Help save our water


 

Help save our waterways.

Help save our waterways.

Click here

*** Please use the above link to access the list of the Conference Committee members responsible for finalizing the FARRM bill. Please contact as many members as possible before the end of January.

The current FARRM Bill does not make any attempt to conserve water. It does virtually nothing to address water conservation issues. We are seeking to add two sentences, which will enable US agriculture processing facilities to save over 20 Billion Gallons of Water a Year at NO COST TO GOVERNMENT. This would be the most water savings in any industry in the US. In the past 10 years.

Please ADD These 2 Sentences:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Agriculture shall require the use of water saving devices for hand washing stations and bathroom faucets at animal processing facilities inspected by USDA. Such devices shall automatically shut-off the water flow when hands are moved out of the water stream and shall be proven to reduce cross-contamination caused by touching faucet handles.

Our position is that the water that is wasted by the processing plants wastes belongs to the community. The water came directly from community owned source and drought threatens their water supply. We demand that processing plants take immediate action to reduce the amount of water they waste.

Thank you.

Click here today!

“Help Texas get more rain to save rice crop”


Recent rains have put a dent in the Texas drought, a day of reckoning looms for the state’s long-grain rice growers, who pump millions into the

Need rain

economy in Southeast Texas each year and account for about 5 percent of America’s rice production. Come March 1, if there is less than 850,000 acre-feet of water in reservoirs along the Lower Colorado River, water managers will be forced to take the unprecedented step of withholding water from agricultural users, which will mean severe cuts to Texas rice production this year.

Now it is your turn to help.

We need to help rain come to lower Texas. Visualize steady rains that will raise the water table. Coming at intervals so the ground can absorb it.

Excerpts courtesy of  Andrew Freedman and climatecentral.org

Image courtesy of 3.bp.blogspot.com

“Answer to vanishing bees?”


Saving the Honeybee as Nature would have it!

Honeybees have been telling us the answer for thousands of years in “why” they swarm and “where”

they settle, unfortunately man could not see it, the answer was in front of them, invisible, but in front of them.

The answer is now below and very clear.

An HOLISTIC Way in Saving The “Honeybee”

International Bee Research Association (IBRA) Conference held at the University Of Worcester on the 29th January 2011.

My name is John Harding, I have kept, researched, experimented, observed and used logic and common sense in trying to keep as much to nature as possible while keeping honeybees. During the last 30 years I have invented bee equipment that does bare my name.
“I have not used sugar or chemicals for the past 18 years, due to the first approved licensed chemical treatments killing a percentage of my queens“.
I hoped that one day I would find a natural remedy for the parasitic mite Varroa. This, I have now done.
Explanation
We know that honeybees have been on this planet for 100 to 200 million years depending which book you read, so honeybees have evolved with planet earth. This has brought with it changing climates, polarity change, a change in continents with moving earth plates and a change in flora. In all that time honeybees have been dealing with disease, mites, intruders and any other alien insect or animal, even man.
Habitat
During this time, their home has been in hollow trees, caves or covered protected position so they may get away from draughts, rain or severe weather to build their amazing honeycomb nest that is kept to an accurate temperature +or-1 degree to raise their numbers required for survival both in summer and winter.
Mankind
Thousands of years ago man found honey. Due to the honeybees perilous home positions being high in a cave or high up in a tree, man decided to re-home the honeybee into logs, boxes, skeps and then beehives so as to make it easier to harvest honey. A form of domestication.

Has Man made a difference?………………..NO!
Except for realising a unique space (Langstroth) that honeybees respect, meaning we as beekeepers can inspect our colonies with frames rather than killing off the bees, that were kept in a skep, then held over a sulphur pit to kill the bees just to get the honey. This observation only happened 150 years ago. Queen excluders were also invented.

Are there any other major discoveries?………………..YES!
Eddie Woods (a BBC sound engineer) discovered 60 years ago inside the honeybee nest that vibration levels was measured between 190 hertz and 250 hertz during normal conditions however when swarming this vibration went up to 300 hertz.
Was any scientific work carried out at the time or later?……………….NO!
If it had we could be further along the path of understanding the honeybee better. Beekeeping today is much the same as it was in the beginning except of course the Langstroth frame space, the Bee Dance (Von Frisch) and Queen excluder.
Have Beekeeping books changed?……………………NO!
The amount of knowledge we have gained about the mysterious honeybee, it always seems to be much the same, repetition, but more in depth, more of a scientific language.
Can we still learn from the honeybee?………………..YES!…………….HOW?
Using observation, common sense and logic and asking “What do honeybees really want?”.

