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coral reef

Stanford Earth Matters

Science and insights for people who care about Earth, its resources and its environment.

Stack of cut logs in front of forest.

Getting to Zero Deforestation

A synthesis paper led by Eric Lambin reveals the strengths and weaknesses of corporate environmental pledges, and prescribes solutions to boost effectiveness.

Leafy green vegetables in a growing facility.

Grocery store program improves farmers’ adoption of environmental practices

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.

2017

Top 10 Stanford Earth research stories of 2017

From laying the groundwork for a billion-sensor quake network to finding lithium deposits around supervolcanoes, these were our favorite research stories of 2017.

soil and grass cliff

Disrupting sensitive soils

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.

Greg Beroza showing off earthquake data.

21st-century Earth science is computer intensive and data driven

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."

farm tractor

Soil holds potential to slow global warming

The land under our feet and the plant matter it contains could offset a significant amount of carbon emissions if managed properly.

Ugandan forest

Paying Farmers Not to Cut Down Trees in Uganda Helps Fight Climate Change

A new study demonstrates a cost-effective strategy to combat climate change by paying farmers in Uganda to conserve and plant trees.

Oil palms at an oil palm nursery and research facility in Cameroon.

Exploring risks of deforestation as agriculture expands in Africa

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.

Mapping the Corn Belt with satellites

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.
 

Grasslands

U.S. grasslands affected more by atmospheric dryness than precipitation

According to 33 years of remote sensing data, productivity of U.S. grasslands is more sensitive to dryness of the atmosphere than precipitation, important information for understanding how ecosystems will respond to climate change.

Stanford researchers measure African farm yields using high-resolution satellites

By using high-res images taken by the latest generation of compact satellites, Stanford scientists have developed a new capability for estimating crop yields from space. Measuring yields could improve productivity and eventually reduce hunger.

chinese fishing boats

How China is poised for marine fisheries reform

China has introduced an unprecedented policy platform for stewarding its fisheries and other marine resources.

satellite illustration

Study tracks “memory” of soil moisture

First year of data from SMAP satellite provides new insights for weather, agriculture, and climate.

Cow in a field under a wind farm

Methane from food production could be wildcard in combating climate change

Reports co-authored by Stanford Earth scientist show concentrations of methane approaching an internationally recognized worst-case scenario and highlight opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and fossil fuel use.

Field irrigation

Syrian crisis altered region’s land and water resources

Using remote sensing tools to uncover the environmental impacts of war, researchers introduce novel approaches for hard-to-reach areas.

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