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Selection: with tag sustainability [110 articles] 

 

Resistance and resilience to changing climate and fire regime depend on plant functional traits

  
Journal of Ecology, Vol. 102, No. 6. (November 2014), pp. 1572-1581, https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12306

Abstract

[Summary] [::] Changing disturbance–climate interactions will drive shifts in plant communities: these effects are not adequately quantified by environmental niche models used to predict future species distributions. We quantified the effects of more frequent fire and lower rainfall – as projected to occur under a warming and drying climate – on population responses of shrub species in biodiverse Mediterranean-climate type shrublands near Eneabba, southwestern Australia. [::] Using experimental fires, we measured the density of all shrub species for four dominant plant functional groups ...

 

Recurrent wildfires constrain long-term reproduction ability in Pinus halepensis Mill.

  
International Journal of Wildland Fire, Vol. 17, No. 5. (2008), 579, https://doi.org/10.1071/wf07078

Abstract

Increasing fire recurrence is a major problem threatening Mediterranean-type ecosystems. Moreover, this pattern is predicted to increase owing to global change. Although a reduction in the density and growth of post-fire regeneration is usually observed in recurrently burnt areas, the potential effects on reproductive ability have seldom been explored. The aim of the present study is to investigate whether structural changes induced by fire recurrence may constrain reproduction ability of Pinus halepensis forests. We conducted the current study in Catalonia (NE ...

 

Behavioral self-organization underlies the resilience of a coastal ecosystem

  
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 114, No. 30. (25 July 2017), pp. 8035-8040, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1619203114

Abstract

[Significance] Theoretical models suggest that spatial self-organization enhances the resistance of ecosystems to disturbance. However, experiments investigating this important prediction are lacking. Our paper provides clear experimental evidence that spatial self-organization profoundly increases the ability of ecosystems to persist in the face of disturbance. The mechanisms underlying this positive impact of self-organization are driven by the combination of ecological and behavioral processes. Specifically, large-scale banded patterns in mussel beds created by ecological feedback processes facilitate fast behavioral aggregation of individual mussels into ...

 

Regular patterns link individual behavior to population persistence

  
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 114, No. 30. (25 July 2017), pp. 7747-7749, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1709063114

Abstract

[Excerpt] Resisting and recovering from disturbances is a necessity for most species. The strategy is sometimes collective, depending on the aggregation of interacting individuals into regular patterns. However, relating patterns of abundance across scales to both individual behavior and population persistence remains a major challenge for ecology. Such patterns are found in many ecosystems, ranging from microbes to forests, with their regularity taking the form of evenly sized and spaced bands and patches of aggregated individuals. Regular patterns are said to ...

 

Stressing mental health

  
Science, Vol. 356, No. 6340. (25 May 2017), pp. 878-878, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.356.6340.878

Abstract

[Excerpt] [...] Stress is an ingrained and unavoidable aspect of scientific practice. In some unfortunate cases, lab culture can make it worse. In many others, however, it is simply the nature of research. Deadlines, tight funding, and the pressure to “publish or perish” all create chronic stress. There is no avoiding these issues. [...] Personally, I realized that self-imposed deadlines and goals created much of the stress I was feeling, and that tempering my expectations was an easy way to reduce ...

 

Global urban signatures of phenotypic change in animal and plant populations

  
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (03 January 2017), 201606034, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1606034114

Abstract

[Significance] Ecoevolutionary feedbacks on contemporary timescales were hypothesized over half a century ago, but only recently has evidence begun to emerge. The role that human activity plays in such dynamics is still unclear. Through a metaanalysis of >1,600 phenotypic changes in species across regions and ecosystem types, we examine the evidence that the rate of phenotypic change has an urban signature. Our findings indicate greater phenotypic change in urbanizing systems compared with natural and nonurban anthropogenic systems. By explicitly linking urban development ...

