Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Researchers learn why fertilizer slashes biodiversity

For 35 years, we've know that fertilizer "leads to a major drop in biodiversity," but we've never know why. (New Scientist) Are fertilized plants out-competing others for sunlight? Soil nutrients? Both? A recent study by the University of Switzerland shows its competition for sunlight.

So what? Reducing biodiversity can harm productivity. A farmer might think that fertilizer is increasing yield, but is it? In experiments on grasslands, Iowa State University researchers found "polycultures outyielded monocultures on average by 73 percent." (
Crop Science)

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.