Virtual Planting Helps Farmers Boost Crops

Home gardening systems have been allowing households access to produce without having to make trips to the local market. While they are convenient, they also cost a pretty penny. Because of this, we still rely on large-scale farmers to provide us with some healthy-looking pantries. For ultimate efficiency, farmers are practicing virtual planting to help boost crops.

Digital plants… are part of a new movement in agricultural science called “in silico,” where researchers design highly accurate, computer-simulated crops to help speed up selective breeding, in which plants are chosen and replanted to amplify their desirable traits.

With a constantly skyrocketing population, it seems manual farming techniques are just not going to cut it anymore. Determining the factors that yield the quickest-growing, most drought-resistant, pest-dominating plants? Sitting in front of a computer screen has never made more sense.

 The technique begins with scientists collecting data about plant behavior under microscopes and in the field. Next they build statistical models… then create simulations based on those equations, which allows them to see the traits they measured play out on a screen.

Already, the technique has seen success with Brazilian sugarcane fields. In constantly improving the technology, what is normally achieved in a day could soon be achieved in a minute.

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Recycled Waste Biochar Could Purify Air

People are constantly on the hunt for ways to keep our air clean. Urban areas are choosing to build vertical gardens. On the other hand, marginalized communities are seeking more eco-conscious cooking alternatives. While every small step is leading us towards a more positive direction, researchers have yet to break ground. Perhaps they now have with recycled waste biochar, a material that tackles air pollution.

Biochar is ground charcoal produced from waste wood, manure or leaves. Added to soil, the porous carbon has been shown to boost crop yields, lessen the need for fertilizer and reduce pollutants by storing nitrogen that would otherwise be released to the atmosphere.

If properly incorporated into farming, researchers project a 67% drop in nitrous oxide emissions in the United States within the next year. This could mean cutting up to $660 million in annual healthcare costs for pollution-related illnesses.

“Agriculture rarely gets considered for air pollution control strategies. Our work shows that modest changes to farming practices can benefit the air and soil too.”

Based on extensive research, biochar seems like it’s worth a shot. After all, there’s nothing to lose except ozone.

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Trees Are Saving Cities $500 Million A Year

A tree is beneficial no matter where in the world it exists. This is why planting them, whether via dogs or drones, is always a plus for the environment. A new study has proven that trees are saving cities in an economical sense as well. To be exact, they boast a payoff of about $505 million a year.

To determine the economic impact of trees in the megacities, the researchers used a tree cover estimator called i-Tree, which requires analysis of 200 or more plots of trees within a city and then extrapolates economic benefit from there.

The monetary estimates are loose, but still provide us with a picture of why trees are so dang great. They hold the greatest impact on energy reduction, saving about $500 million annually. Trees also help lessen carbon emissions and air pollution.

Combined with the strong scientific evidence that trees are an ideal way to make life in cities better, the study shows that there’s a serious economic reason to invest in them.

Planting trees may not always be something you can do on a whim. But everything considered, there really isn’t a reason not to love them.

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Trio Of Dogs Help Restore Forests Burnt In Fires

It’s safe to say that dogs are eager to learn, sometimes giving back to society without even knowing it. Some dogs are using their fetching skills to battle pollution. This special trio of Border Collies is helping to restore forests in Chile by replanting hectares of trees. Yes, dogs can plant, and it’s a lot simpler than it sounds!

The Border Collies have been scampering through the charred remains with special satchels that spread seeds as they run to sow seedlings, grass and flowers.

The dogs can cover a range of 30 kilometers in a day and sow up to 10 kilos of seeds, whereas a person could only do three kilometers in a day.

The dogs, bred to herd, are perfect for the job. They are quick and intelligent with a high stamina.

This work has been under way for three months now in 15 forests of the El Maule region. In some of them, grass is back and seedlings, vines and mushrooms have pushed through the blackened earth, thanks to the moisture that comes with the winter of the southern hemisphere.

While they might not know it, Chile owes the dogs, known as Summer, Olivia, and Das more than just a bag of treats!

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Egg Urn New Eco-Friendly Burial Option

When we die, we become part of the Earth. This, of course, is mostly a metaphor. However, the Capsula Mundi pod makes this concept possible by turning your loved one’s ashes into a tree. In essence, it’s a sustainable egg urn!

The… Urn, which is designed to accept the cremation ashes from the deceased, and to then be buried next to an existing tree, or in a hole over which a tree will be planted.

Sounds simple enough. The urn’s biodegradable materials even help the tree’s growth.

The Urn is made from a biodegradable polymer (bioplastic) that will essentially be turned into soil and nutrients for the tree in “a few months to few years” depending on the local soil and climate conditions.

If you are picky about appearances, you may have to be patient. At present, the urn only comes in two differently styles–sandy beige and satin white. But they don’t come cheap at prices ranging €380 – €420.

The Capsula Mundi pod is not only a more aesthetic option for memorial services, it’s a thoughtful one. With a rise in green burials, perhaps you’d even prefer a spot next to Fido.

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Meet The Serial Tree-Planter From Bangladesh

After India’s record-breaking tree-planting stunt, it seems more independent environmentalists are walking into the spotlight. For 60-year-old Abdul Samad Sheikh, tree-planting is just part of a daily routine.

He has planted at least one tree every day since he was 12-years-old, which means that he has so far planted a small forest of over 17,500 trees.

Fondly known as “Tree Samad” in his native town of Faridpur, central Bangadesh, [Abdul] worked as a rickshaw driver for most of his life.

Abdul earns barely a buck a day, yet dedicates his earnings to purchasing at least one tree per day. He claims to suffer sleepless nights if he has not planted anything. But his passion extends far past his love for nature.

“It’s not only the trees,” Abdul’s neighbor, Sakandar Ali, adds. “Samad is a very helpful man. One can ask of him anything and he will do his best to help without reservation. His is that rare type of personality that is so much needed in our society.”

They say one man can’t make a difference. Abdul has clearly proved us wrong!

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India Sets World Record For Planting Trees

While we may ascribe India to its dense population, we might not say the same for its trees. At least not until now! On July 3, 2017, 1.5 million volunteers planted a record-breaking 66 million trees in only 12 hours.

The campaign was organized by the Madhya Pradesh government, with 24 distracts of the Narmada river basin chosen as planting sites to increase the saplings’ chances of survival. Volunteers planted more than 20 different species of trees.

India committed to increasing its forests by 5 million hectares before 2030 and it appears to be keeping its word. Volunteers included children and the elderly, who planted 66.3 million saplings from 7 am – 7 pm. If my math is as good as I think it is, that’s around 44 trees planted per person!

“By planting trees we are not only serving Madhya Pradesh but the world at large.”

India is the world’s third largest generator of carbon emissions. Prime Minister Narendra Modi… reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the Paris climate accord after the US withdrew from the deal.

Not only did India break record; it broke its own record of having planted 50 million trees in a single day in 2016. That’s what I call commitment to the cause! If tree-planting isn’t at the top of your list, there are many other ways to combat climate change.

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