 

Libros

  
Revista Montes, Vol. 125 (2016), pp. 76-77

Abstract

[Excerpt] [:Libro blanco del sector de aviones contra incendios forestales] [::Autores] Carles Algué y Aitor Martín [\n] [...] España cuenta con uno de los mejores sistemas de extinción de incendios forestales del mundo, en el que los medios aéreos constituyen un pilar clave. Los aviones anti-incendios operados por empresas privadas cada verano en España representan más de un tercio de la capacidad total de lanzamiento de agua disponible, aunque sólo la décima parte del presupuesto total anual destinado a medios aéreos. [...] [:Flora literaria del ...

 

Meeting the Sustainable Development Goals leads to lower world population growth

  
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 113, No. 50. (13 December 2016), pp. 14294-14299, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1611386113

Abstract

[Significance] The future of world population growth matters for future human well-being and interactions with the natural environment. We show the extent to which world population growth could be reduced by fully implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) whose health and education targets have direct and indirect consequences on future mortality and fertility trends. Although this assessment is consistent with the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways scenarios used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change context, it is inconsistent with the prediction range of ...

 

Research software sustainability: report on a knowledge exchange workshop

  
(February 2016)

Abstract

[Excerpt: Executive summary] Without software, modern research would not be possible. Understandably, people tend to marvel at results rather than the tools used in their discovery, which means the fundamental role of software in research has been largely overlooked. But whether it is widely recognised or not, research is inexorably connected to the software that is used to generate results, and if we continue to overlook software we put at risk the reliability and reproducibility of the research itself. [\n] The adoption of software is accompanied by new risks - many of ...

 

Post-truth: a guide for the perplexed

  
Nature, Vol. 540, No. 7631. (28 November 2016), pp. 9-9, https://doi.org/10.1038/540009a

Abstract

If politicians can lie without condemnation, what are scientists to do? Kathleen Higgins offers some explanation. [Excerpt] The Oxford Dictionaries named ‘post-truth’ as their 2016 Word of the Year. It must sound alien to scientists. Science’s quest for knowledge about reality presupposes the importance of truth, both as an end in itself and as a means of resolving problems. How could truth become passé? [\n] [...] [\n] Post-truth refers to blatant lies being routine across society, and it means that politicians can lie without ...

 

Darcy's law predicts widespread forest mortality under climate warming

  
Nature Climate Change, Vol. 5, No. 7. (18 May 2015), pp. 669-672, https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2641

Abstract

Nature Climate Change | Letter Print Share/bookmark Darcy's law predicts widespread forest mortality under climate warming Nathan G. McDowell & Craig D. Allen Affiliations Contributions Corresponding author Nature Climate Change 5, 669–672 (2015) https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2641 Received 23 July 2014 Accepted 07 April ...

 

Fire effects on soils: the human dimension

  
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 371, No. 1696. (05 June 2016), 20150171, https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2015.0171

Abstract

Soils are among the most valuable non-renewable resources on the Earth. They support natural vegetation and human agro-ecosystems, represent the largest terrestrial organic carbon stock, and act as stores and filters for water. Mankind has impacted on soils from its early days in many different ways, with burning being the first human perturbation at landscape scales. Fire has long been used as a tool to fertilize soils and control plant growth, but it can also substantially change vegetation, enhance soil erosion ...

 

Positive biodiversity-productivity relationship predominant in global forests

  
Science, Vol. 354, No. 6309. (14 October 2016), aaf8957, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaf8957

Abstract

[Abstract] The biodiversity-productivity relationship (BPR) is foundational to our understanding of the global extinction crisis and its impacts on ecosystem functioning. Understanding BPR is critical for the accurate valuation and effective conservation of biodiversity. Using ground-sourced data from 777,126 permanent plots, spanning 44 countries and most terrestrial biomes, we reveal a globally consistent positive concave-down BPR, showing that continued biodiversity loss would result in an accelerating decline in forest productivity worldwide. The value of biodiversity in maintaining commercial forest productivity alone—US$166 billion ...

