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Perspectives on Sustainability - CSANR Blog

  • Is PNW warming human caused or not? Does it matter to agriculture?

    September 29, 2014

    The observed temperature records of the US Pacific Northwest show a small, but statistically significant amount of warming of just over 1 degree F since the year 1900. A paper published in March of this year by Abatzaglou, Rupp and Mote (2014) used a multiple linear regression model to “tease out” the contributions of different influences on climate and “to apportion trends to internal climate variability, solar variability, volcanic aerosols, and anthropogenic forcing [a.k.a. human greenhouse gas emissions]”. Unsurprisingly, the finding of this study was as expected:

    Anthropogenic forcing was a significant predictor of, and the leading contributor to, long-term warming; natural factors alone fail to explain the observed warming.

  • FY15 BIOAg Request For Proposals released

    September 25, 2014

    BIOAg logoThis week, CSANR released its annual BIOAg Program request for proposals for new research and extension projects. The RFP can be found here.

    This competitive grant program is the key mechanism that CSANR has to engage a broad, interdisciplinary spectrum of WSU faculty in projects that further the development, understanding, and use of biologically intensive and/or organic principles, practices, and technologies to improve the sustainability of agriculture and food systems in Washington State.

  • Can We Save Nature by Improving Agriculture?

    September 16, 2014
    An example of land sharing in Tanzania.  Photo: Rod Waddlington

    An example of land sharing in Tanzania. Photo: Rod Waddlington

    There is an ongoing debate about how to produce food for a growing population without losing more of our wild lands. Two options are being promoted; “land sparing” where production on current agricultural lands is intensified to produce more food thereby sparing the conversion of wild lands, and “land sharing” where agriculture and wild lands are integrated and small producing parcels are intermixed with wild lands. The former strategy is championed in a paper by Phalan et al. (2011) where the authors report that more bird and tree species were negatively affected by agriculture than benefitted from it. A contrary view from Tscharntke et al. (2012) argues that the land sparing view ignores the complexity of the real world, and that the land sharing strategy would produce more ecosystem services. From these two views, a range of options expand, all of which are being researched and debated. 

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