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Nitrogen pollution is one of the factors driving outbreaks of crown-of-thorns - giant starfish that devour the reef. Kenneth Taylor Jr/Flickr

High-tech fertilisers and innovation have to come to the Great Barrier Reef’s rescue

The latest Great Barrier Reef report shows some improvements to water quality over the past five years, but there's still a lot to do on one particular problem: nitrogen.
Indonesia is turning to homegrown cattle for its beef needs, and cutting its Australian live imports. EPA/Hotli Simanjuntak/AAP Image

Lean times ahead for Australian cattle as Indonesia turns to domestic farming

Indonesia's shock decision to cut imports of Australian beef signals two things: Indonesia's desire to focus on domestic cattle farming, and Australia's lack of alternative options for exporting its own herd.
New African economic history is challenging earlier wisdom by showing, for example, that railways have had profound effects, both positive and negative on African societies. Reuters/Thomas Mukoya

The renaissance in understanding Africa’s economic past

African economic history has had a renaissance and its most valuable contribution has been to show that Africans have not always been poor, nor are current poverty levels an inevitable destiny.
The Curtis Island gas precinct is one of the biggest developments along the Great Barrier Reef coast. AAP Image/Greenpeace

Development and the Reef: the rules have been lax for too long

The coast alongside the Great Barrier Reef is home to ports, farms, holiday resorts, and more than a million people. It all puts pressure on the Reef, and it's time for some firms plans to manage it.
A flood plume containing sediments, nutrients and pesticides flowing onto the Great Barrier Reef from Bundaberg. AAP Image/James Cook University

Cloudy issue: we need to fix the Barrier Reef’s murky waters

Successive plans to curb the sediments, nutrients and pesticides flowing into the waters around the Great Barrier Reef have fallen short, leaving the corals that call the reef home highly vulnerable.
Australian cattle wait to be loaded onto a ship to Indonesia. Their voyage to the United States would be even longer. AAP Image/Xavier La Canna

Why exporting live cattle to the United States is a bad idea

Australia's cattle industry is keen to begin live exports to the United States. But America is very different to existing live export markets such as Indonesia, making the move much more ethically fraught.
Research shows monocultures of crops - such as this canola field - can be bad for the environment. Peter Hayward/Flickr

Single-crop farming is leaving wildlife with no room to turn

Monocultures - vast expanses of a single crop - may look pretty, but mounting research shows they are likely bad for environment. And in turn that's bad news for farms as well.

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