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Stanford Earth Matters

Cattle graze among recently cut and burned rainforest in the Brazilian Amazon, where cattle ranching is the biggest cause of deforestation. (Image credit: Getty Images)

How the meat and dairy sector resists competition from alternative animal products

A new analysis compares innovations and policies related to plant-based and lab-grown alternatives to animal meat and dairy in the U.S. and European Union. (Source: Stanford News)

Drip irrigation and seedlings

When to water? Researchers develop new tool for optimizing irrigation

A new tool for designing and managing irrigation for farms advances the implementation of smart agriculture, an approach that leverages data and modern technologies to boost crop yields while conserving natural resources. (Source: Stanford News)

A fish stall with products in boxes and a person standing in the background

Aquatic food benefits

Leveraging blue foods can help policymakers address multiple global challenges, a new analysis shows. (Source: Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions)

degraded wetland

A new chance to protect wetlands

New analysis shows the U.S. has accounted for more wetland conversion and degradation than any other country. Its findings help better explain the causes and impacts of such losses and inform protection and restoration of wetlands. (Source: Stanford News)

    A woman shopps for meat in a supermarket

    Is fake meat a real solution? Stanford expert explains

    Plant-based and lab-grown meat substitutes are here to stay, but are unlikely to eliminate livestock agriculture’s climate and land use impacts anytime soon, according to Stanford environmental scientist David Lobell. In the meantime, Lobell says we should also focus on reducing emissions of animal-based systems. (Source: Stanford News)

    Top stories 2022

    Our picks: Top 10 stories of 2022

    Our list includes a mix of favorites, high-impact stories, and some of our most-read research coverage from a year of new beginnings.

    Cattle graze in a sunny field with trees in the background.

    COP27: How to reduce emissions and still feed the world

    Stanford and Princeton co-hosted an official side event at COP27 to present the 2022 Global Carbon Budget, outline approaches to impact at scale at the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, and discuss the challenges and solutions for decarbonizing agriculture.

    Hands hold a soy plant in an agricultural field

    There’s room for improvement in a popular climate-smart agricultural practice

    Federal subsidies promote planting cover crops to store carbon in agricultural soils, among other benefits, but the approach as currently practiced can reduce yields in the U.S. Corn Belt, researchers find. Their analysis highlights the need to better implement the practice. (Source: Stanford News)

    Aquaculture seen in blue water from above

    Managing aquaculture for human and planetary health

    With demand for fish on the rise, Stanford food security expert Roz Naylor offers a perspective calling attention to the need for greater oversight of growing antimicrobial use that impacts the health of fish, ecosystems, and humans. (Source: Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health)


    Food security in a warming world

    Heat waves, drought, and floods driven by climate change are already impacting access to food and driving food insecurity in many parts of the world. Stanford professor David Lobell explains how food production and access are impacted by climate change. (Source: Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health)

    Workers haul crates of produce in a green field

    Extreme heat's impact on labor

    Few regulations exist to protect laborers from increasingly frequent extreme heat events. Stanford experts explain extreme heat’s impacts on workplace risks, marginalized communities, and the economy. (Source: Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment)

    Gustavo Cezar standing in front of cows in a dairy barn

    A day in the life of an electricity and cool cow engineer

    Gustavo Cezar wears two colorful hats as an engineer with SLAC’s GISMo lab. (Source: SLAC)

    Irrigation canal and wheat field

    When will California's San Joaquin Valley stop sinking?

    A Stanford University study simulates 65 years of land subsidence, or sinking, caused by groundwater depletion in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The results suggest significant sinking may continue for centuries after water levels stop declining but could slow within a few years if aquifers recover.

    Rice fields with karst formations in Guangxi, China

    Less air pollution leads to higher crop yields, study shows

    New analysis shows crop yields could increase by about 25% in China and up to 10% in other parts of the world if emissions of a common air pollutant decreased by about half. 

    Tractor on a paddy field in Mekong Delta, Vietnam - External link

    Saving the Mekong River Delta from drowning

    Southeast Asia’s most productive agricultural region and home to 17 million people could be mostly underwater within a lifetime. Researchers recommend policy solutions including strict regulation of sediment mining, limits on groundwater pumping, and coordination among countries, development agencies and other private and civil society stakeholders. (Source: Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment)

    Schrenkiella parvula

    How one ‘extreme’ plant could help biologists engineer climate-resistant crops

    Stanford biologist José Dinneny is studying why one plant grows faster in stressful conditions. His results could help scientists engineer food and biofuel crops to survive in harsher environments. 

    Aerial view of Golden Gate Park and city of San Francisco - external link

    Massive conservation effort

    California has rolled out plans to protect plant and animal life across 30 percent of the state’s most critical land and water by 2030. Biologists Elizabeth Hadly and Mary Ruckelshaus and environmental law expert Deborah Sivas discuss keys to its success, potential impacts, legal precedents, and more. (Source: Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment)

    Chili peppers drying (external link)

    Researchers team with smallholder farmers to address 'the dried chilies problem'

    Stanford researchers worked with chili farmers in India for more than four years to develop a solar-powered technology to improve the quality, quantity, and profitability of dried agricultural produce. A new study addresses not only technical challenges, but also barriers to adoption. (Source: Precourt Institute for Energy)

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