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Tag Archive: soil

  1. Sediment and nutrient storage in a beaver-engineered wetland

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    • Beaver ponds were shown to hold large volumes of sediment and associated nutrients.
    • The beavers’ enclosure, roughly the size of three (American) football fields and situated on a stream below a farm, originally contained one small pond… and is now a wetland mosaic regulated by dams and canals, and the ponds are slowly filling with sediment — 101 tons of it to date, estimate Brazier’s team.
    • Some of that sediment was generated by the beavers’ own digging. The vast majority, though, is eroded soil from the adjacent farmland. Altogether the sediments contain 16 tons of carbon — representing, were every last ounce of it sequestered permanently, the average yearly carbon emissions of six British citizens.

    Puttock et al. “Sediment and Nutrient Storage in a Beaver Engineered Wetland. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms.” Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 2018.

    AND see this article about this study: The tremendous benefits provided by just one beaver family Anthropocene Magazine May 30 2018


    Beavers, primarily through the building of dams, can deliver significant geomorphic modifications and result in changes to nutrient and sediment fluxes. Research is required to understand the implications and possible benefits of widespread beaver reintroduction across Europe. This study surveyed sediment depth, extent and carbon/nitrogen content in a sequence of beaver pond and dam structures in South West England, where a pair of Eurasian beavers (Castor fiber) were introduced to a controlled 1.8 ha site in 2011. Results showed that the 13 beaver ponds subsequently created hold a total of 101.53 ± 16.24 t of sediment, equating to a normalised average of 71.40 ± 39.65 kg m2. The ponds also hold 15.90 ± 2.50 t of carbon and 0.91 ± 0.15 t of nitrogen within the accumulated pond sediment.

    The size of beaver pond appeared to be the main control over sediment storage, with larger ponds holding a greater mass of sediment per unit area. Furthermore, position within the site appeared to play a role with the upper‐middle ponds, nearest to the intensively‐farmed headwaters of the catchment, holding a greater amount of sediment. Carbon and nitrogen concentrations in ponds showed no clear trends, but were significantly higher than in stream bed sediment upstream of the site.

    We estimate that >70% of sediment in the ponds is sourced from the intensively managed grassland catchment upstream, with the remainder from in situ redistribution by beaver activity. While further research is required into the long‐term storage and nutrient cycling within beaver ponds, results indicate that beaver ponds may help to mitigate the negative off‐site impacts of accelerated soil erosion and diffuse pollution from agriculturally dominated landscapes such as the intensively managed grassland in this study.


    Results presented in this paper illustrate that beavers can exert a significant impact upon sediment and nutrient storage. Beaver ponds were shown to hold large volumes of sediment and associated nutrients. Results also suggest that, whilst pond age and deposition in a dam–pond sequence may play a role in sediment and nutrient storage, the clearest control was pond size, with larger ponds holding more sediment per unit area.

    Unlike most previous work, this study focused on a site located within an intensively managed grassland landscape. It was inferred that the majority of sediment trapped in the ponds originated from erosion in the upstream intensively managed grassland catchment, therefore, beaver dams mitigated the loss of this sediment downstream. While further understanding of the long‐term stability of sediment and nutrient storage in beaver ponds is now required, findings presented in this study have important implications for understanding the role beavers may play as part of catchment management strategies.

  2. Beaver dams reduce soil loss and trap pollutants

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    • Researchers found that beaver dams trapped more than 100 tonnes of sediment, 70% of which was soil, which had eroded from ‘intensively managed grassland’ fields upstream.
    • This sediment contained high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus, which are nutrients known to create problems for the wildlife in rivers and streams and which also need to be removed from human water supplies to meet drinking-quality standards.

    May 9, 2018 University of Exeter Read full ScienceDaily article here

    Beavers could help clean up polluted rivers and stem the loss of valuable soils from farms, new research shows.

    …”we are heartened to discover that beaver dams can go a long way to mitigate this soil loss and also trap pollutants which lead to the degradation of our water bodies. Were beaver dams to be commonplace in the landscape we would no doubt see these effects delivering multiple benefits across whole ecosystems, as they do elsewhere around the world.”

