April 2021 Database Update

Research Topics and Projects I’m Following

Agroforestry, Food Sovereignty and Value Chains for Sustainable Food Systems

Can the Trees Save the Crops? Predicting the Services Provided by Traditional and Novel Agroforests in Changing Mediterranean Landscapes

Climate

A number of interesting ‘land management decision making’ papers this month came into the database. Reading through them rather quickly, I’m still convinced that a combination of Holistic Management decision-making and context (or goal) development, and a farm planning framework such as the Regrarians platform, are more robust and practical than either of the frameworks presented here. Both use a pretty formulaic “evaluate, implement, assess, adjust” approach, and provide sound arguments for using some type of integrated, holistic planning methodology in land management decisions.

So how might these be useful? The study by (McGonigle et al., 2020) gives a comprehensive list of questions to ask and potential information-gathering and organizational tools which may serve useful in creating a holistic planning approach that works for your particular farm or project. The study by (van Zonneveld et al., 2020) provides many examples of diversified farming operations around the world, and constraints related to market factors. Anyone familiar with carbon farming, permaculture and regenerative agriculture systems generally will likely find these somewhat introductory but also could pull useful examples to complement their work with clients or for their own operations.

McGonigle, D. F., Rota Nodari, G., Phillips, R. L., Aynekulu, E., Estrada-Carmona, N., Jones, S. K., Koziell, I., Luedeling, E., Remans, R., Shepherd, K., Wiberg, D., Whitney, C., & Zhang, W. (2020). A Knowledge Brokering Framework for Integrated Landscape Management. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2020.00013

van Zonneveld, M., Turmel, M.-S., & Hellin, J. (2020). Decision-Making to Diversify Farm Systems for Climate Change Adaptation. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2020.00032

While it seems obscure, and is a modeling-driven paper based on striped bass fisheries in Massachusetts, if you need a paper to support the value of using a diverse stakeholder group to make decisions, as opposed or alternative to a ‘team of experts’, this would ble a good one!

Aminpour, P., Gray, S. A., Singer, A., Scyphers, S. B., Jetter, A. J., Jordan, R., Murphy, R., & Grabowski, J. H. (2021). The diversity bonus in pooling local knowledge about complex problems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(5). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2016887118

This one is making the rounds, and is co-authored by Pat Brown, CEO of Impossible Foods plant-based, lab-grown foods. Just so you know, because it is definitely showing up on social media and popular articles.

Eisen, M. B., & Brown, P. O. (2021). Eliminating Animal Agriculture Would Negate 56 Percent of Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gas Emissions Through 2100. BioRxiv, 2021.04.15.440019. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.04.15.440019

A meta-analysis of carbon and oxygen isotopes from tree ring chronologies representing 34 species across 10 biomes. The authors sought to better understand the environmental drivers and physiological mechanisms leading to changes in tree intrinsic water use efficiency (iWUE), or the ratio of net photosynthesis to stomatal conductance, over the last century. They show a 40% increase in tree iWUE globally since 1901, coinciding with a 34% increase in atmospheric CO2 (Ca), although mean iWUE, and the rates of increase, varied across biomes and leaf and wood functional types. Interactions between Ca and other environmental factors have important implications for the coupled carbon–hydrologic cycles under future climate. Their results challenge the idea of widespread reductions in stomatal conductance as the major driver of increasing tree iWUE, and will better inform Earth system models regarding the role of trees in the global carbon and water cycles.

Mathias, J. M., & Thomas, R. B. (2021). Global tree intrinsic water use efficiency is enhanced by increased atmospheric CO2 and modulated by climate and plant functional types. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(7). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2014286118

 

This next one came up through the Land and Leadership Initiative’s work in advancing the conversation of the role of (re)vegetation in modulating climate, particularly coastal areas such the western US, especially California. The authors’ significance statement is as follows (bold highlights are mine):

Mountains are focal areas for the transfer of water from atmosphere to land, but sustainable water provision under changing land cover and climate scenarios is not well understood. Our land-based measurements show mountain cloud formation in a coastal setting is significantly influenced by the condition of the windward forest, which regulates terrestrial energy and moisture cycles. We relate recycling of antecedent rainfall and diurnal patterns of temperature and water vapor along the mountain slope to mountain cloud occurrence. Cloud base height increased, and forest immersion frequency changed in response to both drought stress and hurricane defoliation. These findings inform resource management about how drought and deforestation may affect mountain precipitation, a major component of water availability worldwide.

