Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
AgriGenomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Compost Helps Restore Soil in Arid Region of China

Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Parched land in China has prompted Cornell environmental experts to come up with a simple solution to restore soils in arid areas, using wood chips and compost.

Led by Rebecca Schneider, associate professor of natural resources, researchers have shown that a method they developed to restore agricultural land by adding components into the upper soil layer, and collecting and retaining water to make the most of meager rainfall supplies can also contribute to soil fertility and carbon sequestration.

Schneider and her team of faculty have teamed up with Li Changxiao, a professor at the Southwest University in Chongqing, China, and a former Humphrey fellow at Cornell, in a $450,000, three-year project that the Chinese government has touted as a flagship collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

There's not much growing wild in the Ningxia autonomous region of northwest China; like former grasslands of the United States, Mediterranean and Africa, intensive agriculture and erosion for hundreds of years has been turning the region into a desert. Anything green that is coaxed from its parched land has been irrigated from the Yellow River, which is itself running dry. The pressure on degraded lands and disappearing waters is worsening due to rapid population growth and shifts.

"In Ningxia, China, rainfall is less than 150 mm (almost 6 inches) per year, and farmers and homeowners irrigate every single plant in order to make it grow in the sandy soils," Schneider said.

Joined by crop and soil science professor Harold van Es, natural resources professor James Lassoie and senior research associates Stephen Morreale and Ruth Sherman, Schneider has made several trips to Ningxia in the past two years. Natural resources professor Karim-Ali Kassam and crop and soil sciences professor Peter Hobbsalso contributed to a related International Watershed Workshop held at Beijing Normal University in August 2011.

Last August, the researchers prepared a demonstration field, using compost materials from the white poplar tree (Populous alba) grown en masse across China. They will now examine alternative soil amendment types for their ability to improve plant growth.

Initially designed as a research plot to allow scientists to experiment with different compost recipes, the project has been expanded into an education and extension site for policymakers and the public. Next, it will be taken into one of China's "harmonious villages," where hundreds of thousands of residents relocated from rural areas can learn how to apply the soil enhancement technique in their own gardens.

"Already, we've demonstrated that by these simple improvements to the soil, they can capture the scarce rainfall and reduce the need for constant irrigation," Schneider said.

The work is being conducted at the Ningxia Forestry Institute's State Key Laboratory of Seedling Bioengineering with the cooperation and guidance of director Li Jian, who was recently promoted to the Congress of the Central Committee of China.

Research is also being conducted on grasslands in North Dakota, as part of a collaboration with Mark Liebig at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service Northern Great Plains Research Lab, which was recently designated as the first long-term agro-ecosystem research center.

"We're delighted to have found a partner organization in the United States so that we can apply the findings from our Chinese work and help restore U.S. prairie agricultural systems to their former productivity and health," Schneider said.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

$5.5M NSF Grant Aims to Improve Rice Crops with Genome Editing
Researchers to precisely target, cut, remove and replace DNA in a living cell to improve rice.
Friday, May 08, 2015
Genetics Used to Improve Plants for Bioenergy
An upcoming genetics investigation into the symbiotic association between soil fungi and feedstock plants for bioenergy production could lead to more efficient uptake of nutrients, which would help limit the need for expensive and polluting fertilizers.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Pest Attacks Can Lead to Bigger Crop Yields
New project receive three-year funding of $498,000 from USDA.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Algal Genes May Boost Efficiency, Yield in Staple Crops
New research has taken a step toward employing genes from blue-green algae to improve staple crop photosynthesis.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Study to Focus on Rice Genes, Yield and Climate
Cornell researchers received a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study relationships among rice genetics, crop yields and climate.
Thursday, May 01, 2014
New Alfalfa Variety Resists Ravenous Local Pest
The new variety has some resistance against the alfalfa snout beetle which has ravaged alfalfa fields.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Predators Delay Pest Resistance to Bt Crops
Crops genetically modified with the bacterium Bt(Bacillus thuringiensis) produce proteins that kill pest insects.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Shark, Human Proteins are Surprisingly Similar
Despite widespread fascination with sharks, the world’s oldest ocean predators have long been a genetic mystery.
Friday, December 06, 2013
Surprises Discovered in Decoded Kiwifruit Genome
DNA sequence of the kiwifruit has many genetic similarities between its 39,040 genes and other plant species, including potatoes and tomatoes.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Produce Perfect: Biotech Sweet Corn goes Unblemished
With the kernel-loving earworm, producing unblemished ears of sweet corn is difficult.
Monday, October 14, 2013
New Micro Water Sensor Can Aid Growers
Crop growers, wine grape and other fruit growers, food processors and even concrete makers all benefit from water sensors for accurate, steady and numerous moisture readings.
Monday, October 14, 2013
Partnership Homes in on Regenerative Medicine
Scientists are to advance healing techniques and technologies for animals and humans.
Friday, October 04, 2013
Using Genes to Rescue Animal and Plants from Extinction
With estimates of losing 15 to 40 percent of the world’s species over the next four decades researchers whether science should employ genetic engineering to the rescue.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Senator to Tout Cornell Food Safety, Dairy Expertise to Feds
Cornell University is positioned to be a national center of excellence in dairy and food safety.
Monday, September 09, 2013
'Fountain of Youth’ for Leaves Discovered
A team has identified an enzymatic fountain of youth that slows the process of leaf death.
Friday, August 23, 2013
Scientific News
Marijuana Genome Unraveled
A study by Canadian researchers is providing a clearer picture of the evolutionary history and genetic organization of cannabis, a step that could have agricultural, medical and legal implications for this valuable crop.
Grape Waste Could Make Competitive Biofuel
The solid waste left over from wine-making could make a competitive biofuel, University of Adelaide researchers have found.
Accelerating Forage Breeding to Boost Livestock Productivity
International expert skill-sets in genomics and bioinformatics enhance our capacity to breed improved forages for Africa.
Firefly Protein Enables Visualization of Roots in Soil
A new imaging tool from a team led by Carnegie’s José Dinneny allows researchers to study the dynamic growth of root systems in soil, and to uncover the molecular signaling pathways that control such growth.
So Long, Snout
Research helps answer how birds got their beaks.
The Tree of Life — More Like A Bush
New species evolve whenever a lineage splits off into several. Because of this, the kinship between species is often described in terms of a ‘tree of life’, where every branch constitutes a species.
Algae Nutrient Recycling is a Triple Win
Sandia method cheaper, greener and cuts competition for fertilizer.
Non-Transgenic Rapeseed Product Launched For Chinese Market
Cibus and Rotam have announced a new agreement to cooperate in the development of herbicide-tolerant rapeseed in China.
TGAC Leads Development to Diminish Threat to Vietnam’s Most Important Crop
Advanced bioinformatics capabilities for next-generation rice genomics in Vietnam to aid precision breeding.
BESC Creates Microbe That Bolsters Isobutanol Production
Another barrier to commercially viable biofuels from sources other than corn has fallen with the engineering of a microbe that improves isobutanol yields by a factor of 10.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!