Permaculture-Companion Planting on Steroids – Mother Earth News


Mother Earth News

Permaculture-Companion Planting on Steroids
Mother Earth News
Permaculture is creating a synergistic garden; one that is symbiotic and supporting. It includes enriching the soil, planting for nutrients, planting for shade, planting for food, landscaping for water, planting to attract beneficial insects, planting

How Do the New USDA Initiatives Incorporate Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA … – Huffington Post (blog)

How Do the New USDA Initiatives Incorporate Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA
Huffington Post (blog)
Agroforestry. Agroforestry is a system in which trees and crops intentionally share the same piece of land. By integrating and blending forestry and farming together, the trees not only provide essential nutrients to the crops, but also act as a

How Do the New USDA Initiatives Incorporate Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA … – Huffington Post

How Do the New USDA Initiatives Incorporate Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA
Huffington Post
Agroforestry. Agroforestry is a system in which trees and crops intentionally share the same piece of land. By integrating and blending forestry and farming together, the trees not only provide essential nutrients to the crops, but also act as a

Farmers go high-tech in bid to reduce bay pollution – Baltimore Sun – Baltimore Sun

Farmers go high-tech in bid to reduce bay pollution – Baltimore Sun
Baltimore Sun
"Anything we can do to be more precise about when and how we apply nutrients is a good thing," said Russell Brinsfield, a Vienna farmer who recently retired as director of the University of Maryland Center for Agro-Ecology. But Brinsfield said he's

and more »

Riza Bernabe and Maya Quirino, Bangkok | Opinion | Mon, May 25 2015, 6:30 AM – Jakarta Post

Riza Bernabe and Maya Quirino, Bangkok | Opinion | Mon, May 25 2015, 6:30 AM
Jakarta Post
Sustainable agriculture practices include crop diversification, composting, responsible water management, and rehabilitation of degraded soils. Agro-ecology's virtues include recycling biomass to enhance the soil's nutrients, managing water more

Underwater light climate, thermal and chemical characteristics of the tropical soda lake Chitu, Ethiopia: Spatio-temporal variations

Publication date: May 2015
Source:Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters, Volume 52
Author(s): Tadesse Ogato , Demeke Kifle , Brook Lemma
Soda lakes are known for their extreme environmental conditions and unique assemblage of biota and provide great ecological and economic values. Although they are highly sensitive to environmental changes, soda lakes are among the least frequently studied inland water bodies. In this study, temporal and spatial (vertical) patterns of underwater light climate, thermal and chemical characteristics of a little known soda were studied. Parameters of underwater light climate showed light-limited conditions with more marked inter-monthly variations, associated with the accumulation of Arthrospira biomass in the shallow trophogenic zone. Water column conditions indicated superficial thermal stratification (0–3 m depths) with weak temperature gradients and weak mixing pattern. Dissolved oxygen (DO) varied considerably among months, ranging from subsurface supersaturation on certain occasions to persistent deoxygenation of most of the water column on other occasions, with the variations being attributable to the high productivity, high metabolic rates of microbes and weak vertical mixing. Alkalinity, conductivity and pH were generally high with moderate temporal and vertical variations, which were presumably associated with precipitation, evaporation and high algal biomass. In most cases, CO 3 2−:HCO 3 was high (>1), suggesting lower concentration of HCO 3 . Most of the major algal nutrients showed considerable inter-monthly and vertical variations. NO 3 and NH 3 in the euphotic zone were often very low or undetectable while soluble reactive phosphate (SRP) and total phosphorus (TP) were considerably high throughout the study period. The observed dramatic increase in the levels of NH 3 and SRP with depth is attributable to internal loading, which is enhanced by increased microbial activities and largely anoxic water column. The concentration of SiO 2 was remarkably low, which was probably due to organic matter accumulation within the lake that tends to preclude internal loading. In general, the notable temporal and vertical variations in physicochemical parameters, associated chiefly with the lake’s productivity, microbial activity, anoxic water column and meteorological conditions, probably suggest that Lake Chitu is sensitive to perturbations and that any environmental changes occurring in the lake are likely to affect the key planktonic alga ( Arthrospira ) and its ecosystem values.

Temporal abiotic variability structures invertebrate communities in agricultural drainage ditches

Publication date: May 2015
Source:Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters, Volume 52
Author(s): Merrin H. Whatley , J. Arie Vonk , Harm G. van der Geest , Wim Admiraal
Abiotic variability is known to structure lotic invertebrate communities, yet its influence on lentic invertebrates is not clear. This study tests the hypothesis that variability of nutrients and macro-ions are structuring invertebrate communities in agricultural drainage ditches. This was determined by investigating invertebrate adaptations to disturbance using insect life-history strategies. Many low-lying agricultural areas contain drainage ditches which potentially provide suitable habitat for aquatic invertebrates. In the province of North Holland (The Netherlands) the extensive network of eutrophic ditches are hydrologically managed, creating seasonal variability of water quality arising from agricultural run-off and the inlet of mineral rich, river derived water. This temporal variability was analysed from monitoring data, collected over a 7 month period (February till August) and covering 84 ditches in three soil regions; sand, clay and peat. Invertebrate diversity was determined as local ( α diversity), regional ( γ diversity) and species-turnover ( β diversity). We ran canonical correspondence analysis and linear mixed models to determine correlations between invertebrate diversity, functional community composition and specific abiotic parameters, including variability (expressed as the Median Absolute Deviation). Invertebrate α diversity was positively correlated to variability in water transparency and negatively correlated to average pH, with the two parameters reflecting a water quality gradient in the environment. Insect life-history strategies expressed adaptations to abiotic variability and harsh (eutrophic) conditions. These adaptations were mainly achieved through good dispersal abilities and developmental trade-offs. The results support measures to reduce influxes of excess nutrients to this network of ditches.