    …”Our partnership with Exeter University working on both our fenced and unfenced beaver trials is revealing information which shows the critical role beavers can play, not only for wildlife, but the future sustainability of our land and water. It is truly inspiring to have our observations confirmed by detailed scientific investigations.”

    Alan Puttock, Hugh A. Graham, Donna Carless, Richard E. Brazier. Sediment and Nutrient Storage in a Beaver Engineered Wetland. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 2018; DOI: 10.1002/esp.4398

  3. Carbon satellite to serve as an important tool for politicians and climate change experts

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    • a new French satellite can measure carbon balance far more precisely than the current method, which uses aerial photography.
    • The satellite uses low-frequency passive microwaves to measure the biomass of above ground vegetation

    08 May 2018 University of Copenhagen  Read full ScienceDaily article here

    A new satellite that measures and provides detailed carbon balance information is one of the most important new tools in carbon measurement since infrared light. The researchers expect the satellite to be a valuable tool for the UN’s work on climate change related to the Paris climate accord.

    Carbon balance is important for climate and environment because whenever carbon is converted into carbon dioxide, CO2 emissions increase. On the other hand, carbon is an essential aspect of life on Earth: a felled tree releases carbon into the atmosphere whereas a planted one takes up carbon in vegetation and soil. A lack of carbon in vegetation and soil can create a carbon imbalance and have climate-related consequences.

    University of Copenhagen researchers have tested a new French satellite that can measure carbon balance far more precisely than the current method, which uses aerial photography. The satellite uses low-frequency passive microwaves to measure the biomass of above ground vegetation. The studies have recently been published in Nature Ecology and Evolution….

    Martin Brandt, et al. Satellite passive microwaves reveal recent climate-induced carbon losses in African drylands. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2018; 2 (5): 827 DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0530-6

  4. Can Dirt Save the Earth?

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    • Agriculture could pull carbon out of the air and into the soil — but it would mean a whole new way of thinking about how to tend the land.
    • The I.P.C.C. is preparing a special report on climate change and land use, to be finalized in 2019, that will consider in greater detail the potential of sequestering carbon in soil.

    • The biggest international effort to promote carbon farming is a French-led initiative called “four per 1,000″ to increase the amount of carbon in the soil of crop- and rangelands by 0.4 percent per year through agroforestry (growing trees and crops together increases carbon retention), no-till agriculture (plowing causes erosion and carbon loss) and keeping farmland covered (bare dirt bleeds carbon) among other actions. Doing so, the French argue, could completely halt the buildup of atmospheric carbon dioxide.
    • By 2050, California aims to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to 20 percent of what they were in 1990. Nearly half its 58 counties have farmers and ranchers at various stages of developing and implementing carbon-farming plans.

    April 18 2018 Read full NYTimes article here

    …Climate change often evokes images of smokestacks, and for good reason: The single largest source of carbon emissions related to human activity is heat and power generation, which accounts for about one-quarter of the carbon we put into the atmosphere. Often overlooked, though, is how we use land, which contributes almost as much. The erosion and degradation of soil caused by plowing, intense grazing and clear-cutting has played a significant role in the atmospheric accumulation of heat-trapping gases. The process is an ancient one. Ice cores from Greenland, which contain air samples trapped thousands of years ago, reveal increases in greenhouse gases that correspond with the rise of farming in Mesopotamia.

    Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, agricultural practices and animal husbandry have released an estimated 135 gigatons — 135 billion metric tons — of carbon into the atmosphere, according to Rattan Lal, a soil scientist at Ohio State University. Even at current rates, that’s more than a decade’s worth of carbon dioxide emissions from all human sources. The world is warming not only because fossil fuels are being burned, but also because soils, forests and wetlands are being ravaged.

