Fungi can improve agricultural efficiency and sustainability
A recent study shows that soil microorganisms can improve the production of major crops like corn and wheat, while also reducing the environmental impact of excess fertilizers.
A recent study shows that soil microorganisms can improve the production of major crops like corn and wheat, while also reducing the environmental impact of excess fertilizers.
National industrial waste input-output accounts are a great asset to uncover waste exchange opportunities, reduce industrial wastes and promote industrial symbiosis at a national scale.
Different planning pathways with innovative and collaborative stakeholder involvement approaches are required to effectively pursue adaptation planning of urban sectors, a recent study found.
Every water management decision is a tradeoff: Scientists argue that the cost of ecosystem services lost when free-flowing rivers are modified should make its way into decision-making tools and assessment protocols.
A recent study links the use of open-air burn-pits, banned by the U.S. Congress in 2010, with neurodevelopmental disorders and birth defects in Iraqi children.
Accounting for nitrogen and phosphorous limitations on forest growth significantly alters projections of future climate change scenarios.
The typical American child spends more time indoors than outside. Indoor environments, however, are rarely subject to mandatory health-based standards. New research shows that students can achieve better test scores when schools improve their indoor air quality.
A new study finds that formal ownership of land fails to produce an efficient rental market, highlighting the limitations of this land reform strategy to increase land access in order to reduce farmland expansion into more vulnerable areas.
Existing systems for allocating water could leave some rivers high and dry. A recent study explored how a marketplace for water might better protect critical water resources.
Logging concessions and plantations for fiber species were the biggest contributors to forest loss in Indonesia from 2000-2010, but also comprise the country’s largest existing carbon stocks.
While China is the world’s largest waste oil producer there are interesting win-win situations for developing both renewable energy and reducing illegal use of gutter oil in cooking.
Desertification is one of the most pressing issues facing the world’s drylands. However, the term “desertification” is only vaguely defined, leading to complications in monitoring and management at all scales.
Successful land conservation efforts require transparency and collaboration between all individuals involved, a recent analysis found. The first step is for stakeholders to engage in conversation.
In water scarce regions, the concept of “virtual water” may help communities make tough decisions regarding competing water uses.
Consumers are increasingly willing to pay for pricier hybrid cars, expecting social recognition and prestige in exchange for their environmentally friendly consumption habits, a study finds. Society and the environment stand to benefit.
Different types of financing instruments are required to address the impacts and frequency of climate extremes in vulnerable developing countries, a recent analysis finds.
Innovative examples from corporations around the globe show that the tools of industrial ecology can be used to recognize and develop the multiple benefits associated with reducing environmental impact and enhancing competitive advantage.
Cumulative pressures on the global water cycle threaten social stability. An integrated approach to water management that crosses traditional boundaries between business, political, and ecological systems is required to ensure harmonious social and economic development.
While British Sugar’s primary business is producing sugar, the company in recent years has expanded its operations to include the production of animal feed, electricity, tomatoes, and bioethanol. A recent study illustrates how the company is a case study of a fundamental principle of industrial ecology — industrial symbiosis.
What happens to land under years of war and conflict? Satellite data and integrated modelling are helping to predict land degradation in war-torn regions of northern Lebanon.
New research on land tenure in China’s agrarian provinces highlights the importance of evaluating property rights in context, dismissing the typical attributes used to compare insecure or communal versus secure or private systems. The study suggests that understanding the social credibility of land ownership structures is central to appreciating how well specific structures function in a given location.
A recent study explored how businesses might value the critical ecosystem services provided by water — and how valuations could drive decision-making.
A new study shows that large trees capture carbon more efficiently than smaller trees, suggesting that they have a disproportionate effect on how forests influence global climate change.
When the demand for electricity threatens to exceed supply, electric utilities often issue public requests for households to dial down their energy usage during peak hours. A recent study suggests that those appeals may inadvertently have the opposite effect.
Water scarcity intensifies freshwater ecosystem degradation. A new study evaluates the compounding effects of several stressors on water-scarce ecosystems in order to construct better management strategies.
Ultimately, the factors that dictate the carbon footprints of producing biofuels versus reforesting degraded land are highly nuanced and vary from case to case
Voluntary environmental programs (VEPs) offer the potential to encourage sustainable production and consumption. However, the authors outline four key considerations that are essential for a VEP’s success.
Groundwater contamination from agricultural sources threatens drinking water quality in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Application of a geospatial tool may help farmers, researchers, and regulators identify farmland contributing to the problem.
