Agriculture

Africa's Sahel region could suddenly get far more rainfall as global warming proceeds, says a new study. Here, farmers in Mali, one of the countries potentially affected, harvest okra. (Francesco Fiondella/International Research Institute for Climate and Society)

Warming Climate Could Abruptly Increase Rain in Africa’s Sahel

Climate change could turn one of Africa’s driest regions wet, according to a new study. Scientists have found evidence in computer simulations for a possible abrupt change in the Sahel, a region long characterized by aridity and political instability. In the study, just published in the journal Earth System Dynamics, the authors detected a self-amplifying… read more

by |July 5, 2017
CCL Water

How Will Climate Change Impact Water Resources?

Richard Seager and Park Williams, climate scientists at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, discuss how water will be affected by warmer temperatures, and how their research increases understanding of these issues.

by |June 6, 2017
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Building Regenerative Local Food Systems

On April 27, 2017, the Earth Institute, the School of International and Public Affairs, the Agriculture and Food Security Center and the Columbia Water Center presented the third annual Forum on Sustainable Agriculture, on Building Regenerative Food Systems.

by |May 30, 2017
Dobhas are small ponds that can help store water for use during the dry season.

In Jharkhand, Using an Old Technique for Sustainable Water

The Indian state of Jharkhand has plentiful rainfall, but most of that water runs off before it can be put to use by farmers, who struggle to make a living. To help improve irrigation and crop productivity, the Centers for International Projects Trust and Ranchi’s Birsa Agricultural University turned to a simple traditional technology, “dobhas,” small ponds that can store rainwater for months at a time.

by |May 24, 2017
Falling sulfur dioxide emissions in the United States are expected to substantially increase rainfall in Africa’s semi-arid Sahel, while bringing slightly more rain to much of the U.S., according to a new study. (Francesco Fiondella/International Research Institute for Climate and Society

Reduced U.S. Air Pollution Will Boost Rainfall in Africa’s Sahel, Says Study

If U.S. sulfur dioxide emissions are cut to zero by 2100, as some researchers have projected they will be, rainfall over Africa’s Sahel region could increase up to 10 percent from 2000 levels, computer simulations suggest.

by |May 22, 2017
Irrigation in Salinas, Calif. Depletion of groundwater resources in the United States and other major food exporters could eventually threaten food security around the world, a new study says. Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Study: Overuse of Water Threatens Global Food Supply

In recent years, scientists have revealed that we are depleting our global groundwater reserves at an alarming rate. Now researchers have shown that a significant share of this unsustainable water use fuels the global food trade, which means water exhaustion in supplier nations could ripple outward, causing food crises half way across globe.

by |May 8, 2017
The Bosque de Niebla in Colombia's "coffee triangle." Careful use of agroforestry could help shore up the country's long-awaited peace accord. Photo: Proexport

Forest-Friendly Development Can Bolster Peace in Colombia, Paper Says

As Colombia rebuilds following last year’s historic peace deal with Marxist FARC rebels, it has an opening to advance sustainable land development, a new study contends.

by |March 16, 2017
NASPAA competition to come up with a solution to solve World Hunger by 2030, held at Sipa

Students Compete in Food Security Simulation

How do multiple stakeholders compromise their competing needs and develop a global coordinated strategy that is politically palatable, possible and comprehensive enough to have an impact? Students from universities all over the U.S. Northeast gathered at Columbia for the 2017 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition that challenged students to do just this.

by |March 6, 2017
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Trump’s Unifying Opportunity: Food Security

A sound strategy to secure the nation’s food supply and reduce its vulnerability within and beyond our borders will be a major step towards making America and the world more resilient in the face of increasing uncertainty.

by |March 2, 2017
grass blades

The Risks and Impacts of Expropriating Community Lands

While a government might consider that a community’s lands can generate greater public benefits if used as the site of a large-scale project, such as for agriculture or forestry, that needs to be balanced with how taking the land will affect the people who lived there and depended on that land.