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[en] With global climate change, water availability will be a problem for agriculture and food production. Agriculture production consumes more than 70 percent of the world’s water resources, mainly for irrigation. With water use efficiency less than 50%, the challenge is to ensure adequate agricultural production while achieving maximum efficiency of irrigation water use. Climate-smart irrigation practices, including effective soil moisture monitoring, can help to meet this challenge and ensure longer water availability when drought is hitting the farmlands.
[en] With the year ending, we take this opportunity to reflect on the achievements and activities of the Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition (SWMCN) Subprogramme carried out in 2020 and highlight activities planned for 2021. The SWMCN Laboratory in Seibersdorf has recently moved into the new, modern Yukiya Amano Laboratories (YAL), which also hosts the Animal Production and Health, Food and Environmental Protection laboratories. You can read more on this in the Announcement section. The work of the SWMCN Laboratory continues in the laboratory, glasshouse and in the field. Many interesting activities are reported in this issue of the newsletter below. On the work on nuclear emergency affecting food and agriculture and remediation of radioactive contamination in agriculture, a new development has been made on the online decision support system DSS4NAFA, i.e. when coupled with external modelling tools, it can help with the specific decision of where/when/how to remediate, based on expert judgements and multiple stakeholders’ preferences (e.g. decision makers, farmers). In terms of remediation, some progress was also made on using midinfrared spectroscopy-based soil property prediction in combination with artificial intelligence methods. Similarly, further progress was made on the use of zeolite amendments and potassium addition for remediating radioactive contamination in agriculture. Studies carried out in the Laboratory showed that it is possible to combine the cosmic ray neutron sensing (CRNS) data with satellite imagery to provide a high resolution soil moisture map. This was tested for both temperate and semi-arid environments. In addition, a new nuclear technology, Gamma Ray Spectrometer (GRS) was also being tested for soil moisture monitoring. The GRS has a smaller footprint of about 25 m radius, is lighter and can be mounted on a drone, facilitating suitability for small scale irrigation schemes. Two studies carried out this year by the Laboratory relating to greenhouse gas emission were on the influence of different nitrogen process inhibitors on crop production and the influence of biochar on nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide emissions from vermicompost. The Laboratory was able to conduct one in-person training course, which was FAO-funded, on mathematical processing of Mid-Infrared Spectral datasets. The training was successfully held in the Seibersdorf YAL and attended by staff from all FAO/IAEA Laboratories in Seibersdorf. We are grateful to FAO in Rome HQ for having funded this annual training event. In the meantime, the Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI) project on ‘Enhancing climate change adaptation and disease resilience in banana-coffee cropping systems in East Africa’ (started in 2019) has been extended for three years, during which two additional PhD studies will focus on coffee. PhD work will be on drought stress - to build on results already obtained - as well as coffee diseases. Both drought and diseases are predicted to become major issues in the East African region in light of climate change. This PUI project, funded by the Belgian Government, continues to address the urgent need for an improved resilience towards climate change and contributes to creating food security in a changing world. I would like to inform readers who are analysing 15N and 13C isotopic abundance in plant materials that the SWMCN Laboratory provides free External Quality Assurance Proficiency Test. Please get in contact with us if you would like to join this annual proficiency test. This issue’s feature article came from Gabriele Baroni, our CRP D1.20.14 counterpart. The work on ‘Boosting cosmic ray neutron sensing (CRNS) method for soil moisture estimation by means of new detectors and interdisciplinary collaborations’ provides a historical account of cosmic ray neutron sensing (CRNS) plus the need for new alternative detectors. The SWMCN will be involved through the Laboratory in field testing and through CRP D1.20.14. Five Research Coordination Meetings (RCMs) are scheduled for 2021. Two of them, which were postponed from 2020, will be held virtually: 1st RCM of the new CRP D1.50.20 ‘Developing Climate Smart Agricultural Practices for Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases’ and 2nd RCM of D1.50.18 ‘Multiple Isotope Fingerprints to Identify Sources and Transport of Agro-Contaminants’. The other three RCMs for CRPs D1.20.14, D1.50.17 and D1.50.19 are scheduled for later in 2021. All professional staff continued implementing new and ongoing TC projects. With travel not possible, all meetings, training and discussions were organized virtually to ensure timely implementation of activities. Despite all the restrictions, more success stories were published in the last six months, including one story to celebrate World Soil Day on 5 December. During 2020, the Subprogramme continued to be very active in its publication activities; this includes the Springer open access book on ‘Measuring Emission of Agricultural Greenhouse Gases and Developing Mitigation Options using Nuclear and Related Techniques’ and a number of publications on sampling, analysis and modelling technologies for large scale nuclear emergencies affecting food and agriculture in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity. I would like to make a preliminary announcement that our decennial event, the FAO/IAEA International Symposium, will be held in July 2022, in Vienna, Austria, focusing on land and water management for climate smart agriculture. It will be held a week before the World Congress of Soil Science, in Glasgow, UK. More information will follow in the next newsletter.
