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Environment

Despite uncertainties, cellulosic biofuels still a win for ground transportation

Despite the fervor around electric vehicles and their potential to reduce the transportation sector’s carbon footprint, 2023 projections suggest EVs won’t edge out gas-powered vehicles for decades to come.

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ASC announces N2Onet to track nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural systems

Due to its status as a long-lived greenhouse gas, controlling the emission of nitrous oxide (N2O) is recognized as a core component of climate change mitigation. This gas largely comes from nitrogen fertilizer applied to soil in agricultural regions. An international team led by the Agroecosystem Sustainability Center (ASC) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is developing an initiative to better track and understand these emissions.

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Scaling up urban agriculture: Research team outlines roadmap

Urban agriculture has the potential to decentralize food supplies, provide environmental benefits like wildlife habitat, and mitigate environmental footprints, but researchers have identified knowledge gaps regarding both the benefits and risks of urban agriculture and the social processes of growing more food in urban areas.

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Genetics of host plants determine what microorganisms they attract

Plants often develop communities with microorganisms in their roots, which influences plant health and development. Although the recruitment of these microbes is dictated by several factors, it is unclear whether the genetic variation in the host plants plays a role. In a new study, researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign explored this question and their work can help improve agriculture productivity. 

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Puerto Rico case study sheds light on academic-NGO collaborations

Puerto Rico has faced several human-made and natural crises in recent years, including the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria in 2017. Building disaster resilience and recovery is crucial for community well-being and requires a comprehensive approach with cooperation from multiple organizations.

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Study: Extreme rainfall increases ag nutrient runoff, conservation strategies can help

Nutrient runoff from agricultural production is a significant source of water pollution in the U.S., and climate change that produces extreme weather events is likely to exacerbate the problem.

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Alaskan allies: Communities unite to protect the areas they love

Natural resource management decisions in protected areas impact more than the wildlife and landscapes they’re charged to conserve. They also affect neighbors, who could otherwise hunt, build, or recreate as they choose on their own land. For decades, community members primarily voiced their opinions through brief and impersonal public comment periods.

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Illinois continues work to improve waterways by reducing nutrient pollution

The loss of nutrients into Illinois’ lakes, streams, and rivers harms water quality here and downstream all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, NLRS, was established in 2015 and is designed to reduce nutrient pollution in Illinois’ waterways and the Mississippi River and its negative impacts by exploring and recommending practical, research-based nutrient loss practices and collaborating with partners across the state.  

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New study indicates C4 crops less sensitive to ozone pollution than C3 crops

Ozone (O3) in the troposphere negatively impacts crop growth and development, causing significant decreases in crop yield worldwide. This airborne pollutant does not come directly from smokestacks or vehicles, but instead is formed when other pollutants, mainly nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, react in the presence of sunlight. In an increasingly polluted atmosphere, understanding what plants are tolerant of O3 is critical to improving crop productivity and resilience.

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