Honeybees did not ask to be put into a log, skep, box or beehive.

However, while in our care, we, as beekeepers, should give them and treat them as if they were in a wild state of nature.

Healthy honey bees

We know they want and use vibration.(Woods)
We know they will respect a unique space.(Langstroth)
We know they use electromagnetic north/south in honeycomb building and in flight.
We know with a strong colony, disease and varroa can be kept to a minimum.
We also know with a colony of strength our rewards of honey is greater.

So! What do honeybees really want?………..VIBRATION!


How is this vibration generated and used?
At the moment by the honeybees themselves, they use this to communicate, to ward off predators and to keep their micro existent climate to a perfect temperature of 96 degrees farhrenheit plus or minus 1 degree when rearing brood (young larvae), but is this amount of vibration sufficient? Unfortunately NO!

Can it be found elsewhere?…………YES!………………….Within Planet Earth (NASA)
Planet earth has evolved, so trees, animals, plants, fish, birds and insects has evolved with it and so too, honeybees, evolving with planet earth. Which is why honeybees not only need a high vibration of 250hertz to sustain their micro-environment but actively look for it when swarming.

How could man know this?
You cannot see, feel, touch or sense this low vibration but honeybees can.


Planet earth vibrates an energy constantly at 7.83 hertz (NASA) unless disturbed.

Honeybees use vibration to get their micro-climate between 190 hertz & 250 hertz (Woods).

Honeybees are placed by man in a beehive where man wants it, if the beehive is positioned on 7.83 hertz  (where the bees do  not want it.-editor’s note)

the following will no doubt happen.


Honeybees will now have to work 31.9 times greater to get to their normal vibration levels of between 190 hertz and 250 hertz (Woods) just to stand still.

“I have reason to believe this weakens them, their immune system and defense mechanism then becoming an easy target for any alien predators like Varroa“.
Now, not being able to cope, over-stressed, disorder with eventual collapse, dying or disappearance is inevitable.


However, in many cases, they swarm prematurely leaving behind a weak colony that will inevitably perish! (Poor queen cells resulting in small and weak virgin queens that may or may not get mated and still being overrun with varroa).
Does planet earth vibrate an energy to the higher level of 250htz?…………..YES!


Transmitted upwards through underground rivers and called Geopathic Stress Lines.
These rivers are everywhere around the planet, like, i.e.; blood vessels in our own body. Remember it has taken 4 billion years to get to where we are today.

Everything has evolved together, for a reason, to be where it is and why it is there. The climate, planet earth and logic has dictated that over millions of years.
Where does the higher earth vibration energy come from and how?
Planet earths normal vibration energy of 7.83 hertz gets interrupted by hollow chambers of running water/fluid creating friction allowing oscillation to resonate to become an Electromagnetic Wave Vibration Energy which will increase it up to and above 250 hertz.

Sound familiar? (The same vibration that honeybees require in the nest)

The rivers/lines of fluid are normally very close to each other varies in-depth and only being up to 4 feet wide, like a cobweb, zig zagging their way across the planet at depths of 200 feet or 300 feet creating vibration and rising upwards to the surface and skywards, creating an electromagnetic energy curtain that reaches to about 30,000 feet. (Birds use this curtain to migrate thousands of miles).

There are 14 rivers/lines in my 3 bed detached house and 80 foot garden, so they are not miles apart, but everywhere, in close proximity, around the planet.

What is the connection between the honeybee’s vibration 250 hertz and Earth’s vibration 250 hertz?
We know that honeybees maintain 250 hertz vibration within their nests (Woods).

It is just  a coincidence? Logically, bees are drawn to planet earth 250 hertz vibration energy when they swarm.
Honeybees have “evolved” together with planet earth over millions of years, being drawn to the higher earth vibration energy, which is compatible to their own, giving honeybees less work to do, in getting to their optimum vibration within their micro-existent environment.


