This podcast with Sari Kovats of the Department of Social and Environmental Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine was produced by Ashley Ahearn*. It...
Food Production and IrrigationLast Updated on 2014-10-28 11:57:28
Timing crop plantings to take advantage of seasonal water availability, although still widely practiced, is no longer sufficient to feed the world. More and more farmers supplement available soil water through irrigation using water collected from different locations or at different times of the year. Irrigated acreage and water withdrawals for agriculture have doubled since 1975. Over the same period, water withdrawals for industrial and domestic purposes have increased four-fold, but they still account for less than half of the amount withdrawn for agricultural purposes.
The majority of the world’s best farmland, in terms of climate and soils, is located in the temperate zones that lie between the tropics and the polar circles. A large percentage of this land is now irrigated. Water for irrigation in several major agricultural regions depends on snow that... 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 »
CIGAR ConsortiumLast Updated on 2012-07-09 12:25:24
The CGIAR Consortium is a global partnership that unites organizations engaged in research for a food secure future.
The name CGIAR comes from the acronym for the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. In 2008 the CGIAR underwent a major transformation. To reflect this and yet retain our roots we have kept CGIAR as our name.
CGIAR research is dedicated to reducing rural poverty, increasing food security, improving human health and nutrition, and ensuring more sustainable management of natural resources. It is carried out by 15 Centers, that are members of the CGIAR Consortium, in close collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, and the private sector.
The 15 Research Centers generate and disseminate knowledge,... More »
Rufous hummingbirdLast Updated on 2012-06-25 00:00:00
In strong sunlight, male Rufous hummingbirds put on quite a show with throat feathers flashing, a reddish orange iridescence brighter than a neon sign.
The Rufous Hummingbird:
Small but Feisty Long-Distance Migrant
Many western and southwestern gardeners know the Rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) as a delightful often-unexpected visitor to colorful garden wildflowers or hummingbird feeders. These amazing small but feisty birds (only 3 inches or 8cm long) weigh merely three or four grams; for comparison, a United States penny weighs slightly about 2.5 grams). These birds are amazing aerialists, darting in and out, and can be relentless attackers of other birds and insects at feeders and flowers. They have long slender nearly straight bills. Their wings are relatively short and do not reach the end of the tail when the birds are perched on a feeder or nearby branches.... More »
Predators: influence over habitatsLast Updated on 2012-06-14 00:00:00
Study of grasshoppers' diets shows that animals are an important part of organic matter decomposition. While being hunted, prey animal diets may affect how soil releases carbon dioxide.
Predators Have Outsized Influence Over Habitats
A grasshopper's change in diet to high-energy carbohydrates while being hunted by spiders may affect the way soil releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to research results published in the journal Science.
Grasshoppers like to munch on nitrogen-rich grass because it stimulates their growth and reproduction. But when spiders enter the picture, grasshoppers cope with the stress from fear of predation by shifting to carbohydrate-rich plants, setting in motion dynamic changes to the ecosystem they inhabit, scientists have found.
"Under stressful conditions they go to different parts of the 'grocery store'... More »
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