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Jamieson to open ‘food desert’ Shop ‘n Save

Jamieson Family Markets said Tuesday that it would open a new Shop ‘n Save store next week in Youngwood, Pa. — the area’s first new grocery store since 1995.

“My family and I are honored to bring a new full-service grocery store to the Youngwood community, especially since there has been a food desert in this area for years,” Tom Jamieson, owner of the store and developer of the Youngwood Commons shopping center, said in a statement. “This new development will be a wonderful destination for Youngwood and New Stanton residents and serve as a source of growth for the community. As a former New Stanton and Fort Allen resident, this community holds a very special place in our hearts.”


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Pittsburgh-based Jamieson Family Markets operates nine other Shop ‘n Save locations in addition to nine Save-A-Lot locations.

The 36,000-square-foot Shop ‘n Save offers a wide variety of fresh produce, prepared food options, expanded dairy and frozen food sections, full-service deli, bakery, fresh seafood and meat with on-site butchers, Jamieson said. Local dignitaries and representatives from supplier Supervalu are expected to be at a grand opening ceremony Dec. 11.

“We have a lot of confidence in the supermarket business,” Zell told Fox. “We’ve been in it before, very successfully, and we think this is an interesting opportunity, and a good deployment of capital.”

Oaktree Capital Management and Convest Partners are also said to be bidders for the Albertsons-Safeway divestitures, according to reports. Neither Safeway nor Albertsons have commented on possible divestitures. They expect their merger to completed shortly.

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US: Northwest apple farmers scramble to save last of their fruit

US: Northwest apple farmers scramble to save last of their fruit

An Arctic air mass has swept into the Northwest. Cold air and snow are expected from central Washington through central Oregon and even into Idaho’s central Panhandle.

Workers at Broetje Orchards in southeast Washington pulled some midnight shifts lately to try and save the last of the apples from the recent Arctic air.

That means farmers in the region are rushing to harvest the last of their apples before the fruit freezes.

In southeast Washington, Joe Shelton manages one of the world’s largest fruit orchards. He said few things are colder than a picking bag full of 30 pounds of 30-degree fruit strapped close to your body.

This week, Shelton has been running crews until midnight trying to save the last of the orchard’s Fujis and Braeburns. All together, Shelton said about 30,000 boxes of apples will probably rot on the trees.

“It’s hard, everyone is kind of deflated, ‘cause we’ve all worked so hard,” Shelton said. “Even all the guys that we have out there picking, it’s like a week shorter of harvest, they could have made another week’s wages. You just hate to see them hanging out there and going to nothing.”

Once apples freeze, they can’t go to the fresh market. And Shelton said juice prices are so low this year it doesn’t pay to pick them.

Source: boisestatepublicradio.org

Publication date: 11/14/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Saving seeds the right way can save the world’s plants

Exotic pests, shrinking ranges and a changing climate threaten some of the world’s most rare and ecologically important plants, and so conservationists establish seed collections to save the seeds in banks or botanical gardens in hopes of preserving some genetic diversity.

For decades, these seed collections have been guided by simple models that offer a one-size-fits-all approach for how many seeds to gather, such as recommending saving 50 seed samples regardless of species’ pollination mode, growth habitat and population size.

A new study, however, has found that more careful tailoring of seed collections to specific species and situations is critical to preserving plant diversity. Once seeds are saved, they can be reintroduced for planting in suitable locations if conditions are favorable.

In the study, researchers from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and the University of Tennessee used a novel approach called simulation-based planning to make several new sampling recommendations, confirming that a uniform approach to seed sampling is ineffective.

First, collectors must choose their plant populations from a wide area rather than a restricted one. Sampling widely can capture up to nearly 200 percent more rare genes than restricted sampling. In addition, in most situations, collecting from about 25 maternal plants per population versus 50 plants appears to capture the vast majority of genetic variation. The study also showed that for many species, collecting more than eight to ten seeds per plant leads to high overlap in genetic diversity and would thus be an excess of effort.

Increasing concerns over agriculture and food security as well as an increasing recognition of how fast biodiversity is disappearing has prompted seed banks to ramp up their collections. By the same token, botanic gardens that were once more focused on showcasing plants are now increasingly having a conservation mission too, according to the study’s lead author Sean Hoban, a postdoctoral fellow at NIMBioS.

“Our approach can be used to further refine seed collection guidelines, which could lead to much more efficient and effective collections, allowing us to preserve more diversity of the world’s plants. These collections could benefit future ecosystem restoration projects as well as improve agricultural and forestry efforts,” Hoban said.

Hoban and his colleagues are now working on ways to custom-tailor seed collections to particular species’ dispersal, mating system and biology.

The study was published in the journal Biological Conservation.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Saving seeds the right way can save the world’s plants

Exotic pests, shrinking ranges and a changing climate threaten some of the world’s most rare and ecologically important plants, and so conservationists establish seed collections to save the seeds in banks or botanical gardens in hopes of preserving some genetic diversity.

For decades, these seed collections have been guided by simple models that offer a one-size-fits-all approach for how many seeds to gather, such as recommending saving 50 seed samples regardless of species’ pollination mode, growth habitat and population size.

A new study, however, has found that more careful tailoring of seed collections to specific species and situations is critical to preserving plant diversity. Once seeds are saved, they can be reintroduced for planting in suitable locations if conditions are favorable.

