GMO risk assessment for human and animal health and the environment

[tweetmeme]  The European Food Safety Authority has released an interesting in-depth 200 page assessment titled “EFSA and GMO risk assessment for human and animal health and the environment.”  It provides information that was covered in the last EFSA conference on genetically modified organisms as food sources.  The report itself includes all conference materials, including texts … Continue reading

Call for better protection of the health of plants in Europe – on the road to the EU Plant Health Law

[tweetmeme] Brussels, 27 July 2010.  The European Commission published today an evaluation study of the Common Plant Health Regime (CPHR) that will be the basis on which the regime will be reviewed. The Commission plans to adopt a new EU Plant Health law in 2012. The CPHR, which dates back to 1977, protects the EU … Continue reading

Ethics of modern developments in agricultural technologies

[tweetmeme The European group on ethics in science and new technologies published an Opinion on Ethics of modern developments in agricultural technologies, in which they address current trends in agriculture in terms of the sustainable use of resources, ensuring food security and ethical design of agriculatural policies.  The scope of this Opinion reads: Food security, … Continue reading

Monsanto’s sunflower seed business expansion investigated by EU

Brussels, 21 June 2010.  The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation under the EU Merger Regulation into the proposed acquisition of the global sunflower seed business of US company Monsanto by Syngenta of Switzerland. The Commission’s initial market investigation indicated potential competition concerns with respect to the breeding and commercialisation of sunflower seeds and … Continue reading

Distribution and targeting of the EU Common Agricultural Policy budget from a biodiversity perspective

As additional supporting material for our readers wishing to participate in the public debate on the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (see, we recommend the review of the European Environmental Agency’s recent report “Distribution and targeting of the CAP budget from a biodiversity perspective.” The EU has highlighted the importance of using the Common Agriculture … Continue reading

Assessing Biofuel Crop Invasiveness: A Case Study

There is widespread interest in biofuel crops as a solution to the world’s energy needs, particularly in light of concerns over greenhouse-gas emissions. Despite reservations about their adverse environmental impacts, no attempt has been made to quantify actual, relative or potential invasiveness of terrestrial biofuel crops at an appropriate regional or international scale, and their … Continue reading

Measuring Soil Water Potential for Water Management in Agriculture

Abstract: Soil water potential is a soil property affecting a large variety of bio-physical processes, such as seed germination, plant growth and plant nutrition. Gradients in soil water potential are the driving forces of water movement, affecting water infiltration, redistribution, percolation, evaporation and plants’ transpiration. The total soil water potential is given by the sum … Continue reading

Is the Spatial Distribution of Mankind’s Most Basic Economic Traits Determined by Climate and Soil Alone?

Abstract: Several authors have investigated biogeographic determinants of human history and civilization. The timing of the transition to an agricultural lifestyle, associated with steep population growth and consequent societal change, has been suggested to be affected by the availability of suitable organisms for domestication. These factors were shown to quantitatively explain some of the current … Continue reading

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