Honeybees need this higher vibration energy so they work 31.9 times less.


Then are able to deal with any unwelcome intruders, like the Varroa mite, hence why honeybees are drawn to it in various ways.


Are other species/organisms attracted to the higher vibration?…………..YES!
All Honeybees, Wasps, bumble bees, Ants, Cats, Oak Trees and much, much more are all attracted to and found above earths higher vibration energy. All organism are attracted to or repelled from these lines of high or low energy vibration.

Cats will always sleep on a vibration/energy line.


Are honeybees drawn to Planet Earth higher energy vibration?………….. YES!

Swarms

Yes, every time they swarm. Honeybees always settle above a 250 hertz energy line. This has been checked on every swarm collected, about 30, in the past 3 years. All wasps nest and bumble bee nest have chosen these energy lines when checked.

Bait hives

All bait hives placed above a line attracted a swarm.

Abandoned hives

Whenever I was called out to inspect abandoned hives there was always one beehive above a line. This was the only hive with bees in and thriving. The others had died.

Self – selection

Apiaries were left for 4 years to choose by for self-selection. After this time the only hives that survived, with little or no varroa were above a line, all the others had died.

The ones with little varroa were on metal stands. (Metal, see later). The hives on wooden stands had no varroa

Varroa resistant strain

In my early days of queen rearing, I too thought I varroa resistant strain only to find out every one that showed these qualities was above a line. I could not understand why they were so poor when moved to a new site, having shown perfect qualities when in the original site.(This was before I knew about the lines).

Any beekeeper that thinks he/she has a Varroa resistant strain. I can guarantee will always be above a line.


Feral Colonies

They have not been killed off by Varroa, it was an assumption, not scientific. Beekeepers are to blame by putting hives in the wrong place where they die out with Varroa, so no swarms or feral colonies. The swarms that are successful in becoming feral colonies are still out there surviving. Reduced in numbers, yes, due to beekeepers, but they are always found above a line sometimes two lines crossing. This begs another question of why do they prefer two lines crossing if at all? which I cannot answer. I used science and lab conditions to find out these answers.These feral colonies should never be moved unless insisted upon by the homeowner. They will die if moved or taken, then put in the wrong position by man inevitable overdosed by Varroa. We are killing them thinking we are saving them.

Sheffield University

I was invited by Ricarda Kather to explain my hypothesis, while there I checked their apiary without any prior knowledge not knowing which was the best or worst beehive as all looked identical. These I believe were used for Varroa hygiene. I found the two best beehives that gave the best hygienic results. These were above a line.

Observations.

Hygienic behaviour

My apiaries have not changed during my beekeeping so observations have been made pre-lines, for queen rearing selection. During all these years Cleanliness, Varroa Resistance, Hygiene and Grooming have always been noticed to be far better than others within the same apiary not realising they were on a line.

Honeybees can deal with Varroa when above a line.

Honey yield

When above a GS line the honey yield is always 2 or 3 times greater.

Queens

These colonies have tended to supersede and not swarm. Clearly they are in the right place so why swarm unless congested?

This does beg the question

“Is swarming induced by man?” being put in the wrong place by man.

How long have honeybees been trying to tell us by swarming that we don’t like it here but would like to be over there where we settle?
Case studies that will cost you nothing.

Case study 1 (within the same apiary)
Take 2 hives of similar size and queen (“A/B“), both infected with Varroa, place “A” above a line, place “B” away from the line.
Hive A; within 6 to 8 weeks this hive will have very little Varroa or none at all and thriving requiring supers.
Hive B; after 6 to 8 weeks will still be heavily infected with Varroa and much weaker.
Next season reverse these same two hives (if B is still alive) You will observe B becomes Varroa free and A is infected with Varroa.

If you can use 2 apiaries within the same year, but far enough apart, the above exchange can be done after 3 months.

