In its simplest form food could be defined as any substance with the capacity to be turned into energy by living things. In its most complex, food is attributed with the power to sustain the development of human civilizations. While in its most basic form food is common and essential to all species, humans have commodified food to the extent that billions of individuals, in both the poorest and wealthiest of nations suffer from hunger. Today food is at the center of debates about health, about family farms versus industrial farms, water and land use, economics and genetically modified organisms.
?Main Image: Steer fitted with a global positioning system (GPS) collar to examine cattle responses to prescribed burns at the Central Plains Experimental Range in...
Crop residue burning in the United StatesLast Updated on 2014-10-26 17:09:05
Crop residue burning occurs in all fifty states, including Alaska. In the contiguous United States nearly 20% of land is dedicated to crops. Residues from corn, cotton, rice, soybean, sugar cane, wheat, grass seed (e.g. Kentucky bluegrass seed), horticultural crops, and fallow fields are most commonly burned. Crop residue burning in the United States takes two forms: (1) the practice of burning residues post-harvest whereby the residues consist of a layer of ground-level senescent vegetation, and; (2) the practice of burning residue pre-harvest (primarily used for sugarcane harvesting), whereby leaves and other biomass are burned prior to the harvest. In addition to burning crop residues both during and after harvest, fire is also used in cropland areas for pest and weed control and to prepare fields for planting. Crop residue burning helps growers stay competitive as it is... More »
International Food Security Assessment: 2012-22Last Updated on 2014-10-26 16:56:26
Food security is estimated to improve slightly in 2012 as the number of food-insecure people in the 76 countries covered in this report declines from 814 million in 2011 to 802 million in 2012. The share of the population that is food insecure remains at 24 percent. Over the next decade, the share of the population that is food insecure is projected to decline from 24 percent in 2012 to 21 percent in 2022, but the number of food insecure people is projected to increase by 37 million. Regionally, food insecurity is projected to remain most severe in Sub-Saharan Africa. Food-insecure people are defined as those consuming less than the nutritional target of roughly 2,100 calories per day per person.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (ERS) has, since the late 1970s, reported annually on food security in a number of developing countries. A key... More »
BacteriaLast Updated on 2014-10-12 18:54:28
Bacteria are any of a very large group of single-celled microorganisms that display a wide range of metabolic types, geometric shapes and environmental habitats—and niches—of occurrence. Normally only several micrometers in length, bacteria assume the form of spheres, rods, spirals and other shapes. Bacteria are found in a very broad gamut of habitats; for example, bacterial extremophiles that thrive in such places as hot springs, arctic environments, radioactive waste, deep sea oil seeps, deep Earth crustal environments, hypersaline ponds and within other living organisms. There are approximately 50 million bacterial organisms in a single gram of typical surface soil. The worldwide bacterial biomass exceeds that of all plants and animals on Earth. However, the majority of bacteria have not yet been characterised,
Bacteria are members of the prokaryote... More »
BiomassLast Updated on 2014-09-30 22:09:21
Biomass is a term in ecology for the mass of living organisms in a given ecosystem. Biomass can refer to the living stock of species in a given habitat, but can also refer to a harvested subset or to a decaying subset (especially in the case of forest floor detritus). Biomass may refer to the total mass of all species within the study area, and is thus sometimes called community biomass; but biomass may also refer to a taxonomic subset. Biomass can be expressed as the average mass per unit area or unit volume, or simply as the total mass in the community. Plants characteristically comprise the greatest part of the biomass of terrestrial system. In the animal kingdom, iIronically, the smallest creatures in an ecosystem typically represent the largest quantity of its biomass. It is important to note that the relative biomass species mix may change considerably from season... More »
Food SecurityLast Updated on 2014-09-24 23:01:45
A comprehensive definition of food security that is widely accepted today is that “food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life"1. It follows from this definition that individuals and families who are not food-secure are likely to be hungry, undernourished or malnourished, poor, and living in places that are distant from well-stocked and functional food markets. These characteristics can often be observed directly or assessed through household survey methods.
While measures of nutritional status such as low height for age or low weight for height, average availability of food translated into calories available/day, per capita incomes, or distance from a market do not fully define food security, observations or... More »
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