Climate driven changes in the submerged macrophyte and phytoplankton community in a hard water lake

Publication date: Available online 3 April 2015
Source:Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters
Author(s): Wojciech Ejankowski , Tomasz Lenard
We studied the changes in the submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and phytoplankton community in a hard water lake during different meteorological conditions. We hypothesised that variations in climatic conditions (precipitation and temperature) can influence the physicochemical parameters of water and, in turn, affect SAV and phytoplankton development. The investigations were performed in Lake Rogóźno (the West Polesie region, Eastern Poland) over 10 years from 2003 to 2013. The physicochemical parameters, the structure of macrophytes and the phytoplankton community in the dry (2003-2006, DP) and wet periods (2007-2013, WP) were analysed. Between the dry and wet periods, the water colour and the concentration of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) increased considerably, whereas water conductivity decreased. Other parameters (concentration of nutrients, water reaction and transparency) were comparable during both periods. When the precipitation and water level were low (DP), charophytes dominated the SAV and cyanobacteria dominated the phytoplankton community. After the precipitation and water level increased (WP), the charophyte population declined and the vascular plants and bryophytes dominated. Furthermore, flagellated algae belonging to the dinophytes and cryptophytes were the most numerous in the phytoplankton community. These changes in the SAV and phytoplankton were linked with the variations of physicochemical parameters determined by the total precipitation and mean air temperature in March.

Can ‘Down to Earth’ Innovations Keep Hunger At Bay in the Sahel? – AllAfrica.com

Can 'Down to Earth' Innovations Keep Hunger At Bay in the Sahel?
AllAfrica.com
How do you finance Faidherbia nurseries to promote and expand this agroforestry farming system? Good quality compost also adds essential soil nutrients and improves soil structure but labour – time to collect and apply manure – and water availability

Turning pollution into crop nutrients to be focus of 2015 Manure Expo

As agricultural groups and government agencies continue to tackle the vexing problem of nutrient pollution entering waterways, Penn State Extension is hosting an event in the heart of the Chesapeake Bay watershed aimed at helping producers to reduce negative impacts of excess manure nutrients. The 2015 North American Manure Expo will take place July 14-15 near Chambersburg, Franklin County.

You Are What You Eat—And What It Eats Too – The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists (blog)


The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists (blog)

You Are What You Eat—And What It Eats Too
The Equation: Blog of the Union of Concerned Scientists (blog)
We may be getting closer to integrating the science of agroecology and the science of nutrition, toward a holistic approach that would follow nutrients from the soil, to plants and animals, to human bodies. As Sir Albert Howard famously wrote in his

Changes in the epipelic diatom assemblage in nutrient rich streams due to the variations of simultaneous stressors

Publication date: March 2015
Source:Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters, Volume 51
Author(s): Joaquín Cochero , Magdalena Licursi , Nora Gómez
Benthic diatoms are often used for assessing environmental conditions, such as water quality and habitat conditions in stream and river systems. Although laboratory experiments have shown that each diatom species have different levels of tolerance to different stressors, few studies have been conducted in laboratory settings that analyze the responses of the diatom assemblage to the effects of multiple simultaneous variables. The aim of this study was to evaluate some structural responses (such as species composition and diversity) of the diatom assemblage on a short time scale to the effects of the simultaneous increase in four variables that are directly linked to the environmental changes affecting the Pampean streams: turbidity, nutrients (phosphorous and nitrogen), water velocity and temperature. To this end we conducted a five-week laboratory experiment using artificial channels where we simulated two environmental conditions (LOW and HIGH) employing epipelic biofilm from a mesotrophic stream. The results obtained in the experiment show that the structure of the diatom assemblage in the epipelic biofilm is affected by the simultaneous modification of temperature, water velocity, nutrient concentration and turbidity. These modifications in the assemblage included moderate decreases in diversity, small decreases in the proportion of species sensitive to eutrophication and saprobity, moderate increases in the IDP (Pampean Diatom Index) values and moderate changes in the percentages of the stalked growth-forms. The relative abundance of species such as Luticola mutica, Navicula cryptocephala and Navicula lanceolata were negatively affected by both treatments; other species such as Planothidium lanceolatum, Caloneis bacillum, Encyonema minutum, Humidophila contenta, Luticola kotschyi, Nitzschia amphibia, Navicula veneta, Pinnularia subcapitata var . subcapitata were positively affected by the HIGH treatment; and Nitzschia fonticola was positively affected by both treatments. The results suggest that, in the very short term of the bioassay conducted, the diatom assemblage can modify its structure to respond in a sensitive manner to the abrupt changes in multiple physical–chemical variables.

From the Field | Ben Valdez

Ben Valdez has been an active FoCAN student leader for the past two years and is currently completing a field study with CAN’s partner organization VIDA AC in the Central Highlands of Veracruz, Mexico. Here is his latest update from the field:

Greetings from Ixhuatlan de Café, Veracruz Mexico! My name is Benjamin Valdez, and I am currently conducting an ethnographic study on migrant youth from the municipality of Ixhuatlan de Café. In the last seven weeks I have met countless families from most of the rural communities within the municipality who have shared their time, family stories, and delicious homemade meals with me. My study includes fifteen interviews of youth ages 13-21 that live within the municipality and observations that relate to their identity. Some of the most memorable observations have occurred while youth work on their family´s land, while playing on their community´s soccer team competing for bragging rights, and while selling their homegrown vegetables. I have reached ten interviews of youth within my age bracket and four outside my age bracket. Simultaneously, I have taught English for beginners to three communities: Guzmantla, Ixcatla, and Ocotitlan. In all communities there has been a least half a dozen youth who show interest in participating in my study, and learning more about the English language.

The families that I have had the privilege of meeting show passion toward growing the best coffee in the world in the most sustainable and organic way possible. Another passion that most families share is diligence in maintaining the land they live on, maintaining a sustainable livelihood, and maintaining their fruits and coffee rich in nutrients. Despite economic, social, and medical hardships all families and youth that I have met continue to have an uplifting attitude toward life especially while working, harvesting, and reaching academic goals.