 

The economic possibilities of conservation

  
The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 27, No. 3. (01 May 1913), pp. 497-519, https://doi.org/10.2307/1883375

Abstract

[Excerpt] It is desirable to confine the idea of conservation to its original application to natural resources. Even in this sense the concept as developed in the conservation movement comprises several distinct purposes, which are not clearly separated in the popular mind. In the first place, it expresses a demand for a fair distribution of the natural resources not yet alienated. [\n] [...] The real heart of the conservation problem presents an issue which taxes the resources of economic theory to the utmost. ...

 

The trouble with negative emissions

  
Science, Vol. 354, No. 6309. (14 October 2016), pp. 182-183, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aah4567

Abstract

In December 2015, member states of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted the Paris Agreement, which aims to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. The Paris Agreement requires that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission sources and sinks are balanced by the second half of this century. Because some nonzero sources are unavoidable, this leads to the abstract concept of “negative emissions,” the ...

 

Resources

  
In The development dictionary: a guide to knowledge as power (2010), pp. 228-242
edited by Wolfgang Sachs

Abstract

[Excerpt] ‘Resource’ originally implied life. Its root is the Latin verb surgere, which evoked the image of a spring that continually rises from the ground. Like a spring, a ‘re-source’ rises again and again, even if it has repeatedly been used and consumed. The concept thus highlighted nature’s power of self-regeneration and called attention to her prodigious creativity. Moreover, it implied an ancient idea about the relationship between humans and nature: that the earth bestows gifts on humans who, in turn, are well advised to show diligence in ...

 

Green and blue water demand from large-scale land acquisitions in Africa

  
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 113, No. 41. (11 October 2016), pp. 11471-11476, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1524741113

Abstract

[Significance] Freshwater appropriation can have vast impacts, depending on management and scale of water use. Since 2000, foreign investors have contracted an area the size of the United Kingdom in Africa, leading to increased pressure on water resources. Here we couple site-specific water demand for the crops planted there to the efficiency of different irrigation systems, while relating these estimates to local water availability. This approach enables us to identify “hotspot” areas of freshwater use where crops demand more water from irrigation ...

 

Does background matter? Disciplinary perspectives on sustainable forest management

  
Biodiversity and Conservation, Vol. 23, No. 14. (2014), pp. 3373-3389, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-014-0816-1

Abstract

Although sustainable forest management (SFM) has become increasingly popular during recent decades, approaches towards it are still imprecise and lack consistency. Within this “chaos”, scientists are increasingly expected to further develop the concept across disciplinary boundaries, including normative statements relating to the future. However, we assume that disciplinary boundaries in the construction of SFM still exist due to prevalent interests and political intentions within scientific communities. Therefore, our aim is to analyse and explain qualitative differences in the construction of SFM ...

 

The bio-economy concept and knowledge base in a public goods and farmer perspective

  
Bio-based and Applied Economics, Vol. 1, No. 1. (2012), pp. 47-63

Abstract

Currently an industrial perspective dominates the EU policy framework for a European bio-economy. The Commission’s proposal on the bio-economy emphasises greater resource-efficiency, largely within an industrial perspective on global economic competitiveness, benefiting capital-intensive industries at higher levels of the value chain. However a responsible bio-economy must initially address the sustainable use of resources. Many farmers are not only commodity producers but also providers of quality food and managers of the eco-system. A public goods-oriented bio-economy emphasises agro-ecological methods, organic and low ...

 

Bioeconomy - an emerging meta-discourse affecting forest discourses?

  
Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, Vol. 29, No. 4. (19 May 2014), pp. 386-393, https://doi.org/10.1080/02827581.2014.920044

Abstract

The term bioeconomy and closely related notions like bio-based economy or knowledge-based bioeconomy (KBBE) are increasingly used by scientists and politicians in the last years. It does therefore have the potential of becoming an influential global discourse. Its role is however so far unclear. The general assumption that guides this paper is that discourses, resulting ideas and arguments are generally said to have performative power. They shape actors' views, influence their behaviour, impact on their beliefs and interests and can cause ...

