Science topic

Agroecology - Science topic

Agroecology is the study of ecological processes that operate in agricultural production systems.
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Some people think GMO is 100% against agroecology based farming. Is it really 100% true that GMO negatively affect agroecology? If there are positive contributions, what are these?
Thanks
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Dear Yohannes,
GMO is not 100% against agro-ecology. It supports agro-ecological conditions through cultivating drought and heat stress tolerant, fall armyworm resistant, herbicide tolerant, better yielding etc. crop varieties derived through GMO events.
However, GM cross pollinated crops can affect local genetic resources such as open pollinated varieties, landraces etc. which will lead to diminished genetic diversity and agro-ecological imbalance. Hence, preliminary health and environmental safety assessments are required to recommend GM technologies.
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Fellow Ecologists,
In order to study plant species evenness and diversity for a plant community we count either individuals to calculate the appropriate indices or each species percentage cover/specific ground area (quadrat). The second is my case as we have 8x8 m2 which is quite large area and time consuming to estimate individuals.
Of course the second option is a tradeoff between quality and quantity as some plants species will have many individuals with low ground cover while others a small number of individuals with large cover area.
What would be the case if we count species percentage cover/ specific ground area (quadrat) and a metric of percentage cover of each species/ total vegetation percentage cover (technically relative abundance/100). Could we combine those to metrics to have a more representative value of flora status without counting the populations' individuals ?
Thanks in advance
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These two metrics represents two different parameter. Species percentage cover represents overall ground cover occupied by all species, whereas percentage cover of each species represents its abundance. However, I think there is no short cut as such, we have to count the number of individuals in both parameters. So representative value of flora status without counting the populations' individuals will be of little help.
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Dear all,
I will very soon start working on my master thesis that will try to answer the following question:
"Does agroecology offer a viable solution on a regional scale? "
The aim is to combine:
  • Field measurement of organic matter in the environment
  • Remote sensing images (GIS)
  • Survey of farmers on their use of organic matter
To do a detailed analysis of reservoirs and flows of organic matter in the Atacora region of Benin (West Africa). This would allow us to assess the sustainability of such techniques.
Please let me know if you have any advice to answer this question. Would you advise some good literature that could help me :
  • Quantify the organic matter on the field ?
  • Quantify it using remote sensing ?
  • Quantify the flow and analyse the uses of organic matter ?
Thanks in advance for your help and advice.
Kind regards
Tom Kenda
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Very interesting job, go ahead...
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Dear all, I'm struggling with the following denominations of agricultural intensification.
(1) Sustainable intensification
(2) Ecological Intensification
(3) Agroecological intensification
The differences between the three of them are not clear for me (if there are any). I would really appreciate some help and discussion on this issue.
Thank you very much!
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Thank you Dr Rui Pedroso for this very relevant question. To be able to examine the possible differences between the three concepts, let us see how they were defined by the specialists in question.
Ecological intensification is a process that increases yields while reducing the ecological footprint of agriculture, according to Casman, 2008, thus increasing yield while respecting the environment through low use of inputs. Ecological intensification is sometimes also called ecologically intensive agriculture or Agroecological intensification (according to wikipedia). Thus these two appellations constitute the same concept.
According to CIRAD (2008) in Sylvie Bonni (2011), ecological intensification (therefore agroecological intensification) is not only a form of intensification that preserves the environment (as defined by Casman in 2008 ) because in addition to that, it uses ecosystem processes and therefore must be based on ecological processes and functionalities which make it possible to fight against pests and diseases, to reduce nuisances, to better develop scarce resources such as water or even improve ecological services such as carbon storage, biological diversity and prevention of natural disasters.
As for Sustainable intensification and according to FAO, it is the maximization of primary production per unit area without compromising the ability of the system to maintain its own production capacity.
According to Amir Kassam (2013), the concept of sustainable intensification encompasses a whole range of ecosystem services (therefore just as we have seen for ecological intensification as defined by CIRAD), in particular: maintaining health soil, drinking water and air quality, control of erosion and other forms of soil degradation, protection of water, nutrient and carbon cycles, services pollination and others such as the protection of landscapes, habitats and biodiversity for the functioning of ecosystems.
Thus, on the basis of these definitions, it appears that these are related ideas since in all cases, it is a question of considering the productive systems as ecosystems, of producing more with few inputs and of preserving the environment. As explained by Michel Griffon (2014), this involves amplifying the useful functions of these productive ecosystems, enhancing their ecological services, “integrating” them with one another to obtain synergies, to diversify them biologically and to propose productive inventions which are therefore very similar to what exists in the natural state.
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What are the conditions for the vonversion? in many countries where conventional agriculture predominates, it seems something very difficult or impossible to achieve, I am referring to the conversion of large-scale conventional systems to agroecological systems.
I would like to know your opinion or experience, because I only know small-scale agroecological productions.
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I think you proposition is very common in coutries with large scale production and developped agriculture.
In small coutries, we only finding basic agriculture with limited production.
But, i think as ecologist or agro ecologist we must following this large-scale possibility?
For example, in Algeria we using a limited area without any network between production and agro systems!!!
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Initially the GMO crops were developed to help farmers prevent crop loss through more resistance to insect damage, tolerance to herbicides and resistance to plant viruses. But, there are many cases of negative effects, and high risks. From your perspective and experience what would be those risks of using GMOs in the agriculture.
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The genetic engineering process has raised many concerns, largely because it involves mutations in hundreds or thousands of locations throughout the plant’s DNA
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I foraged about Bug Hotel efficiency for insect conservation as it seem to be consensual among gardeners, teachers and other people who want to quickly build something visible for local biodiversity (and indeed positive results are often visible).
However
Do you know any controversies (attract pest, favoring inhabiting predators eating the neighbors species, etc.).
Or no discussion: BUG HOTELS ARE GOOD TOOLS in any cases...?
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What do you mean by insect hotels? is it the same as insect gardens? or Insect rearing?
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What practical measures are needed to lower the ideological barriers between organic and GM, and thus fully exploit the combined potential of both GM crops and organic modes of production in order to achieve agroecological management practices compatible with the sustainable intensification of food production?
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-Genetically modified crops, I hope they will not spread because I see them as a step to manipulating human genes
-Selection and crossbreeding are much better
-Comparison is between organically fertilized crops and chemically modified crops, not with GM crops
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Agroecology has emerged as a much need field of study to support the development of a regenerative agriculture and the thriving of sustainable food systems. However, what are the skills needed by young graduates in agroecology to embark in successful career paths? Who determines/decides about necessary competences that students of agroecology must gain before completing their study program?
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In my view, agroecology should bridge knowledge of natural sciences and social and political dynamics. Therefore, I would say that young researchers in agroecology should have a strong background in agricultural sciences and a specialization in either ecology, evolutionary biology and/or anthropology, sociology, political sciences. There are maybe several complementary profiles of agroecologists!
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I am looking for some good datasets related to land use and agricultural practices such as conventional and conservation agriculture and their contribution to soil erosion and health on global scale. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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The use of terracing agrotechnology in the foothills prevents irrigation erosion.
