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Perspectives on Sustainability - CSANR Blog

  • 2017 In Review

    April 19, 2018

    2017 was an incredibly busy and productive year for us at CSANR, and I’m pleased to be able to share some of what we accomplished through our 2017 annual report. Among the highlights:

    • Laura Lewis was named the leader of the new WSU Food Systems Program, and Kirti Rajagopalan joined us as an assistant research professor to co-lead our evolving work on climate and water resources.
    • Marcy Ostrom and David Granatstein co-taught a graduate-level Agroecology class.
    • We funded 9 BIOAg projects led by WSU colleagues, including projects to: increase legume nodulation for improved symbiotic nitrogen fixation (Mike Kahn); evaluate the impact of border vegetation patterns on blueberries (Lisa DeVetter); and explore sustainable crop-livestock integration in the dryland areas of the inland Pacific Northwest (Haiying Tao).
  • Regenerative Agriculture: Solid Principles, Extraordinary Claims

    April 4, 2018

    What is regenerative agriculture? Why is it different from sustainable agriculture? And how do I reconcile what practitioners of this system are claiming with the scientific evidence? These were all going through my mind when, a couple weeks ago at an advisory committee meeting of the WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, we watched a YouTube video of Gabe Brown’s TEDx talk in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Brown farms near Bismarck, ND, and has become the American face of regenerative agriculture in the past decade. Here is what I learned.

  • New Ideas for Improving the Resilience of Semi-Arid Systems

    March 15, 2018

    Karen Hills and CSANR Associate Director, Georgine Yorgey co-wrote this post.

    Dryland areas are historically used for wheat production. Photo: USDA, ARS.

    Across the dryland areas of the inland Pacific Northwest, soil erosion and the use of near monocultures of wheat have long been serious sustainability challenges, ones that we have been working on for decades, including over the last seven years through regional collaborations. Reducing or eliminating tillage has been one important strategy for reducing erosion across the region in recent decades.  Improving diversity by including crops such as canola, peas, chickpea and quinoa in rotations is another approach, but across the inland Pacific Northwest from 2007-2014, 53% of dryland crop acreage was used for winter or spring wheat, while an additional 31% was fallow (meaning that to preserve moisture for the following crop, no crop was grown) (Kirby, E. et al., 2017).

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