I expect to keep the relationships that I have created for the rest of my life. I know that this will not be the last time I will be visiting the state of Veracruz, the municipality of Ixhuatlan de Café, and the countless families and youth that have made my stay here most memorable.

WAYNE CREED Urban Chickens Part of ‘Good Food’ Movement – Cape Charles Wave

WAYNE CREED Urban Chickens Part of 'Good Food' Movement
Cape Charles Wave
This “farming with nature,” agro-ecology approach promotes biodiversity, recycles plant nutrients, protects soil from erosion, conserves and protects water, uses minimum tillage, and integrates crop and livestock enterprises on the farm. More

Hydrological connectivity as most probable key driver of chlorophyll and nutrients in oxbow lakes of the Bug River (Poland)

Publication date: March 2014
Source:Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters, Volume 46
Author(s): Lech Kufel , Szymon Leśniczuk
Concentrations of chlorophyll, dissolved inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus, total phosphorus and suspended solids were analysed in 10 oxbow lakes of the Bug River in spring and summer. According to their connectivity with the river, all lakes were divided into 3 categories – lakes connected with the river channel but separated from the floodplain inputs, lakes connected with the river but receiving inputs from the floodplain and totally isolated lakes. Connected lakes showed significantly higher concentrations of available nutrients and chlorophyll but the relationship between the two variables was weak in the spring and non-existent in the summer. Suspended solids were also more abundant in connected than in isolated lakes. Analyses of the proportion of chlorophyll and particulate phosphorus in suspension led us to the conclusion that water movement in connected lakes inhibited sedimentation and kept algae in the water column. Isolated oxbow lakes devoid of wind-driven mixing were more susceptible to algal sedimentation which would explain the differences observed between the two lake categories.

Action Needed to Safeguard Genetic Diversity of the World’s Forests – AllAfrica.com

Action Needed to Safeguard Genetic Diversity of the World's Forests
AllAfrica.com
Additionally, the inclusion of diverse tree varieties in agroforestry systems can reduce farmers' production risks and provide nutrients to consumers all year round, the report stressed. Eight thousand forest species used, one-third actively managed

and more »

Action needed to safeguard genetic diversity of the world’s forests – EIN News (press release)

Action needed to safeguard genetic diversity of the world's forests
EIN News (press release)
Additionally, the inclusion of diverse tree varieties in agroforestry systems can reduce farmers' production risks and provide nutrients to consumers all year round, the report stressed. Eight thousand forest species used, one-third actively managed

and more »

Don’t Mimic Nature on the Farm, Improve it – Biofortified Blog


Biofortified Blog

Don't Mimic Nature on the Farm, Improve it
Biofortified Blog
According to agroecologist Miguel Alteri, “By designing farming systems that mimic nature, optimal use can be made of sunlight, soil nutrients, and rainfall.” This strategy arises from a long history of thinking that there exists a “balance of nature

Anthropogenic land-use signals propagate through stream food webs in a California, USA, watershed

Publication date: March 2014
Source:Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters, Volume 46
Author(s): Jonathan W. Moore , Timothy D. Lambert , Walter N. Heady , Susanna E. Honig , Ann-Marie K. Osterback , Corey C. Phillis , Angela L. Quiros , Nicolas A. Retford , David B. Herbst
Human development of watersheds can change aquatic ecosystems via multiple pathways. For instance, human rural development may add nutrients to ecosystems. We used naturally occurring stable isotopes in stream food webs to investigate how land use affects stream ecosystems across a gradient of land development in the San Lorenzo watershed, California. Road density was used as a proxy for land development. We found that streams in watersheds with higher road densities had elevated concentrations of phosphate and nitrate. Furthermore, algal δ15N values increased as a function of nitrate concentration, but saturated at approximately 6‰. This saturating pattern was consistent with a two-source mixing model with anthropogenic and watershed sources, fit using Bayesian model fitting. In sites that had >2.6 km roads km−2, anthropogenic sources of N were estimated to represent >90% of the N pool. This anthropogenic N signal was propagated to stream consumers: rainbow trout ( Oncorhynchus mykiss ), signal crayfish ( Pacifasticus leniusculus ), and benthic invertebrate δ15N were positively correlated with algal δ15N. Even relatively low density rural human land use may have substantial impacts on nutrient cycling of stream ecosystems.

Dietary supply with essential lipids affects growth and survival of the amphipod Gammarus roeselii

Publication date: March 2014
Source:Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters, Volume 46
Author(s): René Gergs , Nicole Steinberger , Timo Basen , Dominik Martin-Creuzburg
Growth and survival of benthic macroinvertebrates depend on the availability and the quality of potential food sources. The significance of essential biochemical nutrients, such as sterols and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), for benthic invertebrates has been insufficiently studied. We investigated the effects of these essential lipids on growth and survival of the benthic gammarid Gammarus roeselii , a widespread species in streams, rivers and lentic waters of Central Europe, in standardized feeding experiments. Juvenile gammarids were fed a mixture of three cyanobacteria with no evidence of toxin production, either unsupplemented or supplemented with cholesterol or the long-chain PUFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) using bovine serum albumin (BSA) to load algal or cyanobacterial cells with single lipid, and a mixture of three eukaryotic algae containing various sterols and long-chain PUFAs. Our results revealed that growth and especially survival of gammarids on the cyanobacterial diet significantly increased upon supplementation with cholesterol and DHA, indicating that the nutritional inadequacy of cyanobacteria for gammarids and potentially other benthic invertebrates is at least partially due to a deficiency in these essential lipids. We propose that the expected increase in the frequency of pelagic cyanobacterial mass developments as a consequence of global warming will also affect benthic food web processes to an as-yet-unknown magnitude.