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list of germplasm with agroecological classifications.
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With increasing interest in sustainable farming approaches (organic, agroecology, permaculture, diversified farming systems, etc. etc.) the question arises how these approaches influence farmers quality of work and workload. And with governments promoting both sustainable farming as well as the empowerment of rural economies, I wonder if there are case studies showing such synergies.
Are you aware of any case studies (anywhere globally) that investigate how the adoption of sustainable farming practices influenced labor demand, workload, labor quality, or rural employment?
If you know any critical case studies or have conducted one yourself, I would be glad to learn about it in order to complement my literature review (part of my PhD ).
Thank you very much.
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Please take a look at this useful PDF attachment.
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A now vast body of literature is claiming that agroecology is socially transformative however, I have not found any work yet that expains why and how this is happening. Please suggest references if you can. Thanks!
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Undoubtedly agroecology has the potential to transform the heath of the people as well as the environment and of the society. The key steps pertain to baseline research (in annual and perennial cropping systems, with emphasis on the pests, potential biological control agents and ecological interactions) and then making the farmers aware of the ecological scenarios in the various cropping systems and the various proactive and reactive options available to them.There are many references available. I am giving two of them.
Reference:
Altieri, MA et al., (2015) Agroecology and the design of climate change-resilient farming systems. In: Agronomy for Sustainable Development, Volume 35, Number 3, Page 869.
Nicholls, C. I., and M. A. Altieri. 2018. Pathways for the amplification of agroecology. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems 42 (10):1170–93.
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For example, in forest resources monitoring, crop growth monitoring, land use change monitoring and other fields, it is best to be able to elaborate from satellite remote sensing, UAV remote sensing and ground monitoring at different levels. I hope that relevant peer experts can communicate more, look forward to new advanced technology means, and seek common progress.
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I think also that it depends on what your are looking for. May be, it is better to reformulate your question and ask your question differently
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Tropical countries in global south like mine (Colombia) have huge social pressure on steep lands. They ought to be preserved in native forest, but people need to eat, so agroecology might emerge as solution. One way to make it acceptable for institutions is to argue this land use improves rives, in terms of lotic habitats, morphodynamics (less sedimentation) and water quality for intakes. Is it reasonable? suggestions? examples?. Thanks!
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Interesting topic......follow
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i have a mean mosquito density data recorded from three villages with different agroecology. Therefore i want to compare if their is association between mosquito density and agroecology. OR shall i use a one way ANOVA to compare mean density between villages.
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@Andrew Thank you!
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Hello! You that are related to agroecology:
Do you know of any report on measuring the impact of local sustainable or alternative markets?
That is, if you know of a case in any part of the world where the benefits in economic, social, cultural, political, environmental, etc. terms have been documented / evaluated.
Or someone who can know?
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Local foods and local markets are ready markets to meet consumer needs. Direct sale by farmers through farmers market needs promotion.
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I want to evaluate different uses of the soil: from industrial agriculture through agroecology and agroforestry to restoration, with dynamic indicators of sustainability.
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awesome! very thank to everyone!
all responses will be closely observed and will collaborate for the project!
Obrigada!
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Vegetables (and fruits) are key elements in human alimentation, with benefits on health for example. At the ame time, they are often the results of intensified systems, heavily relying on chemical inputs to maintain soil fertility and to protect crops. Promoting agroecological transitions in such systems is therefore a real concern.
Food systems are one of the tools that public policies or local policies can use to promote these agrocecological transitions in vegetable production.
It is therefore clear that vegetable production and food systems are linked. I would like to clarify all these links, and all their implications, not only in terms of sociological quesitons, but also economic, agronomic, on land-use patterns, on culture and culinary traditions...
My first step is then to get a idea of who is interested by all or part of this topic (I also am doing a litterature survey, of course!).
Thanks for getting in touch, my feeling is that there are not so many forces on such topic, and we can gain by sharing our eforts.
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Dear Marc,
Check out also the work of Peter Rosset (especially the work he has been doing in Cuba).
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I am looking for assessment studies that substantiate agroecology as a feasible model of sustainable agriculture.
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What is the effect of altitude on nutritive value, in vitro digestibility and rumen biodegradability of forage?
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try to ask more specific questions, dear colleague, the simple answer to this one is: go to unibersity and study animal nutrition! :-)
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working in agroecology (plant competition)
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In Brazil, we have studied the influence of the use of consortia of winter plants (Raphanus sativus L. + Avena strigosa + Triticosecale wittmack + Pisum sativum L.) that can be used to feed the animals in the winter season and to cover the soil , no till formation, and their influence on the chemical, physical and biological attributes of the soil, dry matter production, nutrient decay rate and the contributions of their use on crop yields in succession, usually soybean, corn, beans and others of interest to producers.
If by chance that is what I seek I have some work that speak of the benefits in the parameters mentioned above.
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Traditionally farmers in many African nations (and elsewhere) still grow individual crops not only in inter- specific (different species), but also in intra-specific (same species) mixtures. However, the development ideology to improve production has been one promoting displacement of these with new 'improved' varieties or hybrids with often questionable medium to longer term results. We now know better the value of useful diversity to maintain crop robustness agains biotic and abiotic stress.
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through IPM and IDM
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Although alternative, more ecological methods of farming exist (e.g.: organic, biodynamic, permaculture), most of agricultural practices world wide continue to embrace the large scale, industrial model. However, what is the impact of the ecological model?
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The greatest barrier is that food has become commodified, and is exchanged in a global market driven system. There are definitely other models out there, but most exchanges of food are conducted in a market driven by shareholder profit. This is true of local community supported agriculture as well; these alternative food networks are modeled on neo-capitalist agriculture. There are producers on the local and region level that are “breaking the model”, but these place-based value driven producers are in a conundrum of operating within the larger system with a different set of values. While these self-organized values-based food producers and networks are building the capacity for transformative social change and altering how we understand the value in local food production, we desperately need a new metric for measurement of success, one that is not based on our current profit based economics. Ariel suggests much of what needs to happen in his post above. The transformation of our food system, for human equity and the health of the planet will not happen without a radical societal change.
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There is a need of integrated assessment modelling for climate change impacts evaluation.
Intra-sector for agriculture (including rapid spatio-temporal changes in soil fertility, ground and surface water availability, cropping intensity hike for meeting food demand, rapid change in insects-pests dynamics).
Inter-sectoral (for agricultural impacts_- energy, health, socio-economic concerns, industrialization, atmospheric pollution, communication, etc.
Climate change on agriculture - well documented, mostly on point results & lack of regional validations
Existing Models deal with crop-weather interaction in solo, with boundary  conditions for other bio-physical and socio-economic aspects fixed, in most of the studies. 
Need to evolve IAM (Integrated assessment modelling) at this this stage
There should be some research group working on this aspect, or formation of a group to initiate these actions in near future
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At Biologic Design we design and create soil-bsed, multi-species, constructed wetland ecosystems (recombinant ecologies) to provide many ecosystem services - water and wastewater purification as well as resource production. I am currently working on a PhD at The Centre for Agroecology, Water & Resilience in the UK into what I term 'Low-Entropy Systems' design. Some species of Freshwater Mussels (as they are very efficient filter feeders) can remove and immobilise Phospherous from the water body (as Calcium Phosphate) which is deposited underneath the organism, both as a store of Calcium and Phospherous and also to help the animal 'stick' to the bottom of the water body it lives in... All the best, J C Abrahams, BSC. Microbiology, Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design.
