Forgot to water that plant on your desk again? It may soon be able to send out an SOS.
Engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, USA) have created sensors that can be printed onto plant leaves and reveal when the plants are experiencing a water shortage. This kind of technology could not only save neglected houseplants but, more importantly, give farmers an early warning when their crops are in danger, says Michael Strano, the Carbon P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT and the senior author of the new study.
Redrawing the global map of crop distribution on existing farmland could help meet growing demand for food and biofuels in coming decades, while significantly reducing water stress in agricultural areas, according to a new study. Published today in Nature Geoscience, the study is the first to attempt to address both food production needs and resource sustainability simultaneously and at a global scale.
The results show that “there are a lot of places where there are inefficiencies in water use and nutrient production,” says lead author Kyle Davis, a postdoctoral researcher with Columbia University‘s Earth Institute. Those inefficiencies could be fixed, he says, by swapping in crops that have greater nutritional quality and lower environmental impact.
Major changes in agricultural practices will be required to offset increases in nutrient losses due to climate change, according to research published by a scientific consortium including the James Hutton Institute.
The ‘perfect’ English garden could become a thing of the past thanks to climate change, scientists at the University of Reading have warned as a new report is published.
The far-ranging Gardening in a Changing Climate report, written in part by scientists at the University of Reading, looks at both the current impact of climate change and the future of gardening in the UK.
The report, the first in-depth analysis of the effects of climate change on gardening for more than a decade, was led by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and supported by Reading scientists, among others.
Researchers exploring how planting trees alongside crops could help put Britain on track to reduce its climate change impact have been awarded a share of £8.6m funding.
Agroforestry involves farmers planting rows of trees in crop fields to act as greenhouse gas removers. Co-delivery of food and climate regulation by temperate agroforestry, led by Dr Martin Lukac at the University of Reading, is a model-based project examining the potential use of this technique in temperate regions of the UK.