 

Visions of sustainability in bioeconomy research

  
Sustainability, Vol. 6, No. 3. (06 March 2014), pp. 1222-1249, https://doi.org/10.3390/su6031222

Abstract

The rise of the bioeconomy is usually associated with increased sustainability. However, various controversies suggest doubts about this assumed relationship. The objective of this paper is to identify different visions and the current understanding of the relationship between the bioeconomy and sustainability in the scientific literature by means of a systematic review. After a search in several databases, 87 scientific journal articles were selected for review. Results show that visions about the relationship between bioeconomy and sustainability differ substantially. Four different ...

 

The charcoal vision: a win–win–win scenario for simultaneously producing bioenergy, permanently sequestering carbon, while improving soil and water quality

  
Agronomy Journal, Vol. 100, No. 1. (2008), 178, https://doi.org/10.2134/agrojnl2007.0161

Abstract

Processing biomass through a distributed network of fast pyrolyzers may be a sustainable platform for producing energy from biomass. Fast pyrolyzers thermally transform biomass into bio-oil, syngas, and charcoal. The syngas could provide the energy needs of the pyrolyzer. Bio-oil is an energy raw material (∼17 MJ kg−1) that can be burned to generate heat or shipped to a refinery for processing into transportation fuels. Charcoal could also be used to generate energy; however, application of the charcoal co-product to soils ...

 

How chimpanzees cooperate in a competitive world

  
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 113, No. 36. (06 September 2016), pp. 10215-10220, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1611826113

Abstract

[Significance] Competitive tendencies may make it hard for members of a group to cooperate with each other. Humans use many different “enforcement” strategies to keep competition in check and favor cooperation. To test whether one of our closest relatives uses similar strategies, we gave a group of chimpanzees a cooperative problem that required joint action by two or three individuals. The open-group set-up allowed the chimpanzees a choice between cooperation and competitive behavior like freeloading. The chimpanzees used a combination of partner ...

 

Archiving primary data: solutions for long-term studies

  
Trends in Ecology & Evolution, Vol. 30, No. 10. (2015), pp. 581-589, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2015.07.006

Abstract

The recent trend for journals to require open access to primary data included in publications has been embraced by many biologists, but has caused apprehension amongst researchers engaged in long-term ecological and evolutionary studies. A worldwide survey of 73 principal investigators (Pls) with long-term studies revealed positive attitudes towards sharing data with the agreement or involvement of the PI, and 93% of PIs have historically shared data. Only 8% were in favor of uncontrolled, open access to primary data while 63% ...

 

Hedonism and the choice of everyday activities

  
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 113, No. 35. (30 August 2016), pp. 9769-9773, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1519998113

Abstract

[Significance] Decisions we make every day about how to invest our time have crucial personal and societal consequences. Most theories of motivation propose that our daily choices of activities aim to maximize positive affective states but fail to explain when people decide to engage in unpleasant yet necessary activities. We tracked the activities and moods of over 28,000 people in real time and demonstrated that people seek mood-enhancing activities when they feel bad and unpleasant activities when they feel good. These findings ...

 

Improving biodiversity indicators of sustainable forest management: tree genus abundance rather than tree genus richness and dominance for understory vegetation in French lowland oak hornbeam forests

  
Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 258 (06 December 2009), pp. S176-S186, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foreco.2009.09.004

Abstract

Two different biodiversity indicators based on tree species diversity are being used, in Europe and France respectively, without strong prior scientific validation: (1) tree species or genus richness as a positive indicator, and (2) relative abundance of the main species (“dominance”) as a negative indicator. We tested the relevance of these ecological models as indicators of understory vegetation biodiversity by comparing them to other ecological models, mainly related to tree species composition and abundance. We developed Bayesian statistical models for richness ...

 

Root exudates drive interspecific facilitation by enhancing nodulation and N2 fixation

  
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 113, No. 23. (07 June 2016), pp. 6496-6501, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1523580113

Abstract

[Significance] Plant diversity often leads to an increase in ecosystem productivity, but the underpinning mechanisms remain poorly understood. We found that faba bean/maize intercropping enhances productivity, nodulation, and N2 fixation of faba bean through interspecific root interactions. We provide a mechanism explaining how maize promotes N2 fixation of faba bean, where root exudates from maize increase root hair deformation and nodulation in faba bean, double exudation of flavonoids (signaling compounds for rhizobia), and up-regulate the expression of a chalcone–flavanone isomerase gene involved ...