    In recent years, some scientists have begun to ask whether we can put some of that carbon back into the soil and into living ecosystems, like grasslands and forests. This notion, known as carbon farming, has gained traction as it becomes clear that simply reducing emissions will not sufficiently limit global warming. According to the 2014 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an authority on climate science that operates under the auspices of the United Nations, humankind also needs to remove some of the carbon already in the atmosphere to avoid, say, the collapse of polar glaciers and the inundation of coastal cities worldwide. “We can’t just reduce emissions,” Keith Paustian, a soil scientist at Colorado State University and an author of an earlier I.P.C.C. report, told me. “It’s all hands on deck. Things like soil and land use — everything is important.”…

    …Nearly all the carbon that enters the biosphere is captured during photosynthesis, and as it moves through life’s web, every organism takes a cut for its own energy needs, releasing carbon dioxide as exhaust. This circular voyage is the short-term carbon cycle. Carbon farming seeks to interfere with this cycle, slowing the release of carbon back into the atmosphere. The practice is often conceptualized and discussed in terms of storing carbon, but really the idea is to change the flow of carbon so that, for a time at least, the carbon leaving a given ecosystem is less than the carbon entering it.

    Dozens of land-management practices are thought to achieve this feat. Planting or restoring forests, for one: Trees lock up carbon in woody material. Another is adding biochar, a charcoal made from heated organic material, directly to soil. Or restoring certain wetlands that have an immense capacity to hold carbon. (Coal beds are the fossilized remains of ancient marshes and peatlands.)

    More than one-third of earth’s ice-free surface is devoted to agriculture, meaning that much of it is already managed intensively. Carbon farming’s fundamental conceit is that if we change how we treat this land, we could turn huge areas of the earth’s surface into a carbon sponge. Instead of relying solely on technology to remove greenhouse gases from the air, we could harness an ancient and natural process, photosynthesis, to pump carbon into what’s called the pedosphere, the thin skin of living soil at the earth’s surface. If adopted widely enough, such practices could, in theory, begin to remove billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, nudging us toward a less perilous climate trajectory than our current one….

    …The I.P.C.C. is preparing a special report on climate change and land use, to be finalized in 2019, that will consider in greater detail the potential of sequestering carbon in soil. But for now the biggest international effort to promote carbon farming is a French-led initiative called “four per 1,000.” The proposal aims to increase the amount of carbon in the soil of crop- and rangelands by 0.4 percent per year through a variety of agricultural and forestry practices. These include agroforestry (growing trees and crops together increases carbon retention), no-till agriculture (plowing causes erosion and carbon loss) and keeping farmland covered (bare dirt bleeds carbon). Doing so, the French argue, could completely halt the buildup of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

    ….But it is California, already in the vanguard on climate-mitigation efforts, that has led the way on carbon farming. By 2050, the state aims to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to 20 percent of what they were in 1990. Nearly half its 58 counties have farmers and ranchers at various stages of developing and implementing carbon-farming plans. San Francisco, which already has the largest urban composting program in the country, hopes to become a model carbon-farming metropolis. Cities don’t have much room to plant trees or undertake other practices that remove carbon from the atmosphere, says Deborah Raphael, the director of San Francisco’s Department of the Environment. But they can certainly produce plenty of compost. “If we can show other cities how doable it is to get green waste out of landfills, we can prove the concept,” Raphael told me. “We like to say that San Francisco rehearses the future.”

    Many of California’s carbon-farming efforts owe a debt to Wick, Creque and Silver. In 2008, they founded the Marin Carbon Project, a consortium of ranchers, scientists and land managers. The goal is to develop science-based carbon-farming practices and to help establish the incentives needed to encourage California farmers to adopt them. Silver continues to publish her findings in respected journals. Creque also started a nonprofit, the Carbon Cycle Institute, that assists farmers and ranchers in making carbon-farming plans.

  5. Root exudates- equivalent of gastric juices in our guts- affect soil stability, water repellency

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    April 18, 2018 American Society of Agronomy Read full ScienceDaily article here

    ….In the rhizosphere, plants make a variety of chemical compounds called exudates. Hallett and fellow researchers at the University of Aberdeen look at the effects that exudates have on the plant and surrounding soil community. Their unique work takes small-scale measurements near the surface of the roots. The properties here can be very different from the rest of the soil.

    “Roots continuously secrete chemicals into the soil as a way to liberate nutrients that are attached to soil particles,” says Hallett. In human digestion, the stomach secretes gastric juices to help break up food; exudates are the plant equivalent of gastric juices.

    Hallett describes exudates’ chemical composition as “a veritable cocktail or ‘buffet’ of resources for anything in the rhizosphere.” In addition to helping plants procure nutrients, exudates are food sources for the microbes that are an important part of the soil microbiome.

