The USDA Should Lead Greening Research,
but it is doing nothing.
As we keep asking:
1. How much has the increase in carbon dioxide levels contributed
to feeding the world so far?
2. What is it likely to contribute in future?
3. How much of this benefit will be lost if the carbon dioxide
increase is slowed or halted?
The entire focus of the USGCRP budget is on the downside of carbon
dioxide increase. The upside, greening, and the risk of loosing
this possibly enormous benefit, is being ignored by the Department
of Agriculture. As a result the policy community is almost completely
ignorant of the issue. The USDA should have the lead for this
research, but it is doing nothing.
Here is the Department of Agriculture
Areas of Global Change Research. Research sponsored by USDA focuses
on understanding terrestrial systems and the effects of global
change (including water balance, atmospheric deposition, vegetative
quality, and UV-B radiation) on food and fiber production in
agricultural, forest, and range ecosystems. It includes research
on interactions between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere;
the contributions of agricultural sources of methyl bromide to
stratospheric ozone depletion, and possible alternatives and
substitutes for this fumigant; methane generation and nitrous
oxide release; soil properties, including moisture, erosion,
organic matter, nutrient fluxes, and microbes; relationship of
global change to forest and range fires, insects, and plant pathogens;
agricultural management systems; and validation of satellite
1999 Programs are described for the following USDA Services:
ARS Agricultural Research Service
CREES Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service
ERS Economic Research Service
FS Forest Service
NRCS Natural Resources Conservation Service
ARS Program Highlights. The goals of the ARS global change research
program are to document and mitigate impacts of global change
on agricultural and range land ecosystems, to assess agriculture's
role as a contributor to the causes of global change, and to
provide policy makers and agricultural producers with sound scientific
information upon which to base their decisions. In FY99, the
research will continue to focus on four broad areas: 1) Experimental
determinations of the direct effects of rising atmospheric CO2
levels, increasing temperatures, and their interaction with the
physiology and performance of crop plants and with ecosystem
processes that control productivity of grazing lands; 2) carbon
and nitrogen cycling and fluxes between the terrestrial surface
and the atmosphere, including sequestration of carbon in soils
and vegetation; 3) changes in hydrological processes associated
with climate change that may impact water quality, efficiency
of use by crops, and availability for industry, urban use, and
irrigated agriculture; and 4) the development of a suite of simulation
models with required inputs for predicting responses of crops,
watersheds, and managed ecosystems to global change.
CSREES is responsible for administration of USDA extramural research
in partnership with the Land Grant University System. A major
component of the Agency's FY99 global change research is continued
development of a UV-B Monitoring Network. The purpose of the
network is to provide USDA and the agricultural community with
information necessary to determine whether changing levels of
UV-B have an effect on food and fiber production in the United
States. CSREES's National Research Initiative Competitive Grants
(NRICG) program also supports fundamental and mission-linked
research, which is designed to increase our understanding of
the possible impacts of global environmental change on the sustainability
of agriculture and forestry. Research projects are supported
that will reduce uncertainty regarding the effects of possible
changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, rising CO2
levels, and altered radiation (including UV-B) on crop productivity,
natural resources, hydrological processes, and water availability.
The NRICG solicits global change research in four programs: 1)
Plant Responses to the Environment; 2) Forest/Range/Crop/Aquatic
Ecosystems; 3) Soils and Soil Biology; and 4) NSF/DOE/NASA/USDA/EPA
Joint Program on Terrestrial Ecology and Global Change (TECO).
In FY99, ERS will continue efforts to improve understanding of
the economics of global change and agriculture. Global modeling
and analysis will focus on agricultural links to biodiversity,
land-use change, and the ability to satisfy increased demands
for agricultural goods and services while minimizing damage to
the world's natural resources. Farm-level analysis will focus
on the role of learning in adaptation.
Forest Service global change research seeks to establish a sound
scientific basis for making regional, national, and international
resource management and policy decisions in the context of global
change issues. Studies are currently being conducted to determine
how atmospheric changes and potential climatic change may affect
forest productivity, forest health, and species distributions.
Ecosystem-scale experiments involving increased CO2 and other
environmental factors have begun at several sites representing
major U.S. forest types. As the uncertainty in model predictions
is reduced, analysts may begin to describe likely socioeconomic
effects of global change on forests in the various regions of
the United States. For example, the Mapped Atmosphere-Plant-Soil
System simulates ecosystem distribution and function under current
and potential future climates. Forests in the coterminous United
States could experience partial decline or massive dieback over
as much as 40-85% of their distribution. The Forest Health Monitoring
Program aids global change research by establishing a long-term
set of information describing changes and trends in forest ecosystems,
helping scientists detect the effects of global change and other
factors over time.
NRCS provides technical and financial assistance in conjunction
with conservation partners to managers of privately owned lands
for the conservation and wise use of natural resources. In the
context of global change, impacts affecting nutrient cycling,
animal waste management, air quality, hydric soil environments,
soil carbon sequestration and dynamics, and the extent and role
of permafrost affected soils are studied as part of terrestrial
Related Research. In addition to focused USGCRP research, the
USDA sponsors significant research contributing to the assessment
of global change effects on the agricultural food and fiber production
systems and the forest and forest ecosystems of the U.S. and
worldwide. Programs include long-term studies addressing the
structure, function, and management of forest and grassland ecosystems;
research in applied sciences, including soils, climate, food
and fiber crops, pest management, forest fish and wildlife, and
social sciences; implementation of ecosystem management on the
national forests and grasslands; and human interaction with natural
Mapping of Budget Request to Appropriations Legislation. In the
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration,
and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, USGCRP activities are
funded under Title I-Agricultural Programs, within the Agricultural
Research Service (ARS), Cooperative State Research, Education,
and Extension Service (CSREES) Research and Education Activities,
and Economic Research Service (ERS) accounts; and under Title
II- Conservation Programs, within the Natural Resources Conservation
Service (NRCS) Conservation Operations account. In the Interior
and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, USDA USGCRP activities
are funded in the USDA Forest Service (FS) section under Title
II-Related Agencies, within the FS Forest Research account.
Table of Contents
-- The Miracle of Food.
Introduction to the Greening Theory.
The Green Revolution: feeding
the global population.
Technology and the Green Revolution.
Government Policy Toward Carbon Dioxide:
why is it negative?
A Huge Hole in the Climate Change
The USDA Should Lead Greening Research, but it is doing nothing.
Outline of a Greening Effect Benefit and