An effective climate change solution may lie in rocks beneath our feet

To avoid global warming on a catastrophic scale, nations need to reduce emissions and find ways to pull carbon from the air. One promising solution: spreading rock dust on farm fields.

Benjamin Z. Houlton, Professor of Global Environmental Studies, Chancellor's Fellow and Director, John Muir Institute of the Environment, University of California, Davis • conversation
July 16, 2020 ~8 min

Tags: climate-change soil carbon-dioxide nutrients minerals carbon-cycle rocks negative-emissions paris-climate-accord negative-emissions-technologies

How to manage plant pests and diseases in your victory garden

The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted interest in home gardening. Three scientists who garden explain some basic methods for controlling common insects and microbes that can spoil your crop.

Carolee Bull, Professor of Plant Pathology and Systematic Bacteriology, Pennsylvania State University • conversation
July 2, 2020 ~9 min

Tags: bacteria covid-19 insects soil plants fungi viruses integrated-pest-management gardening nematodes weeds land-grant-universities plant-health victory-garden

City compost programs turn garbage into 'black gold' that boosts food security and social justice

Turning food scraps and yard trimmings into compost improves soil, making it easier for people to grow their own food. City composting programs spread those benefits more widely.

Sue Ishaq, Assistant Professor of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, University of Maine • conversation
June 11, 2020 ~9 min

Tags: climate-change soil microbes compost methane food-waste soil-carbon seattle gardening san-francisco social-justice equity landfills

It's time to rethink the disrupted US food system from the ground up

There's growing interest in making the US food system more resilient and flexible, but soil – the origin of nearly everything we eat – is often left out of the picture.

Sarah M. Collier, Assistant Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington • conversation
June 5, 2020 ~9 min

Tags: sustainability climate-change agriculture soil dust-bowl erosion food-systems food-sustainability soil-health soil-degradation postpandemic-future

Here's why soil smells so good after it rains

That smell you detect after it rains is part of a chemical language between bacteria and animals.

Paul Becher, Associate professor in Chemical Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences • conversation
April 8, 2020 ~6 min

Tags:  bacteria  soil  ecology  antibiotics  chemical-compounds  invertebrates

Soil carbon is a valuable resource, but all soil carbon is not created equal

Storing more carbon in soil helps slow climate change and makes croplands more productive. But there are two kinds of soil carbon that are both important, but function very differently.

Francesca Cotrufo, Professor of Soil and Crop Sciences and Senior Scientist, Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University • conversation
Feb. 6, 2020 ~9 min

Tags:  climate-change  agriculture  soil  carbon-sequestration  nutrients  nitrogen  soil-carbon

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