 

The pressure to publish pushes down quality

  
Nature, Vol. 533, No. 7602. (11 May 2016), pp. 147-147, https://doi.org/10.1038/533147a

Abstract

Scientists must publish less, says Daniel Sarewitz, or good research will be swamped by the ever-increasing volume of poor work. [Excerpt] [\n] [...] [\n] Indeed, the widespread availability of bibliometric data from sources such as Elsevier, Google Scholar and Thomson Reuters ISI makes it easy for scientists (with their employers looking over their shoulders) to obsess about their productivity and impact, and to compare their numbers with those of other scientists. [\n] And if more is good, then the trends for science are favourable. The ...

 

Biomass collapse in Amazonian forest fragments

  
Science, Vol. 278, No. 5340. (7 November 1997), pp. 1117-1118, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.278.5340.1117

Abstract

Rain forest fragments in central Amazonia were found to experience a dramatic loss of above-ground tree biomass that is not offset by recruitment of new trees. These losses were largest within 100 meters of fragment edges, where tree mortality is sharply increased by microclimatic changes and elevated wind turbulence. Permanent study plots within 100 meters of edges lost up to 36 percent of their biomass in the first 10 to 17 years after fragmentation. Lianas (climbing woody vines) increased near edges ...

 

Primary forests are irreplaceable for sustaining tropical biodiversity

  
Nature, Vol. 478, No. 7369. (14 September 2011), pp. 378-381, https://doi.org/10.1038/nature10425

Abstract

Human-driven land-use changes increasingly threaten biodiversity, particularly in tropical forests where both species diversity and human pressures on natural environments are high. The rapid conversion of tropical forests for agriculture, timber production and other uses has generated vast, human-dominated landscapes with potentially dire consequences for tropical biodiversity. Today, few truly undisturbed tropical forests exist, whereas those degraded by repeated logging and fires, as well as secondary and plantation forests, are rapidly expanding. Here we provide a global assessment of the impact ...

 

How green are biofuels?

  
Science, Vol. 319, No. 5859. (04 January 2008), pp. 43-44, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1153103

Abstract

Many biofuels are associated with lower greenhouse-gas emissions but have greater aggregate environmental costs than gasoline. [Excerpt] Global warming and escalating petroleum costs are creating an urgent need to find ecologically friendly fuels. Biofuels—such as ethanol from corn (maize) and sugarcane—have been increasingly heralded as a possible savior. But others have argued that biofuels will consume vast swaths of farmland and native habitats, drive up food prices, and result in little reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions . An innovative study by Zah et ...

 

(INRMM-MiD internal record) List of keywords of the INRMM meta-information database - part 35

  
(February 2014)
Keywords: inrmm-list-of-tags   supply-chain   support-vector-machines   supporting-services   surface-roughness   surprise   survey   survival   susceptibility   sustainability   sustainable-development   sustainable-forest   sustainable-forest-management   sustainable-forestry   sweden   swietenia-macrophylla   swiss   switzerland   syagrus-romanzoffiana   sycamore   symbiosis   symphoricarpos-albus   symphoricarpos-spp   symphytum-tauricum   symptoms   synergy   synonyms   syntax-vs-semantics   syntaxonomy   system   system-catastrophe   system-dynamics   system-engineering   system-of-systems   system-theory   systematics   syzygium-aromaticum   syzygium-cumini   tabebuia-chrysantha   tabebuia-heterophylla   tamarindus-indica   tamarix-canariensis   tamarix-chinensis   tamarix-kotschyi   tamarix-mascatensis   tamarix-nilotica   tamarix-octandra   tamarix-parviflora   tamarix-ramosissima   tamarix-spp   tamarix-tetragyna   tamarix-tetrandra   taper-curve   taphrorychus-bicolor   tasmania   taxa   taxine   taxodium-distichum   taxodium-mucronatum   taxodium-spp   taxol   taxon-specific-parameters   taxonomy   taxus-baccata   taxus-brevifolia   taxus-spp   team-diversity   technocracy   technology   technology-mediated-communication   tecoma-stans   tectona-grandis   tectonic   temperate-climate   temperate-continental-forest   temperate-europe   temperate-forest   temperate-mountain-system   temperate-trees   temperature   temperature-change   temperature-range   tensile-root-strength   terminalia-catappa   terminalia-superba   terminology   terpenes   terra-modis   terrain-ruggedness-index   terrestrial-earth-surface   terrestrial-lidar   terseness   tertiary   tetraclinis-articulata   tetraclinis-salicornioides   tetropium-castaneum   text-editors   thailand   thanasimus-formicarius   thaumetopoea-pityocampa  