    Exudates also have an important role in holding soil together. Roots and fungi that live in the soil hold together larger clumps of soil, but exudates work on the micro level. Like glue, they hold together soil particles in important mechanical networks. Soil scientists call these soil networks aggregates.

    …Research such as Hallett’s shows that during the growing season-and beyond-there are delicate interactions between each plant and the surrounding soil. All of these interactions affect the amount of water that is captured by soil and absorbed by plants. Production of exudates also affects how well the plants can pull vital nutrients out of the soil, and even affects the soil in the rhizosphere.

    M. Naveed, L.K. Brown, A.C. Raffan, T.S. George, A.G. Bengough, T. Roose, I. Sinclair, N. Koebernick, L. Cooper, P.D. Hallett. Rhizosphere-Scale Quantification of Hydraulic and Mechanical Properties of Soil Impacted by Root and Seed Exudates. Vadose Zone Journal, 2018; 17 (1): 0 DOI: 10.2136/vzj2017.04.0083

  6. Grazing Management to Improve Soil Health- rotational grazing can improve soil health over continuous grazing strategies

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    • Proper livestock grazing – which maintains and improves soil health – results in a series of interconnected positive outcomes including:
      • Soil densities and structure that allow root and water penetration of the entire soil profile.
      • Vigorous forage plants with capacity to develop and maintain extensive rooting systems.
      • A community of palatable forage plants with high rooting mass and depth.
      • Stable, resilient increases in primary productivity both above- and below- ground.

    Ken Tate April 9 2018  Read full UC Rangelands article here

    Grazing lands occupy nearly half the Earth’s land area, provide livelihoods for millions, and mitigate climate change via massive stores of carbon. Maintaining and restoring soil health is essential to ensuring these benefits in our ever changing environment.

    Thus, there is substantial global interest in managing livestock grazing to improve soil health. Grazing is promoted by some as a panacea for sequestering carbon and mitigating climate change. In other cases, grazing is depicted as an ultimate driver of soil degradation….

    …Our findings (Byrnes et al. 2018) suggest that rotational grazing can improve soil health over continuous grazing strategies. Decisions about grazing strategy and intensity significantly influence soil health outcomes, and site-specific conditions play important roles in shaping these out­comes.

    Byrnes, R.C., D.J. Eastburn, K.W. Tate, and L.M. Roche*. 2018. A global meta-analysis of grazing impacts on soil health indicators. J. Environmental Quality. doi:10.2134/jeq2017.08.0313.

    See previous post here.

  7. Can Responsible Grazing Make Beef Climate-Neutral?

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    • New research found that the greenhouse gases sequestered in one grass-fed system balanced out those emitted by the cows, but some meatless advocates are skeptical.

    There’s no denying Americans eat a lot of meat. In fact, the average U.S. citizen eats about 55 pounds of beef a year, including an estimated three hamburgers a week, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) expects that amount to increase by about 3 percent by 2025. This heavy reliance on animal protein carries a big environmental footprint—livestock production contributes about 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with beef constituting 41 percent of that figure, thanks to the methane cattle produce in the digestion process and the fact that overgrazing can release carbon stored in soils.

    ….A new five-year study that will be published in the May 2018 issue of the journal Agricultural Systems suggests that they can. Conducted by a team of researchers from Michigan State University (MSU) and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the study suggests that if cattle are managed in a certain way during the finishing phase, grassfed beef can be carbon-negative in the short term and carbon-neutral in the long term….

    ….“it is possible that long-term [adaptive multi-paddock grazing] AMP grazing finishing in the Upper Midwest could contribute considerably more to climate change mitigation and adaptation than previously thought.”

    Rather than using the common method of continuous grazing, in which cattle remain on the same pasture for an entire grazing season, the researchers used the more labor-intensive method of AMP, which entails moving the cattle at intervals ranging from days to months, depending on the type of forage, weather, time of year, and other considerations. A herd of adult cattle on MSU grazing land served as their test population.

    Though the study’s finding that strategic grazing can make a dent in the overall environmental impact of cattle runs counter to the widespread opinion among other researchers and climate activists, it is welcome news for advocates of regenerative agriculture.

