Taxonomy term

agriculture

Geologic Column: Lighting out for the territory

The author contemplates the history of westward expansion into arid lands and wonders if our unwise use of resources in places like the U.S. Southwest will eventually return the land "to the process of geology."

27 Feb 2015

Climate impacting a few of our favorite foodstuffs

Researchers have found that the number of foggy winter days in California’s agriculture-heavy Central Valley has dropped 46 percent on average over the past three decades. Fog shields the valley from sunlight and contributes to the amount of “winter chill” — the amount of time spent between zero and 7 degrees Celsius during winter dormancy — that fruit and nut trees there experience. Sufficient winter chill is necessary for buds, flowers and fruit to develop properly, and although winter chill has previously been observed to have decreased since the 1950s, no one had conducted a long-term analysis of fog occurrence trends in the area, according to Dennis Baldocchi and Eric Waller of the University of California at Berkeley.

24 Sep 2014

Virtual water: Tracking the unseen water in goods and resources

Trading in “virtual water” — rainfall and irrigation water used in the production of food commodities or other goods and services, but that isn’t part of the final product — between water-rich and water-poor regions has been suggested as a means to allay water scarcity. And recently, the virtual water concept has gained a foothold among a number of governments and multinational businesses, potentially shaping approaches to water sustainability in the future.

21 Sep 2014

Climate, terroir, and wine: What matters most in producing a great wine?

Weather and climate have played decisive roles throughout human existence — where and how cultures developed, where they migrated and even how some died out. The most successful early civilizations were those that developed strong agrarian systems based on what crops were most compatible with the climate. If conditions changed for one reason or another, people migrated to areas with a more suitable environment to grow a certain crop or raise specific animals.

09 Jan 2014

Comment: Peak Soil: Does civilization have a future?

First there was Peak Oil, the idea that there’s only so much oil out there and we may have reached or even passed a turning point in global oil production. In his 2007 book “Peak Everything,” author Richard Heinberg said it’s not just fossil fuels: Everything from population to food production to freshwater availability has its own point of no return.

15 Apr 2010

Crystal Ball EARTH: Agriculture: The future will have a different face than the past

Tomorrow’s agriculture is facing an immense challenge. By 2050, the world’s population will reach somewhere between 9 billion and 10 billion people, and a greater proportion of those people will be enjoying a richer diet than today’s population. That means farmers will have to grow twice as much food. The world has already witnessed a preview of what might happen if large populations don’t receive an adequate supply of food: They do not accept their fates passively.

04 Dec 2009

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