In the study, researchers from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and the University of Tennessee used a novel approach called simulation-based planning to make several new sampling recommendations, confirming that a uniform approach to seed sampling is ineffective.

First, collectors must choose their plant populations from a wide area rather than a restricted one. Sampling widely can capture up to nearly 200 percent more rare genes than restricted sampling. In addition, in most situations, collecting from about 25 maternal plants per population versus 50 plants appears to capture the vast majority of genetic variation. The study also showed that for many species, collecting more than eight to ten seeds per plant leads to high overlap in genetic diversity and would thus be an excess of effort.

Increasing concerns over agriculture and food security as well as an increasing recognition of how fast biodiversity is disappearing has prompted seed banks to ramp up their collections. By the same token, botanic gardens that were once more focused on showcasing plants are now increasingly having a conservation mission too, according to the study’s lead author Sean Hoban, a postdoctoral fellow at NIMBioS.

“Our approach can be used to further refine seed collection guidelines, which could lead to much more efficient and effective collections, allowing us to preserve more diversity of the world’s plants. These collections could benefit future ecosystem restoration projects as well as improve agricultural and forestry efforts,” Hoban said.

Hoban and his colleagues are now working on ways to custom-tailor seed collections to particular species’ dispersal, mating system and biology.

The study was published in the journal Biological Conservation.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Saving seeds the right way can save the world’s plants

Exotic pests, shrinking ranges and a changing climate threaten some of the world’s most rare and ecologically important plants, and so conservationists establish seed collections to save the seeds in banks or botanical gardens in hopes of preserving some genetic diversity.

For decades, these seed collections have been guided by simple models that offer a one-size-fits-all approach for how many seeds to gather, such as recommending saving 50 seed samples regardless of species’ pollination mode, growth habitat and population size.

A new study, however, has found that more careful tailoring of seed collections to specific species and situations is critical to preserving plant diversity. Once seeds are saved, they can be reintroduced for planting in suitable locations if conditions are favorable.

In the study, researchers from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and the University of Tennessee used a novel approach called simulation-based planning to make several new sampling recommendations, confirming that a uniform approach to seed sampling is ineffective.

First, collectors must choose their plant populations from a wide area rather than a restricted one. Sampling widely can capture up to nearly 200 percent more rare genes than restricted sampling. In addition, in most situations, collecting from about 25 maternal plants per population versus 50 plants appears to capture the vast majority of genetic variation. The study also showed that for many species, collecting more than eight to ten seeds per plant leads to high overlap in genetic diversity and would thus be an excess of effort.

Increasing concerns over agriculture and food security as well as an increasing recognition of how fast biodiversity is disappearing has prompted seed banks to ramp up their collections. By the same token, botanic gardens that were once more focused on showcasing plants are now increasingly having a conservation mission too, according to the study’s lead author Sean Hoban, a postdoctoral fellow at NIMBioS.

“Our approach can be used to further refine seed collection guidelines, which could lead to much more efficient and effective collections, allowing us to preserve more diversity of the world’s plants. These collections could benefit future ecosystem restoration projects as well as improve agricultural and forestry efforts,” Hoban said.

Hoban and his colleagues are now working on ways to custom-tailor seed collections to particular species’ dispersal, mating system and biology.

The study was published in the journal Biological Conservation.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Saving seeds the right way can save the world’s plants

Exotic pests, shrinking ranges and a changing climate threaten some of the world’s most rare and ecologically important plants, and so conservationists establish seed collections to save the seeds in banks or botanical gardens in hopes of preserving some genetic diversity.

For decades, these seed collections have been guided by simple models that offer a one-size-fits-all approach for how many seeds to gather, such as recommending saving 50 seed samples regardless of species’ pollination mode, growth habitat and population size.

A new study, however, has found that more careful tailoring of seed collections to specific species and situations is critical to preserving plant diversity. Once seeds are saved, they can be reintroduced for planting in suitable locations if conditions are favorable.

In the study, researchers from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and the University of Tennessee used a novel approach called simulation-based planning to make several new sampling recommendations, confirming that a uniform approach to seed sampling is ineffective.

First, collectors must choose their plant populations from a wide area rather than a restricted one. Sampling widely can capture up to nearly 200 percent more rare genes than restricted sampling. In addition, in most situations, collecting from about 25 maternal plants per population versus 50 plants appears to capture the vast majority of genetic variation. The study also showed that for many species, collecting more than eight to ten seeds per plant leads to high overlap in genetic diversity and would thus be an excess of effort.

Increasing concerns over agriculture and food security as well as an increasing recognition of how fast biodiversity is disappearing has prompted seed banks to ramp up their collections. By the same token, botanic gardens that were once more focused on showcasing plants are now increasingly having a conservation mission too, according to the study’s lead author Sean Hoban, a postdoctoral fellow at NIMBioS.

“Our approach can be used to further refine seed collection guidelines, which could lead to much more efficient and effective collections, allowing us to preserve more diversity of the world’s plants. These collections could benefit future ecosystem restoration projects as well as improve agricultural and forestry efforts,” Hoban said.

Hoban and his colleagues are now working on ways to custom-tailor seed collections to particular species’ dispersal, mating system and biology.

The study was published in the journal Biological Conservation.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Saving seeds the right way can save the world’s plants

Exotic pests, shrinking ranges and a changing climate threaten some of the world’s most rare and ecologically important plants, and so conservationists establish seed collections to save the seeds in banks or botanical gardens in hopes of preserving some genetic diversity.