Transaction costs related to climate finance can be addressed not only by technological innovations but also by institutional innovations, researchers say. In a recent study, they found that considering all possible costs while undertaking economic assessments could lead to better policy and provide decision-makers with realistic cost to address climate change impacts.
Adherence to three green building code and certifications systems demonstrates on average a 14-percent reduction in the environmental impact of a typical office building, with LEED results displaying worrisomely high variability in performance.
Road dust suspected to be the largest contributor to hospital admissions for heart and lung diseases from particulate matter pollutants in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Species are going extinct 1,000 times faster than at any point in Earth’s history, and even with protected areas, biodiversity preservation remains sub-optimal due to knowledge gaps and low representation of ecological habitats.
Rain-fed agriculture and international trade may help buffer the impacts of increasing world-wide water scarcity on food availability and economic welfare.
The drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, requires the injection of specific mixtures of water, sand, and chemicals into the ground, a key concern around shale extraction. A recent study examined the movement of these fracturing fluids in groundwater.
Conservation easements aimed at protecting privately owned land from development are self-limiting in the face of climate change. The time has come for land conservation organizations to reframe strategies that not only stand the test of time, but also a changing climate.
Across the world, animals are consistently imperiled by human land-use, but the magnitude of impact varies between species based on their innate features.
A recent evaluation of sustainability performance of energy technology systems in rural India reveals that biomass has the highest relative performance followed by hydropower. The sustainability of new and emerging technologies like solar, wind, and their hybrids has improved since 2005.
Integrating traditional practices with modern mechanized agriculture is one way of improving yields and reducing the environmental impact associated with agriculture in developed nations, but policy incentives will likely be required to encourage a meaningful shift in the industry.
A comprehensive review of passenger vehicle life cycle assessments shows converging opinion that electric vehicles are better for the environment than previously believed.
A recent paper explores how demographics, cognition and emotions characterize post-disaster opinions of nuclear energy in Japan.
Although exhibited in different ways, similar forces drive water management decisions in Israel and in Arizona. Understanding these motivating factors is crucial when developing successful and effective water management approaches.
In a recent study, researchers developed an approach to help companies make more informed water decisions based on which suppliers use more or less water throughout the supply chain.
Regional differences in the impacts of the urban heat island effect across the US are largely explained by variations in efficiency of heat convection to lower atmosphere and strongly influenced by humidity patterns rather than evapotranspiration.
During natural disasters, urban centers with large numbers of flexible coping mechanisms may ultimately fare better than those with fewer, but currently effective, mechanisms.
Environmental impact assessment of economic policies can help export-oriented countries manage environmental pressures and make smarter trade decisions.
Recent climate projections for India, based on the regional climate models, identify that India would face more days of extreme rains and more consecutive dry days – which would lead to more floods and more droughts, towards the end of the 21st century.
Miniscule fungi and diminutive insects that eat up seeds and seedlings of trees may hold the key to understanding the mindboggling diversity of tropical rainforests.
As carbon emissions climb, the US housing sector must embrace both energy retrofits and widespread adoption of green building in new construction to reduce their impacts.
Multiplied by hundreds of wells, total shale gas use in the Wattenberg Shale in northeastern Colorado is in the vicinity of a billion gallons or more — and in a basin that is actively seeking new water sources to meet existing demand.
New research shows a staggering groundwater loss in the Colorado River Basin that threatens water supplies and future water security for seven Western states and Mexico.
A new model suggests it may be possible to feed the world’s growing population with minimal environmental impact, but doing so will require targeted policies to reduce food waste and incentives towards healthier diets in industrialized nations.
Spatial analysis can be utilized as a decision-support tool to make sure energy development occurs in the least ecologically sensitive areas.
Communities with more tree cover benefit from increased shade, better water filtration, and a host of other positive externalities, but not all communities experience equal benefits.
Animals likely play a more instrumental role in carbon cycling and storage than previously understood, making wildlife management a potential avenue for mitigating carbon emissions.
A national carbon policy may exasperate water shortages in the western United States. Yet, the high cost of water reduction in the electricity sector makes it an unlikely candidate for mitigating water consumption in light of climate change and carbon policies.
Integrating sea level rise projections with cost-benefit analysis can provide guidance in assessing the trade-offs between coastal development and conservation objectives.
Human prosperity relies on functioning ecosystem processes. Large carnivores play an integral role in their human and natural surrounding; integrative conservation strategies are warranted to ensure their persistence.
Attaching the cameras to aerial drones allows conservation researchers to observe everything from illegal logging activity to elephant migrations.
