Increased Rate of Malaria Transmission found following Severe Flood Event in Western Uganda

by Hogan Marhoefer

As climate patterns and weather conditions continually change as a result of global warming, it is increasingly important to understand how these climate changes impact global health. Several areas of vector-borne disease control are very well-understood, however the influences of climate change on vector-borne disease transmission are understudied but very relevant. It is well-known that malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes and increased transmission rates relate to the success of local mosquito populations. It has also now known that global warming has contributed to increased precipitation and warmer weather in many regions, which provide a more favorable environment for mosquito reproduction success (due to increased precipitation). It is apparent that precipitation greatly influences disease transmission in Malaria, however temperature plays an equally influential role in vector-borne disease transmission. As temperatures rise, mosquito populations are able to occupy regions of higher altitude as they are no longer restricted by regions of cooler temperatures These factors are of great importance to this study because a significant number of the rural communities in the Kasese District are at relatively high elevation, and have experienced heavy rainfall. Continue reading

Large Forest Blocks are Essential for Biodiversity Protection and Carbon Storage

by Stephen Johnson

Habitat loss is the primary threat to the survival of most tropical biodiversity. Typically, this habitat loss is driven by deforestation for agricultural use. However, deforested landscapes are rarely homogenous fields with low diversity; most often, forest fragments are left embedded in a matrix of varying types of agriculture, from open field monocultures, to pastures and forest-mimicking shaded plantations. The process of fragmentation has a significant negative effect on the biodiversity present in the area; however, fragments are often able to support a variety of species, as are some types of agriculture, such as agroforestry. Less is known about the capacity of such landscapes to sequester and store carbon. What little has been done has focused on carbon in agroforestry systems, with promising, though mixed, results. Continue reading

Healthier Diets Needed to Avert Climate Change

by Adin Bonapart

Using global datasets, the Bajželj et al. (2014) study models different agriculture-based climate mitigation scenarios that minimize the expansion of cropland while insuring global food security. The business-as-usual (BAU) projections for 2050 result in a scenario in which global agriculture alone produces ~21 gigatons of CO2 every year, almost the full 2 °C global target emissions allowance in 2050. The study quantifies the loss of Net Primary Production potential along the agricultural biomass flow, and identifies areas of significant food waste and inefficient farming practices for improvement. The researchers then examine the effects of different “demand-side” or “supply-side” agricultural efficiency measures and solutions. Continue reading

Future of China’s Agriculture in Danger

by Jordan Aronowitz

Popularly characterized as one of the most industrial countries in the world, China has been blamed for much of the increase in carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. With the increase in average overall temperature, the prevalence of droughts has increased, adversely affecting production agriculture production and water supply. When the rain finally does arrive, it arrives with monsoon-like conditions, creating too much runoff, as the dry land can’t contain the rain. Many independent projects have traveled to China in order to inform the population about climate change. Urban areas need to become greener, while rural areas need to be aware of dangers they face. The negative trends in China’s agriculture and water resources can be corrected, but without proper support from the population and the rest of the world they will not be successful. Continue reading