For decades, these seed collections have been guided by simple models that offer a one-size-fits-all approach for how many seeds to gather, such as recommending saving 50 seed samples regardless of species’ pollination mode, growth habitat and population size.

A new study, however, has found that more careful tailoring of seed collections to specific species and situations is critical to preserving plant diversity. Once seeds are saved, they can be reintroduced for planting in suitable locations if conditions are favorable.

In the study, researchers from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and the University of Tennessee used a novel approach called simulation-based planning to make several new sampling recommendations, confirming that a uniform approach to seed sampling is ineffective.

First, collectors must choose their plant populations from a wide area rather than a restricted one. Sampling widely can capture up to nearly 200 percent more rare genes than restricted sampling. In addition, in most situations, collecting from about 25 maternal plants per population versus 50 plants appears to capture the vast majority of genetic variation. The study also showed that for many species, collecting more than eight to ten seeds per plant leads to high overlap in genetic diversity and would thus be an excess of effort.

Increasing concerns over agriculture and food security as well as an increasing recognition of how fast biodiversity is disappearing has prompted seed banks to ramp up their collections. By the same token, botanic gardens that were once more focused on showcasing plants are now increasingly having a conservation mission too, according to the study’s lead author Sean Hoban, a postdoctoral fellow at NIMBioS.

“Our approach can be used to further refine seed collection guidelines, which could lead to much more efficient and effective collections, allowing us to preserve more diversity of the world’s plants. These collections could benefit future ecosystem restoration projects as well as improve agricultural and forestry efforts,” Hoban said.

Hoban and his colleagues are now working on ways to custom-tailor seed collections to particular species’ dispersal, mating system and biology.

The study was published in the journal Biological Conservation.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Saving seeds the right way can save the world’s plants

Exotic pests, shrinking ranges and a changing climate threaten some of the world’s most rare and ecologically important plants, and so conservationists establish seed collections to save the seeds in banks or botanical gardens in hopes of preserving some genetic diversity.

For decades, these seed collections have been guided by simple models that offer a one-size-fits-all approach for how many seeds to gather, such as recommending saving 50 seed samples regardless of species’ pollination mode, growth habitat and population size.

A new study, however, has found that more careful tailoring of seed collections to specific species and situations is critical to preserving plant diversity. Once seeds are saved, they can be reintroduced for planting in suitable locations if conditions are favorable.

In the study, researchers from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and the University of Tennessee used a novel approach called simulation-based planning to make several new sampling recommendations, confirming that a uniform approach to seed sampling is ineffective.

First, collectors must choose their plant populations from a wide area rather than a restricted one. Sampling widely can capture up to nearly 200 percent more rare genes than restricted sampling. In addition, in most situations, collecting from about 25 maternal plants per population versus 50 plants appears to capture the vast majority of genetic variation. The study also showed that for many species, collecting more than eight to ten seeds per plant leads to high overlap in genetic diversity and would thus be an excess of effort.

Increasing concerns over agriculture and food security as well as an increasing recognition of how fast biodiversity is disappearing has prompted seed banks to ramp up their collections. By the same token, botanic gardens that were once more focused on showcasing plants are now increasingly having a conservation mission too, according to the study’s lead author Sean Hoban, a postdoctoral fellow at NIMBioS.

“Our approach can be used to further refine seed collection guidelines, which could lead to much more efficient and effective collections, allowing us to preserve more diversity of the world’s plants. These collections could benefit future ecosystem restoration projects as well as improve agricultural and forestry efforts,” Hoban said.

Hoban and his colleagues are now working on ways to custom-tailor seed collections to particular species’ dispersal, mating system and biology.

The study was published in the journal Biological Conservation.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Researchers work to save endangered New England cottontail

Scientists with the NH Agricultural Experiment Station are working to restore New Hampshire and Maine’s only native rabbit after new research based on genetic monitoring has found that in the last decade, cottontail populations in northern New England have become more isolated and seen a 50 percent contraction of their range.

The endangered New England cottontail is now is at risk of becoming extinct in the region, according to NH Agricultural Experiment Station researchers at the University of New Hampshire College of Life Sciences and Agriculture who believe that restoring habitats is the key to saving the species.

“The New England cottontail is a species of great conservation concern in the Northeast. This is our only native rabbit and is an integral component of the native New England wildlife. Maintaining biodiversity gives resilience to our landscape and ecosystems,” said NHAES researcher Adrienne Kovach, research associate professor of natural resources at UNH.

New England cottontails have been declining for decades. However, NHAES researchers have found that in the last decade, the New England cottontail population in New Hampshire and Maine has contracted by 50 percent; a decade ago, cottontails were found as far north as Cumberland, Maine.

The majority of research on New England cottontails has come out of UNH, much of it under the leadership of John Litvaitis, professor of wildlife ecology, who has studied the New England cottontail for three decades. Kovach’s research expands on this knowledge by using DNA analysis to provide new information on the cottontail’s status, distribution, genetic diversity, and dispersal ecology.

The greatest threat and cause of the decline of the New England cottontail is the reduction and fragmentation of their habitat, Kovach said. Fragmentation of habitats occurs when the cottontail’s habitat is reduced or eliminated due to the maturing of forests or land development. Habitats also can become fragmented by roads or natural landscape features, such as bodies of water.