From the abstract:

The study is based in the Luquillo Experimental Forest of Puerto Rico. A severe drought in 2015 and the removal of forest canopy by Hurricane Maria in 2017 created natural experiments to examine interactions between the living forest and hydroclimatic processes. These unprecedented land-based observations over 4 ½ years revealed that the orographic cloud system was highly responsive to local land-surface moisture and energy balances moderated by the forest.

Scholl, M. A., Bassiouni, M., & Torres-Sánchez, A. J. (2021). Drought stress and hurricane defoliation influence mountain clouds and moisture recycling in a tropical forest. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(7). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2021646118

 

Geography

Fraval, S., Hammond, J., Bogard, J. R., Ng’endo, M., van Etten, J., Herrero, M., Oosting, S. J., de Boer, I. J. M., Lannerstad, M., Teufel, N., Lamanna, C., Rosenstock, T. S., Pagella, T., Vanlauwe, B., Dontsop-Nguezet, P. M., Baines, D., Carpena, P., Njingulula, P., Okafor, C., … van Wijk, M. T. (2019). Food Access Deficiencies in Sub-saharan Africa: Prevalence and Implications for Agricultural Interventions. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 3. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2019.00104

Rasmussen, L. V., Wood, S. L. R., & Rhemtulla, J. M. (2020). Deconstructing Diets: The Role of Wealth, Farming System, and Landscape Context in Shaping Rural Diets in Ethiopia. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2020.00045

Water

Hou, L., McMahan, C. D., McNeish, R. E., Munno, K., Rochman, C. M., & Hoellein, T. J. (n.d.). A fish tale: A century of museum specimens reveal increasing microplastic concentrations in freshwater fish. Ecological Applications, n/a(n/a), e02320. https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.2320

Mathias, J. M., & Thomas, R. B. (2021). Global tree intrinsic water use efficiency is enhanced by increased atmospheric CO2 and modulated by climate and plant functional types. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(7). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2014286118

 

Access

No additions this month.

Forestry

Focusing on agroforestry this month because May 1st is Arbor (Tree) Day, I found several new papers to add, and am including a paper by Dr. Rattan Lal that I previously shared, on integrating livestock and agroforestry.

Earlier this month, I spoke with Etelle Higgonet at Mighty Earth Foundation, and she shared news of Cocoa & Conservation Agroforestry Conference coming up May 18-20th. I’m working on getting a link but do let me know if you’re interested. She recently shared their research database on cocoa agroforestry, developed in collaboration with the Smithsonian. This electronic library on cocoa agroforestry includes a Zotero database, available here, and can be searched using their searchable tool. 

Etelle says, “This e-library makes it much easier now to find the best available science on cocoa and agroforestry. As we transition from cocoa monocultures to biodiverse agricultural landscapes that work for farmers and the climate, we expect this e-library to be a breakthrough tool for researchers, activists, farmer groups, policymakers, chocolatiers, and other relevant cocoa sector stakeholders.” More to come on future similar resources in development, including for vineyards and orchards.

Also, plan ahead for the North American Agroforestry Conference coming up June 28th – July 2nd. There’s an incredible line-up of speakers and topics (nothing unusual there!). It’s hosted by the Savanna Institute, which also hosts TONS of resources on their website for farmers wanting to get started in agroforestry systems.

Khasanah, N., van Noordwijk, M., Slingerland, M., Sofiyudin, M., Stomph, D., Migeon, A. F., & Hairiah, K. (2020). Oil Palm Agroforestry Can Achieve Economic and Environmental Gains as Indicated by Multifunctional Land Equivalent Ratios. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 3. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2019.00122

Khatun, K., Maguire-Rajpaul, V. A., Asante, E. A., & McDermott, C. L. (2020). From Agroforestry to Agroindustry: Smallholder Access to Benefits From Oil Palm in Ghana and the Implications for Sustainability Certification. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2020.00029

Lal, R. (2020). Integrating Animal Husbandry With Crops and Trees. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2020.00113

Mathias, J. M., & Thomas, R. B. (2021). Global tree intrinsic water use efficiency is enhanced by increased atmospheric CO2 and modulated by climate and plant functional types. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(7). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2014286118

Schmitt, L., Greenberg, R., Ibarra-Núñez, G., Bichier, P., Gordon, C. E., & Perfecto, I. (2021). Cascading Effects of Birds and Bats in a Shaded Coffee Agroforestry System. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2021.512998

 

Buildings

No additions this month.

