Termite Mound Mitigation

A Princeton University research team has found that termites can actually slow the desertification process by creating small oases of plant life. Their results suggest that not only prevent the spread of deserts into semi-arid ecosystems and agricultural lands but can also increase their resilience to climate change. In the arid savannas and grasslands termite…

Soil Moisture Satellite

On Friday, January 30th after 2 failed attempts NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive Satellite (SMAP) was finally launched on a Delta 2 rocket. The SMAP have been in development for almost 2 decades, once it is in orbit at 426 miles above the Earth’s surface it will measure soil moisture content. This data is critical…

World Wetlands Day!

World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2, but the importance of wetlands should be recognized throughout the year. Wetlands are a critical part of the watershed, these ecosystems; act as a sink for stormwater, filter and purify water, grow rice crops feeding millions, provide habitat for wildlife, help prevent coastal erosion and flooding and…

“Soils Support Urban Life”

2015 has been named the “International Year of Soil” (IYS) and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) has developed activities to support educational outreach, assigning a theme for each month of the year. February’s theme is “Soils Support Urban Life”. Over 80% of the population in the U.S. resides in urban areas, while there…

The Buzz on Native Bees

We hear a lot about honeybees now, with colony collapse posing a large, ominous threat to our agricultural industry and therefore populations, but often overlooked are the wonders and benefits of native bees. Native bees are incredibly diverse, with over 4,000 known species, they also display unique behaviors and biological quirks. Wildlife photographer, Clay Bolt,…

Algal Alternative

According to a recent study published in the journal Energy & Fuels, an algae commonly cultivated as fish food could be a potential alternative source for the production of biodiesel and jet fuel. Western Washington University’s, Greg O’Neil and Chris Reddy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, led the research into the previously untapped class of chemical compounds…

Tilted Tillage

The term “vertical farming” was originally coined in 1915, but had not achieved widespread popularity, that is, until now. Stacking rows of plants in greenhouses and using artificial light while careful moderating water and nutrient inputs is the future of sustainable agriculture, and it is catching on presently. The innovative ag-tech firm PlantLab (http://www.plantlab.nl/) recently…

Carnivorous Plant Casualties

The carnivorous venus fly trap plant, Dionaea muscipula, is at risk for extinction in the wild due to poaching. The arrest of four men caught illegally collecting the plants on the Holly Shelter Game Land Preserve in North Carolina made headlines and history for being the first felonious charges for theft of venus fly traps from…

Drought Data

As of January 6, 2015 the extent of drought conditions across the U.S. is at its lowest point since December 20, 2011.  However, drought conditions in parts of the west and southern plains remain severe. December 2014 brought heavy precipitation to southeastern and eastern portions of the country, significantly reducing levels of abnormal dryness (D0), moderate…

Bamboo Boom?

It may feel like deja vu; new, promising plant species will sustainably replace inefficient species to reduce carbon emissions, maintain biodiversity and save the world! Okay that may be a bit hyperbolic but the gist is the same; new species, new crops, new product to drastically change a former environmentally unfriendly material into a green…