“Cottontails require thicketed habitats, which progress from old fields to young forests. Once you have a more mature forest, the cottontail habitat is reduced. A lot of other species rely on these thicket habitats, including bobcats, birds, and reptiles. Many thicket-dependent species are on decline, and the New England cottontail is a representative species for this kind of habitat and its conservation,” Kovach said.

Kovach explained that for cottontail and most animal populations to be healthy and grow, it is important for adult animals to leave the place where they were born and relocate to a new habitat, which is known as dispersal. There are two main benefits of dispersal: an animal is not competing with its relatives and dispersal minimizes inbreeding.

“We have found that it is increasingly difficult for Maine and New Hampshire cottontails to travel the large distances between fragmented habitats necessary to maintain gene flow among populations of cottontails,” Kovach said.

However, certain landscape features such as power line rights-of-way, railroad edges and roadsides may support rabbit dispersal as they provided the animal’s preferred scrub habitat. Occasionally, underpasses and culverts also may be effective conduits for rabbit travel. The researchers hope that an improved understanding of how the cottontail moves through the landscape will assist wildlife and land managers in species recovery efforts.

Researchers used genetics to study the changes in New England cottontail populations and their dispersal patterns. To obtain the DNA of the cottontails in this study, researchers collected the fecal pellets of 157 New England cottontails in southern Maine and seacoast New Hampshire during the winters of 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. Researchers believe this is the most exhaustive sampling effort in the area to date and likely documented nearly all currently occupied New England cottontail patches in Maine and seacoast New Hampshire.

Researchers identified the genetic pattern of individual rabbits and used information about genetic relatedness to make estimates of gene flow. They identified four major genetic clusters of New England cottontails in the region. A major power line connected some of these populations in the recent past — a finding which underscores the importance of restoring suitable habitat to reconnect these populations.

“If we can restore more of this habitat in our landscape and work on creating a landscape that has a mosaic of different habitats, including mature forests and young forests, we know that it is going to help a lot of species,” Kovach said.

This research, which was funded in part by the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, is presented in the article “A multistate analysis of gene flow for the New England cottontail, an imperiled habitat specialist in a fragmented landscape” in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of New Hampshire. The original article was written by Lori Wright. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Researchers work to save endangered New England cottontail

Scientists with the NH Agricultural Experiment Station are working to restore New Hampshire and Maine’s only native rabbit after new research based on genetic monitoring has found that in the last decade, cottontail populations in northern New England have become more isolated and seen a 50 percent contraction of their range.

The endangered New England cottontail is now is at risk of becoming extinct in the region, according to NH Agricultural Experiment Station researchers at the University of New Hampshire College of Life Sciences and Agriculture who believe that restoring habitats is the key to saving the species.

“The New England cottontail is a species of great conservation concern in the Northeast. This is our only native rabbit and is an integral component of the native New England wildlife. Maintaining biodiversity gives resilience to our landscape and ecosystems,” said NHAES researcher Adrienne Kovach, research associate professor of natural resources at UNH.

New England cottontails have been declining for decades. However, NHAES researchers have found that in the last decade, the New England cottontail population in New Hampshire and Maine has contracted by 50 percent; a decade ago, cottontails were found as far north as Cumberland, Maine.

The majority of research on New England cottontails has come out of UNH, much of it under the leadership of John Litvaitis, professor of wildlife ecology, who has studied the New England cottontail for three decades. Kovach’s research expands on this knowledge by using DNA analysis to provide new information on the cottontail’s status, distribution, genetic diversity, and dispersal ecology.

The greatest threat and cause of the decline of the New England cottontail is the reduction and fragmentation of their habitat, Kovach said. Fragmentation of habitats occurs when the cottontail’s habitat is reduced or eliminated due to the maturing of forests or land development. Habitats also can become fragmented by roads or natural landscape features, such as bodies of water.

“Cottontails require thicketed habitats, which progress from old fields to young forests. Once you have a more mature forest, the cottontail habitat is reduced. A lot of other species rely on these thicket habitats, including bobcats, birds, and reptiles. Many thicket-dependent species are on decline, and the New England cottontail is a representative species for this kind of habitat and its conservation,” Kovach said.

Kovach explained that for cottontail and most animal populations to be healthy and grow, it is important for adult animals to leave the place where they were born and relocate to a new habitat, which is known as dispersal. There are two main benefits of dispersal: an animal is not competing with its relatives and dispersal minimizes inbreeding.

“We have found that it is increasingly difficult for Maine and New Hampshire cottontails to travel the large distances between fragmented habitats necessary to maintain gene flow among populations of cottontails,” Kovach said.

However, certain landscape features such as power line rights-of-way, railroad edges and roadsides may support rabbit dispersal as they provided the animal’s preferred scrub habitat. Occasionally, underpasses and culverts also may be effective conduits for rabbit travel. The researchers hope that an improved understanding of how the cottontail moves through the landscape will assist wildlife and land managers in species recovery efforts.

Researchers used genetics to study the changes in New England cottontail populations and their dispersal patterns. To obtain the DNA of the cottontails in this study, researchers collected the fecal pellets of 157 New England cottontails in southern Maine and seacoast New Hampshire during the winters of 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. Researchers believe this is the most exhaustive sampling effort in the area to date and likely documented nearly all currently occupied New England cottontail patches in Maine and seacoast New Hampshire.