Since nuclear fission was discovered in 1938, the world has built many bombs, dropped a few, provided low emission energy, and facilitated the creation of long-lived nuclear waste that currently has nowhere to go
In Changzhou, China 10% of the city’s energy footprint is related to water usage. Through strategic water conservation efforts, policy-makers can simultaneously conserve water and energy, save taxpayer money, and reduce climate change impacts.
Aquifer storage and recovery may represent an efficient, effective, and safe water storage option for maintaining drinking water and environmental supplies in Florida.
Scientists find that the Big Five personality traits are related to environmental values and behavior at the individual and national level. Policymakers can use this information to tailor programs and policies to yield changes in environmental behavior.
Forest property tax incentives are effective tools for ensuring landscape connectivity, yet what type of program forest owners participate in differs by type of forest and owners. Policymakers can use this information to tailor programs and policies to increase forest conservation programs.
Scientists examine how riparian restoration projects influence amphibian and reptile species and suggest several methods that natural resource managers can use to improve river rehabilitation projects.
Building models, frameworks, and skills to more effectively solve environmental problems.
“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.”
A closer look at the industrial exchanges taking place at an industrial park in Hawai’i reveals greenhouse gas savings equal to 25% of the State’s reduction goals.
Scientists and policy makers operate under very different time frames and professional priorities. Environmental research organizations should consider hiring knowledge brokers to ensure timely translation of scientific discoveries into regulations.
Environmental indices such as Yale’s Environmental Performance Index can help monitor progress towards achieving global sustainable development goals despite persistent challenges.
Whether you like your potatoes hashed, mashed, baked, broiled, crinkle cut or barbecued you are going to need to use energy to cook those spuds, but just how you accomplish this task has a lot to say about the energy footprint of your home-cooking.
As the ecological challenges continue to arise, environmental innovations may be the key to a firm’s market-share expansion and flexibility against economic downturn.
As ocean surface temperatures heat up and urban coastal populations continue to grow, climate models predict an increase in the number of intense storms and corresponding economic damage.
Social strategy games can help urban planners and developers learn the complex trade-offs between climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies in cities.
In countries like South Africa where food takes up as much as one-fifth of household spending, reducing waste from ‘farm to table’ is much more than a moral obligation - it is an economical way to maximize resources.
Increasing carbon storage in soils through biochar and producing bioenergy from perennial plants can be a powerful means to mitigate climate change. Understanding soil microbial processes is crucial to achieve improved soil fertility, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration.
With sea-ice hitting an all-time low in September 2012, scientists are examining how the melt will affect the transfer of greenhouse gases in arctic plant communities.
The most widespread techniques for increasing water supplies under climate uncertainty are also those with the greatest potential to spread disease. How can communities best adapt?
Environmentally sustainable alternatives to meat have a greater chance of gaining a permanent place on the dinner plate if consumers increase familiarity of product.
Diving tourism can help conserve marine wildlife and coastal ecosystems. To live up to its potential to conserve nature as well as to sustain popularity diving management including environmental education is key.
The unprecedented growth of cities in African countries has the potential to convert urban farming, a historical means of survival, into a viable livelihood for urban dwellers.
Offering property licenses to “squatter communities” may not make property rights more secure as investment and property markets fail to take newly registered property licenses seriously
Understanding how and why people fail to recognize the importance of future environmental problems can be used to tailor responses to environmental information problems
Utility companies’ demand-side programs produced a 0.9 percent savings in electricity consumption over the period between 1992 and 2006 and a 1.8 percent savings overall. They also achieved their maximum impact a few years after launching and had a long-lasting effect. Policy-makers should incorporate consideration of lasting and lagged effects of DSM programs into consideration.
Local waste sources, accumulation points, and marine pathways around Hawai’i Island were determined to address the origin of the debris accumulating in Kamilo Point through the deployment of debris-catching booms and wooden drifter blocks.
When choosing fuel efficient vehicles, US consumers undervalue future fuel costs by valuing one dollar’s worth of future savings at 76 cents for the present price, a value gap of 32 percent.
Individuals of all economic backgrounds in developing countries demand public green spaces and are willing to give time and money for their maintenance.
Radioactive material from the Fukushima disaster was detected in food webs in the Pacific. However, it isn’t substantial enough to be dangerous to humans or animals.
Little is known about whether regional shark management plans are robust enough to sustainably manage shark stocks. However, implementing national action plans that adhere to international guidelines and that build on experiences from other fisheries can help save endangered shark species from extinction.
Sustainable forest management that aims at Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) includes payments to landowners and can provide economic benefits over alternative land uses such as oil palm plantations. If certain key factors are resolved, REDD+ can simultaneously achieve economic and social success while bringing ecological benefits and contributing to climate change mitigation.