Fencing

No additions this month (although I anticipate doing a special issue on this soon as I have a

bunch of older papers related to fencing ecology).

Soils

Basche, A., Tully, K., Álvarez-Berríos, N. L., Reyes, J., Lengnick, L., Brown, T., Moore, J. M., Schattman, R. E., Johnson, L. K., & Roesch-McNally, G. (2020). Evaluating the Untapped Potential of U.S. Conservation Investments to Improve Soil and Environmental Health. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2020.547876

Guiden, P. W., Barber, N. A., Blackburn, R., Farrell, A., Fliginger, J., Hosler, S. C., King, R. B., Nelson, M., Rowland, E. G., Savage, K., Vanek, J. P., & Jones, H. P. (2021). Effects of management outweigh effects of plant diversity on restored animal communities in tallgrass prairies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(5). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2015421118

Prof. David Montgomery and Anne Bikle also wrote books Dirt, and The Hidden Half of Nature, both of which are excellent primers on the role and history of soils and their importance in our lives and health.

Montgomery, D. R. (2007). Soil erosion and agricultural sustainability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(33), 13268–13272. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0611508104

I have to admit a personal interest in manure of all kinds — from humanure composting to ecosystem nutrient cycling to microbiomes, host genetics and hormonal profiling — as there’s so much fascinating research emerging about how much we can learn from fecal matter. This paper is one of a group of papers I downloaded all at once and hope to be digging into further soon. Unfortunately because it was just published, I can’t access the PDF yet to give it (and other related articles) a thorough read.

Sitters, J., & Venterink, H. O. (2021). Body size–fecal nutrient patterns of mammalian herbivores. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(6). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2020137118

From the authors’ significance statement: “Organic matter in the global ocean, soils, and sediments stores about five times more carbon than the atmosphere. Thus, the controls on the accumulation of organic matter are critical to global carbon cycling. However, we lack a quantitative understanding of these controls. This prevents meaningful descriptions of organic matter cycling in global climate models, which are required for understanding how changes in organic matter reservoirs provide feedbacks to past and present changes in climate. Currently, explanations for organic matter accumulation remain under debate, characterized by seemingly competing hypotheses. Here, we develop a quantitative framework for organic matter accumulation that unifies these hypotheses. The framework derives from the ecological dynamics of microorganisms, the dominant consumers of organic matter.”

While this is a rather technical modeling paper, what I found most useful about it is the authors’ integration and explanations of various aspects of organic matter cycling, and their foundation in microbial ecology. They do a nice job of framing a topic that many consider to be long resolved in ecology, i.e. how organic matter (and carbon) gets cycled through ecosystems — in other words, it’s much more than simply being either “recalcitrant” (long-lasting) or “labile” (quickly cycling) pools, for instance as I learned in university terrestrial ecology 15 years ago.

Zakem, E. J., Cael, B. B., & Levine, N. M. (2021). A unified theory for organic matter accumulation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(6). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2016896118

Economy

 

Now here’s something interesting! These authors looked at the application of EQIP [Environmental Quality Incentives Program] funding and analyzed how effective certain practices had been in effecting environmental outcomes. Their goal was to evaluate whether soil and environmental health incentive programs actually are working to achieve these goals. They found 9 practices that “fit the highest level of potential environmental health outcomes in [their] classification systems”, highlighting wetlands and agroforestry related practices. Yet these practices represented less than 1% of all USDA expenditures, indicating “tremendous untapped potential for conservation programs” to benefit environmental health in US agriculture.