Researchers identified the genetic pattern of individual rabbits and used information about genetic relatedness to make estimates of gene flow. They identified four major genetic clusters of New England cottontails in the region. A major power line connected some of these populations in the recent past — a finding which underscores the importance of restoring suitable habitat to reconnect these populations.

“If we can restore more of this habitat in our landscape and work on creating a landscape that has a mosaic of different habitats, including mature forests and young forests, we know that it is going to help a lot of species,” Kovach said.

This research, which was funded in part by the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, is presented in the article “A multistate analysis of gene flow for the New England cottontail, an imperiled habitat specialist in a fragmented landscape” in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of New Hampshire. The original article was written by Lori Wright. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Researchers work to save endangered New England cottontail

Scientists with the NH Agricultural Experiment Station are working to restore New Hampshire and Maine’s only native rabbit after new research based on genetic monitoring has found that in the last decade, cottontail populations in northern New England have become more isolated and seen a 50 percent contraction of their range.

The endangered New England cottontail is now is at risk of becoming extinct in the region, according to NH Agricultural Experiment Station researchers at the University of New Hampshire College of Life Sciences and Agriculture who believe that restoring habitats is the key to saving the species.

“The New England cottontail is a species of great conservation concern in the Northeast. This is our only native rabbit and is an integral component of the native New England wildlife. Maintaining biodiversity gives resilience to our landscape and ecosystems,” said NHAES researcher Adrienne Kovach, research associate professor of natural resources at UNH.

New England cottontails have been declining for decades. However, NHAES researchers have found that in the last decade, the New England cottontail population in New Hampshire and Maine has contracted by 50 percent; a decade ago, cottontails were found as far north as Cumberland, Maine.

The majority of research on New England cottontails has come out of UNH, much of it under the leadership of John Litvaitis, professor of wildlife ecology, who has studied the New England cottontail for three decades. Kovach’s research expands on this knowledge by using DNA analysis to provide new information on the cottontail’s status, distribution, genetic diversity, and dispersal ecology.

The greatest threat and cause of the decline of the New England cottontail is the reduction and fragmentation of their habitat, Kovach said. Fragmentation of habitats occurs when the cottontail’s habitat is reduced or eliminated due to the maturing of forests or land development. Habitats also can become fragmented by roads or natural landscape features, such as bodies of water.

“Cottontails require thicketed habitats, which progress from old fields to young forests. Once you have a more mature forest, the cottontail habitat is reduced. A lot of other species rely on these thicket habitats, including bobcats, birds, and reptiles. Many thicket-dependent species are on decline, and the New England cottontail is a representative species for this kind of habitat and its conservation,” Kovach said.

Kovach explained that for cottontail and most animal populations to be healthy and grow, it is important for adult animals to leave the place where they were born and relocate to a new habitat, which is known as dispersal. There are two main benefits of dispersal: an animal is not competing with its relatives and dispersal minimizes inbreeding.

“We have found that it is increasingly difficult for Maine and New Hampshire cottontails to travel the large distances between fragmented habitats necessary to maintain gene flow among populations of cottontails,” Kovach said.

However, certain landscape features such as power line rights-of-way, railroad edges and roadsides may support rabbit dispersal as they provided the animal’s preferred scrub habitat. Occasionally, underpasses and culverts also may be effective conduits for rabbit travel. The researchers hope that an improved understanding of how the cottontail moves through the landscape will assist wildlife and land managers in species recovery efforts.

Researchers used genetics to study the changes in New England cottontail populations and their dispersal patterns. To obtain the DNA of the cottontails in this study, researchers collected the fecal pellets of 157 New England cottontails in southern Maine and seacoast New Hampshire during the winters of 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. Researchers believe this is the most exhaustive sampling effort in the area to date and likely documented nearly all currently occupied New England cottontail patches in Maine and seacoast New Hampshire.

Researchers identified the genetic pattern of individual rabbits and used information about genetic relatedness to make estimates of gene flow. They identified four major genetic clusters of New England cottontails in the region. A major power line connected some of these populations in the recent past — a finding which underscores the importance of restoring suitable habitat to reconnect these populations.

“If we can restore more of this habitat in our landscape and work on creating a landscape that has a mosaic of different habitats, including mature forests and young forests, we know that it is going to help a lot of species,” Kovach said.

This research, which was funded in part by the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, is presented in the article “A multistate analysis of gene flow for the New England cottontail, an imperiled habitat specialist in a fragmented landscape” in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of New Hampshire. The original article was written by Lori Wright. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Researchers work to save endangered New England cottontail

Scientists with the NH Agricultural Experiment Station are working to restore New Hampshire and Maine’s only native rabbit after new research based on genetic monitoring has found that in the last decade, cottontail populations in northern New England have become more isolated and seen a 50 percent contraction of their range.

The endangered New England cottontail is now is at risk of becoming extinct in the region, according to NH Agricultural Experiment Station researchers at the University of New Hampshire College of Life Sciences and Agriculture who believe that restoring habitats is the key to saving the species.

“The New England cottontail is a species of great conservation concern in the Northeast. This is our only native rabbit and is an integral component of the native New England wildlife. Maintaining biodiversity gives resilience to our landscape and ecosystems,” said NHAES researcher Adrienne Kovach, research associate professor of natural resources at UNH.