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Hi Jay,
II am not sure the this (past) CEST conference project page is very productive for promoting permaculture systems. The last activity of the conference is the review process of the journal papers in the special issues that will be the final product of the conference.
You are welcome to participate in the 16th conference next year and there is likely a session to present your work.
The mechanism of phosphorus (and to a lesser degree nitrogen) removal from water by mussels is the incorporation of the nutrients into the biomass, not formation of inorganic phosphates.
Since the paper you refer to was published the use of mussels to remove nutrients from semi-closed water systems have become well established water systems engineering.
In Denmark it has become law that fish farms in seawater (trout and salmon) can be extended beyond their phosphorus pollution quota if the pollution is balanced by the establishing of open water mussel farms that compensate the phosphorus by the harvested biomass.
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Sometimes it isn't easy to find a good place to get a membership so as to exchange our knowledge, or sometimes some online trusted organizations inquire too much money just to get an annual membership, so I would love to get a membership in a Horticulture organisation. Thanks for your kind cooperation!
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YOU CAN TRY ISHS
International Society for Horticultural Science.
https://www.ishs.org/Y1990 when I was a grad. student in Oregon State University. Y
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I am planning to compete for a Fulbright grant for 2019-2020 and would like to be hosted by a central American universities to teach agroecology and do extension research to empower local growers through a program of hands-on workshops on various agroecological themes (e.g.: soil health and fertility, water conservation, agroforestry, biofertilizers, apiculture) and/or similar topics. Puedo comunicar en Espanol sin problemas!
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In Central America there is a PhD program in Agroecology at the National University of Nicaragua, supported by the Latin American Scientific Society of Agroecology (SOCLA). If interested, send me a message to my inbox. Good luck!
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Agroecology is emerging quickly as the alternative paradigm for sustainable food production. However, How can agroecology allow the integration of the three components of the classic sustainability model: environment, economy, social justice?
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The three components of sustainability (environment, economy, social justice) are difficult to incorporate fully in the current capitalistic/neoliberal economic system that is prevalent in many countries. This type of approach requires a view of sustainability that transcends the political borders between countries. Within the context of each country, education on sustainability (at all levels) and a system of awards/punishments on environmental protection is necessary all the way from growers to consumers.
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What is the status of evaluating curricula in sustainable agriculture/agroecology? I have difficulties in finding assessment studies of curricula in sustainable agriculture/agroecology and wonder what is going on with these study programs in Colleges and Universities around the world.
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i need for agriculture purpose if possible please send me.
Thank yu
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Please contact National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning....an excellent information...they have generated...
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1.dgvm-dynamic global vegetation model
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Two examples of the top of my head are the Lund-Potsdam-Jena (LPJ) model and SEIB-DGVM. Both have been extensively evaluated against observational data and applied in a variety of ways.
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Could you please help me to find related references about that issue? Thank you very much!
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Yes agroecology is equally important for small and large holders both as it promote an understanding of the importance of the application of ecological concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable agroecosystems.
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I'm developing a literature review of papers that document the use of GIS in agroecology (a topic of personal interest).
I'm curious how the technology has been used, and what might be preventing further application. I wonder which aspects of the technology are truly helpful (modeling and visualizing potential outcomes in complex systems? facilitating  knowledge transfer?), and which might be harmful or even antithetical to the principles of agroecology, since issues like cost, who has access to data, hardware requirements, internationalization of user interfaces, and so on must be a factor.
Thanks for any thoughts or pointers!
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Mapping in GIS based softwares can be very useful in determining areas where high quantity of irrigation is required, planning of irrigation and drainage schemes etc. GIS mapping of an area using interpolation techniques etc help to assess the soil composition water demand etc at any location based on observed datas at other locations etc. 
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As water crisis threatens the sustainability of the irrigated rice ecosystem across the globe (Cantrell 2002; Farooq et al 2011; Yadav et al. 2011), cultivation of aerobic rice is gradually catching the imagination of people and efforts are being made to increase the productivity of this system. Even that, what are main preseasons to not doing farmers in Asia.
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Dear Babu,
I will give you some information about rice direct seeding in China. 
In the last decade, rice cultivation area in China amounts to 28,000,000-32,000,000 ha (http://www.knowledgebank.irri.org/index.php?option=com_zoo&view=item&layout=item&Itemid=857), including ~200,000 ha of direct-sown rice. Why is direct seeding not popularized among farmers in China? Three main reasons (socially and technically):
1. Farmers lack sufficient understanding of direct seeding. The industrialized rice raising and mechanized rice transplantation are now widely used and have strongly improved the efficiency of rice cultivation in the last decade, it takes time for farmers to understand direct seeding is even more efficient. (but for the small farms, maybe the high efficiency of direct seeding is not necessarily attractive.)
2. Compared to mechanized transplantation, in direct seeding, extreme weathers after seeding may have a severe impact on the sown seeds or weak seedlings which may result in a high-risked loss. This problem is highlighted in two-crop paddy fields.
3. Weed problems.
http://www.camn.agri.gov.cn/Html/2016_05_31/2_1842_2016_05_31_29528.html (An interview report with Prof. Xiwen Luo in the Chinese Academy of Engineering)
sorry, references are probably only available in Chinese. Hope it will help. 
Regards,
Yingying
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What are the physical problems of rice-wheat cropping system in South Asia?
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So far, the major problems of rice-wheat system in South Asia are the unsustainable production system, degradation of soil physical properties as result of puddling, depletion of SOC ad N.
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I would like to study the relationship of soil microbial community (biomass, abundance, diversity etc) with plant growth performance/yield on different organic inputs.
Does such index that associating agricultural outputs to agricultural inputs exist?
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Crop productivity index ratings from the Natural Resources Conservation Service provide a relative ranking of soils based on their potential for intensive crop production. An index can be used to rate the potential yield of one soil against that of another over a period of time. Ratings range from 0 to 100. The higher numbers indicate higher production potential.CPI ratings do not take into account climatic factors, such as the differences in precipitation or growing degree days across Minnesota. The ratings are based on physical and chemical properties of the soils and on such hazards as flooding or ponding. Available water capacity, reaction (pH), slope, soil moisture status, cation-exchange capacity (CEC), organic matter content, salinity, and surface fragments are the major properties evaluated when CPI ratings are generated.Natural Resources Conservation Service provides maps and tables of crop productivity index ratings via the Web Soil Survey ..details as enclosed  as PDF maps.