[en] Wastewater management is one of the biggest challenges in the world due to increase in population and industrialization. In Faisalabad (FSD), wastewater treatment is being done through Wastewater Stabilization Ponds (WSPs) at Chokera, which is one of the most economical methods of Wastewater Treatment (WWT). Various parameters were examined to check wastewater treatment efficiency of the ponds under diverse climatic conditions. These included Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), pH, Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Turbidity, Copper, Total Solids (TS), Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and Lead. Six locations which were selected for monitoring treatment efficiency, included inlet and outlet of treatment plant, influent of anaerobic ponds, effluent of anaerobic ponds, effluent of facultative ponds, and Pharang drain before and after blending with treated sewage. The testing was performed in two seasons (i.e. Winter 2015 and Summer 2016) in Environmental Engineering Laboratory, Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Lahore, Pakistan. BOD5 removal efficiency of the treatment plant was found 30.08% in winter and 51.74% in summer against designed value of 90% removal. Most of the parameters of the effluent were not meeting the Punjab Environmental Quality Standards (PEQS). The reasons of low efficiency are; variation in climatic conditions (i.e. less solar heat intensity, wind speed and ceased microbial activity in winter), lack of funds by government, increased population, mixing of industrial sewage with domestic sewage and less attention being paid to maintain the performance of Ponds. The study was carried out to assess and compare the efficiency of treatment plant with PEQS in two climatic conditions. (author)
[en] After the statement of several propositions and recommendations, this report states and discusses the option of the CESE on the content of the bill project related to the struggle against climate change. It addresses different issues which correspond to different chapters of this bill project: mobility (alternatives to individual vehicles and cleaner vehicles, optimization of goods road transport, better organisation of mobility, limitation of emissions by air transport and development of train-plane inter-modality), housing (building renovation, decrease of energy consumption, struggle against artificialization of soils, protection of ecosystems), food (support to a healthy, sustainable and low-emitting food), consumption (information and education, advertising regulation, development of bulk selling and of returnable glass), production and work (economy greening, adaptation of work to ecological transition, protection of biodiversity and ecosystems, renewable energies for all and by all). Some transverse recommendations are also stated regarding the funding of climate policies, the general design of policies and of governance, and the arrangement for objective follow-up and correction of noticed deviations.
[fr]Le CESE, saisi par le Premier ministre, a examine le projet de loi portant lutte contre le dereglement climatique et renforcement de la resilience face a ses effets. Cette loi doit permettre d'atteindre les objectifs fixes au niveau national et international, dans un esprit de justice sociale. Le CESE s'est prononce a plusieurs reprises sur la politique climatique et a constate que la France ne se situe pas sur les trajectoires prevues par sa Strategie nationale bas-carbone. Ce projet de loi ne parait pas en mesure de redresser la situation climatique et de prendre en compte les inegalites sociales. Alors qu'il faudrait tripler le rythme annuel de reduction des emissions et les diviser par six d'ici 2050, les mesures apparaissent souvent limitees, differees ou soumises a des conditions telles que leur mise en oeuvre a terme rapproche est incertaine. Les rares estimations d'impact fournies font apparaitre leur insuffisance. Le CESE assortit ses analyses de preconisations pour progresser.
[en] Water resources managers and policy-makers need reliable projections of hydro-climatic conditions to develop sound water management policies. Global Climate Models (GCMs) are the primary basis for projecting how the climate may change over the coming decades. However, GCMs have low spatial resolution and inherent biases that limit their direct utility for understanding localized climate change impacts. These limitations are particularly pronounced in mountainous areas, where the terrain exhibits variations at scales much finer than the GCM grid spacing. The main goal of this study is to downscale precipitation and mean temperature simulations from an ensemble of 10 GCMs that participated in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase-5 (CMIP5) under two Representative Concentration Pathways – RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. The simulations were bias corrected using quantile mapping and downscaled to a 30 arc second spatial resolution (approximately 1 km) through using the delta method over the Indus River Basin and Pakistan for 2040-2070. The GCM processing was carried out using the Global Climate Data (GCD) package. The results show that for all seasons and most of the Indus River Basin (IRB) and Pakistan, future precipitation will be highly uncertain except UIB wherein mean annual precipitation is projected to increase by 8% under RCP 4.5 and 14% under RCP 8.5. However, the models are highly confident about increase in the temperature for this region. Relative to the baseline period (1960-1990), the annual mean temperature in the IRB is projected to increase by 2°Cunder RCP 4.5 and 2.6°C under RCP 8.5 for 2040-2070. (author)
[en] This publication presents the results of two surveys performed among a representative sample of French people, and among a representative sample of people living at the vicinity of wind farms. These surveys addressed various issues: global warming and energy transition (concern, perception of challenges, confidence in the different energies), and the perception of wind energy (image of the wind energy, perception of different possible benefits, compared perception of a solar array field, a wind farm and a nuclear site). A focus on neighbours of wind turbines is proposed: general feeling, influence of the length of stay.