New England cottontails have been declining for decades. However, NHAES researchers have found that in the last decade, the New England cottontail population in New Hampshire and Maine has contracted by 50 percent; a decade ago, cottontails were found as far north as Cumberland, Maine.

The majority of research on New England cottontails has come out of UNH, much of it under the leadership of John Litvaitis, professor of wildlife ecology, who has studied the New England cottontail for three decades. Kovach’s research expands on this knowledge by using DNA analysis to provide new information on the cottontail’s status, distribution, genetic diversity, and dispersal ecology.

The greatest threat and cause of the decline of the New England cottontail is the reduction and fragmentation of their habitat, Kovach said. Fragmentation of habitats occurs when the cottontail’s habitat is reduced or eliminated due to the maturing of forests or land development. Habitats also can become fragmented by roads or natural landscape features, such as bodies of water.

“Cottontails require thicketed habitats, which progress from old fields to young forests. Once you have a more mature forest, the cottontail habitat is reduced. A lot of other species rely on these thicket habitats, including bobcats, birds, and reptiles. Many thicket-dependent species are on decline, and the New England cottontail is a representative species for this kind of habitat and its conservation,” Kovach said.

Kovach explained that for cottontail and most animal populations to be healthy and grow, it is important for adult animals to leave the place where they were born and relocate to a new habitat, which is known as dispersal. There are two main benefits of dispersal: an animal is not competing with its relatives and dispersal minimizes inbreeding.

“We have found that it is increasingly difficult for Maine and New Hampshire cottontails to travel the large distances between fragmented habitats necessary to maintain gene flow among populations of cottontails,” Kovach said.

However, certain landscape features such as power line rights-of-way, railroad edges and roadsides may support rabbit dispersal as they provided the animal’s preferred scrub habitat. Occasionally, underpasses and culverts also may be effective conduits for rabbit travel. The researchers hope that an improved understanding of how the cottontail moves through the landscape will assist wildlife and land managers in species recovery efforts.

Researchers used genetics to study the changes in New England cottontail populations and their dispersal patterns. To obtain the DNA of the cottontails in this study, researchers collected the fecal pellets of 157 New England cottontails in southern Maine and seacoast New Hampshire during the winters of 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. Researchers believe this is the most exhaustive sampling effort in the area to date and likely documented nearly all currently occupied New England cottontail patches in Maine and seacoast New Hampshire.

Researchers identified the genetic pattern of individual rabbits and used information about genetic relatedness to make estimates of gene flow. They identified four major genetic clusters of New England cottontails in the region. A major power line connected some of these populations in the recent past — a finding which underscores the importance of restoring suitable habitat to reconnect these populations.

“If we can restore more of this habitat in our landscape and work on creating a landscape that has a mosaic of different habitats, including mature forests and young forests, we know that it is going to help a lot of species,” Kovach said.

This research, which was funded in part by the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, is presented in the article “A multistate analysis of gene flow for the New England cottontail, an imperiled habitat specialist in a fragmented landscape” in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of New Hampshire. The original article was written by Lori Wright. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Researchers work to save endangered New England cottontail

Scientists with the NH Agricultural Experiment Station are working to restore New Hampshire and Maine’s only native rabbit after new research based on genetic monitoring has found that in the last decade, cottontail populations in northern New England have become more isolated and seen a 50 percent contraction of their range.

The endangered New England cottontail is now is at risk of becoming extinct in the region, according to NH Agricultural Experiment Station researchers at the University of New Hampshire College of Life Sciences and Agriculture who believe that restoring habitats is the key to saving the species.

“The New England cottontail is a species of great conservation concern in the Northeast. This is our only native rabbit and is an integral component of the native New England wildlife. Maintaining biodiversity gives resilience to our landscape and ecosystems,” said NHAES researcher Adrienne Kovach, research associate professor of natural resources at UNH.

New England cottontails have been declining for decades. However, NHAES researchers have found that in the last decade, the New England cottontail population in New Hampshire and Maine has contracted by 50 percent; a decade ago, cottontails were found as far north as Cumberland, Maine.

The majority of research on New England cottontails has come out of UNH, much of it under the leadership of John Litvaitis, professor of wildlife ecology, who has studied the New England cottontail for three decades. Kovach’s research expands on this knowledge by using DNA analysis to provide new information on the cottontail’s status, distribution, genetic diversity, and dispersal ecology.

The greatest threat and cause of the decline of the New England cottontail is the reduction and fragmentation of their habitat, Kovach said. Fragmentation of habitats occurs when the cottontail’s habitat is reduced or eliminated due to the maturing of forests or land development. Habitats also can become fragmented by roads or natural landscape features, such as bodies of water.

“Cottontails require thicketed habitats, which progress from old fields to young forests. Once you have a more mature forest, the cottontail habitat is reduced. A lot of other species rely on these thicket habitats, including bobcats, birds, and reptiles. Many thicket-dependent species are on decline, and the New England cottontail is a representative species for this kind of habitat and its conservation,” Kovach said.

Kovach explained that for cottontail and most animal populations to be healthy and grow, it is important for adult animals to leave the place where they were born and relocate to a new habitat, which is known as dispersal. There are two main benefits of dispersal: an animal is not competing with its relatives and dispersal minimizes inbreeding.

“We have found that it is increasingly difficult for Maine and New Hampshire cottontails to travel the large distances between fragmented habitats necessary to maintain gene flow among populations of cottontails,” Kovach said.