The Crop Productivity Index Ratings have replaced the Crop Equivalency Ratings that were used for many years. The University of Minnesota developed CERs based on the same soil surveys that were used to develop the CPI.  However, CERs utilized factors that were considered relevant at the time of their development in the 70’s and 80’s.   They looked at the costs of drainage, moderate levels of management, rainfall, and production costs that resulted in a crop yield. In other words, CERs reflected the relative differences in productivity between soils based upon a net economic return. The CPI, on the other hand, is a pure value based on soil and landscape properties that consider the long-term production capacity of a soil. The CPI has been deemed better---more accurate and more consistent---than CERs because it represents the typical condition of the soil before local modifiers and adjustments are applied to adjust values for certain conditions such as inaccessibility, poor drainage, river or stream overflow, field size, or field shape. In fact, the University of Minnesota no longer maintains support for the Crop Equivalency Ratings system. The Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), NRCS, and local soil water conservation districts (SWCD) currently use and support the CPI Ratings system. ....   
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Generally, the presence of microbes affects the microbial degradation potential of herbicide. How could flooding conditions affect the microbial population? Please cite references and thank you in advance.
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Very often , anoxia like conditions discourage heavily the microbes to proliferate in paddy  field...
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I'm starting a project which requires germination of some land plants, and I would be interested in sourcing Amborella seeds. Do you know of a research group or institution that could share some biological material?
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Dear Arvind,
Thank you for your time, but truth is the bibliographic research I already did and sent tons of emails. Either people work with biologic material that is not viable seeds and thus cannot provide them, or just won't answer emails. That's why, as a last ditch effort, I tried here. Thus I am looking for somebody that is personally working with Amborella or a New Caledonian institution that could provide them.
Thank you nonetheless.
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this is part of an ongoing research
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 Thank you very much professor Kochar for your valuable comment 
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Some cultural practices and beliefs are counter-productive and duress the efforts for biodiversity conservation.
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Some religious beliefs (catholicism for example), by putting Man in the center of the attention, might be considered detrimental to nature conservation because nature is at Man's disposal (e.g. "Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth" Genesis)
In general, a common framework of understanding (beliefs, knowledge, representations, etc) is thought to be in favour of action towards conservation (Mathevet et al. 2011, Brugnach et al. 2011).
Uncertainty in people's belief of how the natural system works is detrimental to collective action (exemple of the climate change (Barrett & Dannenberg 2013)
In general, in traditional societies, cultural practicies are usually resource-friendly because otherwise it would directly challenge their survival (e.g Ostrom 1990). In modern societies, it is more complex to assess as there is so much diversity of world views and cultures. The role of belief (and moral reasoning towards nature) on resource management as been interstingly apporached by Meyer & Braga 2009 using Grave theoretical framework on the dynamics of value systems.
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I'm doing a reiciprocal transplant of plants and soil in the field. Pots with soil and plants will be buried into the natural soil at each site and followed for phenology / growth / etc. I know folks have done this type of thing before, but wondered if anyone could point me toward literature comparing soil water status inside and outside the pots -- does it equilibrate pretty quickly? The pots will have drainage holes (covered in mesh).
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You can try to use  a dialysis tubing kind of bag or something related to act as a semipermeable membrane. For you to have something close to equilibrium, you need a semipermeable membrane
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 Phosphorus element is one of essential nutrients of a plant needed for growth and development. However, in tropical soils, its mineralization mechanism  is not very clear. How many forms of P available to the plants and how many forms are still remained e.g. organically bounded, geologically bounded etc. that do not take role in the mineralization, therefore, demand and supply in tropical soil especially  in agro-ecosystems are very mysterious and condition always needed sublimate in form of chemical fertilizer that makes not good sense for  ecologically aesthetic  So, I wish to get most authentic and appropriate protocols for analyses.  
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Dear Sir (Dr A S Rao)
I will get research articles from your Research-gate and also try to get publications from Dr G. Dev,  PAU, Ludhiana. I want to analyse P mineralization and mobility in soil  to understand cycling of P in Shivalik ecosystem. I know that, there are hundreds of methods available for analyses today (manual and instrumental) but how many fractions and forms of P either in mineral or any other organically bounded could release P elements, how many kind of microbial niche paying trade-offs with plants for P mobilization . Is the mechanism for P mineralization   is probably similar  for native  and invasive plants  then how cycling of nutrients  (especially N and P) differently  behave under invaded ecosystems? In Shivalik region, invasibility by certain  invasive species under agriculture and forest ecosystems is a big ecological challenge. I am looking answer through plant functional traits and cycling of nutrients systematically . In this direction,  I have to investigate  mechanistic role  of  N and P retention, deposition, cycling and distribution pattern in soil  across contrasting ecosystems of Shivalik region  in a changing environment. I am very thankful to you for your kind help and suggestions.
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  • How  horticulture  stake its claim to be better equipped to  sustain production and  productivity, besides enhancing resilience (adaptation) and reducing Green House Gases (mitigation)?
  • What are the good agricultural practices suitable for adaptation and mitigation ensuring food security?
  • How greenhouse gas emissions can be cut down through horticulture and horticulture-based entrepreneurship?
  • Is it possible to quantify greenhouse gas emissions and their storage as sink in horticulture crops?
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Thank you Dr. Surender for providing good links. But I liked the concept of climate-smart agricultural landscapes. The integrated landscape approach offers a strategy to achieve climate-smart agriculture objectives at scale and in all its dimensions. Through climate-smart agricultural landscapes, important synergies for agricultural production, climate adaptation and mitigation, as well as other livelihood and environmental objectives, can be generated through coordinated action at farm and landscape scales.
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The research is being is carried out using different eco- friendly management practices for the management of OYVMV .We are at the end of the project.For the publish of articles, literature regarding cow milk against disease is needed..
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There is a thesis from the University of Wisconsin using milk for virus control by James Burton Sinclair who was my graduate advisor. 
Also Broadbent, L. H. 1965. Epidemiology of tomato mosaic Ann. Appll. Biol. 52:225-232.
I used milk extensively in integrated control of maize pathogens transmitted by leafhopper. Usually the recommendation is the use skim nonfat milk in dry form with 10% milk solids to water volume 10 g per 100 ml water. In my maize work I used milk spray culling and micronutrient supplementation to eliminate zinc chlorosis and incidence was reduced from up to 80% to negligible. Zinc prevented chlorosis which attacted the leafhoppers, the mechanism of the milk is to interfere with the virus on the stylet tip it is thought. Culling is always a good method as is detracts the spread foci. 
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It is known that increased nutrient availability decreases diversity in microbial communities, and that diversity increases with environmental complexity. From here, it is possible to make the connection that nutrient availability is negatively correlated with environmental complexity. But I don't understand how.
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Dear Matthew, 
 An increase in nutrient  availability will decreases diversity through competition. More nutrient allow strong competitor to develop rapidly and will excluded some specialist microbes. This is what you can observe with cyanobacterial bloom when there is a fertilization event and one dominant species will take over.
The second statement might be explained with niches theory. The more complex an environment, the more niches you will have  i.e. microenvironment with specific physico-chemical property and biological organization. Only specialist microbes can acclimate to those niches, modifying the micro environmental conditions through their activity and creating new niches for other bugs to come, thus creating new relation and rising diversity. 
