Cocoa Production Tied to Mosquito Pollinization


The yield of a cocoa tree depends much more on how many blossoms are pollinated by mosquitos than its supply of water, light, and nitrogen.

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Press release: Mosquitos provide better cocoa harvest

Nr. 109/2010 – 01.06.2010

Mosquitos provide better cocoa harvest

(pug) The yield of a cocoa tree depends much more on how many blossoms are pollinated by mosquitos than its supply of water, light, and nitrogen. This is what agricultural ecologists of the University Göttingen recently found out in Indonesia. The stagnation of world-wide cocoa production is driving up prices for cocoa beans and is leading to bottlenecks in the industry: so far, efforts to raise the agricultural output concentrated either on the cultivation of more productive and more resistant varieties or an increase of the yield through greater use of fertilizers and light. “So far, the role of pollination has remained largely unnoticed,“ states the Göttingen agricultural ecologist Dr. Yann Clough, who conducted the investigations. The scientists published the results of their research in the online edition of the journal “Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics”.

On the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, the Göttingen researchers investigated the conditions under which cocoa trees can benefit from increased pollination. In their experiment, they manually pollinated 10, 40, 70, or 100 percent of a cocoa plant’s blossoms. At the same time, they altered the respective avalability of water, light, and nitrogen. Just an increase from 10 to 40 percent in the pollination intensity of the blossoms was sufficient to double the yield of the tree. “In nature, pollination rates of at most 10 percent are assumed. The potential for an increase of yield is therefore enormous,” explains Dr. Clough.

The cocoa tree, which grows to between 3 and 20 meters, is unique as an agricultural crop in many ways: the fruit with the beans used for the production of cocoa is located directly on the trunk and the blossoms are – unlike, for example, coffee – not pollinated by bees but tiny mosquitos. ” In order to increase the pollination intensity, and therefore the yield of a cocoa tree, the mosquito population in the plantations has to be deliberately promoted,“ says Dr. Clough.

Original publication: Groeneveld, J.H., Tscharntke, T., Moser, G., Clough, Y. Experimental evidence for stronger cacao yield limitation by pollination than by plant resources. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics. DOI:10.1016/j.ppees.2010.02.005

Contact adress:
Dr. Yann Clough
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Faculty of Agricultural Sciences
Department of Crop Sciences
Agricultural Ecology
Waldweg 26, 37073 Göttingen
Telefon (0551) 39-22358

Climatic Change Images Correlate with US Military Conflicts

When military campaigns end the momentum often leads to conflicts with nature.

The Visual Framing of the Three Cycles of Climate Control in the New York Times 1851 to Present

This research explored the visual framing of climate control in The New York Times through three cycles of media history. Although no peer-reviewed study has explored this specific topic, a wealth of prior communication articles on both the visual and textual aspects of climate change and geoengineering in the media was mined in order to discover the frames present. Once the visual frames of climate control (war, fix, people, and impacts) were revealed a content analysis was conducted in order to see which frame elements were most and least frequent considering the images of climate control. When combining all three cycles the frame with the highest overall mean was the fix frame (M=1.7517, SD=1.34128) indicating that it is the most occurring climate control frame per image. The frame with the lowest overall mean was the war frame (M=.5137, SD=1.02544). Frame frequency from cycle to cycle was relatively constant since only the impacts frame had a significant mean difference between cycle one and cycle two (M= .72453, p= .042). This initial analysis did not provide support for Downs issue-attention cycle theory. Although when the frame element frequencies were graphed three spikes were separated by three valleys considering climate control imagery in The New York Times through about one and half centuries. This information can go towards making correlations with: events, exposure to certain stimuli, and judging effectiveness of communication strategies over time. The discussion considered whether currently the war and fix frames could be too small in order to produce effective communication with a distrustful public. Also the recent people frame increase correlates with non-acceptance regarding climate change considering Republicans.


Hempcrete Rediscovered


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According to this article:

Hempcrete was discovered in a bridge abutment in France built in the 6th century. Since its rediscovery it has seen growing use in Europe. Industrial hemp is grown by certified commercial growers so the crop can be certified to be very low in THC. Hemp is not psychoactive. Given it has survived 14 centuries, people expect hempcrete buildings will have a long life.

It goes on to say:

Hempcrete is a bio-composite made of the inner woody core of the hemp plant mixed with a lime-based binder. The hemp core or “Shiv” has a high silica content which allows it to bind well with lime. This property is unique to hemp among all natural fibers. The result is a lightweight cementitious insulating material weighing about a seventh or an eighth of the weight of concrete. Fully cured hempcrete blocks float in a bucket of water. It is not used as a structural element, only as insulating infill between the frame members though it does tend to reduce racking. All loads are carried by internal framing. Wood stud framing is most common making it suitable for low-rise construction. Hempcrete buildings ten stories high have been built in Europe.


Automobiles Autonomous Help 3rd World?

This article talks about:

5.9 Developing countries

Third world countries struggle with a lack of transportation infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and public transport, which is impeding their economic development. Adoption of AVs by these developing countries may spare them the costs associated with expanding capital-intensive infrastructure. A similar paradigm was seen when developing countries leap-frogged over to mobile phone technology which exempted them from expensive landline infrastructure [7, 59].

Autonomous vehicles: challenges, opportunities, and future implications for transportation policies

Car and Driver might have to change their name to Car and Rider?

On the Observational Determination of Climate Sensitivity and Its Implications

Richard S. Lindzen1 and Yong-Sang Choi2

1 Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, U. S. A. 2 Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea

Abstract: We estimate climate sensitivity from observations, using the deseasonalized fluctuations in sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and the concurrent fluctuations in the top-of-atmosphere (TOA) outgoing radiation from the ERBE (1985-1999) and CERES (2000- 2008) satellite instruments. Distinct periods of warming and cooling in the SSTs were used to evaluate feedbacks. An earlier study (Lindzen and Choi, 2009) was subject to significant criticisms. The present paper is an expansion of the earlier paper where the various criticisms are taken into account. The present analysis accounts for the 72 day precession period for the ERBE satellite in a more appropriate manner than in the earlier paper. We develop a method to distinguish noise in the outgoing radiation as well as radiation changes that are forcing SST changes from those radiation changes that constitute feedbacks to changes in SST. We demonstrate that our new method does moderately well in distinguishing positive from negative feedbacks and in quantifying negative feedbacks. In contrast, we show that simple regression methods used by several existing papers generally exaggerate positive feedbacks and even show positive feedbacks when actual feedbacks are negative. We argue that feedbacks are largely concentrated in the tropics, and the tropical feedbacks can be adjusted to account for their impact on the globe as a whole. Indeed, we show that including all CERES data (not just from the tropics) leads to results similar to what are obtained for the tropics alone – though with more noise. We again find that the outgoing radiation resulting from SST fluctuations exceeds the zerofeedback response thus implying negative feedback. In contrast to this, the calculated TOA outgoing radiation fluxes from 11 atmospheric models forced by the observed SST are less than the zerofeedback response, consistent with the positive feedbacks that characterize these models. The results imply that the models are exaggerating climate sensitivity.

Crickets from the media…..