Agroforestry can be a long-term solution to food shortage in Africa – spyghana.com

Agroforestry can be a long-term solution to food shortage in Africa
spyghana.com
The article outlines how agroforestry practices involving the use of legumes in rotations or intercrops can restore soil nutrients by fixing nitrogen, improving soil organic matter and reducing reliance on fertilizer use. “Closing the yield gap – the

Agroforestry can be a long-term solution to food shortage in Africa – SpyGhana.com – spyghana.com

Agroforestry can be a long-term solution to food shortage in Africa – SpyGhana.com
spyghana.com
The article outlines how agroforestry practices involving the use of legumes in rotations or intercrops can restore soil nutrients by fixing nitrogen, improving soil organic matter and reducing reliance on fertilizer use. “Closing the yield gap – the

Anthropogenic land-use signals propagate through stream food webs in a California, U.S.A, watershed

Publication date: Available online 9 February 2014
Source:Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters
Author(s): Jonathan W. Moore , Timothy D. Lambert , Walter N. Heady , Susanna E. Honig , Ann-Marie K. Osterback , Corey C. Phillis , Angela L. Quiros , Nicolas A. Retford , David B. Herbst
Human development of watersheds can change aquatic ecosystems via multiple pathways. For instance, human rural development may add nutrients to ecosystems. We used naturally occurring stable isotopes in stream food webs to investigate how land use affects stream ecosystems across a gradient of land development in the San Lorenzo watershed, California. We used road density as a proxy for land development. We found that streams in watersheds with higher road densities had elevated concentrations of phosphate and nitrate. Furthermore, algal δ15N values increased as a function of nitrate concentration, but saturated at approximately 6‰. This saturating pattern was consistent with a two-source mixing model with anthropogenic and watershed sources, fit using Bayesian model fitting. In sites that had >2.6 km roads km−2, anthropogenic sources of N were estimated to represent >90% of the N pool. This anthropogenic N signal was propagated to stream consumers: rainbow trout ( Oncorhynchus mykiss ), signal crayfish ( Pacifasticus leniusculus ), and benthic invertebrate δ15N were positively correlated with algal δ15N. Even relatively low density rural human land use may have substantial impacts on nutrient cycling of stream ecosystems.

Dietary supply with essential lipids affects growth and survival of the amphipod Gammarusroeselii

Publication date: Available online 5 February 2014
Source:Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters
Author(s): René Gergs , Nicole Steinberger , Timo Basen , Dominik Martin-Creuzburg
Growth and survival of benthic macroinvertebratesdepend on theavailabilityand the quality of potential food sources. The significance of essential biochemical nutrients, such as sterols and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), for benthic invertebrates has been insufficiently studied. We investigated the effects of these essential lipids on growth and survival of the benthic gammarid Gammarusroeselii , a widespread species in streams, rivers and lentic waters of Central Europe,in standardized feeding experiments.Juvenile gammaridswere fed a mixture of three cyanobacteria with no evidence of toxin production, either unsupplemented or supplemented with cholesterol or the long-chain PUFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)using Bovine Serum Albumin (BSA)to load algal or cyanobacterial cells with single lipid, and a mixture of three eukaryotic algaecontainingvarious sterols and long-chain PUFAs.Our results revealed that growth and especially survival of gammarids on the cyanobacterial diet significantly increased upon supplementation with cholesterol and DHA, indicating that the nutritional inadequacy of cyanobacteria for gammarids and potentially other benthic invertebrates is at least partially due to a deficiency in these essential lipids. We propose that the expected increase in the frequency of pelagic cyanobacterial mass developments as a consequence of global warming will also affect benthic food web processesto anas yet unknown magnitude.

New center to explore solutions for nutrient pollution

A multi-pronged, systems approach to solving water pollution caused by nutrients in the environment is the focus of a new center housed in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. With a $2.2 million Science to Achieve Results grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, researchers will launch the Center for Integrated Multi-scale Nutrient Pollution Solutions.

Hydrological connectivity as most probable key driver of chlorophyll and nutrients in oxbow lakes of the Bug River (Poland)

Publication date: Available online 29 January 2014
Source:Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters
Author(s): Lech Kufel , Szymon Leśniczuk
Concentrations of chlorophyll, dissolved inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus, total phosphorus and suspended solids were analysed in 10 oxbow lakes of the Bug River in spring and summer. According to their connectivity with the river, all lakes were divided into 3 categories–lakes connected with the river channel but separated from the floodplain inputs, lakes connected with the river but receiving inputs from the floodplain and totally isolated lakes. Connected lakes showed significantly higher concentrations of available nutrients and chlorophyll but the relationship between the two variables was weak in the spring and non-existent in the summer. Suspended solids were also more abundant in connected than in isolated lakes. Analyses of the proportion of chlorophyll and particulate phosphorus in suspension led us to the conclusion that water movement in connected lakes inhibited sedimentation and kept algae in the water column. Isolated oxbow lakes devoid of wind-driven mixing were more susceptible to algal sedimentation which would explain the differences observed between the two lake categories.

Orange Environment celebrates first permaculture class – The Warwick Advertiser

Orange Environment celebrates first permaculture class
The Warwick Advertiser
Photo provided by Toby Schack This photo was taken at Midsummer Farm in Warwick laste fall. Permaculture students work on biodynamic soil preparation to enrich it with nutrients using only organic materials, such as leaves, bone, egg shells, but no 

Orange Environment celebrates first permaculture – The Warwick Advertiser

Orange Environment celebrates first permaculture
The Warwick Advertiser
Photo provided by Toby Schack This photo was taken at Midsummer Farm in Warwick laste fall. Permaculture students work on biodynamic soil preparation to enrich it with nutrients using only organic materials, such as leaves, bone, egg shells, but no 

Key drivers for phytoplankton composition and biomass in an Ethiopian highland Lake

