What do termites have to do with climate change? Potentially a lot, according to research recently published in Science (subscription required to read the full text of the study). Through their excavations, termites actually change the composition of soil in the African savanna. The tunnels the termites create hold water better and the insects will add clay or sand to soil depending on whether its too loose or stiff, turning their mounds into “nutrient islands” where both vegetation and other animals thrive better than in the surrounding land. Even in times of low rainfall the researchers show that termite mounds keep vegetation while vegetation around the mounds decreases. And when rains return, the termite homes help bring vegetation back to the entire area. This means “that the termite mounds are an insurance policy against climate change, protecting the vegetation on them from water scarcity,” writes Science senior correspondent Elizabeth Pennisi about the research. The research suggests that if land with termite mounds is turned into farmland the resiliency the mounds offer could be lost as well, making it much easier for the landscape to become degraded for good.
How treatment of homes for termites decades ago may cause diabetes today
Obesity has been accepted as a risk factor for diabetes but results of four recently published studies have now revealed that insecticides in fat of patients may be the real risk factor. The initial investigations showed that the expected association between obesity and diabetes/insulin resistance was absent in people who had low levels of organochlorine insecticides in their blood (1, 2). However, the expected association between obesity and diabetes/insulin resistance increased with levels of these insecticides....
Warnings of increased UK flooding as a result of climate change
Intense bouts of flooding in the UK have increased substantially this century, with the frequency set to rise even further as a result of climate change. That is the latest warning from the Environment Agency, which said severe flooding over the last decade was linked to extreme weather events and rising sea levels. The agency highlighted Met Office data showing that there have been 17 record-breaking rainfall months and seasons since 1910 – nine of which have occurred since 2000. “Climate change...
Creating Business Opportunities from Climate Change
Dedicated to limit the environmental impact and carbon emissions, Lebanon is one of the 195 countries who made history by taking a part in the Agreement at the Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in 2015. In the same year, the government published the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) with the purpose of reduction of the possible risks and irreversible consequences of climate change on its already-stretched economy and natural resources. Although Lebanon’s share in global greenhouse...
Simulating the Effect of Climate Change on Agriculture
Increased atmospheric CO2 levels and climate change are believed to contribute to extreme weather conditions, which is a major concern for many. And beyond extreme events, global warming is also predicted to affect agriculture.1,2 While climate change is expected to affect agriculture and reduce crop yields, the complete effects of climate change on agriculture and the resultant human food supplies are yet to be fully understood.2,3,4 Simulating a Changing Climate In order to understand how changes in CO2,...
Adaptation and mitigation of climate change in vegetable cultivation: a review
Climate change is an unavoidable phenomenon of natural and anthropogenic origin against which mitigation and adaptation are required to reduce the magnitude of impact and vulnerability, to avoid risk in vegetable farming and to ensure sustainable livelihoods of the agricultural community. Genetic improvement of vegetable crops is an appropriate adaptation strategy to cope with climate change adversities. A combination study of genomics and phenomics provides a clear understanding of the environment's effect on...