Thus, (while I am not completely sure about the connection that you are making and its universality), if you have more nutrient, you might merge niches that are linked to this nutrient limitation, and thus this might reduces the overall complexity of your environment. This will allow competitor to take over those new niches that they where previously excluded from because of the limitation of the nutrient, excluding the specialist that have develop different strategy to cope with this limitation, and so reducing diversity. 
I would be careful with the " A imply B, B imply C so A imply C" kind of reasoning that is applied here. I think this might be more complex than that depending of which environment and which nutrient is considered. I would also argue that at some point, lack of nutrient will reduce the diversity (look at a bare rock, there is very few species able to survive on it), and that it might be (as often) a modal relation more than a monotonous relation (meaning you will have an optimum). Another way to see the connection will be "Is nutrient limitation rising the environmental complexicity"
Hope that help a bit
Best
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  • In the back drop of high uncertainity in production of  crops grown under diverse agro-pedological conditions, what are the possible options  of adding another dimension to success of  conservation agriculture ,which undoubtedly  share the  core principles of maintaining  soil cover, minimum tillage and regular crop rotations with legumes as mandatory crop ?
  • Are  we in position to quantify the environmental benefits of CA  in form of reduction in fossil fuel use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,  and energy needs in crop raising? 
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Thank you Dr. Tarafdar for intellectual points and elaborations that CA system sequester carbon from the atmosphere, promote a healthy environment and enhance natural biological processes operating both below and above the grounds. But above all higher nutrient use efficiency resulting from reduced leaching and minimum gaseous losses, contribute more for conservation agriculture which are associated with minimum tillage and increased residue cover.
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What can be the reasons for higher denitrification rates and potentials in a maize monoculture compared to maize-soybean rotation?
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Cereal crops have high requirement for nitrogen in form of nitrate nitrogen which is mineralised and continuous cropping of soils will deplete nitrogen also ,microorganisms in soils require energy and will convert the nitrate nitogen into elemental nitrogen .however, in cereals/ legume cropping , the legumes produce root nodules and presence soil rhizobium will lead to formation of symbiotic nitogen into soil to meet the nitrogen needs of cereals.The legume/cereals cropping is very profitable because it enhances soil fertility and reduces the cost of purchasing fertilisers
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I am studying sustainable agriculture and existing sustainable agricultural practices in the world. please suggest different existing sustainable agricultural practices in different parts of the world.
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Family farmers are involved in sustainable agricultural practices in sub-Sahara Africa. Agro-pastoralists, agroforestry, intercropping, crop rotation, zero-tillage, irrigation
farming and contour farming are feasible practices for family farmers. Read further http://www.istituto-oikos.org/files/download/2014/HANDBOOK_WEB_final.pdf
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In wetland situation pH of soil may approaches to neutrality. In this situation liming of soil may not have any effect. However, some researchers found positive effect of liming in wetland rice soil. Now the question is what is the mechanism or reason behind this findings?
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Thanks Anoop sir for nice response. Actually I am going to establish some experiments in northern part of Bangladesh (Rangpur and Dinajpur regions) in which I like to the effect of liming and different macro and micro nutrients  (NPKSZnBMo) on rice productivity and nutrient availability in soil. Soil of those areas are acidic (pH 5.1-5.3) and light to medium textured. Experiments will be started in next wet season (Monsoon/T. Aman season) and will be continued up to Boro season (dry season). Can I expect a positive response of liming. I shall be grateful if any one give some suggestion with different treatment combinations.
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Fertiliser production and consumption adds million tons of CO2 equivalent gasses and reduce soil properties on the other side use of organic manure and other organic inputs fixes carbon in the soil and improve soil properties  and not contribute in green house gasses. There are several other socio-economic implications of fertiliser use that may not find fertilisers as  a reliable tool for long term sustainability of agriculture on the other side organic inputs are locally available and their recycling in agriculture not only solve several environmental problems but also  cost effective.  So it the right time to shift to organic system for long term sustainability of agriculture ?  Please  see one of my publication( book chapter) Role of organic farming in mitigation of climate change 
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What is the contribution of synthetic fertilizers production and consumption vis a vis use of organic inputs in making climate resilience farming?
Where organic amendments shine is in the area of soil carbon and nitrogen sequestration. Most original studies in this area have focused only on a capability of legumes to mostly eliminate the carbon footprint of the production practice. Good but not best option in my viewpoint.
In a crop like maize, synthetic ammoniated fertilizer is about half of the total emission footprint. But what can be done in emission footprint reduction is still small compared to enormous potential for soil sequestration. 
If the maize is planted as a crop after alfalfa this imprint is virtually eliminated but the ley cropping also greatly increases the soil organic matter. Soil organic matter is the big area for focusing on not the emissions of practices alone. .
While this carbon footprint can be seen as a negative and its reduction and elimination a positive this is equivalent in carbon to 100 to 300 kg/ha/yr C.
Here is the bigger mostly unheralded bigger story. When we change to using compost can feed the soil and provide for the maize crop optimally and at the same time can result in many times more positive benefit for its role as soil carbon and nitrogen sequestering.
A compost amendment program can add thousands of sequestered carbon into the soil and not only eliminates the negative carbon footprint of a couple hundred kg/ha but also gets our greenhouse gas budget enormously on the plus side. Lal has suggested that positive sequestration of no-till maize using synthetic fertilizer if applied to tillable lands around the world would counteract about 10% of the total greenhouse gas emission.
The Puget and Lal long term analysis puts no-till at a sequester value of about 300 kg C per ha per year. The results with compost of intensive holistic pasturing and crop and animal integration would show that the total emissions of present fossil fuel use can be remediated by focusing on our raising of soil organic matter in our tillable lands and pastures to levels before man's intervention to deplete them. This will not only reverse the greenhouse gas enrichment over time but also mitigate the effects of climate change from the promoting of greater soil ability to capture and recirculate water resources and grow optimally at higher than accustomed temperatures. 
A compost amendment program can add thousands of sequestered carbon into the soil and not only eliminates the negative carbon footprint of a couple hundred kg/ha but also gets our greenhouse gas budget enormously on the plus side. Lal has suggested that positive sequestration of no-till maize using synthetic fertilizer if applied to tillable lands around the world would counteract about 10% of the total greenhouse gas emission. The Puget and Lal long term analysis puts no-till at a sequester value of about 300 kg C per ha per year.
The results with compost of intensive holistic pasturing and crop and animal integration would show that the total emissions of present fossil fuel use can be remediated by focusing on our raising of soil organic matter in our tillable lands and pastures to levels before man's intervention to deplete them. This will not only reverse the greenhouse gas enrichment over time but also mitigate the effects of climate change from the promoting of greater soil ability to capture and recirculate water resources and grow optimally at higher than accustomed temperatures. 
Rattan Lal, noted soil carbon expert,  has suggested that positive sequestration of no-till maize using synthetic fertilizer if applied to tillable lands around the world would counteract about 10% of the total greenhouse gas emission. The Puget and Lal long term analysis puts no-till at a sequester value of about 300 kg C per ha per year. The results with compost of intensive holistic pasturing and crop and animal integration would show that the total emissions of present fossil fuel use can be remediated by focusing on our raising of soil organic matter in our tillable lands and pastures to levels before man's intervention to deplete them. This will not only reverse the greenhouse gas enrichment over time but also mitigate the effects of climate change from the promoting of greater soil ability to capture and recirculate water resources and grow optimally at higher than accustomed temperatures. 
