The Environment Secretary is due to say how much money will be paid to farmers to restore sites that store carbon and reduce flooding, manage habitats and boost numbers of stone-curlews, cirl buntings and other species that have seriously declined.
Hundreds of farmers throughout Britain have had applications for agri-environment schemes put on hold awaiting a decision in Brussels.
Farm ministers sanctioned funding last week and Defra could double the money now available. The government will not provide that much, but has promised some additional cash. The RSPB calculates that a total of £300 million is needed annually to allow farmers’ applications to go ahead.
Dr Sue Armstrong Brown, Head of Countryside Conservation at the RSPB, said: “Adequate money for these exceptional agri-environment schemes is crucial to the future of our countryside. These schemes take green farming further than we have seen for more than fifty years and could contribute enormously to tackling climate change and helping farmland wildlife.
“The decision last week to allow funds to be switched from subsidies to environmental schemes was hugely welcome and is a major step forward. At least £300 million is needed to enable the best projects to go ahead and it is essential that this is what the government provides.”
CLA President, David Fursdon, said: “We support the move towards rewarding land managers for delivering environmental services and thus it is regrettable that the government has decided to reduce the rate of match funding of these environment schemes compared to the level operating for the last six years, especially as these services are becoming increasingly important in light of climate change and growing public interest in the countryside.”
Agri-environment schemes have existed for 20 years but were considerably improved after the Curry Commission report of 2002. Now, there are basic and higher level schemes and it is the latter for which funding has been delayed.
Stone-curlews and cirl buntings are examples of birds whose numbers have risen considerably because of conservation work on farmland funded by the higher level scheme.
The initiative has also paid for improvements to Sites of Special Scientific Interest on farmland. The RSPB and CLA fear that if the shortfall remains, national and international targets for reversing wildlife declines and improving habitats will not be met.
Dr Armstrong Brown said: “This scheme has made a huge difference in a short time and has the potential to achieve so much more. Farmers are queuing up to start work and it would be a tragedy for our countryside if they were turned away before getting to the front of the queue.”
Cath Harris | alfa
Kakao in Monokultur verträgt Trockenheit besser als Kakao in Mischsystemen
18.09.2017 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
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28.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren IZFP
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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