Case study 2 (within the same apiary)

Take 2 hives of similar size and queen (“C/D”), both infested with Varroa, place “C” above a line, place “D” away from the line.
Hive C; within 6 to 8 weeks this hive will have very little or no Varroa (above as A).
Hive D will be as B, heavily infected with Varroa.
After 3 months change over the queens from C and D, becoming CD and DC. CD; You would imagine CD would improve D to be Varroa free, not so, it carries on being infected with Varroa. DC; Is still Varroa free.“I have used these case studies on countless occasions, with many infected hives, and the results always being the same”
Conclusion for both case studies……….
It is not strain or queen quality but the positioning of the beehive,  over an electromagnetic Geopathic Stress Line that vibrates energy at 250 hertz.

Electromagnetic Geopathic Stress Lines once found can be verified by using a simple compass, it will show a few degrees disparity from normal.

Metal negatively affect bees

Metal structures under the beehive seem to influence these energy vibrations so it is not advisable to use metal stands or put beehives above a metal structure such as a metal structure building. Metal above the nest appears okay.

I have been asked what about the metal Varroa screens below the hive, will that effect it? 

No! You will now not need it, because you wont have Varroa!

Another question. Is it the honeybees dealing with Varroa or Varroa not liking the higher vibration?

Phase two:
“This is where I need a Large Company (with an interest in Keeping Honeybees Alive or Organic Honey), University or Chemical Company for funding to help with Scientific Acclamation, Manufacturing a hand-held device, deal with media and promotions etc“.

There will always be questions, especially to a way forward. I have the answer for that to! This is just one very important question answered to stop honeybees dying.


A HOLISTIC Way in Saving The “Honeybee”

(IBRA)VARROA-STILL A PROBLEM IN THE 21ST CENTURY?

NOT FOR ME OR OTHERS THAT ARE USING MY HYPOTHESIS! (Harding)


However, that is until it is scientifically proved then IBRA may or may not sanction my hypothesis, you will have to draw on your own conclusions. 

I invite modern research to confirm my hypothesis.


John Harding

(I am not a writer or scientist, just a passionate beekeeper that does not want his bees to die!)


Copyright John Harding 2009/10/11


If you feel the need to contact me then please do.

harding@clavies.freeserve.co.uk

07974121472 or 01384423557 (Stourbridge, West Mids).

Reprinted with permission from the author.

Resources

Images 1 & 2 courtesy of Nature’s Crusaders library

Image 3  courtesy of  thegreenparent.com  http://goo.gl/LWbhJ

For more info

“Saving the honey bee from extinction”


Seems there are many projects in motion worldwide to try to save the honey bee from demise.

Many factors have caused this imbalance in one of Mother Nature’s finest worker urbanization, pesticides and chemicals of all kinds, the EMFs from power lines, cell phones and their obnoxious cell towers, GM plants and chemical infested modern agriculture, poor quality food for many commercialized stocks of bees and trucking the hives long distances to pollinated field of polluted crops without a rest between seasons.

Now many are trying to help this bee-leagured population recover. The latest extreme measure is to forget about recovery and living mre harmoniously and just engineer a super beeimmune to mites and pesty  diseases. I can see it now the super godzilla of a bee from the north now meets the Africanized bee from Africa and the offspring will off the world.

bees, bee breeding, parasitic mites, bee population, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, cold resistant bees

Over the last five years the world’s honey bee population has been steadily dwindling, with many beekeepers citing 2010 as the worst year yet. In order to save these extremely important insects, scientists are working on breeding a new super honey bee that they hope will be resistant to cold, disease, mites and pesticides. If all goes well, the new and improved insect will continue to pollinate our crops for years to come.

On the other extreme with a the gentler approach, is Michael Leung and HK Honey from Hong Kong whose approach is refreshing and Zen like. Check out the video.

Excerpt and Super honey bee photo courtesy of  inhabitat.com

“Going to Mars? Don’t forget to pack your house flies.”


Putting the Common Housefly onto the dinner plate

Bring housefly food to store near you.

Going to Mars? Don’t forget to pack your house flies.

Growing and harvesting house fly larvae for human nutrition is a ways off, but Musca domestica the common house fly will be grown and made into human food for the long flights to Mars. Until then, this insect larvae hold real promise in taking the pressure off of the traditional animal based nutrient resources and wild populations on Earth. The firm’s insectary grow beds commonly yield seventy pounds of clean larvae per square foot per year. A variety of organic materials and agriculture wastes can be used as grow medium.