Scientists examine how zoning and land use policy can protect environmentally sensitive areas at the fringe of the cities from damage by shantytowns. Political and social factors can often cause these policies to fail.
Spring is coming earlier for wild bees in the Northeast. This could have serious ecological consequences if bee seasons go out of sync with plant seasons.
Butterflies and moths with specialized diets are utilizing human-altered environments to expand their ranges with climate change.
The Malaysian state of Sarawak started its implementation of a gigantic hydropower project with the goal to leapfrog into modernity. This causes a range of unfavorable consequences that should be carefully assessed by other countries in the region that plan to install similar projects.
In Kansas, researchers are finding easy ways to minimize the negative impacts of wind energy while greatly surpassing the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2030 goals.
Life-cycle assessments and carbon footprinting of viable recycling and reuse options for food cartons provides a quantitative look that can aid in decision-making processes.
Scientists explore how entrepreneurs and decision makers can make or break how a national park benefits a community
The Great Lakes – our largest global reserve of freshwater – are under attack from invasive species, and a new study provides an estimate of what this will cost us.
Recent studies at one of the BP-Deepwater Horizon oil spill sites has revealed that, preceding engineering activities diminished the resilience of the salt water marshes.
Coastal parks provide places for restoring psychological health, but climate change—which is predicted to change factors that impact perceived restorative value of beaches such as temperature, tide levels, and air and water quality—may affect society’s mental health. Leading scientists recommend that climate change adaptation plans include inland open space and shaded parks to provide places of mental restoration as beaches lose their restorative value.
Events that happened over a decade ago in California still provide insights into what could trigger consumers to cut back their energy use today.
Despite capital investment and regulatory initiatives worldwide, international environmental technology transfer between developed and developing country occurs rarely while 60 percent of related innovation is concentrated in 3 countries.
The policies and measures aiming at reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) have proliferated, resulting in varying interpretations of “safeguards”. Now that REDD+ is maturing, direct trade-offs between monetized emissions reductions and social and biodiversity values call for more explicit regulations in this approach to climate change mitigation.
The invasive Burmese python has been linked to mammal declines Florida’s Everglades National park. Researchers fear that some of the endangered species of the region may be in danger.
Research finds that people who believe they are helping the environment may actually know less about energy conservation than the average person.
Though shale gas extraction with the use of hydraulic fracturing has been underway in the U.S. for about a decade, peer-reviewed literature looking at its impacts has only begun to be published. Some of the articles that were among the first published on the environmental impacts, and remain among the most talked about, are described here.
Previous research on hydraulic fracturing has indicated possible contamination of water wells by methane. A new research article attempts to model potential contamination pathways to aquifers from Marcellus shale gas beds.
Drinking water wells are only 60 to 90 meters below the surface, while the Marcellus Shale is at depths of 1,200 to 2,500 meters. Still, new research suggests that, because of the hydrology of northeastern Pennsylvania, hydraulic fracturing poses a risk to these shallow drinking water resources.
A new study calculates the total water usage for shale-gas production in Texas. While the total water usage doesn’t overwhelm state resources currently, the variability in local conditions over time will call for more careful consideration of water resources in the future.
Why has sustainable development been so hard to achieve? It turns out we have been measuring it incorrectly.
Peering into the past can help us to discern the future. But, when it comes to ocean acidification, past events may offer little indication of what is in store.
People appreciate farmland for more than what it can grow, but values vary.
It is often assumed that global warming will make mountain trees climb uphill. A new long-view study shows that this is not always the case, meaning that managers must take heed when planning the future of their forests.
Many conservationists and land planners look to property tax policy to encourage private landowners to keep their land undeveloped. While property tax can hold back the conversion of rural land to some extent, its impact is limited.
Jellyfish blooms are an increasingly frequent problem in many parts of the world. While it has long been understood that these blooms deprive fish and other species of food, new research sheds light on how they disrupt the ecosystem in ways that reduce the productivity of the oceans.
Local leaders must prepare for sea-level rise and coastal disaster management. Besides property damage, issues of social justice will arise because minorities, the poor, and the most vulnerable people are at greater risk than others.
Common terms have different meanings to scientists and the general public. Recognizing this simple fact will help bridge the gap in the climate science debate.
In the summer of 1993, over 12,000 people flocked to the otherwise remote Clayoquot Sound to protest the logging of old growth forest on Meares Island, British Columbia. This precipitated changes in the public participation process that are still evolving twenty years later.
Almost 30% of New York State’s electricity demand can be met by wind and solar energy, and having both forms of renewable energy operating at the same time can significantly reduce the problem of intermittency.