    …. Tara Garnett, a food systems analyst and the founder of the Food Climate Research Network (FCRN) at the University of Oxford in England, calls the MSU work “a really useful study,” but also observes that it is “unclear how far this approach will lead to the same results elsewhere.” The study authors, too, are careful to stress that their results apply to Upper Midwestern conditions, and using a similar method in other ecosystem types will require further tailored study. They also acknowledge that while degraded land properly managed can take up large amounts of carbon, the soil will eventually reach equilibrium (meaning it will reach its carbon limit), and estimates of how long that takes vary widely.

    In addition, soil types and the many other aspects of climate and ecosystems in different regions require detailed understanding and granular management of grazing—something many beef producers may be unwilling to undertake. And grazing requires twice as much land as feedlots….

    …. One very promising practice, she said, is for ranchers to enlist farmers in the beef finishing phase. One farmer was initially very skeptical, but after he had grown a series of cover crops to rest his wheat fields and used cattle to “harvest” them, leaving the residue on the fields, he discovered that the soil was improving rapidly, Carman said. Reduced fertilizer and pesticide inputs, together with the income from the pasturage fees, makes the next wheat crop less expensive to grow.

    …. said Rowntree, “I hope our paper can give our industry, combined with policymakers, a lens that can potentially help. We’re not trying to pit one group against another.”

    Carman also acknowledges the complexity at hand, but feels the benefits to the soil she has seen are important to take into account. “Livestock are partly to blame for a lot of ecological problems we’ve got,” she said. “But we couldn’t repair these problems without livestock.”

    Paige L. Stanley, Jason E.Rowntree, David K.Beede, Marcia S.DeLonge, Michael W.Hamm. Impacts of soil carbon sequestration on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in Midwestern USA beef finishing systems.  Agricultural Systems Volume 162, May 2018, Pages 249-258

    See previous post on this here. 

    And related NPR story:

    A Grass-Roots Movement For Healthy Soil Spreads Among Farmers

    April 9 2018 America’s farmers are digging soil like never before. A movement for “regenerative agriculture” is dedicated to building healthier soil and could even lead to a new eco-label on food.

  8. Vegetation controls the future of the water cycle

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    • This study highlights the key role of vegetation in controlling future terrestrial hydrologic response.
    • Carbon and water cycles are intimately coupled over land and must be studied as an interconnected system.
    • Hydrologists should collaborate with ecologists and climate scientists to better predict future water resources.
    • “Plants are at the center of the water, energy, and carbon cycles. As they take up carbon from the atmosphere to thrive, they release water that they take from the soils. Doing that, they also cool off the surface, controlling the temperature that we all feel. Now we know that mainly plants- not simply precipitation or temperature-will tell us whether we will live a drier or wetter world.”

    April 2, 2018 Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science Read full Science Daily Article here

    Researchers have found that vegetation plays a dominant role in Earth’s water cycle, that plants will regulate and dominate the increasing stress placed on continental water resources in the future…

    …”The biosphere physiological effects and related biosphere-atmosphere interactions are key to predicting future continental water stress as represented by evapotranspiration, long-term runoff, soil moisture, or leaf area index,” Gentine says. “In turn, vegetation water stress largely regulates land carbon uptake, further emphasizing how tightly the future carbon and water cycles are coupled so that they cannot be evaluated in isolation.”

    ….Gentine and Lemordant plan to further untangle the various physiological effects. “The vegetation response is itself indeed complex,” Gentine says, “and we want to decompose the impact of biomass growth vs. stomatal response. There are also implications for extreme heatwave events we are currently working on.”

    “This work highlights an important need to further study how plants will respond to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide,” says James Randerson, professor of earth system science, University of California, Irvine, who was not involved with the study. “Plants can have a big effect on the climate of land, and we need to better understand the ways that they will respond to carbon dioxide, warming, and other forms of global change.”