Applications for insect food tech could include:

cleaning for poultry barns. fecal wastes of the insects themselves have application as fertilizer. food products for avian and aquatic use in private and public animal collections. nerve and optical studies, water absorption in farmed fish pollination. fine oils and cosmetics. wildlife rehabilitation for insect based diets or supplements, cage bird propagation, wild bird food and, most recently, all natural (not organic) poultry boosters, mimicking free range diet, to enhance egg production and quality.

Products have been made from live, dehydrated and frozen larvae and pupae either whole, ground, pelleted or liquefied.

How tasty are these fly based foods? Early research suggests that human will eat it and it is palatable. Only used in novelty foods today, tomorrow house fly larvae may come in many forms to stores near you. Research began in Oregon in 1975 to farming of Musca domestica, the common housefly.

Fly Farm Systems has a patent pending on the techniques and apparatus of its proprietary insect husbandry system.

The firm is seeking to license partners for application world wide.

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/m4pb7Q

Image courtesy of   http://bit.ly/mINjDg

“Toads come on it’s spring!”


Spring has sprung across most of the USA  now and flowers are everywhere. My roses abound after the freeze gave them a rest this winter in the Tucson desert. So much beauty and so little time in the desert to enjoy spring.

Time to invite those frogs and toads to the party of insects beginning to emerge in and around your garden. In Tucson generally we see lots of Colorado river toad around monsoon time in the summer, but where it is cooler frogs and toads will be heard croaking through the spring and  summer into the fall.

Happy spring everyone. Remember to plant those flowers that the pollinators love to visit like the herbs, flowers, and flowering trees and bushes.

Gardening with the family helps the whole family and the planet.

Video courtesy of  youtube.com and  Cindy Hoffman of Defenders of Wildlife

Toads just love to eat plant-destroying insects, making them a great addition for any garden. In this video, Defenders’ Cindy Hoffman demonstrates how to attract these amazing amphibians to YOUR backyard.

Image courtesy of   http://bit.ly/gZJxPP

“Brazil enviro What’s the beef ?”


Brazil issues $1.2 bln in fines on beef companies
Brazilian authorities announced Thursday they are seeking $1.2 billion in fines against 14 companies accused of buying beef from farms exploiting illegally deforested areas or slave labor in the Amazon.

Federal prosecutor Anselmo Henrique Cordeiro Lopes told AFP that he gathered evidence for more than a year and tried unsuccessfully to get companies to sign a deal banning the practices.

Among the accused was JBS Friboi, the world’s largest beef exporter, which told AFP that the complaint was “a surprise” because it was in advanced stages of negotiations with prosecutors on an agreement.

The farms are located in the Amazon state of Acre. Brazil is one of the world’s largest beef producers, but it is estimated that that livestock has caused 80 percent of deforestation in the Amazon in recent years.

The complaint also named Brazil’s Institute for the Environment, which was accused of failing to supervise the companies.

Prosecutors are seeking $625 million in fines and the same amount in compensation for environmental damage, according to Cordeiro Lopes.

JBS Friboi and three other large meat producers had signed a pledge in 2009 banning the purchase of cattle from certain deforested areas in Amazonian states.

It’s not the first time prosecutors have cracked down in illegal farming practices.

In 2010, Brazil fined Lima Araujo Agropecuaria $2.9 million for keeping 180 of its workers in slavery on two of its properties.

Among the 180 enslaved workers freed from the two ranches in the northern state of Para were nine adolescents and a child of 14 years, officials had said.

Article courtesy of  http://bit.ly/ePPc7F

“Finally world food shortage- time to grow local”


They tried to stamp out locally grown grown veggies and fruits for two decades. Now the about face time is here. Due to rising prices of gas, transportation and global warming’s effect of crops going and growing local is necessary.

The Worldwatch Institute’s recently released report, State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, shows that diversifying food production by including local and indigenous vegetables can boost communities self-sufficiency and protect vulnerable populations from price shocks.  GO LOCAL!!

“The solutions to the price crisis won’t necessarily come from producing more food, but from listening to farmers, investing in indigenous vegetables, and changing how foods are processed and marketed,” said Danielle Nierenberg, co-director of Worldwatch’s Nourishing the Planet project.

Over a 15-month period, researchers with Nourishing the Planet traveled to 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa highlighting stories of hope and success in agriculture.

