Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Improved crop production and fewer greenhouse gases

30.03.2004


Agricultural research by Boston College’s Harrison

Kevin G. Harrison, an assistant professor in Boston College’s Geology and Geophysics Department, has published new research on a farming technique that can both increase crop yields and reduce the release of carbons that develop into greenhouse gases. In the book Changing Land Use and Terrestrial Carbon Storage, Harrison and his co-authors, Michelle Segal (BC master’s degree in 2003) and Matthew Hoskins (BC bachelor’s degree in 2000) of the University of Wyoming, describe the results of a study of various farming techniques and their impact on crop production and the environment.

The researchers studied three different methods of soybean farming: conservation (no-till drilling); conventional tillage, and organic farming. Their findings showed that the conservation method produced the highest crop yield, 15% more than conventional tillage and 110% more than organic farming. It also held the most carbon in the soil--41% more soil carbon than conventional tillage and 48% more than organic. This catching and holding of soil carbon, called sequestration, keeps carbon from being incorporated into carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.



"Our research suggests that farmers can make decisions about tillage that can help…mitigate the effects of global warming," writes Harrison and his co-authors.

"Switching from a conventional till method to conservation tillage could…produce 15% more food on the same amount of land," according to the authors. This has serious implications, they write, as the "global population continues to rise and the need to feed more people using less land is becoming more urgent."

For example, the conservation technique would use 52% less land than the organic method to produce the same amount of soybeans.

The research was conducted on a farm in Brighton, Iowa and supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Boston College.

Harrison’s area of study focuses on the effects of fossil fuel combustion, acid rain and deforestation on the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. At Boston College, he teaches courses on "Biogeochemistry of the Habitable Planet"; "Environmental Geochemistry: Living Dangerously," and "Weather, Climate and the Environment: Global Warming." He earned a bachelor of science degree in chemistry and a bachelor of arts degree in English and American literature at Brown University. He received a master’s degree in marine chemistry from the University of California at San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and master’s and doctoral degrees in geological sciences from Columbia University.


For more information, contact Harrison at 617-552-4653 or at kevin.harrison@bc.edu.

Kathleen Sullivan | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bc.edu/

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht The inner struggle of the evening primrose: Chloroplasts are caught up in an evolutionary arms race
14.03.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Pflanzenphysiologie

nachricht Cereals use chemical defenses in a multifunctional manner against different herbivores
06.12.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Self-healing coating made of corn starch makes small scratches disappear through heat

Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.

Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

Im Focus: Revealing the secret of the vacuum for the first time

New research group at the University of Jena combines theory and experiment to demonstrate for the first time certain physical processes in a quantum vacuum

For most people, a vacuum is an empty space. Quantum physics, on the other hand, assumes that even in this lowest-energy state, particles and antiparticles...

Im Focus: Sussex scientists one step closer to a clock that could replace GPS and Galileo

Physicists in the EPic Lab at University of Sussex make crucial development in global race to develop a portable atomic clock

Scientists in the Emergent Photonics Lab (EPic Lab) at the University of Sussex have made a breakthrough to a crucial element of an atomic clock - devices...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular motors run in unison in a metal-organic framework

20.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Active substance from plant slows down aggressive eye cancer

20.03.2019 | Life Sciences

Novel sensor system improves reliability of high-temperature humidity measurements

20.03.2019 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>