Publication date: Available online 14 December 2013
Source:Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters
Author(s): Tadesse Fetahi , Michael Schagerl , Seyoum Mengistou
We studied the temporal phytoplankton community pattern of the deep crater lake Hayq in the highlands of Ethiopia from October 2007 to October 2008. Earlier sporadic surveys indicated that the phytoplankton community was predominantly characterized by heavy diatoms, which characteristically suffer from rapid sedimentation. The trophic status of Lake Hayq was reported to have changed from oligotrophic to eutrophic in 1992. The present study addresses the potential reasons for the diatom dominance as well as causes of the trophic change. Net and integrated water samples were used for determination of physico-chemical parameters and phytoplankton biovolumes. Our results revealed that diatoms and chlorophytes dominated during most of the study period in Lake Hayq and seem to be favored by the mixing regime of the water body, which can be described as partial atelomixis with daily mixing of the epilimnion maintaining the algae within the euphotic depth via regular re-suspension. However, the epilimnion may be decoupled from the hypolimnion by a seasonal chemocline. Nutrients were not limiting in the lake with an overall mean concentration of soluble reactive phosphorus of 22 μg L−1 and total phosphorus of 58 μg L−1 and of dissolved inorganic nitrogen of 305 μg L−1, with ammonium being the primary form. In the 1940-ies only diatoms were reported, but since the 1990’s other phytoplankton groups and taxa have become relevant. Canonical correspondence analysis showed that chlorophytes were mainly associated with nutrients and rainfall, euglenophytes with elevated alkalinity and the diatoms with silica and zooplankton. Chlorophyll a as measure of total phytoplankton biomass was significantly influenced by seasonality and underwater light supply, reflecting the significant role of atelomixis in persistent occurrence of heavy taxa in the epilimnion. The lake is still categorized as a eutrophic system, demonstrating that the trophic change reported in 1992 was not short-lived. In addition to changes in the catchment the eutrophication process was probably primarily triggered by a previous introduction of Tilapia in the lake, causing a cascading effect in the food-web interactions. This implied that the phytoplankton composition and biomass of this tropical deep tropical lake can be controlled through biomanipulation, as has been demonstrated for temperate lakes.

Kasturirangan panel report on Western Ghats anti-farmer:Thomas – Business Standard

Kasturirangan panel report on Western Ghats anti-farmer:Thomas
Business Standard
He said that rubber based agroforestry system contributes economic yield to the farmers while protecting the environment, conserving soil, water and nutrients. Thomas said that growers of natural rubber and cardamom are in deep crisis because of

JFK, UN World Food Day and Confronting the Single Greatest Challenge in … – Huffington Post

JFK, UN World Food Day and Confronting the Single Greatest Challenge in
Huffington Post
initiating reformed agricultural policies in Egypt and China, developing new high yielding sorghum and rice in Ethiopia and Sierra Leone, advancing agro ecology in Kenya, promoting micronutrients in Guatemala, and developing the storage and

Improving restoration practice by deriving appropriate techniques from analysing the spatial organization of river networks

Publication date: Available online 23 October 2013
Source:Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters
Author(s): Gregor Thomas
Amendments to the water protection legislation in many countries have raised the need to develop prioritization strategies in river restoration. These political objectives need to be translated into applied methods of site selection. The high degree of heterogeneity within administrative boundaries makes the identification of sites challenging. Analysing data with computer software alone might not identify sites with the highest ecological recovery potential, as they might not take sufficient account of the complex ecological interplay over large spatial scales. In this literature study, the spatial organization of river networks (dendritic structure, unidirectional flow, species distribution) is discussed in the context of different restoration techniques and how efficiency is expected to vary within the network. Although restoration planning must consider deficits on the reach scale, as well as catchment effects and develop suitable mitigation scenarios produced by the analysis, some general conclusions on the site-specific effectiveness of different restoration techniques can be derived from the spatial organization of river networks. Restorations in the headwaters are most suitable for improving fundamental ecological processes such as retaining nutrients and soils to improve water quality, buffering an increase of temperature by establishing riparian buffer-strips, and returning hydro-dynamic flow patterns to a more natural state by altered dam operation. Longitudinal connectivity is essential for many freshwater taxa and should be restored in a bottom-up direction, starting at the downstream ends of river networks or at species-rich nodes within the system. Habitat restorations and the re-establishment of a natural channel morphology throughout the network will aid ecological recovery, if species pools for re-colonization are close by and fundamental ecological processes support a recovery. To increase the success of future restoration efforts, branches of river networks should be seen as functional linked ecosystems, and therefore restoration efforts within one system should be more coordinated, rather than seeing every project as self-sufficient. There must be a shift from a tactical towards a strategic approach in river restorations.

Eutrophication impacts littoral biota in Lake Ohrid while water phosphorus concentrations are low

Publication date: Available online 25 September 2013
Source:Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters
Author(s): Susanne C. Schneider , Magdalena Cara , Tor Erik Eriksen , Biljana Budzakoska Goreska , Alma Imeri , Lirika Kupe , Tatjana Lokoska , Suzana Patceva , Sonja Trajanovska , Sasho Trajanovski , Marina Talevska , Elisabeta Sarafilovska Veljanoska
Eutrophication has traditionally been measured as increased phosphorus concentrations. In some lakes, however, such as transboundary Lake Ohrid situated between Macedonia and Albania, pelagic phosphorus concentrations are low, in spite of known sources of nutrient input. We assumed that littoral biota may be more responsive to phosphorus load than water chemistry, and studied nearshore water chemistry, macrophytes, diatoms and macroinvertebrates at 30 sites around the lake, analyzing functional groups as well as standard eutrophication metrics. We hypothesized that the incorporation of nutrients into benthic biomass will conceal correlations between water phosphorus concentrations and biological eutrophication metrics, but that analysis of functional groups in addition to eutrophication metrics may help draw a plausible picture of how phosphorus is transferred through the food web. Water total phosphorus concentrations in the Lake Ohrid littoral were generally low, while all three analyzed organism groups indicated at least some degree of eutrophication. This shows that littoral biota are more sensitive indicators of nutrient input than hydrochemistry. The abundance of the benthic alga Cladophora sp. correlated positively with water total phosphorus concentrations, indicating that P-loading at local scales may be an important driver of Cladophora biomass. In contrast, none of the biotic metrics (macrophyte index, diatom index, and macroinvertebrate ICM) correlated with ambient water P-concentrations. We argue that this is not a sign of poorly working biological metrics, but a consequence of ecosystem processes in the lake littoral. Analysis of macrophyte and benthic algae abundance, and macroinvertebrate feeding types together with the biotic metrics suggests a meso- to slightly eutrophic littoral ecosystem where nutrient supply is incorporated into macrophyte and benthic algae biomass, and transferred through the food web from benthic algae to grazers, and from macrophytes to shredders and gatherers. Macroinvertebrate filter feeders correlate negatively with water total phosphorus concentrations, suggesting they remove phosphorus from the water. Our results indicate that the combined use of classical biological eutrophication metrics and functional groups may be a way to not only distinguish between oligotrophic and eutrophic ecosystems, but in addition give information as to whether or not nutrient input and nutrient removal in an ecosystem are balanced. This may eventually also give information about ecosystem functioning and ecosystem stability, and thus provide a basis for the development of “second generation” metrics for ecosystem assessment.