 Basche, A., Tully, K., Álvarez-Berríos, N. L., Reyes, J., Lengnick, L., Brown, T., Moore, J. M., Schattman, R. E., Johnson, L. K., & Roesch-McNally, G. (2020). Evaluating the Untapped Potential of U.S. Conservation Investments to Improve Soil and Environmental Health. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2020.547876

Khasanah, N., van Noordwijk, M., Slingerland, M., Sofiyudin, M., Stomph, D., Migeon, A. F., & Hairiah, K. (2020). Oil Palm Agroforestry Can Achieve Economic and Environmental Gains as Indicated by Multifunctional Land Equivalent Ratios. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 3. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2019.00122

Khatun, K., Maguire-Rajpaul, V. A., Asante, E. A., & McDermott, C. L. (2020). From Agroforestry to Agroindustry: Smallholder Access to Benefits From Oil Palm in Ghana and the Implications for Sustainability Certification. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2020.00029

McGonigle, D. F., Rota Nodari, G., Phillips, R. L., Aynekulu, E., Estrada-Carmona, N., Jones, S. K., Koziell, I., Luedeling, E., Remans, R., Shepherd, K., Wiberg, D., Whitney, C., & Zhang, W. (2020). A Knowledge Brokering Framework for Integrated Landscape Management. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2020.00013

Pauline, N. M. (2021). Role of climate-smart agriculture in enhancing farmers’ livelihoods and sustainable forest management: A case of villages around Songe-bokwa forest, Kilindi district, Tanzania. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2021.671419

Rasmussen, L. V., Wood, S. L. R., & Rhemtulla, J. M. (2020). Deconstructing Diets: The Role of Wealth, Farming System, and Landscape Context in Shaping Rural Diets in Ethiopia. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2020.00045

Stratton, A. E., Kuhl, L., & Blesh, J. (2020). Ecological and Nutritional Functions of Agroecosystems as Indicators of Smallholder Resilience. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2020.543914

Tavenner, K., van Wijk, M., Fraval, S., Hammond, J., Baltenweck, I., Teufel, N., Kihoro, E., de Haan, N., van Etten, J., Steinke, J., Baines, D., Carpena, P., Skirrow, T., Rosenstock, T., Lamanna, C., Ng’endo, M., Chesterman, S., Namoi, N., & Manda, L. (2019). Intensifying Inequality? Gendered Trends in Commercializing and Diversifying Smallholder Farming Systems in East Africa. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 3. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2019.00010

 

Energy

Kurgat, B. K., Lamanna, C., Kimaro, A., Namoi, N., Manda, L., & Rosenstock, T. S. (2020). Adoption of Climate-Smart Agriculture Technologies in Tanzania. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2020.00055

 

Other

González, R., Butković, A., Escaray, F. J., Martínez-Latorre, J., Melero, Í., Pérez-Parets, E., Gómez-Cadenas, A., Carrasco, P., & Elena, S. F. (2021). Plant virus evolution under strong drought conditions results in a transition from parasitism to mutualism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(6). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2020990118

Hui, C. (2021). Introduced species shape insular mutualistic networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(5). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2026396118

Nichols, J. D., Oli, M. K., Kendall, W. L., & Boomer, G. S. (2021). Opinion: A better approach for dealing with reproducibility and replicability in science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(7). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2100769118

Nickel, B. A., Suraci, J. P., Nisi, A. C., & Wilmers, C. C. (2021). Energetics and fear of humans constrain the spatial ecology of pumas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(5). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2004592118

Rodríguez-Sánchez, P., van Nes, E. H., & Scheffer, M. (n.d.). Neutral competition boosts cycles and chaos in simulated food webs. Royal Society Open Science, 7(6), 191532. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.191532

Tendler, A., Bar, A., Mendelsohn-Cohen, N., Karin, O., Kohanim, Y. K., Maimon, L., Milo, T., Raz, M., Mayo, A., Tanay, A., & Alon, U. (2021). Hormone seasonality in medical records suggests circannual endocrine circuits. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(7). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2003926118

 

Papers not yet released, waiting on publication:

Damptey, F. G., de la Riva, E. G., & Birkhofer, K. (2021). Trade-offs and synergies between food and fodder production and other ecosystem services in an actively restored forest, natural forest and an agroforestry system in Ghana. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/ffgc.2021.630959

Ghosh-Jerath, S., Kapoor, R., Ghosh, U., Singh, A., Downs, S., & Fanzo, J. (2021). Pathways of climate change impact on agroforestry, food consumption pattern and dietary diversity among indigenous subsistence farmers of Sauria Paharia tribal community of India: A mixed methods study. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2021.667297

Pauline, N. M. (2021). Role of climate-smart agriculture in enhancing farmers’ livelihoods and sustainable forest management: A case of villages around Songe-bokwa forest, Kilindi district, Tanzania. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2021.671419

 

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