The Relationship of Fungi to Soil in Nature’s Restoration

(Photo Credit: Stas Ovsky)

(ABOVE) How strong are the ‘relationships’ in soil communities? From left to right the interaction strength between groups in seminatural grasslands are visualized on recently, mid-term and long-term abandoned agricultural fields. (CREDIT: Elly Morriën et al. / Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW))

‘Relationships’ in the soil become stronger during the process of nature restoration. Although all major groups of soil life are already present in former agricultural soils, they are not really ‘connected’ at first. These connections need time to (literally) grow, and fungi are the star performers here. A European research team led by the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) has shown the complete network of soil life for the first time. Last month, the results of the extensive study were published in Nature Communications.

Earthworms, fungi, nematodes, mites, springtails, bacteria: it’s very busy underground! All soil life together forms one giant society. Under natural circumstances, that is. A large European research team discovered that when you try to restore nature on grasslands formerly used as agricultural fields, there is something missing. Lead author Elly Morriën from the Netherlands Institute of Ecology explains: “All the overarching, known groups of soil organisms are present from the start, but the links between them are missing. Because they don’t ‘socialise’, the community isn’t ready to support a diverse plant community yet.”

When nature restoration progresses, you’ll see new species appearing. But those major groups of soil life remain the same and their links grow stronger. “Just like the development of human communities”, says Morriën. “People start to take care of each other. In the soil, you can see that organisms use each other’s by-products as food.” In this way, nature can store and use nutrients such as carbon far more efficiently.

“Fungi turn out to play a very important role in nature restoration, appearing to drive the development of new networks in the soil.” In agricultural soils, the thready fungal hyphae are severely reduced by ploughing for example, and therefore the undamaged soil bacteria have an advantage and rule here. The researchers studied a series of former agricultural fields that had changed use 6 to 30 years previously. With time, there is a strong increase in the role of fungi.

Visit source on eurekalert.org here to read the full article!

The Death Toll of Air Pollution

Pollution is no joke and the whole world involved is listening.

Pollution and environmental risks are responsible for 1.7 million deaths of children below the age of five, according to two World Health Organization (WHO) reports released Monday.

The reports reveal that 570,000 of children’s deaths each year are attributed to respiratory infections, like pneumonia, caused by both indoor and outdoor air pollution, as well as second-hand smoke. Additionally, 270,000 children a year die in their first month from conditions due to air pollution and lack of sanitation, according to the WHO.

“A polluted environment is a deadly one — particularly for young children,” Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of WHO, said in a press release. “Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water.”

Chan has previously called pollution “one of the most pernicious threats” to health around the world — far greater than the threat of HIV/AIDS or Ebola, BBC reports.

In addition to the deaths, the WHO found that 11–14% of younger children worldwide report asthma symptoms and nearly half (an estimated 44%) of those cases result from the environmental factors.

(Visit the source article on Fortune for more information!)

(Photo credit: Witch Kiki)

First Renewable Energy Island

A tiny Spanish island with just 10,000 residents is about to do something amazing. El Hierro, the smallest of the Canary Islands, plans to completely sever ties with the traditional power grid and move entirely to renewable energy. The island plans to become completely self sufficient next month when its 11.5 megawatt wind farm kicks into gear. El Hierro already has a water turbine that generates electricity, and the added wind power will enable the island to go totally off-grid.

The island actually generates enough power for its residential needs with just the water turbines, but the wind power allows El Hierro to have a little extra power, which will be used to pump fresh water from near the harbor on the island to a reservoir in a volcanic crater 2,300-feet above the sea. When there is not enough wind for electricity needs, that water will be released to feed down into the water turbines to generate more energy, so the island will always have enough power to keep things running.

Imagine if more islands are able to farm such energy. Over time and trials of projects like these, we will learn of ways to make building out wind turbines to be more efficient and effective. In a closed environment such as islands this could be rather optimal.

(Check out the source article on inhabitant for more information!)

