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Tag: crops

IUCN Red List: Wild crops listed as threatened

IUCN Red List: Wild crops listed as threatened

Science
Wild relatives of modern crops deemed crucial for food security are being pushed to the brink of extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.More than 20 rice, wheat and yam plants have been listed as threatened on the latest version of the IUCN's Red list.The wild plants are being squeezed out by intensive farming, deforestation and urban sprawl, say scientists.Modern crops can be crossbred with their wild cousins to safeguard foods.''To lose them would be a disaster,'' said Dr Nigel Maxted of the University of Birmingham, who is co-chair of the IUCN's specialist group on crop wild relatives.''It would be much more difficult to maintain food security without them.'' Insurance policyCommercial crops have lost genetic diversity. They are vulnerable to the eff...
Waste products, not crops, key to boosting UK biofuels

Waste products, not crops, key to boosting UK biofuels

Science
The UK should focus on using waste products like chip fat if it wants to double production of biofuels according a new study.The report from the says that making fuel from crops like wheat should be restricted.Incentives should be given to farmers to increase production of fuel crops like Miscanthus on marginal land. Even with electric vehicles, biofuels will still be needed for aviation and heavy goods say the authors. While the European Union has mandated that 10% of transport fuels should come from sustainable sources by 2020, these biofuels have been a slow burner in the UK. Suppliers are already blending up to 4.75% of diesel and petrol with greener fuel, but doubling this amount will take up to 10 years say the authors of this new report, that was commissioned by the government. To ...