Weighing the costs and benefits of plastic vegetable greenhouses
The economic benefits of intensive vegetable cultivation inside plastic greenhouses, particularly for small-holders, have driven a rapid mushrooming of long plastic tents in farmlands worldwide but particularly in China, where they cover 3.3 million hectares and produce approximately US $60 million in produce (2008 figures). The method conserves water, binds up carbon, shrinks land use, protects against soil erosion and exhaustion, and mitigates problematic dust storms. But this change from conventional vegetable farming has harmful environmental effects as well. Chang et al review the current research and identify gaps in our knowledge in the February issue of ESA's journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.
Does growing vegetables in plastic greenhouses enhance regional ecosystem services beyond the food supply? Jie Chang, Xu Wu, Yan Wang, Laura A Meyerson, Baojing Gu, Yong Min, Hui Xue, Changhui Peng, and Ying Ge. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 2013 11:1, 43-49.
Ten-year study sets baseline for climate change modeling and park and forestry management in Interior Alaska's Denali National Park
Alaska is already feeling the consequences of a changing climate in melting permafrost, coastal erosion, and retreating sea ice. Recent studies have predicted major landscape-scale change for the future of the Alaskan interior, with a potential shift from spruce-dominated boreal forest to broadleaf forest or grasslands, through a combination of heat, drought, insect outbreaks, and more frequent wildfires. This month in ESA's journal Ecological Monographs, the National Park Service's Inventory and Monitoring program reports on the first decade of ongoing ecosystem monitoring in Denali National Park. Carl Roland and colleagues visited 1100 stu
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Ecological Society of America