[fr]La 'Loi de transition energetique pour la croissance verte' promulguee le 18 aout 2015 instaure des objectifs precis a atteindre pour la France: reduire les emissions de gaz a effet de serre de 40% entre 1990 et 2030, mais aussi porter la part des energies renouvelables dans la consommation finale brute d'energie a 23% en 2020 et 32% en 2030. Dans ce contexte, France energie eolienne a sollicite Harris Interactive une premiere fois il y a deux ans afin d'interroger les Francais sur l'image de l'energie eolienne et sur sa place au coeur de ce processus de transition energetique. Cette enquete vise a faire un premier point d'avancement, deux ans apres: comment l'image de l'energie eolienne a-t-elle evolue, aupres du grand public mais aussi des riverains? Ce sujet etant susceptible de toucher le quotidien de certains Francais, comment est percue l'installation d'une eolienne sur le territoire de vie et quelles evolutions percoit-on ces dernieres annees? Quels avantages sont identifies et eventuellement quelles sont limites evoquees par le grand public mais egalement par les riverains d'eoliennes?
[en] This parliamentary report first recalls the objectives of the French energy policy as they are defined in a decree related to a preliminary dialogue for the PPE and the low-carbon strategy, in terms of mandatory energy savings, and regarding the carbon budget specific to the international transport and the French carbon print. Then, it discusses measures which have been already applied, are about to be applied or foreseen in favour of climate, and notably regarding the shutting down of coal-fired plants, to housing energy performance. The next parts present and comment legal and regulatory measures related to environmental assessment, to the struggle against the fraud on energy saving certificates, to the adaptation of the law to the case of overseas territories, to energy regulation, and to gas and electric power sales regulated prices.
[en] Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, several planned training missions to the Himalayan and Andes region on the use of cosmic-ray neutron sensor technology were changed to a novel online teaching format, as part of the interregional project INT5156 on Building Capacity and Generating Evidence for Climate Change Impacts on Soil, Sediments and Water Resources in Mountainous Regions. In total 15 scientists from Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Ecuador participated on 17-19 August 2020, and 25 scientists from China, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan participated on 13-15 October 2020. They learned how to install, calibrate and use the innovative cosmic-ray neutron sensor technology for better managing water resources in highlands.
[en] High night temperature periods have reduced rice crop yields in recent years in Colombia. One of the strategies used to address this situation has been selecting tolerant genotypes and identifying physiological variables that serve as selection criteria in breeding programs. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of two-night temperatures (24°C vs. 30°C) on the physiological and agronomic performance of seven rice genotypes (Fedearroz 50 (F50), Fedearroz 60 (F60), IR 1561, FLO 2764, LV447-1, CT19021 and LV1401). At milk growth stage, a group of six plants of each genotype was placed in a growth chamber between 18:00 and 24:00 h at 30°C for a period of eight days (stressed plants). Meanwhile, another group of rice plants sorted by genetic material was kept under normal growth conditions (24°C) in a shade house (Control Plants). Results showed that rice genotype F50 plants showed a lower rate of spikelet fertility compared to the other genotypes studied at 30°C (p≤0.05). Leaf photosynthetic pigments and chlorophyll α fluorescence parameters (Y(II), Y(NPQ), Y(NO) and Fv/Fm ratio) showed no differences between night temperatures; however, significance differences were found among genotypes. The above results suggest that Y(II), Y(NPQ), Y(NO) and Fv/Fm in rice plants at advanced phenological stages (milk stage) are not an effective tool to quantify the physiological behavior of rice genotypes under a high night temperature condition. (author)
[en] Ascorbic acid oxidase (AAO) is a member of the multi-copper oxidase family and plays an important role in plant growth and development. The functional characteristics and expression patterns of the AAO gene family were analyzed using the maize (Zea mays L.) B73 genomic mRNA and amino acid database. Bioinformatics analysis of the whole genome AAO gene of maize had identified 36 AAO gene members, and predictive analysis was performed on the chromosomal location, the mode and time of gene differentiation, protein physicochemical properties and secondary structure, gene structure, conserved elements, phylogenetic tree and expression patterns of these genes. The results showed that 36 ZmAAO were unevenly distributed on 10 chromosomes. The genes differentiation was dominated by fragment replication, and the differentiation time was about 3.3-25.75 million years. ZmAAO proteins were mostly basic proteins. The protein secondary structure is mainly composed of irregular curls. The analysis of gene structure and conserved motifs showed that there was no significant difference in the number of introns in ZmAAO genes, and the amino acid sequence was highly conserved. The phylogenetic trees can be divided into 4 subfamilies, in which maize, rice and sorghum has a large number of orthologous genes and close genetic relationships. The expression pattern analysis found that the expression level of ZmAAO was different in different tissues, which indicates that it functions differently. After high temperature stress, the expression level of ZmAAO gene was significantly different in different tissues, indicating that some ZmAAO genes respond to high temperature stress. These results provide a theoretical basis for studying the biological function of this gene family and breeding high temperature resistant varieties in the future. (author)