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LTER goes to Capitol Hill PDF Print E-mail

G. Philip Robertson, director of the KBS Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) program and a KBS faculty member (Plant, Soil & Microbial Sciences), visited Washington, D.C. in June to speak at a Congressional briefing on environmental issues.

Read more about the event in an article from LTER Network News, linked here.

MLive: KBS LTER efforts slashing N2O emissions "one farm at a time" PDF Print E-mail

From MLive.com, 6/24/14

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Researchers in West Michigan are looking to reduce the impact of agriculture on global warming through smarter and more efficient use of nitrogen-rich fertilizers.

In an effort to curtail dangerous levels of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, scientists at Michigan State University's Kellogg Biological Station, based in Hickory Corners, have developed a program for farmers across the country to reduce their use of nitrogen fertilizers without affecting crop yield – and all while making a profit on the deal.

Dr. Neville Millar, a senior research associate with the KBS Long-term Ecological Research program (LTER), was a part of the team that began the study six years ago and released its results earlier this month.

"In general, when we talk to farmers about reducing their nitrogen use, they become concerned with their yield, which is a natural reaction," Millar said. "But with improved fertilizer timing, formulation and placement, a farmer will have greater confidence in reducing his N rate."

For the rest of author Ryan Loren's article on MLive.com, click here.

LTER/EPRI methodology generates first GHG offsets PDF Print E-mail

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) announced today the first agricultural greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) offsets transaction based on validation and verification methodology developed by EPRI and KBS LTER researchers.

The American Carbon Registry issued the offsets, called Emission Reduction Tons, to a Michigan farmer for voluntarily reducing nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions by curbing the amount of nitrogen-based fertilizer used to grow corn.

Read more about the project in an EPRI press release here.

A 'Growing' Business: Planting for Dollars and Sense PDF Print E-mail

A new BioScience paper authored by a KBS LTER team shows that by changing row-crop management practices in economically and environmentally stable ways, US farms could contribute to improved water quality, biological diversity, pest suppression and soil fertility while helping to stabilize the climate.

Further, Midwest farmers, especially those with large farms, appear willing to change their farming practices to provide these ecosystem services in exchange for payments, the article reports.

A previously published survey showed that citizens are willing to make such payments for environmental services such as cleaner lakes.

The LTER's Phil Robertson is lead author of the article, to be published in the May issue of BioScience. Co-authors include Kay Gross, Steve Hamilton, Doug Landis, Thomas Schmidt, Sieg Snapp and Scott Swinton.

The research analyzed by Robertson and colleagues investigated the yields and the environmental benefits achievable by growing corn, soybean, and winter wheat under regimes that use one third of the usual amount of fertilizer—or none at all—with “cover crops” fertilizing the fields in winter. The research also examined “no-till” techniques. The regime that used fewer chemicals resulted in more than 50 percent reductions in the amount of nitrogen that escaped into groundwater and rivers, with crop yields close to those of standard management.

Nitrogen pollution is a major problem in inland waterways and coastal regions, where it contributes to the formation of  “dead zones.”

Sprunger named SSSA "Future Leader in Science" PDF Print E-mail

Congratulations to Christine Sprunger, a KBS-based graduate student in MSU's Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences program, who was among 18 graduate students nationwide to win a highly competitive 2014 Future Leaders in Science award from the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA).

Sprunger was in Washington D.C. from March 23-26 for an awards ceremony, networking events and an action-packed day of training in policy, advocacy and science communication, followed by meetings with congressional staff from Michigan and Indiana, held to raise support for science, technology and research funding. Sprunger was also chosen to present the SSSA's 2014 Excellence in Soil Stewardship award to U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

Stabenow (L) receives the SSSA award from Sprunger (R) as SSSA president Jan Hopmans looks on

Stabenow (L) receives the SSSA award from Sprunger (R) as SSSA president Jan Hopmans looks on.

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