Plants, soil and climate change

170307100311_1_900x600
Data was provided from CEH’s climate change manipulation experiment, which has been running for 18 years in Cloceanog forest, a wet Welsh upland site with a peat layer resulting from seasonal waterlogging. Credit: Rachel Harvey

 

Future climate change will affect plants and soil differently

A new study has found that soil carbon loss is more sensitive to climate change compared to carbon taken up by plants. In drier regions, soil carbon loss decreased but in wetter regions soil carbon loss increased.

Date:
March 7, 2017
Source:
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Summary:
A new study has found that soil carbon loss is more sensitive to climate change compared to carbon taken up by plants. In drier regions, soil carbon loss decreased but in wetter regions soil carbon loss increased. This could result in a positive feedback to the atmosphere leading to an additional increase of atmospheric CO2 levels.

Read the full article: Science Daily

California grasslands will become less productive if temperature or precipitation increases

160906084959_1_540x360
Grassland at Stanford University’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. An examination of 17 years of experimental data from the preserve is helping scientists from Rice University, Stanford and the Carnegie Institution for Science better understand how ecosystems will respond to climate change.Credit: Daniel J. Quinn/Stanford University

 

Warmer, wetter climate would impair California grasslands

17-year experiment finds present climate near optimal for plant growth

Date:
September 6, 2016
Source:
Rice University
Summary:
Scientists said data from one of the world’s longest-running climate-change experiments show that California grasslands will become less productive if the temperature or precipitation increases substantially above average conditions from the past 40 years.

Results from one of the longest-running and most extensive experiments to examine how climate change will affect agricultural productivity show that California grasslands will become less productive if the temperature or precipitation increases substantially above average conditions from the past 40 years.

Read the full article: Science Daily

Predicting how plants will respond to warming climate conditions.

 

 

US grasslands affected more by atmospheric dryness than precipitation

Date:
March 7, 2017
Source:
Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences
Summary:
According to 33 years of remote sensing data, productivity of US grasslands is more sensitive to dryness of the atmosphere than precipitation, important information for understanding how ecosystems will respond to climate change.

A new study showing dryness of the atmosphere affects U.S. grassland productivity more than rainfall could have important implications for predicting how plants will respond to warming climate conditions.

Read the full article: Science Daily

Climate change in Zimbabwe and women farmers

 

Photo credit: IRIN

How women farmers are battling climate change in Zimbabwe

by Tonderayi Mukeredzi, IRIN contributor in Zimbabwe

Chengetai Zonke lost much of her maize crop to drought last year. When it came to planting again, she decided to reduce her stake in what has become a recurrent climate change gamble.

At her homestead in Chiware, in Zimbabwe’s northeastern Manicaland Province, the 52-year-old farmer explained why. “I’ve abandoned tilling the bigger fields to avoid the risk of putting more land under crops that may fail due to lack of rain or too much rain,” she told IRIN. “Replanting costs money, which is scarce.”

Allowing for the unpredictability of climate change turned out to be a shrewd move. After years of drought, Cyclone Dineo struck mid-February. Almost the entire country is now affected by floods, which have washed away bridges and roads and marooned some communities in the south entirely.

Almost 250 people have been killed in what President Robert Mugabe has declared a “national disaster”. Nearly 2,000 more have been left homeless, while many others remain vulnerable to dams bursting or overflowing upstream.

Several weeks of heavy rain have also taken their toll on agriculture – already struggling due to a critical shortage of fertiliser and a persistent outrbeak of fall armyworm.

“Some farmers face hunger because they planted late. Their crops are waterlogged, and have been leached,” said Zonke, whose own maize was affected.

Before the cyclone struck, the Zimbabwe Food Security Cluster (UN agencies, NGOs, government and donor representatives) was estimating that 43 percent of the rural population, some 4.1 million people, would be food insecure at the peak of the lean season, between January and March.

Women’s work

Zonke has four children, who have all finished school, and lives with four grandchildren. As is the norm in Zimbabwe, although she has a husband, it is she who does most of the work on the family farm.

Read the full story: IRIN

How can climate change adaptation strategies be integrated with concerns over biological diversity, desertification and land degradation?

 

 

DOCUMENT ABSTRACT
Published: 2006

Guidance for promoting synergy among activities addressing biological diversity, desertification, land degradation and climate change

  • Edited by Tracy Zussman
This report highlights the major biological factors that contribute to ecosystem resilience under the projected impacts of global climate change. It assesses the potential consequences for biodiversity of particular adaptation activities under the thematic areas of the Convention on Biological Diversity, provides methodological considerations when implementing these activities, and highlights research and knowledge gaps. The report contains:

  • an assessment of the integration of biodiversity considerations in the design and implementation of adaptation activities
  • approaches, methods and tools for planning, designing and implementing adaptation activities that also include biodiversity considerations
  • key points for advice.

