We live in an era of unprecedented technological, scientific and financial resources. I remain optimistic about the future, yet the risks to our world are increasing not reducing. They are systemic in nature and require a collective will to address them. Unfortunately, this is happening at exactly the time that nationalism, protectionism and populism are rising, and rules-based multilateralism is declining. I fear we may squander the opportunity to move towards a more sustainable, equitable and inclusive future. We must act together and we must act now.

 

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

GMO food labelling laws in the USA (online)

The Laws of Labels: What You Need to Know about GMO
Many people are concerned about GMOs and tend to select food products with labels that are non-GMO certified in an effort to make healthier choices. If you are a food manufacturer or plan to sell your home-grown products to a mass market, you should be aware of the laws of labeling foods GMO or non-GMO in your country or state. If you work to produce certified organic food products, your products are already non-GMO. This is a result of certifications that require manufacturers to abstain from using any genetically modified ingredients. Manufacturers producing organic food can therefore use non-GMO labeling, such as:
· GMO free
· Made with non-GMO ingredients
· Always non-GMO
· Non-GMO certified
If you have a food business or are a manufacturer in the USA, there are other GMO labeling laws you should know to ensure that your products are marketed and sold to customers with correct, true information.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Anti-harrassment policies in permaculture

The World Needs an Anti-Harassment Movement: So Does Permaculture.

The past few weeks have been flooded with the news about Harvey Weinstein sexually harassing women he worked with. And millions of women have come forward to tell their stories of sexual harassment and sexual violence with the hashtag #metoo. Clearly, the implementation and enforcement of anti-harassment policies is overdue in the world. This is also true in permaculture. Here’s why... read the full article