The project’s on-the-ground research unearthed hundreds of environmentally sustainable solutions for reducing hunger and poverty. “The project aims to create a roadmap for the funding and donor community to ensure that agricultural funding is directed to projects that really work,” said Brian Halweil, Nourishing the Planet co-director.

Mainstream generally GMO agricultural tends to focus on a handful of staple crops,

such as rice, wheat, and maize as mono crops, and uses expensive, high-tech inputs,

creating an unsustainable and vulnerable food system.

 

Last year’s drought in Russia that damaged a third of the country’s wheat harvest, together with widespread flooding in Pakistan and Australia, caused price shocks around the world.

Skyrocketing food prices are especially destabilizing in poor, import-dependent countries such as those in Africa, where households spend up to 80 percent of their income on food. In Egypt, the world’s leading wheat importer, a 70 percent rise in wheat prices helped trigger the recent wave of protests that swept the country. Subsequent unrest across the region is raising fears about global instability.

Investing in agricultural development, especially indigenous vegetable crops, could help feed economically challenged communities worldwide, boosting their resilience to price shocks while helping farmers protect biodiversity and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

“There is no other single sector of the global economy that is so central to meeting the needs of the nearly 7 billion people on the planet, while also protecting the health of the environment,” said Worldwatch President Christopher Flavin.

Food security is not only about the quantity of food we eat, but also about the quality and diversity of food sources. In contrast to the staple grains that receive disproportionate attention from development aid, vegetables can offer a sustainable solution for a diverse and balanced diet.

Growing vegetables can help address the “hidden hunger” of micronutrient deficiencies that affects some 1 billion people worldwide, and also brings multiple benefits for farmers.”Vegetables have shorter cycles, are faster-growing than cereal crops, and require little space,” says Abdou Tenkouano, director of AVRDC-The World Vegetable Center’s Regional Center for Africa and State of the World 2011 contributing author.

The small-scale “revolution of greens” that is currently underway in Africa deserves greater attention from the global funding and donor communities. Researchers, nongovernmental organizations, and farmers across the continent are rediscovering traditional diets, improving the availability of nutritious indigenous vegetables (such as moringa and lablab), and reigniting interest in traditional vegetable dishes.

Nourishing the Planet’s on-the-ground research offers three major policy recommendations to boost worldwide interest in and availability of indigenous vegetable varieties:

Listen to farmers. Organizations like AVRDC and the International Development Research Centre hold periodic workshops and field days, bringing together farmers, consumers, businesses, and communities to identify varieties of onion, tomato, eggplant, and okra that grow the best, taste the best, and perform best at local markets. This helps researchers develop more nutritious and locally adapted varieties that enhance and complement specific food preparations.

Get seeds to farmers. The seeds of preferred vegetable varieties are being made more widely available in Africa and elsewhere. Better seeds mean more vitamins in the food, better-tasting food, and ultimately less hunger and malnutrition. After scientists at AVRDC developed two higher-yielding tomato varieties with thicker skins-making them less vulnerable to pests and damage-farmers growing these varieties raised their incomes by 40 percent.

Take advantage of what’s local. As the impacts of climate change become more evident, indigenous vegetables that have been neglected for decades are regaining attention because of their tolerance to drought and resistance to pests. Researchers have developed improved varieties of amaranth, African eggplant, African nightshade, and cowpea that are now widely available in many parts of Africa.

In Uganda, Project DISC (Developing Innovations in School Cultivation), supported by Slow Food International, is reigniting an interest in these foods by teaching students how to grow and cook indigenous vegetables.

Article provided by   http://bit.ly/dKtHFt

Image courtesy of  http://bit.ly/gNroWM

“Rx for Restoring a wildflower meadow”


Breeding skylarks have already returned to the 24-acre grassland and it is hoped that more animals will join them soon.

In the UK, Skylark numbers have declined over the last 30 years, as determined by the Common Bird Census started in the early 1960s by The British Trust for Ornithology. There are now only 10% of the numbers that were present 30 years ago. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) have shown that this massive decline is mainly due to changes in farming practices and only partly due to pesticides.

