Secrets of the microfarm: Amoeba grows bacteria!

Detail from schematic diagram

Classroom Activity Page: One species of amoeba can transport and plant bacteria when it runs short of its normal food, bacteria in the soil. A recent study is the first proof that anything smaller than an ant can “farm,” and shows how evolution can produce alternative strategies to meet the challenges of survival. More »

Smile for the minirhizotron!

Smile for the minirhizotron!

Teeny little video cameras called minirhizotrons snapped these photos of wetland plant roots. The cameras will help scientists anticipate how the plants might respond to climate change. Minirhizotrons give scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory a technological boost by… More »

Soil: Key to solving the food crisis?

Soil: Key to solving the food crisis?

Could soil help? One-third of soils are degraded. In fighting desertification, erosion and nutrient loss, some soil-restoring techniques solve multiple problems. More »

Buried charcoal: Global warming star?

Buried charcoal: Global warming star?
Buried charcoal stimulates microbes and plant growth, helping farmers on poor soil. Studies show that charcoal is stable for hundreds of years. More »

Hungry? History has lessons for improving farm productivity.

After World War II, the “green revolution” sparked an explosion in farm output in developing countries. With soaring food prices and spreading food riots, what can we learn from the green revolution? More »

Organic Corn & Soybeans: Competitive?

Organic farming isn’t as productive as conventional, right? Maybe not. Check these results of a 22-year study of corn and soybean yields. More »

Salvage Logging: Helpful or Harmful?

Salvage logging of forests after natural disturbances is a bad idea, ecologists warn. Evidence from a forest whacked by a 1938 hurricane show how salvage logging changes the landscape. More »