Taking Space

The HabitatMap & AirCasting Blog have come together for a space to collectively crowdsource live streaming air-quality data. Last November, New York city has even been leveraging AirBeam Data to Inform Policy Decisions!
New York City recently committed to implementing a “zoned” collection system for the commercial waste sector. By dividing the city into zones and having commercial carting companies bid to service each zone, the city’s study found that the number of miles traveled by private collection vehicles will be cut by an astounding 49 to 68 percent!  This is a win for both the private carting companies, which will be able to achieve dramatic efficiencies in operations, and everyday New Yorkers, who will have to contend with less noise and air pollution.
(Source: {Taking Space} )
If we are able to optimize the trash zoning over in more mega-cities, this could make a big impact on pollution  worldwide.

The Dutchman Tree Spade

Why cut a tree down when it can be easily and efficiently transplanted?

I re-present to you, the Dutchman Industries’ Dutchman Tree Spade.

In the early 1970’s, Dutchmaster commenced the design, development, and manufacturing of the “Dutchman’s Tree Spade”. Continual design upgrades over the past two decades have resulted in a number of models that can deal with trees of all calipers while maintaining our reputation for efficiency and dependability. The Dutchman Industries Inc. has evolved into a 1600+ acre wholesale nursery distribution center. Their nursery offers a wide variety of deciduous and coniferous plants.

Check out their website for more info and videos here!

Wolves: The Protectors of Rivers

wolvsandtrophiccascade

We Love Animals make a fascinating point that wolves (in this case Yellowstone National Park) help to contain the dispersion of water in rivers by regulating the population of deer and other familiar prey which feed on vegetation. In the headlines to their video they prime you that 14 wolves were released in a park within Yellowstone in 1995 and were able to see how their return and presence in their natural environment sparked the means for the land and rivers to stabilize. Check out this video to see how important they are in the whole trophic cascade of life on our amazing planet.

Victory for Standing Rock!

nodapl_victoryAfter four months of active demonstrating, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe has brought the push of the Dakota Access Pipeline to a halt. A victory that resonates with tribes and supporters across the globe.

“Today, the US Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline,” Standing Rock Sioux Tribal chairman Dave Archambault II said in a statement sent to BuzzFeed News. “Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes.

Tribe members and environmentalists feared damage to local water supplies and the desecration of sacred land.

They argued in court that the pipeline “crosses areas of great historical and cultural significance” and “crosses waters of utmost cultural, spiritual, ecological, and economic significance.”

The tribe successfully mobilized national support, with demonstrators marching in Washington DC and elsewhere to pressure the government to abandon the construction. (Source: BuzzFeed)

Follow the source link above for more detailed info on the win!

Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

pioppino_mushroomsPaul Stamets of British Columbia is a mycologist who has discovered some fascinating results in his research on the fungi we call mushrooms!

Pioppino mushrooms have been shown to induce tumor regression, reversing cancer in lab mice. Oddly enough, this same species also controlled blood sugar in diabetic mice.

There are mushrooms which can clean up the oil from oil spills, beehive-like Agarikon dangles that can provide a defense against weaponized smallpox. It is amazing to think about what potential tools we can find to reverse the damage we’ve done to the planet–and they are all naturally occurring in nature.

Stamets also has written a book, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World.  He believes that these particular mushrooms can serve as revolutionary tools in the fields of medicine, forestry, pesticides and pollution control. To find out more information check out this link to a full on article with Stamets.

Soil C Quest – Climate Change Mitigation

soil-c-quest-2031

Major General Michael Jeffrey on Soil C Quest 2031:

I would like to offer my in-principle support for the ‘Soil C Quest 2031’ project focused on the development of a soil carbon fixing fungal inoculum package for broad acre cropping, nationally and internationally.

The project has as its core vision ‘to double soil organic carbon levels in Australian cropping soils by 2031’. Given the importance of increasing soil carbon toward ongoing farming viability, food security, landscape health and climate change mitigation, the importance of the Soil C Quest 2031 project is self evident. It should be supported by anyone who cares about our country’s soils, climate change and the legacy we will leave behind to future generations.

Link to his website: http://www.scq.net.au/index.aspx