An assortment of legumes.
Legumes have a superpower: they can convert nitrogen in the air into a form plants can use to grow.
A lack of policy has allowed industrial chicken farms to multiply in certain parts of the UK – with a lack of consideration of the environmental and social impacts.
Scientists need to know how much we can rely on the land to offset our emissions.
A helicopter drops water on a forest fire in Alaska.
Michael Risinger/U.S. Army National Guard
A new study finds more deciduous trees like aspen are growing in after severe fires in the region, and that has some unexpected impacts.
Tampa Bay’s sea grass meadows need sunlight to thrive. Algae blooms block that light and can be toxic to marine life.
Joe Whalen Caulerpa/Tampa Bay Estuary Program via Unsplash
Harmful algae blooms are an increasing problem in Florida. Once nutrients are in the water to fuel them, little can be done to stop the growth, and the results can be devastating for marine life.
Multiple queens ensure colonies have a steady output of workers.
The spread of tawny crazy ants may be driven, in part, by their need for calcium. The calcium-rich limestone bedrock of the lower U.S. Midwest may provide ideal conditions for populations to explode.
If rolled out worldwide, our method could replace a quarter of all the synthetic nitrogen fertiliser used in agriculture.
Corn plants in a flooded field near Emden, Ill., May 29, 2019.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
New research shows that one-third of yearly nitrogen runoff from Midwest farms to the Gulf of Mexico occurs during a few heavy rainstorms. New fertilizing schedules could reduce nitrogen pollution.
Agriculture is the dominant cause for the increasing N₂O concentrations. Emissions must be reduced if we hope to stabilise Earth’s climate.
Breathing pure oxygen would be like fireworks exploding in your body. And that’s not always a good thing.
You might think the more oxygen you breathe in the better. But too much oxygen can make you sick.
It’s painfully clear nature is buckling under the weight of farming’s demands. There’s another way – but it involves accepting nature’s limits.
Planting cover crops, like this red clover in Sussex County, Delaware, can help return carbon to farm fields.
Michele Dorsey Walfred/Flickr
Storing more carbon in soil helps slow climate change and makes croplands more productive. But there are two kinds of soil carbon that are both important, but function very differently.
The red tip on these matches contains phosphorus, which ignites when in contact with oxygen.
The elements that make up each column of the periodic table share a set of common traits. Here, a chemist describes group 15 and the crucial role phosphorus, in particular, plays in cancer.
Aeration tanks at the Oaks wastewater treatment plant in New Providence, Penn.
Montgomery County Planning Commission
The ‘used water’ that flows from our showers, dishwashers and toilets isn’t a waste to engineers – it contains valuable materials. The challenge is recovering them and turning them into products.
The benefits of beans, lentils and other pulses go beyond the belly.
Today’s production of more, better food from the same amount land means that tomorrow’s population may not go hungry.
Applying nitrogen fertilizer to corn at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, a research site in Michigan.
Fertilizer is a key source of nitrogen pollution which fouls air and water worldwide. Current regulations target farmers, but focusing on producers could spur them to develop greener products.
Even a small cloud can weigh as much as four tonnes – but gravity, chemistry and temperature keep them floating in the sky.
Transport and livestock are both significant contributors to nitrogen pollution.
The University of Melbourne is the first institution in Australia to have its nitrogen footprint calculated – it’s 139 tonnes per year, mainly because of food production, energy use and transport.
Blooms of algae, like this growth in 2015 in Lake St. Clair between Michigan and Ontario, promote the formation of dead zones.
NASA Earth Observatory
Scientists have mapped a huge dead zone in the Gulf of Oman, without enough oxygen in the water to support life. This Speed Read explains why dead zones form in waters around the world.
Long’s Peak framed by rock outcrop, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.
Scientists have long thought most nitrogen in Earth’s ecosystems comes from the air, but new research shows it also is released as rocks weather. This could boost plant growth and help sequester carbon – but not fast enough to avert climate change, as some pundits have claimed.