The Puget and Lal long term analysis puts no-till at a sequester value of about 300 kg C per ha per year. The results with compost of intensive holistic pasturing and crop and animal integration would show that the total emissions of present fossil fuel use can be remediated by focusing on our raising of soil organic matter in our tillable lands and pastures to levels before man's intervention to deplete them. This will not only reverse the greenhouse gas enrichment over time but also mitigate the effects of climate change from the promoting of greater soil ability to capture and recirculate water resources and grow optimally at higher than accustomed temperatures. 
This is based on the ability of these systemsto capture thousands of kg/ha/yr carbon. This will not only reverse the greenhouse gas enrichment over time but also mitigate the effects of climate change from the promoting of greater soil ability to capture and recirculate water resources and grow optimally at higher than accustomed temperatures. 
Unfortunately, most original focus pointed to the ability of legumes to mostly eliminate the carbon footprint of the production practice. In a crop like maize, this is about half of the total emission footprint. If the maize is planted as a crop after alfalfa this imprint is virtually eliminated. While this footprint which is negative can be equivalent in carbon to 100 to 300 kg/ha the bigger story is that changing to using compost can feed the maize crop optimally and can result into many times more positive benefit for its accumulated benefit as soil carbon and nitrogen.
A compost amendment program can add thousands of sequestered carbon into the soil and not only eliminates the negative carbon footprint of a couple hundred kg/ha but also gets our greenhouse gas budget enormously on the plus side. Lal has suggested that positive sequestration of no-till maize using synthetic fertilizer if applied to tillable lands around the world would counteract about 10% of the total greenhouse gas emission. The Puget and Lal long term analysis puts no-till at a sequester value of about 300 kg C per ha per year.
The results with compost of intensive holistic pasturing and crop and animal integration would show that the total emissions of present fossil fuel use can be remediated by focusing on our raising of soil organic matter in our tillable lands and pastures to levels before man's intervention to deplete them.
This will not only reverse the greenhouse gas enrichment over time but also mitigate the effects of climate change from the promoting of greater soil ability to capture and recirculate water resources and grow optimally at higher than accustomed temperatures. 
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What are the pedological benefits of improving cereal crop yields in semi-aride areas?
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Yes, rice direct seeding is successful if planted on soils with good physio-chemical properties  and enough water holding capacity. But, weeds problem is still an issue in this system.
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I was asked this question today in a policy discussion. The term (a bit like sustainable intensification) is used by so many different people in so many different ways that it, for some, it becomes misleading. A food company, talking about sustainable supply chains, a farmer talking about a sustainable enterprise, a development person talking about sustainable development, a politician talking about sustainable economic growth, a social scientist talking about a sustainable rural community or an ecologist talking about sustainable land use all use a different conceptualization of what "sustainable" means, but each often thinks their concept maps neatly across to others.
I often frame discussions about developing landscapes to provide the range of services society needs (water, carbon storage, biodiversity, food production, recreation etc) to avoid the confusion that comes from "sustainable agricultural landscapes" because the former is a clearer conceptualization of the latter (or is it?).
Feedback gratefully received!
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Dear prof. Tim
I think the world "sustainable" is used from several years and till today as you mentioned earlier itis meaning different things for variable people. However, I think instead of changing the world or stop using it, it is better to educate the society about its meaning and aims. It is very important increasing the society interest in sustainability.
Regards 
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I would like to know which method wastes more water in cultivation, and if is there a method to recycle the water in microalgae cultivation.
Thanks!
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No problem! I need to to add though: since soil-based energy crops can be grown extensively instead of intensively, they could still work out in your favor if you have a certain amount of rainfall. By the way, found this article that quantifies water loss for open ponds: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211926413001008
They put water loss without the evaporation of an open pond still at 0.03% of total volume per *day*.
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Most of the farmers in any developing country like India are illiterate but conscious of the factors & impacts on crop productivity and sustainability. But they do not have modern education although their cropping pattern is encouraging for soil productivity. How we can help them with simple methods and tools?
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 Dr.Senapati,FAO Rome is promoting farmer field School approach for educating farmers and improving productivity on their farms in several developing countries.The manuals developed ,several in number, by them and their experience may help you.I am giving here reference to one example.
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The erythrinae (legume  family) populations have risk. (Treatments  with  certain  pesticides  have  been  effective  at  reducing infestations,  although  such  treatments  are  impractical  for  most  people.  Until  this  problem  is resolved,  planting  of  coral  tree  in  Hawai‘i  is  not recommended on 2005.) Particular concern has been voiced that gene flow and hybridization between agricultural crops and native plant species may exacerbate their precarious position, especially if the gene flow occurs from crops developed through recombinant DNA technologies. Horizontal genae transfer (HGT) and vertical gene transfer (VGT) are the two possible ways for gene flow and introgression to occur. VGT is more likely to facilitate gene transfer between agricultural crops and native plant species
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I don't know the answer to your question, but you might start by asking one question, or focusing your work on one aspect at a time. 
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Is it true that intercropping cereal-legume favors higher microbial diversity and activity compared to cereal-legume rotation? What might be the reasons? Any publications on the same?
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this is a very intelligently placed question . I think , cereal -legume rotation will have much higher rhizospere microbial diversity than either cereals alone or legumes alone. Probabaly , this is the legume-cereal combination sustains much better than either of the two alone..
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Insect-pest component in most of the models is weak, in some model dealt through input of pest population at various stages of crop growth to assess the yield loss associated with crops and cropping systems.
there is a need to develop population dynamics for major insect-pests of a region, and integrate with the crop simulation tools.
,my interest is to know the related work on this important aspect?
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In such studies it is more important (than just having a good pest model) to regard the pest as an 'indicator' of the maldesign and mismanagement of the agroecosystem (and to do research to correct these causes) rather than just as an 'enemy' to be controlled within such systems - the attached materials support these ideas - Supportively, Stuart
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Agricultural saline land is big problem in irrigated tract of western Maharashtra. i just want to know existing status and practices to overcome the same problem. 
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I want to access different nitrogen fractions under diversified crop rotation (involved cereals, legumes, fodders) and varying nutrient management practices ( mineral and organic). Please suggest me precise and standard methodology that includes all the N pools/fractions.
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Thanks sir for your kind attention and help
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how the emission of greenhouse gases can be decreased from agriculture? 
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Greenhouse gases absorb infrared radiation that is, heat. Once in the Earth’s atmosphere, they act as an insulating blanket, trapping the sun’s warmth. Carbon dioxide, the most famous greenhouse gas, is what you exhale with every breath. The main human activity that produces CO2 is the burning of fossil fuels.
Methane and nitrous oxide are also greenhouse gases, and both are produced on farms. Methane comes mainly from rice paddies, manure stockpiles and ruminant animals, such as cattle. Nitrous oxide traces back to nitrogen-containing fertilizers (including manure, commonly the fertilizer of choice for organic farms) added to soils. These gases are of particular concern since they have a greater heat-trapping ability than CO2, meaning that increasing levels of nitrous oxide and methane gases have a greater effect on atmospheric temperature.
