Mitchell EAD, Mulhauser B, Mulot M, Mutabazi A, Glauser G, Aebi A. A worldwide survey of neonicotinoids in honey . Science [Internet]. 2017;358 (6359) :109-111. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Growing evidence for global pollinator decline is causing concern for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services maintenance. Neonicotinoid pesticides have been identified or suspected as a key factor responsible for this decline. We assessed the global exposure of pollinators to neonicotinoids by analyzing 198 honey samples from across the world. We found at least one of five tested compounds (acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, thiacloprid, and thiamethoxam) in 75% of all samples, 45% of samples contained two or more of these compounds, and 10% contained four or five. Our results confirm the exposure of bees to neonicotinoids in their food throughout the world. The coexistence of neonicotinoids and other pesticides may increase harm to pollinators. However, the concentrations detected are below the maximum residue level authorized for human consumption (average ± standard error for positive samples: 1.8 ± 0.56 nanograms per gram).
Schulte LA, Niemi J, Helmers MJ, Liebman M, Arbuckle JG, James DE, Kolka RK, O’Neal ME, Tomer MD, Tyndall JC, et al. Prairie strips improve biodiversity and the delivery of multiple ecosystem services from corn–soybean croplands . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [Internet]. 2017;114 (42). Publisher's VersionAbstract

Loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystem services from agricultural lands remain important challenges in the United States despite decades of spending on natural resource management. To date, conservation investment has emphasized engineering practices or vegetative strategies centered on monocultural plantings of nonnative plants, largely excluding native species from cropland. In a catchment-scale experiment, we quantified the multiple effects of integrating strips of native prairie species amid corn and soybean crops, with prairie strips arranged to arrest run-off on slopes. Replacing 10% of cropland with prairie strips increased biodiversity and ecosystem services with minimal impacts on crop production. Compared with catchments containing only crops, integrating prairie strips into cropland led to greater catchment-level insect taxa richness (2.6-fold), pollinator abundance (3.5-fold), native bird species richness (2.1-fold), and abundance of bird species of greatest conservation need (2.1-fold). Use of prairie strips also reduced total water runoff from catchments by 37%, resulting in retention of 20 times more soil and 4.3 times more phosphorus. Corn and soybean yields for catchments with prairie strips decreased only by the amount of the area taken out of crop production. Social survey results indicated demand among both farming and nonfarming populations for the environmental outcomes produced by prairie strips. If federal and state policies were aligned to promote prairie strips, the practice would be applicable to 3.9 million ha of cropland in Iowa alone.

Pearce T, Currenti R, Mateiwai A, Doran B. Adaptation to climate change and freshwater resources in Vusama village, Viti Levu, Fiji . Regional Environmental Change [Internet]. 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Changing precipitation patterns including more intense and prolonged dry periods have become a growing concern for people living in the Pacific Island region. People in the region are particularly sensitive to these changes given their resource-based livelihoods and high dependence on rainfall for their freshwater needs. Despite this, little attention has been given to understanding the implications of climatic changes for people and their capacity to manage these changes. This paper assesses human vulnerability to climate change (as it relates to fresh water resources) in Vusama, an iTaukei village in southwest Viti Levu, Fiji in the context of recent social and ecological changes. An analysis of data collected using a vulnerability approach that included semi-structured interviews, participant observation and analysis of secondary sources reveal that climate change together with behavioural changes are negatively affecting availability and access to clean freshwater, with implications for household economies, food security and human health. In particular, prolonged drought and changing seasonal patterns, together with people’s increasing reliance on a village borehole in lieu of family wells have resulted in a freshwater crisis. People are coping by using earnings from wage employment and harvesting and selling seafood to buy water and vegetables, rationing freshwater and depending on extended social networks for fresh produce. Current responses are reactive and short-term. Longer-term adaptation strategies are needed that consider expected future climate change and broader human development goals.

Lane K, Charles-Guzman K, Wheeler K, Abid Z, Graber N, Matte T. Health Effects of Coastal Storms and Flooding in Urban Areas: A Review and Vulnerability Assessment . Journal of Environmental and Public Health [Internet]. 2013. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Coastal storms can take a devastating toll on the public's health. Urban areas like New York City (NYC) may be particularly at risk, given their dense population, reliance on transportation, energy infrastructure that is vulnerable to flood damage, and high-rise residential housing, which may be hard-hit by power and utility outages. Climate change will exacerbate these risks in the coming decades. Sea levels are rising due to global warming, which will intensify storm surge. These projections make preparing for the health impacts of storms even more important. We conducted a broad review of the health impacts of US coastal storms to inform climate adaptation planning efforts, with a focus on outcomes relevant to NYC and urban coastal areas, and incorporated some lessons learned from recent experience with Superstorm Sandy. Based on the literature, indicators of health vulnerability were selected and mapped within NYC neighborhoods. Preparing for the broad range of anticipated effects of coastal storms and floods may help reduce the public health burden from these events.

Reinmuth E, Parker P, Aurbacher J, Högy P, Dabbert S. Modeling perceptions of climatic risk in crop production . PLoS ONE [Internet]. 2017. Publisher's VersionAbstract

In agricultural production, land-use decisions are components of economic planning that result in the strategic allocation of fields. Climate variability represents an uncertainty factor in crop production. Considering yield impact, climatic influence is perceived during and evaluated at the end of crop production cycles. In practice, this information is then incorporated into planning for the upcoming season. This process contributes to attitudes toward climate-induced risk in crop production. In the literature, however, the subjective valuation of risk is modeled as a risk attitude toward variations in (monetary) outcomes. Consequently, climatic influence may be obscured by political and market influences so that risk perceptions during the production process are neglected. We present a utility concept that allows the inclusion of annual risk scores based on mid-season risk perceptions that are incorporated into field-planning decisions. This approach is exemplified and implemented for winter wheat production in the Kraichgau, a region in Southwest Germany, using the integrated bio-economic simulation model FarmActor and empirical data from the region. Survey results indicate that a profitability threshold for this crop, the level of “still-good yield” (sgy), is 69 dt ha-1 (regional mean Kraichgau sample) for a given season. This threshold governs the monitoring process and risk estimators. We tested the modeled estimators against simulation results using ten projected future weather time series for winter wheat production. The mid-season estimators generally proved to be effective. This approach can be used to improve the modeling of planning decisions by providing a more comprehensive evaluation of field-crop response to climatic changes from an economic risk point of view. The methodology further provides economic insight in an agrometeorological context where prices for crops or inputs are lacking, but farmer attitudes toward risk should still be included in the analysis.