Abstract

List of indexed keywords within the transdisciplinary set of domains which relate to the Integrated Natural Resources Modelling and Management (INRMM). In particular, the list of keywords maps the semantic tags in the INRMM Meta-information Database (INRMM-MiD). [\n] The INRMM-MiD records providing this list are accessible by the special tag: inrmm-list-of-tags ( http://mfkp.org/INRMM/tag/inrmm-list-of-tags ). ...

 

Waste not, want not, emit less

  
Science, Vol. 352, No. 6284. (21 April 2016), pp. 408-409, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aaf2978

Abstract

[Summary] Ensuring a sufficient supply of quality food for a growing human population is a major challenge, aggravated by climate change and already-strained natural resources. Food security requires production of some food surpluses to safeguard against unpredictable fluctuations (1). However, when food is wasted, not only has carbon been emitted to no avail, but disposal and decomposition in landfills create additional environmental impacts. Decreasing the current high scale of food waste is thus crucial for achieving resource-efficient, sustainable food systems (2). But, ...

 

Domesticated nature: shaping landscapes and ecosystems for human welfare

  
Science, Vol. 316, No. 5833. (2007), pp. 1866-1869, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1140170

Abstract

Like all species, humans have exercised their impulse to perpetuate and propagate themselves. In doing so, we have domesticated landscapes and ecosystems in ways that enhance our food supplies, reduce exposure to predators and natural dangers, and promote commerce. On average, the net benefits to humankind of domesticated nature have been positive. We have, of course, made mistakes, causing unforeseen changes in ecosystem attributes, while leaving few, if any, truly wild places on Earth. Going into the future, scientists can help ...

 

Ecosystem-based fishery management

  
Science, Vol. 305, No. 5682. (2004), pp. 346-347, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1098222

Abstract

[Summary] Ecosystem-based fishery management (EBFM) is a new direction for fishery management, essentially reversing the order of management priorities so that management starts with the ecosystem rather than a target species. EBFM aims to sustain healthy marine ecosystems and the fisheries they support. Pikitch et al. describe the potential benefits of implementation of EBFM that, in their view, far outweigh the difficulties of making the transition from a management system based on maximizing individual species. ...

 

Exploring the biophysical option space for feeding the world without deforestation

  
Nature Communications, Vol. 7 (19 April 2016), 11382, https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms11382

Abstract

Safeguarding the world’s remaining forests is a high-priority goal. We assess the biophysical option space for feeding the world in 2050 in a hypothetical zero-deforestation world. We systematically combine realistic assumptions on future yields, agricultural areas, livestock feed and human diets. For each scenario, we determine whether the supply of crop products meets the demand and whether the grazing intensity stays within plausible limits. We find that many options exist to meet the global food supply in 2050 without deforestation, even ...

Visual summary



 

Feeding the future

  
Science, Vol. 327, No. 5967. (2010), pp. 797-797, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.327.5967.797

Abstract

[Excerpt] Feeding the 9 billion people expected to inhabit our planet by 2050 will be an unprecedented challenge. This special issue examines the obstacles to achieving global food security and some promising solutions. News articles take us into the fields, introducing farmers and researchers who are finding ways to boost harvests, especially in the developing world. Reviews, Perspectives, a special single-topic podcast, and an audio interview done by a high school intern provide a broader context for the causes and effects ...