Water vapor in the air can also trap heat and so act as a greenhouse gas. Water vapor levels depend on atmospheric temperature, which is in turnaffected by levels of heat-trapping gases in the air. By reducing levels of other greenhouse gases in the air, we’ll also reduce the amount of heat-trapping water vapor produced via evaporation of surface water This has implications for farms that use irrigation like paddy crops.
There are a number of ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from farms, but none is completely simple – the microbial ecosystems in soils and livestock rumens are complex environments, and the tools to study them thoroughly have only really been around for a few decades. But research is under way to tackle greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, and it’s already clear there are several paths that can help.
We know that, in climates where the ground freezes, overwintering plants on the soil (that is, leaving plants intact on the soil surface after harvest instead of plowing them in or removing them in the fall) can help reduce nitrous oxide emissions One theory to explain this effect is that the composition and activity of bacterial communities in the soil that produce nitrous oxide gas, or transform these into N2, are affected by soil temperature and nutrients added to the soil. The insulating effect of leaving the plants on the ground surface will affect soil temperature. And the plants contribute nutrients that are added to the soil as they slowly decay during periods above freezing. It’s a complicated system, to be certain, and work into this subject is ongoing.
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I am curious to know if local varieties and their wild relatives have the same or different anitoxidant properties compared to High yielding cultivated varieties
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Dear M.E. Dulloo,
Normally, we test from 15 to 18 varieties in the experiments. We mix it random in the first plot (random completed block design); then we do the same way for the others. The experiment layout is often splted to 4 plots (blocks).. For avoiding cross effects from last the season to the next, we located the subplot (for each variety) in the blocks.
Le Xuan Thai
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Year 2015 is being celebrated as International year of Soil.As we are  all aware soil is foundation to agroecosystems and base for agricultural production.Soil is living system ,store house for carbon and microbial diversity, biochemical laboratory, filter, decontaminant. By providing ecosystem services, food security, climate resilience,supporting animal and human health,soils are serving the humanity.So,what can be done for safe ,secure  and sustainable use of soil in future.
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Dr. Ewald Schnughas good and justified concerns about urbanization agri lands. But to de-urbanize may be not a cost-effective and time saving option. Rather take care in future may be more practical option to save agri lands for sustainable food production.
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It is increasingly being said that continuous use of mineral fertilizers to supply nutrients to crops leads to soil health deterioration.  Do we have scientific evidence based on research published in good impact factor journals that soil health is adversely influenced by applying mineral fertilizers.  Do share the references please.
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Very interesting question , Dr Bjnay Singh, as usual.  As long as, we continue to induce imbalance in rate of fertilizer application , regardless of source , we  are bound to  deteriorate the soil health. After all , soil health  is not the only  living fraction of soil fertility as a part of multiple functions of soil fertility. And , as long as , we continue to address the multiple soil fertility constraints with respect to a given crop ( Annual or perennial ), chemical fertilizers will never be a  bane in  maintaining the  better soil  health. While looking at certain hot spots of nutrient mining /nutrient export  from the soil sites, there are certain parts of Europe and South america , where agriculture is  totally based on exclusive use of chemical fertilizers , yet no nutrient mining , and yet no deterioration  in soil health. If tailoring nutrient requirement keeping in mind the soil fertility constraints and the crop nutrient requirement as per the targeted yield continues on a sound soil fertility  -crop response models, i think , chemical fertilizers will continue to stake its pivotal  claim in modern day agriculture , despite so much hue and cry( in favor of organic agriculture) against the processes such as eutrophication , nitrate pollution of ground water , loss in soil microbial load or microbial diversity etc. Lastly , the we should also consider the amount of  assimilated carbon by a well fertilized plant  is  diverted towards roots( As carbon foot prints of roots)  vis-a-vis total carbon assimilated by the above ground portion in response to balanced fertilization via chemical fertilization . Accept my compliments sir...
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FYI: Soils of Sub-Saharan Africa are known by their low nutrient retention capacity and high leaching susceptibility characteristics.
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I think there is a need to specify the part of Sub-Saharan Africa (as not all have the same setting regarding the soil structure and texture), also on the type of crop to be grown, and even the farming system orientation: cash crop (like the case of cotton for example, which is mostly grown under specific recommendations for the quantity of fertilizer…but, regardless of these issues,
I totally agree with Paul Reed, on the idea of composting and more precisely the case of soil with low organic matter (like in the West African Savanah) or liming (like the case of tropical Oxisols of Congo basin, in the central Africa), are the kind of long term solution (mostly for peasant farmers) rather than short term investment (which could also be fine for commercial/industrial agriculture such as Rubber or Sugar cane plantation...).
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All experiences concerning turmeric or ginger intercropping with legumes, trees or other can be useful
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Several agricultural practices are known to have varying impacts on the environment. Since farmers are directly involved in such practices, it is important that we ascertain their level of knowledge on environmental impacts of their farming activities. It is equally important to know whether there are any factors that are likely to influence such knowledge.
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Here are some latest  publications from India dealing with farmers knowledge being evaluated  in form  of GAP ( Good agriculture practices) ..
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I am planning on investigating the impact of the use of pesticide treatments on the trophic web ‘cultivated plant/phytophagous insect/parasitoid’, and I reckon it would be much more realistic to directly test commercial formulations. But I need to know if there is any restriction to the testing of commercial formulations.
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Rules probably vary by country. I would expect that if you were to apply DDT at 500 lbs/m2 and turn several hundred hectares into a superfund site that there would be legal consequences. So there are restrictions in that sense. Within the context of your question there are no restrictions. Depending on how and where you are applying the materials you might need a pesticide applicator's license. I need an applicator's license, but I check the box that restricts the license for research purposes.
Essentially some equivalent must exist in all countries because otherwise there is no mechanism for developing new products. On the other hand, regulation is necessary otherwise one could dump toxic waste under the ruse of pesticide application. Someone at your university must know the relevant regulations as it applies to your university. You need to find them.
Also know the regulations for disposal of hazardous waste. If you are building microcosms in isolated tanks you may not need an applicator's license, but you will generate considerable waste that will need to be handled properly.
For this type of study it is important to use the formulated product. The formulation changes how the product is atomized, how droplets stick to the surface of the plant, and how long it lasts. It would affect penetration into the plant and how much toxicant is available for translocation. It would affect how much toxicant is transferred to the insect if the insect contacts a wet deposit while walking over a leaf surface. Atomization affects the distribution over the plant surface as the number of deposits and deposit size per square cm. Depending on how you are applying the product, you may want to address how your application method was different from a field application and how such differences might influence your outcome relative to a field outcome.