New York: UN chief urges global action to increase response to drought – Afrique en Ligue


Voice of America

New York: UN chief urges global action to increase response to drought
Afrique en Ligue
The UN official also pointed to the achievements of the village of Batodi in Niger, where 5 million hectares of land were restored through agro-forestry, which he described as an example of progress. 'As a result of the restoration, the water table
United Nations calls for global action on drought agprofessional.com


Ban Ki Moon urges governments to take drought threat seriously Responding to Climate Change
7,8 million tonnes of soil nutrients lost yearly — Nhema The Zimbabwe Standard

all 32 news articles »

Global Action Needed to Increase Response to Drought – Scoop.co.nz (press release)


Voice of America

Global Action Needed to Increase Response to Drought
Scoop.co.nz (press release)
Mr. Gnacadja pointed to the achievements of the village of Batodi in Niger, where 5 million hectares of land were restored through agroforestry, as an example of progress. As a result of the restoration, the water table rose by 14 metres. “The most
United Nations calls for global action on drought agprofessional.com


Ban Ki Moon urges governments to take drought threat seriously Responding to Climate Change
7,8 million tonnes of soil nutrients lost yearly — Nhema The Zimbabwe Standard

all 32 news articles »

7,8 million tonnes of soil nutrients lost yearly — Nhema – The Zimbabwe Standard

7,8 million tonnes of soil nutrients lost yearly — Nhema
The Zimbabwe Standard
need to take corrective action and promote the use of sustainable land management practices such as reforestation, restoration of soil productivity and reduction of soil erosion through sustainable land cover management, organic farming and agro

A new way to read online, exact replica of your daily and magazine – E Kantipur

A new way to read online, exact replica of your daily and magazine
E Kantipur
Through integration of agro-forestry and in-farm recycling of soil nutrients, many farmers in Chitwan, Kaski, Dhading, Kavre, Morang, Ilam, Baglung, Parbat, to name a few districts, have created resilient and thriving farms from which Nepal's other

and more »

Nine ways to eat healthier and sustainably – Vancouver Sun (blog)


Vancouver Sun (blog)

Nine ways to eat healthier and sustainably
Vancouver Sun (blog)
Using cover crops, which can be ploughed into fields after harvest and return nutrients to the soil, is another strategy that helps increase the amount of nutrients in food. Planting trees on farms–or agroforestry–can also help keep nutrients and water

Food Tank’s 9 Ways We Can All Commemorate UN World Health Day (April 7) – InvestorIdeas.com (press release)

Food Tank's 9 Ways We Can All Commemorate UN World Health Day (April 7)
InvestorIdeas.com (press release)
Using cover crops, which can be ploughed into fields after harvest and return nutrients to the soil, is another strategy that helps increase the amount of nutrients in food. Planting trees on farms–or agroforestry–can also help keep nutrients and

and more »

Food Tank’s 9 Ways We Can All Commemorate UN World Health Day on April 7 – YubaNet (press release)

Food Tank's 9 Ways We Can All Commemorate UN World Health Day on April 7
YubaNet (press release)
Using cover crops, which can be ploughed into fields after harvest and return nutrients to the soil, is another strategy that helps increase the amount of nutrients in food. Planting trees on farms–or agroforestry–can also help keep nutrients and

and more »

Enviro Crusader Turns Pro-GMO, Anti-Organic—And Anti-Logic – Mother Jones


Mother Jones

Enviro Crusader Turns Pro-GMO, Anti-Organic—And Anti-Logic
Mother Jones
Lynas does allow that "principles of agro-ecology such as recycling nutrients and promoting on-farm diversity should also be taken more seriously everywhere," but it's clear he feels they're a sideshow to the real work of feeding the world, which will

Does agroecology have a part to play in a new Green Revolution? – The Guardian


The Guardian

Does agroecology have a part to play in a new Green Revolution?
The Guardian
Agroecology can be summarised as an approach where nutrients and energy are recycled on the farm in closed loops, rather than relying on external inputs. Crops and livestock are integrated to build balanced local ecosystems, in contrast to monocrop

Does agroecology have a part to play in a new Green Revolution? | Guardian … – The Guardian


The Guardian

Does agroecology have a part to play in a new Green Revolution? | Guardian
The Guardian
Agroecology can be summarised as an approach where nutrients and energy are recycled on the farm in closed loops, rather than relying on external inputs. Crops and livestock are integrated to build balanced local ecosystems, in contrast to monocrop

Does agroecology have a part to play in a new Green Revolution … – The Guardian – The Guardian


The Guardian

Does agroecology have a part to play in a new Green Revolution – The Guardian
The Guardian
Agroecology can be summarised as an approach where nutrients and energy are recycled on the farm in closed loops, rather than relying on external inputs. Crops and livestock are integrated to build balanced local ecosystems, in contrast to monocrop