 

Greater transportation energy and GHG offsets from bioelectricity than ethanol

  
Science, Vol. 324, No. 5930. (2009), pp. 1055-1057, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1168885
Keywords: bioenergy   climate   energy   ghg   sustainability  

Abstract

The quantity of land available to grow biofuel crops without affecting food prices or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from land conversion is limited. Therefore, bioenergy should maximize land-use efficiency when addressing transportation and climate change goals. Biomass could power either internal combustion or electric vehicles, but the relative land-use efficiency of these two energy pathways is not well quantified. Here, we show that bioelectricity outperforms ethanol across a range of feedstocks, conversion technologies, and vehicle classes. Bioelectricity produces an average of ...

 

Humanity's unsustainable environmental footprint

  
Science, Vol. 344, No. 6188. (2014), pp. 1114-1117, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1248365

Abstract

Within the context of Earth’s limited natural resources and assimilation capacity, the current environmental footprint of humankind is not sustainable. Assessing land, water, energy, material, and other footprints along supply chains is paramount in understanding the sustainability, efficiency, and equity of resource use from the perspective of producers, consumers, and government. We review current footprints and relate those to maximum sustainable levels, highlighting the need for future work on combining footprints, assessing trade-offs between them, improving computational techniques, estimating maximum sustainable ...

 

Planetary boundaries: guiding human development on a changing planet

  
Science, Vol. 347, No. 6223. (2015), https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1259855

Abstract

[Editor summary: Crossing the boundaries in global sustainability] The planetary boundary (PB) concept, introduced in 2009, aimed to define the environmental limits within which humanity can safely operate. This approach has proved influential in global sustainability policy development. Steffen et al. provide an updated and extended analysis of the PB framework. Of the original nine proposed boundaries, they identify three (including climate change) that might push the Earth system into a new state if crossed and that also have a pervasive influence ...

 

Seeking sustainability: Israel's evolving water management strategy

  
Science, Vol. 313, No. 5790. (2006), pp. 1081-1084, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1126011

Abstract

The water management policies adopted to address Israel's chronic scarcity have not been without environmental consequences. Yet, through a trial-and-error process, a combined strategy of water transport, rainwater harvesting, and wastewater reuse and desalination, along with a variety of water conservation measures, have put the country on a more sustainable path for the future. ...

 

Impacts of fishing low - Trophic level species on marine ecosystems

  
Science, Vol. 333, No. 6046. (2011), pp. 1147-1150, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1209395

Abstract

Low–trophic level species account for more than 30% of global fisheries production and contribute substantially to global food security. We used a range of ecosystem models to explore the effects of fishing low–trophic level species on marine ecosystems, including marine mammals and seabirds, and on other commercially important species. In five well-studied ecosystems, we found that fishing these species at conventional maximum sustainable yield (MSY) levels can have large impacts on other parts of the ecosystem, particularly when they constitute a ...

 

Status and solutions for the world's unassessed fisheries

  
Science, Vol. 338, No. 6106. (2012), pp. 517-520, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1223389

Abstract

Recent reports suggest that many well-assessed fisheries in developed countries are moving toward sustainability. We examined whether the same conclusion holds for fisheries lacking formal assessment, which comprise >80% of global catch. We developed a method using species’ life-history, catch, and fishery development data to estimate the status of thousands of unassessed fisheries worldwide. We found that small unassessed fisheries are in substantially worse condition than assessed fisheries, but that large unassessed fisheries may be performing nearly as well as their ...

 

Taking the “waste” out of “wastewater” for human water security and ecosystem sustainability

  
Science, Vol. 337, No. 6095. (2012), pp. 681-686, https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1216852

Abstract

Humans create vast quantities of wastewater through inefficiencies and poor management of water systems. The wasting of water poses sustainability challenges, depletes energy reserves, and undermines human water security and ecosystem health. Here we review emerging approaches for reusing wastewater and minimizing its generation. These complementary options make the most of scarce freshwater resources, serve the varying water needs of both developed and developing countries, and confer a variety of environmental benefits. Their widespread adoption will require changing how freshwater is ...