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Soil organic matter (SOM) is renowned for being the best indicator of soil quality, due to its capacity of improving stability and sustainability of agricultural and forest systems, as well as the fact it is sensitive to changes caused by agricultural practices such as soil tillage, soil compaction, erosion, liming, within others. However, the simple measurement of the total SOM (Walkley-Black, Yeomans & Bremner, dry combustion method - CHNS/O Analyzer) has not been sensitive enough to detect small changes in the soil. Thus, many SOM fractionation techniques have been used for this soil quality diagnosis purpose, such as SOM light fraction, SOM heavy fraction, carbon of microbial biomass, etc. However, most of these methods are expensive and difficult to be performed in large-scale monitoring programs. So I wonder if you know among the SOM fractions, which one(s) are those with better correlation or sensitivity to soil disturbance due tillage or crop system? Which of the SOM attributes would you recommend to be monitored in the long term programs, considering the operational feasibility (field soil sampling and lab analysis) and low cost?
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Interesting discussion . Sensitivity of soil organic matter fraction is largely guided by ease of extraction , active fraction  ( For example humic acid , fulvic acid as part  POM of SOM ) is more labile in nature , and hence contributes towards soil structural stability . Any reduction /depletion in these fractions would indicate loss of soil stability or potential degradation..Loss of organic matter binding soil particles means  soil is fast approaching towards degradation
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1.How  cleverly conventional farming supporter through a question to create doubt/ apprehension about organic farming in terms of lesser grain yield  and the   supporter of organic/near to nature farming  start working to prove organic better than chemical. This question is further relate with the food security and many proponents of conventional farming  says that organic can’t feed the world . Reply  of the  query   should not be simple in terms of yield of This question of comparing productivity of organic Vs. chemical. If its replied comparing just  grain yield  in both the system it is just we the organic follower is also working with the conventional farming mentality where “ grain production” is the meaning of output of  system. 
Here first thing comes is the ideology difference ( slide one) where    in organic farming it is  the input optimisation  ( best use of available resources)  that creates sustainability while in chemical farming it is the output maximisation ( at any amount of inputs)  that create  imbalance or unsustainability . Therefore comparing  grain yield would lead to organic towards exploitative agriculture. Are we really want this ?  Are social, environmental benefits having no meaning?
2.   Conventional farming  mostly having monoculture and precision agriculture  that may  give higher yield of that single component /crop  in the field at a time BUT organic always having multi-component system  and in that all the components are complimentary  and may be yield of one component is less than conventional but  total productivity is higher than sole cropping of conventional. Good example is legume-cereal  inter/mixed/sequential  cropping.  Besides, in organic  output  of one component is the input of another component  e.g. agro waste( straw) is the feed of animal and dung is the feed of crops. In totality the productivity of organic system is always higher ones the system developed. Can we calculate productivity of one component in terms of grain yield only ? 
3.  With my decade old experience I can say  technically it not possible  to compare organic to conventional in the formal research system where we make 3 X 3 or 5 X 5 m size  plots of treatments side by side in the experimental layout .  Because 1. Organic need time to develop in a system  may be 4-5 years 2. Organic may need  much bigger plot size  with buffer zone  to show the ‘organic effect ‘ , that most of the time not made available . Therefore, I compare organic production with the average reported yield  yield of conventional system over the years. 
4. Hybrids Vs. Conventional  : Hybrids grain yield is higher on the cost of fodder( straw ) production because of more diversion to sink while in local/traditional varieties /landraces straw is higher  and that support our animal  component. This I have seen clearly in pearl millet. The hybrids seems  to give higher grain yield but very less fodder as compare to traditional/ landraces. Animals are the major role players/recycler in sustainable agriculture  and once shortage of fodder in system –animal exclude that  throw farmer in vicious cycle of debt and we all know the culmination of this vicious cycle.  Landraces are more resilient to climate change/climatic extremes too – the major challenge  coming on   agriculture.  Can we compare only the grain yield ?
Now my request is please not just compare organic to chemical in terms of yield only its will be a great mistake to understand organic philosophy and it will be just doing organic with conventional  farming mentality  that never gives long term sustainability. 
This is a challenging question many times raised by policy makers and others in front of true organic researchers and to prove better productivity he start comparing the organic to the conventional in terms of grain yield only.  Is there any logical methodology to compare organic to conventional- in terms of soil health, environment impact, biodiversity status , social impact, human health impact  etc. in one calculation and in one experimental layout. 
Please share your views.
Arun K Sharma, Jodhpur,India
 
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Complements to Dr A. K. Sharma Sir for initiating discussion on a pertinent issue. The points and issues forwarded are worthy and appreciable. In this context, two famous sayings may be too relevant:
“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing”
“Many times lessons learned from error or mistake prove to be of great worth”
The contribution of “Green Revolution” to dramatic increases in agricultural production in the second half of the twentieth century and food security is extraordinary without any doubt despite increasing land scarcity and rising land values.
But, as discussed by Dr Sharma, one of the impacts of conventional farming with fertilizer responsive HYV is low varietal diversity index (VDI). Besides, an increase in intensity and number of pest and diseases and decrease in beneficial insects had been reported with continuous conventional (input-intensive) farming. More holistic approach of farming is the need of the hour aimed at achieving sustainable food security in the long run without sacrificing the quality of food and natural resources. Both input-intensive farming and farming based on resource recycling are relevant to specific purpose and sites. The following few links may provide sources of useful reading and look forward to see more relevant discussion and literatures from our colleagues:
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I am intending to use soil of natural grassland as potting media for my greenhouse experiment. I want to simulate soil condition as close to natural condition as possible. I am looking forward for the ideas regarding soil collection (should I collect top soil only or mix the top and subsoil) ,homogenization of soil, how can I minimize disturbance to soil structure. 
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Thats a really intelligent question , must appreciate it..
I strongly feel, soil from natural grass could effectively sued in developing the potting mixture , since it contains lot of siderophores  that can effectively ward off any potential Fe deficiency , besides  soil possess good microbial load...worth using fro potting mixture..
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Most of the studies suggest these two traits strongly positively correlated. I wish to know studies, if any, where they found a negative or a weak correlation. Also its shown that leaf hydraulic conductance strongly and positively correlated with SPI but weakly with stomatal density and guard cell length. Thanks in advance for any thoughts. 
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When humidity in full sun light is a limiting factor in a given mean temperature, for growth of leaf blade, then an evolutionary factor for limiting maximal stomatal conductance and Kleaf would be active. Speculative models are restrict to specific cases. Most scholars tend to support the idea for stomatal index being a proxy for CO2 .
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Does anyone have an explanation what could cause very sharp ghost peaks, all with the identical abundance pattern for masses but shifted between m/z 50-80 to 400-450 on a Thermo DSQ II MS? Simultaneously, we saw a loss of sensitivity/intensity, particularly for the high masses. It’s getting worse with every autotune. So far, we can exclude that it is a GC problem. Also, it doesn’t seem to be a contamination: the ion source, prefilter, quadrupole, and even the space between the capacitor plates have been cleaned (no effect). The multiplyer is old but intact, the filament has been changed as well.
Any advice and suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
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Problem solved! Long story short: At their first visit, Thermo stated that the multiplyer was intact, but at the 2nd visit they replaced it and now the mashine runs as if it were new :) Thanks for your comments!
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for example of the micro scale farming
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