What is groundwater and what does this mean to fauna? – An opinion

Publication year: 2012
Source:Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters, Volume 42, Issue 1
Susanne I. Schmidt, Hans Jürgen Hahn
Many subsurface waters are considered groundwater but are influenced in shallow depths by hyporheic, parafluvial and/or soil interception water to such a degree that groundwater fauna (stygofauna) communities may be significantly altered. Recharge, even if spatially and temporally distinct, delivers input of dissolved oxygen, organic matter (OM), and nutrients that caters sustainably for ubiquists such as stygophiles and hyporheic fauna, but renders the life of uncompetitive stygobites difficult or impossible. The impact of recharge at shallow groundwater thus needs to be taken into account when determining groundwater fauna reference communities and when evaluating monitoring studies. One of the main characteristics of groundwater is low OM concentration. In contrast, high OM concentrations are typical of hyporheic or parafluvial waters, which are enriched by OM from the river, the riparian soils and from interflow, and which contribute significantly to river OM balance. Consequently, for ecological studies on subsurface waters, both the origin of the water and OM, and the intensity of surface water interactions should be considered. Here, we discuss how groundwater spatial and temporal heterogeneity translates into faunal distribution patterns. In terms of the origin of water and OM, and from an ecological point of view, we need to distinguish between (i) shallow groundwater characterized by infiltrating precipitation and soil recharge, (ii) shallow groundwater interacting with surface water bodies such as continuously flowing and ephemeral streams and rivers, and (iii) “old” groundwater which has no recent connections to the surface and is thus largely secluded from input of nutrients and carbon. Water in the first two groups is characterized by high amounts of OM of varying quality, while water in the third group is characterized by low amounts of low quality OM. Consequently, stygophiles dominate in groups 1 and 2, with hyporheic fauna taking up a considerable proportion in group 2, while stygobites only dominate in group 3. Thus, for studies aiming to assess impacts on groundwater, only sampling sites of the third group should be used for reference sites as these are the most likely sites to have little surface impact and a stygofauna representative of the deeper aquifer.

Potential responses of oligochaetes (Annelida, Clitellata) to global changes: Experimental fertilization in a lowland stream of Argentina (South America)

Publication year: 2012
Source:Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters, Volume 42, Issue 2
Laura Armendáriz, Carolina Ocón, Alberto Rodrigues Capítulo
One of the possible consequences of climatic change for streams and rivers in the pampean region of South America is an increment in nutrient loads. To analyze this possible perturbation on a biological scale, the response of oligochaetes to an experimental eutrophication of the La Choza Stream, Argentina was studied. We proposed that the addition of nutrients could increase the abundance, biomass, and species composition of the stream. Two stretches (Control and Treatment sites) were selected, with bimonthly samples being taken (March 2007 through February 2009) in two habitat types: the sediments and the aquatic vegetation. On each sampling occasion the environmental variables were measured. The nutrient addition consisted in the continuous dissolution of a commercial fertilizer. The oligochaete mean density and total biomass, the taxonomic richness, the Shannon diversity ( H ′), and the evenness ( E ) were calculated and the BACI ANOVA design used to compare the differences between the sites. Thirty-three species of the families Naididae (Naidinae, Pristininae, Tubificinae, and Rhyacodrilinae), Opistocystidae, Enchytraeidae plus Aphanoneura Aeolosomatidae were collected. The oligochaete abundance and biomass increased significantly in the sediments and on the aquatic vegetation, especially among the Naidinae and Pristininae during their asexual reproductive phase. The diversity and evenness varied significantly in the sediments with the nutrient addition. Significant differences in the species richness and diversity were found on the aquatic vegetation, with both increasing at the treatment site after the fertilization. A significant correlation (Spearman) was observed between the oligochaete density in the sediments and the NO 3 -N and NH 4 -N concentration in the water. The increment in the naidines resistant to the fertilizer throughout the experiment could be explained by the greater nutrient availability, their mode of reproduction, and their short life cycles. The results of our study suggested that the incorporation of nutrients modified the composition of the oligochaete assemblage in favor of herbivores and detrivores. The usefulness of these indicator organisms in monitoring freshwater systems is subsequently discussed.

Environmental changes in Chaohu Lake (southeast, China) since the mid 20th century: The interactive impacts of nutrients, hydrology and climate

Publication year: 2012
Source:Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters
Xu Chen, Xiangdong Yang, Xuhui Dong, Enfeng Liu
Chaohu Lake, the fifth largest freshwater lake in the Yangtze floodplain, is faced with multiple stresses from anthropogenic disturbances and climate change. To explore the ecological changes in Chaohu Lake since the mid 20th century, we examined diatoms, geochemical indicators and particle size in 210Pb-dated sediment core from the lake. Diatom succession revealed that the lake had switched to a eutrophic state since the late 1970s. Redundancy analysis using limnological data, hydrological and meteorological variables showed that sedimentary total phosphorus (TP) and total organic carbon (TOC), annual mean temperature, annual mean wind velocity, and water-level amplitude (WLA) were five significant factors influencing diatom succession. Diatom assemblages from 1950 till 1978 were driven by WLA and wind. The establishment of Chaohu Dam baffled hydrological connectivity between the lake and the Yangtze River in 1962, and reducing water exchange-induced flow. Meanwhile, weak wind velocity reduced the wind-induced flow in the 1960s. Due to the weak hydrodynamic intensity, the dominant species ( Aulacoseira granulata , a species with high sinking rate) became less important during this period. From 1979 till 2006, diatom assemblages were mainly driven by TP, TOC and temperature, which were highly correlative. Increasing nutrient loading promoted the blooms of eutrophic species (e.g., Cyclostephanos dubius ). In addition, rising temperature would indirectly influence diatom assemblages by mediating nutrient release process. As a consequence, multiple stresses in concert have caused the lake switch to a further eutrophic state indicated by prominent increases in more eutrophic species (e.g., Stephanodiscus parvus ) since 2000. This study provided information on complex trajectories of aquatic ecosystem shifts driven by increasing nutrient loading, hydrological alteration and climate warming in the Yangtze floodplain lake.