 

The circular economy

  
Nature, Vol. 531, No. 7595. (23 March 2016), pp. 435-438, https://doi.org/10.1038/531435a

Abstract

A new relationship with our goods and materials would save resources and energy and create local jobs, explains Walter R. Stahel. [Excerpt: Systems thinking] There are three kinds of industrial economy: linear, circular and performance. [\n] A linear economy flows like a river, turning natural resources into base materials and products for sale through a series of value-adding steps. At the point of sale, ownership and liability for risks and waste pass to the buyer (who is now owner and user). The owner decides ...

 

Green paper on forest protection and information in the EU: preparing forests for climate change

  
COM Documents, Vol. 2010, No. COM/2010/0066 final. (1 March 2010)

Abstract

[Excerpt: Introduction] The purpose of this Green Paper is to launch the debate on options for a European Union (EU) approach to forest protection and information in the framework of the EU Forest Action Plan, as announced by the Commission in the White Paper "Adapting to Climate Change: towards a European Framework for action"[1]. The Council conclusions of 25 June 2009 on this White Paper underlined that climate change has had and will have an impact, inter alia, on forests. As these ...

 

Commission staff working document - impact assessment, Part 1 accompanying the document: Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - An EU strategy on adaptation to climate change

  
Commission Staff Working Document, Vol. 2013, No. SWD/2013/0132 final. (16 April 2013)

Abstract

[Excerpt: Climate change and the need for adaptation] The increase in global surface temperature is the most obvious aspect of anthropogenic climate change. The average temperature for the European land area for the last decade (2002-2011) is 1.3°C above the preindustrial average, which makes the increase over Europe faster than the global average. Moreover, significant economic losses[6] and human fatalities associated with extreme weather events, such as heat waves, droughts and heavy precipitation, have been registered. [\n] Climate change will continue for ...

 

A meta-analysis of bird and mammal response to short-rotation woody crops

  
GCB Bioenergy, Vol. 3, No. 4. (August 2011), pp. 313-321, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1757-1707.2010.01089.x

Abstract

Short-rotation woody cropping (SRWC) refers to silvicultural systems designed to produce woody biomass using short harvest cycles (1–15 years), intensive silvicultural techniques, high-yielding varieties, and often coppice regeneration. Recent emphasis on alternatives to fossil fuels has spurred interest in producing SRWC on privately owned and intensively managed forests of North America. We examined potential bird and small mammal response at the stand level to conversion of existing, intensively managed forests to SRWCs using meta-analysis of existing studies. We found 257 effect ...

 

Intensive short rotation forestry in boreal climates: present and future perspectives

  
Canadian Journal of Forest Research, Vol. 34, No. 7. (1 July 2004), pp. 1369-1378, https://doi.org/10.1139/x04-090

Abstract

Short rotation forestry (SRF) is regarded as a silvicultural practice employing high-density plantations of fast-growing tree species on fertile land with a rotation period of fewer than 10?12 years. I address the challenges and possibilities of SRF applications under the circumstances of a boreal climate, today as well as after anticipated climate change. The implications of a pronounced winter season for the performance of biomass crops are discussed. Poplars, aspens, and willows are superior in boreal SRF because of their fast ...

 

Cover crops in organic field vegetable production

  
Scientia Horticulturae (December 2015), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scienta.2015.12.029

Abstract

[Highlights] [::] Various aspects of cover crop usage in organic vegetable production are presented. [::] Cover crops can reduce the use of external inputs. [::] Cover crops suppress weeds as well as improve and maintain soil fertility. [::] Examples of their effects to pest populations and diseases are included in review. [Abstract] Environmental protection and human health have recently become important factors when selecting food production systems. The wide usages of pesticides and synthetic fertilisers in conventional production cause environmental pollution and degradation. Cover crops can reduce ...

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