In the past cereals were planted in the spring, grown through the summer and harvested in the early autumn. Cereals are now planted in the autumn, grown through the winter and are harvested in the early summer. The winter grown fields are much too dense in summer for the Skylark to be able to walk and run between the wheat stems to find its food.

English farmers are now encouraged and paid to maintain and create biodiversity for improving the habitat for Skylarks. Natural England’s Environmental Stewardship Scheme offers 5 and 10 year grants for various beneficial options.

For example there is an option where the farmer can opt to grow a spring cereal instead of a winter one, and leave the stubble untreated with pesticide over the winter. The British Trust for Ornithology likens the stubbles to ‘giant bird tables’ – providing spilt grain and weed seed to foraging birds.

The RSPB’s research, over a six year period, of winter-planted wheat fields has shown that suitable nesting areas for Skylarks can be made by turning the seeding machine off (or lifting the drill) for a 5 to 10 meters stretch as the tractor goes over the ground to briefly stop the seeds being sown. This is repeated in several areas within the same field to make about two skylark plots per hectare. Subsequent spraying and fertilizing can be continuous over the entire field.

Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) suggests that Skylark plots should not be nearer than 24 m to the perimeter of the field, should not be near to telegraph poles, and should not be enclosed by trees.

When the crop grows, the Skylark plots (areas without crop seeds) become areas of low vegetation where Skylarks can easily hunt insects, and can build their well camouflaged ground nests. These areas of low vegetation are just right for Skylarks, but the wheat in the rest of the field becomes too closely packed and too tall for the bird to seek food. At the RSPB’s research farm in Cambridgeshire Skylark numbers have increased threefold (from 10 pairs to 30 pairs) over six years. Fields where Skylarks were seen the year before (or near by) would be obvious good sites for Skylark plots. Farmers have reported that skylark plots are easy to make and the RSPB hope that this simple effective technique can be copied nationwide.

Wild flower meadows across the country are being lost due to development, intensive agriculture and forestry.

Bill Quay Community Farm to the rescue

Hebridean sheep and Longhorn cattle from Bill Quay Community Farm have been used to help bring back life to the meadow at Wardley, Gateshead.
Livestock grazing allows wild flowers to prosper benefitting insects and other animals.
It’s not just the animals that are helped by the improvements though.
There are new footpaths and hedgerows in the meadow and hundreds of yards of old derelict post and wire fencing have been removed.
The improvements to the Wardley meadow by the restoration of flower rich grasslands play a part in the Durham Biodiversity Action Plan which exists to help threatened species and habitats.
Gateshead Council cabinet member for the environment, councillor Martin Gannon said: “It is always sad to see natural habitats destroyed and it is estimated that a staggering 95% of this country’s flower-rich meadows have been lost since the 1930s.
It is brilliant news that skylarks and animals can once again be seen and heard  over  and on the meadow at Wardley.

It is hoped the plans will ease the pressure on threatened species.

“big smile and thanks” – Mother Nature
Resources

Excerpts and Image 1. http://bit.ly/eBwBrk

Excerpts and Image 2. http://bbc.in/hneHGT

“Big defense = less growth”


A plant has a hard life
Often  attacked by a gobs of insects, birds and mammals. They have to develop an effective defense – spines, thorns, prickly leaf hairs or an arsenal of toxic chemical substances to fits the occasion.  A plant has to do what a plant has to do to make it in a cruel world.

What cost does the plant pay for having to put its energy into elaborate defense mechanisms?

Ecologists and plant biologists of the University of Zurich together with their American colleagues have now found out the price plants must pay for defending themselves.

Researchers used mutants of the same genotype of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and harvested a group of these plants at regular intervals to measure the amount of growth over the  plant’s life.

“Mutants with suppressed defense mechanisms showed an increased growth rate, but the faster growth the faster the aphids population reproduced. On the slow growing plants with intact defense mechanisms the  aphid population grow normally.

Natural resistance is often not compatible with fast growth. This finding is of great importance for agricultural crops: These crops have been selected for high yield and as a consequence have very low natural resistance to herbivores, consequentially requiring high input of insecticides.

“Growing crops more naturally is more conducive to healthier pest resistant plants and nutritious crops.” – Mother Nature

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/ihjtsP

Image courtesy of   http://bit.ly/gzAmQN

« Older entries