The report both recognises the potential of, and stresses the need for, synergy in the implementation of activities that interlink biodiversity conservation, mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, and land degradation. The report recommends the following:

Read the full article: ELDIS

Aviation fuel from Jatropha plants grown in desert with sewage water

 

Photo credit: Google

TNAU Agritech Portal :: Bio Fuels

Agritech Portal – Tamil Nadu Agricultural University834 × 466Search by image

Origin and Distribution in the world. Abundance and availability of energy resources largely determine the economic well being of a country.

Egypt produces jet biofuel from jatropha

Speed read

  • Research team produces aviation fuel from jatropha plants grown in desert with sewage water
  • Aim is to cut aviation emissions, but high cost remains a challenge for use by the end of 2017
  • Semi-industrial experiments kicked off to develop a production method that may cut the cost
5414b1fcf289cfc0c62554f2f29659ea
Jatropha curcas is being grown for biodiesel – https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/54/14/b1/5414b1fcf289cfc0c62554f2f29659ea.jpg

Researchers at Egypt’s National Research Centre have produced a biofuel suitable for aeroplanes after successful semi-industrial experiments conducted last December.

The centre was officially commissioned by the Egyptian Ministry of Civil Aviation to find a local biofuel to power aircrafts. This was to support the implementation of the International Air Transport Association plan, aiming to halve carbon dioxide emissions caused by aviation companies by 2050. Commercial aviation contributes about 2 per cent of global carbon emissions annually.

Gizine El Diwani, professor at the centre’s chemical engineering and semi-industrial experiments department, says it all started with the production of a biofuel for cars. The researchers made biodiesel from the seeds of the jatropha tree — the seeds’ oil content is between 20-25 per cent. The oil can be easily extracted using organic solvents such as hexane, according to El Diwani.

“Globally, the lowest price of biofuel is 90 per cent higher than that of the average fuel; this is due to the high cost of the materials needed for the manufacture of biofuel.”

Khaled Fouad, Zagazig University in Egypt

Because the properties of jatropha oil differ from those of traditional engine oil — in terms of viscosity, density and degree of combustion — it has to go through a number of fairly simple chemical processes to be adapted for use in running engines.

At this stage, the fuel is suitable for car engines. To be suitable for jet engines, it should be able to resist freezing until at least minus 45 degrees Celsius. The research team sought to resolve this at a later stage in the fuel’s development.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Failure to act now will compromise future food production, sabotage 2030 development agenda

 

Photo credit: FAO

Members of an Indian farmers group measure local groundwater levels at an observation well.

FAO Director-General urges more support to help small farmers adapt to a changing climate

Failure to act now to make our food systems more resilient to climate change will “seriously compromise” food production in many regions and could doom to failure international efforts to end hunger and extreme poverty by 2030, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva warned today.

“Agriculture holds the key to solving two of the greatest problems now facing humanity: eradicating poverty and hunger, and contributing to maintaining the stable climatic conditions in which civilization can thrive,” he told participants at a roundtable on climate change during the World Government Summit in Dubai.

The FAO Director-General stressed in particular the need to support smallholder farmers in the developing world adapt to climate change.

“The vast majority of the extremely poor and hungry depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, he said, adding: “They are the most vulnerable to the impacts of global warming and an unstable climate.”

Innovative approaches exist that can help them improve yields and build their resilience, he said, such as green manuring, greater use of nitrogen-fixing cover crops, improving sustainable soil management, agroforestry techniques, and integrating animal production into cropping systems.

“But farmers face major barriers, such as the lack of access to credit and markets, lack of knowledge and information, insecurity about land tenure, and high transaction costs of moving away from existing practices,” the Director-General noted.

He pointed to the fact that 70 countries do not have established meteorological services as an example. FAO is working with the World Meteorological Organization to develop low-cost, farmer friendly services to address this need.

To withstand the vagaries of a harsher, less predictable climate, small farmers will also need better access to other sorts of technologies and to markets, information and finance — as well as better land tenure and improved agriculture infrastructure, added Graziano da Silva.

Ultimately, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, he argued.

Read the full article: FAO

Genetic variability and crops with superior genetic yield potential and stress adaptation

 

Photo credit: CIMMYT

Farmer Bida Sen prepares rice seedlings for transplanting in Pipari, Dang. Photo: P. Lowe/CIMMYT

New Publications: How to maintain food security under climate change

Wheat, rice, maize, pearl millet, and sorghum provide over half of the world’s food calories. To maintain global food security under climate change, there is an increasing need to exploit existing genetic variability and develop crops with superior genetic yield potential and stress adaptation.