However, certain landscape features such as power line rights-of-way, railroad edges and roadsides may support rabbit dispersal as they provided the animal’s preferred scrub habitat. Occasionally, underpasses and culverts also may be effective conduits for rabbit travel. The researchers hope that an improved understanding of how the cottontail moves through the landscape will assist wildlife and land managers in species recovery efforts.

Researchers used genetics to study the changes in New England cottontail populations and their dispersal patterns. To obtain the DNA of the cottontails in this study, researchers collected the fecal pellets of 157 New England cottontails in southern Maine and seacoast New Hampshire during the winters of 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. Researchers believe this is the most exhaustive sampling effort in the area to date and likely documented nearly all currently occupied New England cottontail patches in Maine and seacoast New Hampshire.

Researchers identified the genetic pattern of individual rabbits and used information about genetic relatedness to make estimates of gene flow. They identified four major genetic clusters of New England cottontails in the region. A major power line connected some of these populations in the recent past — a finding which underscores the importance of restoring suitable habitat to reconnect these populations.

“If we can restore more of this habitat in our landscape and work on creating a landscape that has a mosaic of different habitats, including mature forests and young forests, we know that it is going to help a lot of species,” Kovach said.

This research, which was funded in part by the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, is presented in the article “A multistate analysis of gene flow for the New England cottontail, an imperiled habitat specialist in a fragmented landscape” in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of New Hampshire. The original article was written by Lori Wright. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily

Buy access pass to Fruit Attraction 2014 online and save 50%

Buy access pass to Fruit Attraction 2014 online and save 50%

Trade visitors can now buy their access pass for FRUIT ATTRACTION 2014 online (www.fruitattraction.ifema.es). Industry professionals who register online will receive a 50% discount on the cost of entry to the event, whose sixth edition runs from 15 to 17 October at Feria de Madrid. Those who take advantage of this service can also print the professional accreditation required for entry to the site themselves, thus speeding up the process and saving time.

Visitors can also take advantage of the Meeting Place, a service that allows them to introduce themselves to the sector and to receive information directly from exhibitors and on the fair’s activities, content and other services.

For more information:
Spain: 902 22 16 16
From abroad: +(34) 91 722 30 00
[email protected]

Publication date: 7/11/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Buy access pass to Fruit Attraction 2014 online and save 50%

Buy access pass to Fruit Attraction 2014 online and save 50%

Trade visitors can now buy their access pass for FRUIT ATTRACTION 2014 online (www.fruitattraction.ifema.es). Industry professionals who register online will receive a 50% discount on the cost of entry to the event, whose sixth edition runs from 15 to 17 October at Feria de Madrid. Those who take advantage of this service can also print the professional accreditation required for entry to the site themselves, thus speeding up the process and saving time.

Visitors can also take advantage of the Meeting Place, a service that allows them to introduce themselves to the sector and to receive information directly from exhibitors and on the fair’s activities, content and other services.

For more information:
Spain: 902 22 16 16
From abroad: +(34) 91 722 30 00
[email protected]

Publication date: 7/11/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Buy access pass to Fruit Attraction 2014 online and save 50%

Buy access pass to Fruit Attraction 2014 online and save 50%

Trade visitors can now buy their access pass for FRUIT ATTRACTION 2014 online (www.fruitattraction.ifema.es). Industry professionals who register online will receive a 50% discount on the cost of entry to the event, whose sixth edition runs from 15 to 17 October at Feria de Madrid. Those who take advantage of this service can also print the professional accreditation required for entry to the site themselves, thus speeding up the process and saving time.

Visitors can also take advantage of the Meeting Place, a service that allows them to introduce themselves to the sector and to receive information directly from exhibitors and on the fair’s activities, content and other services.

For more information:
Spain: 902 22 16 16
From abroad: +(34) 91 722 30 00
[email protected]

Publication date: 7/11/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Buy access pass to Fruit Attraction 2014 online and save 50%

Buy access pass to Fruit Attraction 2014 online and save 50%

Trade visitors can now buy their access pass for FRUIT ATTRACTION 2014 online (www.fruitattraction.ifema.es). Industry professionals who register online will receive a 50% discount on the cost of entry to the event, whose sixth edition runs from 15 to 17 October at Feria de Madrid. Those who take advantage of this service can also print the professional accreditation required for entry to the site themselves, thus speeding up the process and saving time.

Visitors can also take advantage of the Meeting Place, a service that allows them to introduce themselves to the sector and to receive information directly from exhibitors and on the fair’s activities, content and other services.

For more information:
Spain: 902 22 16 16
From abroad: +(34) 91 722 30 00
[email protected]

Publication date: 7/11/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Buy access pass to Fruit Attraction 2014 online and save 50%

Buy access pass to Fruit Attraction 2014 online and save 50%

Trade visitors can now buy their access pass for FRUIT ATTRACTION 2014 online (www.fruitattraction.ifema.es). Industry professionals who register online will receive a 50% discount on the cost of entry to the event, whose sixth edition runs from 15 to 17 October at Feria de Madrid. Those who take advantage of this service can also print the professional accreditation required for entry to the site themselves, thus speeding up the process and saving time.

Visitors can also take advantage of the Meeting Place, a service that allows them to introduce themselves to the sector and to receive information directly from exhibitors and on the fair’s activities, content and other services.