Eutrophication and retention time affecting spatial heterogeneity in a tropical reservoir

Publication year: 2012
Source:Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters, Volume 42, Issue 3
Maria Carolina S. Soares, Marcelo M. Marinho, Sandra M.O.F. Azevedo, Christina W.C. Branco, Vera L.M. Huszar
Longitudinal heterogeneity in reservoirs is especially related to increase in sedimentation and water transparency along the river/dam axis. Consequently, primary production tends to reach higher values in intermediate regions where there is a balance between the availability of the main resources (light and nutrients) suitable for phytoplankton growth. Many factors such as reservoir morphometry, retention time, thermal stratification and geographical location can affect the boundaries between these regions. The tropical Funil Reservoir (Brazil), despite a low retention time, has experienced severe eutrophication in recent decades, with persistent cyanobacteria blooms. During the course of 1 year, samples were collected at four stations along the reservoir (fluvial, intermediate and lentic compartments) to evaluate if spatial heterogeneity could affect the occurrence and distribution of these blooms along the reservoir. Although the reservoir has a short annual retention time (mean 41.5 days), the typical zonation pattern was observed for the main abiotic variables and phytoplankton abundance. However, higher biomass occurred in the lentic compartment rather than in the intermediate zone. Despite the peculiar heterogeneity in total biomass, the phytoplankton composition and seasonal variability were very similar along the entire reservoir, with a few marked differences only in the fluvial zone. Phytoplankton total biomass in Funil Reservoir was high, even in periods of lower seasonal retention time (around 15 days), and was especially related to high input of nutrients. Moreover, retention time directly affects the spatial heterogeneity of phytoplankton biomass, since strong variability was only observed during the cold–dry season, corresponding to periods of longer retention time (around 80 days). While high availability of nutrients promoted high cyanobacterial biomass in the entire system, the few periods of heterogeneous spatiality seemed to be related to changes in retention time.

Nutrient dynamics in water and sediment of Mediterranean ponds across a wide hydroperiod gradient

Publication year: 2012
Source:Limnologica – Ecology and Management of Inland Waters
María Sahuquillo, Maria Rosa Miracle, Sara María Morata, Eduardo Vicente
In Mediterranean ponds, summer drought enhances seasonality whose intensity varies along topographic and climatic gradients. The alternation of wet and dry periods in rain dependent ponds affects their biogeochemistry and differentiates them from ponds fed by more stable water sources, such as groundwater springs. Superimposed onto this, land use is also a very strong factor of variability. In this study we compared nutrients and organic matter concentrations, in water and in sediment, among different types of Mediterranean ponds based on the source of water, hydroperiod and land use. Forty-three ponds were sampled in Eastern Spain corresponding to five pond types: (1) permanent spring ponds in lowlands, (2) permanent spring ponds in mountains, (3) semi-permanent rain ponds, (4) temporary rain ponds with long hydroperiod and (5) temporary rain ponds with short hydroperiod. The results of this study indicate relevant differences among these pond types. The temporary rain ponds with short hydroperiod are characterized by high turbidity due to suspension of sediment particles rich in phosphorous adsorbed onto them (argillotrophic aquatic systems). They are used for watering domestic sheep that enhance sediment suspension by trampling. Total phosphorous (TP) concentrations in the water are high (like those of hypertrophic lakes), but planktonic chlorophyll a is very low and not correlated with TP, because of the low P-bioavailavility in the water. At the other extreme, we have permanent ponds in lowlands fed by groundwater springs. They are heavily loaded with nitrates due to the surrounding intensive agriculture. In these and other permanent/semipermanent ponds chlorophyll is highly correlated with TP. Sediment characteristics provide a good indication of the hydroperiod, since desiccation has important effects on biogeochemical transformations. A threshold of 5% organic matter (OM) in the sediment separates temporary ponds with a short hydroperiod from those with a long hydroperiod, and a threshold of 8% separates the later from the semi-permanent and permanent ponds. Besides OM reduction, important loss of N occurs during desiccation through mineralization, ammonia volatization and the sequential nitrification/denitrification pathway. On the other hand, the increase of organic P mineralization in dry sediments does not represent a loss of P from the system, since o-P remains adsorbed or bound onto the soil. This leads to a low TN/TP ratio in sediments in temporary ponds with short hydroperiod. These characteristics have to be taken into account when establishing pond typologies and ecological thresholds to assess water quality in these unique aquatic habitats.

Bad science makes the news. Again.

I hate bad science. It’s hard to do good science, but science is only effective when it is good science. This isn’t a rant about the bad science of genetically engineered foods (which certainly deserves a post of its own) but about a recent study published by Stanford scientists about organic food. You’ve probably read about it in the news, but if you haven’t you can do so here. The main point of the study was to test organic foods to see if they were more nutritious and safer to eat than non-organic foods. They found that organic foods were not more nutritious than non-organic foods and not any safer regarding E. coli contamination. Lower levels of chemical pesticides were found.

Why is this bad science? One of the points made to my cohort of graduate students was that getting results, even statistically significant results, is irrelevant if the questions being asked aren’t relevant. A corollary was that you need the right measures to test the questions you are asking. In this case, asking about nutrients is irrelevant because the organic standards aren’t about nutrition. They are standards for producing food without using artificial pesticides and herbicides. So, studying the nutritional value of organic foods is simply the wrong question. The correct question is whether organic foods have lower level of chemical pesticides and herbicides on them. This question was asked, and the researchers found that organic foods did have lower levels of these chemicals. But, this was not the emphasis of the study. Instead, they focused on nutrients and on E. coli levels. The latter was one of their metrics of healthy food, and they found no significant difference in organic vs. non-organic foods. Such results make for great headlines and lots of food industry punditry, but they are irrelevant and therefore bad science.

For further information and commentary on this topic, read this post by Marion Nestle (always a good source of scientific information on food issues), and a fuller commentary with multiple viewpoints here. Of the six commentators at the second link, I think Marion Nestle is the most succinct and accurate, based on what I know about organic foods from my many years following food issues.