    Léo Lemordant et al. Critical impact of vegetation physiology on the continental hydrologic cycle in response to increasing CO2. PNAS, 2018 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1720712115

  9. Digging deep: Harnessing the power of soil microbes for more sustainable farming

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    • Farm of the future’ project marries microbiology and machine learning
    March 14, 2018 DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Read full ScienceDaily article here
    How will the farms of the future feed a projected 9.8 billion people by 2050? A ‘smart farm’ project marries microbiology and machine learning in an effort to reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and enhance soil carbon uptake, thus improving the long-term viability of the land while increasing crop yields….
    …this project brings together molecular biology, biogeochemistry, environmental sensing technologies, and machine learning, will revolutionize agriculture and create sustainable farming practices that benefit both the environment and farms. If successful, they envision being able to reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and enhance soil carbon uptake, thus improving the long-term viability of the land, while at the same time increasing crop yields.A central piece of the research is understanding the role of microbes in the health of the soil….”By understanding how microbes work and modifying the environments where they function, we can eventually engineer microbial communities to enhance soil productivity. What’s more, Berkeley Lab’s research is showing that healthy soils are more resilient to system shocks such as climate change, drought, and insects.”

    …The world’s population is forecast by the United Nations to grow to 9.8 billion by 2050; feeding that many people will require raising food production by more than 70 percent. Yet industrialized farming practices have depleted a majority of the country’s agricultural land of active carbon and a balanced microbial ecosystem. This is reflected in measurements of organic matter that average only 1 to 2 percent in most farmland, compared to historic levels of around 10 percent…

    …”There are millions of species of microbes per cubic centimeter of soil,” Brown said. “As you approach the plant root and its interior tissues, you go from millions to dozens. So plants do an exceptional job of farming their microbiomes. They release materials, including antimicrobial compounds, to selectively kill undesirable microbes, and they release food to incentivize beneficial microbes. It’s a highly symbiotic and enormously complex interaction, and we understand almost nothing about it.”

    …Hyperspectral sensors on the drones will be able to detect light reflectance from the plants and see hundreds of channels of spectra, from the visible to near infrared. “The human eye has only three channels — red, green, and blue,” said Wainwright. “You can see if a leaf looks yellow or green. But with hundreds of channels you can measure carbon and nitrogen content, and you can tell a lot about plant health, plant disease, or leaf chemistry, all of which affect crop yield.”

    In addition, surface geophysical techniques are used to map soil electrical properties in 3-D, which greatly controls soil microbial activities.

    Machine learning is the tool that will tie all the data together…

    …Currently farmers have no such information, even though services and products have sprung up providing various “big data” solutions. “All the private companies have a big incentive to lock their own data sets, so they can’t be used in conjunction with other data sets,” Wainwright said. “That’s where the public sector, like Berkeley Lab, can step in. We’re not incentivized by profit.”…

  10. 12 Emerging Global Trends That Bring Hope for 2018

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    Feb 2018 Read full The Nature Conservancy article here

    …New environmental leaders are stepping up across different sectors and geographies; new sources of financing are starting to close the gap in conservation funding; collective governance is emerging to better manage precious resources. Without minimizing the task ahead, we want to point to some trends that are unlocking investment for nature and offering hope for a sustainable future. Download our one-pager here.

    1. High Time for the High Seas

    Could the biggest thing to happen for the environment in decades be in the middle of the ocean?

    2. A New Prescription for Public Health

    A tree a day keeps the doctor away?

    3. Following the Money to Global Impact

    What happens when investing for good meets financial reward?

    4. New Faces Tackling Climate Change

    Who will step up on this generation’s main stage?

    5. Natural Climate Solutions: the Year’s Top Carbon Technology

    Solving for future carbon emissions is one thing; removing carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere is another. Can we do both today?

    6. Soil—Believe it or Not—is a Hot Topic

    Here’s the dirt: this year, soil is on trend.

    7. Engineering Our Way Out of Crisis—with Nature’s Help

    The trillion-pound (£) elephant in the room? Infrastructure.

    8. Big Data and the Dawn of a Conservation Revolution

    A welcome disruption? The tech industry is setting its sights on a new sector: conservation.

    9. More Companies Are Getting Serious About Global Green Goals

    What to do with SDGs and two degrees?

    10. Clean Energy Is Powering The Future—Now Where to Put It?

    Our clean energy future is arriving faster than we thought.

    11. To Redefine Green Design, Cities Are Thinking Bigger—AND Smaller

    Cities still strive for LEED buildings and light rail—but also a better walk down the block.

    12. Oh, and One More Thing—More

    More investment, more research, more accountability, more heroes.