Climate change impacts food production by increasing heat and water stress among other environmental challenges, including the spread of pests, according to a recent study published by researchers at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). If nothing is done to currently improve the crops we grow, wheat, maize and rice are predicted to decrease in both tropical and temperate regions. Wheat yields are already slowing in most areas, with models predicting a six percent decline in yield for every 1 degree Celsius increase in global temperature.

Read the full article: CIMMYT

Harvests in the United States are liable to shrink

 

Photo credit: Climate Home

(Pic: Pixabay)

Global warming to shrink US harvests, say scientists

Rising temperatures will lead to massive crop losses in the US, which will increase prices and cause problems for developing countries, says international study

By Alex Kirby

Harvests in the United States are liable to shrink by between a fifth and a half of their present size because of rising temperatures, an international scientific team has found.

They say wheat, maize (known also as corn) and soya are all likely to suffer substantial damage by the end of the century. And while increased irrigation could help to protect them against the growing heat, that will be an option only in regions with enough water.

Their report, published in the journal Nature Communications, says the effects of a warming atmosphere will extend far beyond the US. But as it is one of the largest crop exporters, world market crop prices may increase, causing problems for poor countries.

The lead author of the study is Bernhard Schauberger, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany. He says: “We know from observations that high temperatures can harm crops, but now we have a much better understanding of the processes.”

Read the full story: Climate Home

Forests store more carbon after logging due to favourable climate

 

 

Study maps carbon recovery after Amazon logging

by Rodrigo de Oliveira Andrade

Speed read

  • Selective logging improves carbon absorption by remaining trees
  • Research analysed 133 forest plots in 13 sites across Amazon rainforest
  • Forests from northern sites store more after logging due to favourable climate

Trees in the northern part of the Amazon rainforest recover their capacity to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere more quickly after selective logging compared with trees in the south where the climate is less favourable, a study reports.

Published in the journal eLife last month (December 20), the research assessed the dynamics of CO2 absorption in parts of the Amazon after they had been through selective logging — a practice where only the most valuable and biggest trees are cut down and collected.

“The low-impact, selective cutting of trees is vital to limiting damage to large, unharvested trees, which are critical for forest recovery.”

William Laurance, James Cook University

The Amazon rainforest accounts for up to 30 per cent of the total CO2stored by forests globally. But every year, selective logging contributes to the release of a big part of this stored carbon, contributing to global warming.

These emissions are cancelled out in the medium term, thanks to the carbon dynamics of the forests themselves: the remaining trees — those not harvested — and young trees — which regenerate naturally after logging— assimilate atmospheric carbon again.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Pakistan: combat desertification up-scaled

 

Photo credit: Pakistanpoint

 

Efforts to combat desertification up-scaled

 

Islamabad

The climate change ministry has up-scaled its efforts to combat desertification in the country through sustainable land management.

This was stated by the ministry’s officials during a meeting of the Programme Steering Committee of the Sustainable Land Management Programme (SLMP Phase-II) here on Friday under the ministry’s leadership in partnership with UNDP, GEF and all four provinces.

The participants discussed the progress of the programme in four provinces and its achievements.

They approved the stepping up of Sustainable Land Management (SLM) up-scaling activities, which envisage SLM integrated provincial policies, technical training, effective land use planning with Geographic Information System (GIS) and implementation of climate-resilient SLM activities in partnership with communities across landscapes in the country.

Read the full article: The News

See also: https://www.pakistantribe.com/49069/pakistan-upscales-efforts-combat-desertification-sustainable-land-management

and: http://www.pakistanpoint.com/en/pakistan/news/efforts-afoot-to-combat-desertification-throu-88077.html

 

Not only rain but also agriculture and human utilization of trees, bushes and land affect the plants recovering.

Photo credit: Science Daily

Drought-tolerant species thrive despite returning rains in the Sahel

Date:
October 19, 2016
Source:
Stockholm University
Summary:
Following the devastating droughts in the 70s and 80s in the Sahel region south of the Sahara desert, vegetation has now recovered. What surprised the researchers is that although it is now raining more and has become greener, it is particularly the more drought resistant species that thrive instead of the tree and shrub vegetation that has long been characteristic of the area. The conclusion is that not only rain but also agriculture and human utilization of trees, bushes and land affect the plants recovering.

 

The expected pattern is that a drier climate favours drought resistant species, and that a wetter climate makes it possible for species that require more rainfall to thrive. A new study, however, shows the opposite effect; that a shift to more drought tolerant species is occurring, even though it’s raining more. This shows that the recent regreening of the Sahel region can not only be explained by the fact that it rains more, which until now has been the dominant explanation.

Read the full article: Science Daily

%d bloggers like this: