3 Picks: Monarchs Disappearing, Feeding Frenzy, Nature Outlook


Monarch caterpillar on milkweed
Flickr CC photo by Benny Mazur

Below, are today’s three chosen agricultural-related news picks.

1) Monarch Butterfly Habitat Under Siege: By Tom Spears. “Journey North, an American group that adds up migration observations from the public, estimates that monarch numbers have fallen 80 per cent from 2012. And a University of Ottawa biologist think an even larger decline is possible, up to 90 per cent. … Milkweeds are the only plants on which monarch can lay eggs and are also a food source for them. Pesticides ‘are wiping out their host plants over really large areas, like the whole American Midwest. So it’s cutting off the migration at the knees, and cutting off the return migration (in fall) in the same way. The number of butterflies that overwintered (in Mexico) last year was really small’….”

2) Book: Feeding frenzy – The new politics of food: By Paul McMahon. “He believes that sub-Saharan Africa is Ground Zero for many of the food production challenges discussed in this book but goes on to write, ‘Sub-Saharan Africa has enormous potential to increase production with more than 750 million hectares of suitable land that could be brought into production and the potential to triple yields…’”

3) The Journal Nature has a special Outlook issue on Agriculture and Drought: Two articles you might be interested in reading are “Water: The flow of technology,” by Katherine Bourzac; and, “Microbiome: Soil science comes to life,” by Roger East.

This news post was written and compiled by K. McDonald.

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