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From revelations about the hidden messages in burbling lakes of lava to the staggering costs of runaway climate change, these 10 stories shed light on our planet and how we're changing it. They include our editor's picks and some our best-read stories for the year.
Odds are rising that warm, dry conditions – the kind that can hurt crop yields, destabilize food prices and exacerbate wildfires – will strike multiple regions at once. A new Stanford study shows just how much the risk is increasing.
New rules and new technology are giving farmers and managers a better look at groundwater supplies.
A study of more than 800,000 acres of privately owned land in Kenya suggests that humans and their livestock can, in the right circumstances, share territory with zebras, giraffes, elephants and other wild mammals – to the benefit of all.
Stanford experts discuss the linkages between climate change and health, an area that will be a focus of Stanford-led events at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.
A new study co-authored by Earth System Science professor Rosamond Naylor projects insect pest damage to crops will rise sharply as temperatures continue to climb.
A study shows natural sources of hexavalent chromium are affecting more people and wells in California than industrial sources. But groundwater pumping may accelerate release of this carcinogen.
In an arid region south of Tijuana, strawberries grown for export have become so valuable, farmers keep trying to grow more, and are allowed to use more groundwater than nature replenishes.
A new study finds chemicals are often used inefficiently on small farms in China. Land and migration policies may help explain why the country uses 30 percent of the world's fertilizers and pesticides on 9 percent of global cropland.
A new study co-authored by Earth System Science professor Rosamond Naylor looks at what climate change will mean for global yields of corn, or maize, the most widely grown crop in the world. The study shows dramatic increases in the variability of annual corn yields, which could lead to price hikes and global shortages.
Pumping an aquifer to the last drop squeezes out more than water. A new study suggests it can also unlock dangerous arsenic from buried clays. Sinking land may provide an early warning and measure of contamination.
A synthesis paper led by Eric Lambin reveals the strengths and weaknesses of corporate environmental pledges, and prescribes solutions to boost effectiveness.
In one of the first analyses of a company-led sustainability program in the food and agriculture space, Stanford researchers found a major grocery chain fostered increased adoption of environmental practices at the farm level.
Global warming and land use practices, such as farming, could change the environment for microbes living in the soil and alter the amount of greenhouse gases they release into the atmosphere.
If asked to imagine a geologist, you might envision a tanned and dusty figure, hardy and weathered like the ancient rocks that he or she spends days studying out “in the field."
The land under our feet and the plant matter it contains could offset a significant amount of carbon emissions if managed properly.
A new study demonstrates a cost-effective strategy to combat climate change by paying farmers in Uganda to conserve and plant trees.
Multinational companies are increasingly looking to Africa to expand production of in-demand commodity crops such as soy and oil palm. A first-of-its-kind study highlights the real and potential impacts on the continent’s valuable tropical forests.
Research by Stanford Earth's David Lobell and George Azzari shows how better mapping of farm fields with satellites can lead to new ways to measure and boost crop yields.