Engineering soil complexity

In this post Kirsty Lees discusses the recent paper from Alice Johnston and colleagues ‘Effects of agricultural management practices on earthworm populations and crop yield: validation and application of a mechanistic modelling approach’ Healthy soils are essential to the provision of ecosystem services; however, increasing intensification has resulted in soil degradation in many arable systems threatening water quality, carbon storage and ultimately food security. Any … Continue reading Engineering soil complexity

Safeguarding ecosystem functions of aquatic microbial communities

In this post, Jochen Zubrod talks about his recent paper “Inorganic fungicides as routinely applied in organic and conventional agriculture can increase palatability but reduce microbial decomposition of leaf litter“ The use of fungicides is considered an indispensable measure to secure global food supply. However, as an unwanted consequence of their application, these compounds also enter freshwater ecosystems, where they, due to their mode-of-action, likely affect … Continue reading Safeguarding ecosystem functions of aquatic microbial communities

Silent Spring redux? Insecticides cascade up a food chain to poison carnivores

In this post, Ian Kaplan discusses a paper he recently handled by Margaret Douglas, Jason Rohr and John Tooker “Neonicotinoid insecticide travels through a soil food chain, disrupting biological control of non-target pests and decreasing soybean yield.“. The authors have also written a practitioner summary  and a press release “Insecticides foster ‘toxic’ slugs, reduce crop yields” for this paper. Despite being published >50 years ago, almost everyone … Continue reading Silent Spring redux? Insecticides cascade up a food chain to poison carnivores