For more information:
Spain: 902 22 16 16
From abroad: +(34) 91 722 30 00
[email protected]

Publication date: 7/11/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Buy access pass to Fruit Attraction 2014 online and save 50%

Buy access pass to Fruit Attraction 2014 online and save 50%

Trade visitors can now buy their access pass for FRUIT ATTRACTION 2014 online (www.fruitattraction.ifema.es). Industry professionals who register online will receive a 50% discount on the cost of entry to the event, whose sixth edition runs from 15 to 17 October at Feria de Madrid. Those who take advantage of this service can also print the professional accreditation required for entry to the site themselves, thus speeding up the process and saving time.

Visitors can also take advantage of the Meeting Place, a service that allows them to introduce themselves to the sector and to receive information directly from exhibitors and on the fair’s activities, content and other services.

For more information:
Spain: 902 22 16 16
From abroad: +(34) 91 722 30 00
[email protected]

Publication date: 7/11/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Reorganization of crop production, trade could save China’s water supply

China’s rapid socioeconomic growth continues to tax national water resources — especially in the agricultural sector — due to increasing demands for food. And, because of the country’s climate and geography, irrigation is now widespread, burdening rivers and groundwater supplies.

One solution to these growing problems, however, might be to reorganize the country’s crop production and trade, especially in agricultural provinces such as Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang and Hebei, according to new report issued by Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and School of Engineering and Applied Science and scientists in China and Japan.

The researchers report in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that reducing agricultural production in these provinces and importing food commodities from other provinces or nations instead could help China conserve more water. These provinces all use large volumes of water to produce crops that are later exported to wetter regions. If balanced with more water-efficient irrigation systems locally, restructuring these regions could reduce national water use while avoiding an excessive geographically centralized agricultural production.

“Our analysis provides a framework for understanding how such policies would benefit China’s water use in the future,” said study co-author Denise Mauzerall, professor of environmental engineering and international affairs. In particular, corn production and trade at the domestic level might be an area to target as changes could significantly reduce national water use for irrigation.”

“Overall, China may want to consider a targeted investment in agricultural research and development,” said lead author Carole Dalin, a Princeton University Ph.D. student studying environmental engineering.

Of China’s industries, agriculture is the most water-intensive in terms of production and covers most of the country’s northern provinces. Crops like corn, rice and wheat thrive best in these drier regions, but rainfall is limited, and stores of underground water are diminishing. To fulfill high production demands, water is drawn from underground reservoirs (aquifers) in the northern provinces and used for irrigation more rapidly than it is replenished.

Water used during crop production is referred to as “virtual water.” Through food trade, these water resources are transferred across borders in what’s called a “virtual water trade.” The researchers found that, in China, these transfers mostly occur from dry agricultural areas to wetter provinces. This situation places strain upon China’s water reserves and will only intensify as China’s economy and consumption of water-intensive food continues to boom. While growing crops in the wetter regions would be more water efficient, land in those places is either urban or industrial or difficult geographically (mountainous terrain, etc.), the researchers report.

“The need for China to include ‘virtual water’ in its national policy has been pointed out. Our provincial-scale domestic analysis of the country’s virtual water trade is key to guiding such policy planning,” said Dalin, who is a former Princeton Environmental Institute Science, Technology and Environmental Policy fellow.

To this end, the research team — which also includes Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe, the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and co-authors from China and Japan — combined a hydrological model with domestic and international trade simulations to determine the efficiency of China’s food trade in terms of water use as well as the role of foreign trade in this virtual water-trade system. In particular, the researchers sought to answer one question: Is there a way to reduce China’s water use without decreasing national food security?

The researchers looked at domestic and international trade of corn, rice, soy and wheat, along with such livestock products as ruminant (animals like cattle, goats and sheep that subsist on plant matter), pork and poultry. These products accounted for 93 percent of China’s domestic food supply in 2005, the last year with available data. The researchers combined this information with water use across provinces — from both rainfall and irrigation sources — and determined how much water was transferred between provinces through food trade.

To obtain estimates of these water transfers, the researchers analyzed how much food was traded between provinces and the water amount needed to produce each type of food. They determined the amount of water transferred in kilograms by multiplying the traded volume of a specific food item by the water used to produce a unit of this item (the item’s “virtual water content”) in the exporting province.

The researchers found that irrigation accounts for about 25 percent of water used to produce crops and for 16 percent of water used in meat production in China. However, those numbers skyrocket in Xinjiang, Ningxia and Inner Mongolia, where irrigation water is used predominantly for crop production (85 percent, 69 percent and 49 percent, respectively.) These numbers indicate that such provinces see little rainfall during the growing season and rely heavily on sometimes non-renewable water resources, such as groundwater.

“This shows us that water is being used faster than it is being replenished, which cannot go on indefinitely,” Mauzerall said.

Finally, the researchers investigated whether Chinese food trade leads to global water savings. They found that domestic corn trade leads to significant losses of irrigation water resources (such as rivers, reservoirs and groundwater). However, the provinces of Hubei, Henan, Jiangsu and Anhui, produce wheat quite efficiently, and their exports lead to large national water savings for both rainfall and irrigation water.

“Our work highlights opportunities for addressing water scarcity in China by adjusting where water intensive crops are grown and how they are traded” said Mauzerall. “Policies which encourage such adjustments can help conserve water while maintaining China’s food security.”

Agriculture and Food News — ScienceDaily