b"EXTRASTHE EPA IS FUNDING RESEARCH ON USINGMORE BANG FOR THE CLIMATE BUCK: STUDY HEMP AS A SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVE TOIDENTIFIES HOTSPOTS FOR ADAPTATION CONCRETE FUNDINGThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is fundingClimate change is already making life harder on farmers, espe-a research project looking into the sustainable production ofcially in developing nations. New sources of funding can help hempcrete, a hemp-based mixture thats better for the environ- alleviate the burden but resources are limited. So where should ment than traditional concrete. governments, philanthropists and development agencies prior-According to a notice published on the EPA website,itize investment?the agency awarded a roughly $12,000 grant to a student-ledUsing a combination of the latest crop models and local exper-research team at the University of California, Riverside, to sup- tise from farmers and othersand applying them to our current port a study on the use of hemp as an industrially relevanttrajectory of high greenhouse gas emissionsscientists built a tool renewable fiber for construction. to assess climate risk vulnerability to help pinpoint communities But while hempcrete is a natural alternative to fossil-basedmost in need of support for adaptation and mitigation.concrete, the most common method for pulping the crop to useThe study was carried out in Vietnam, Uganda and its fibers is wasteful, according to a summary of the study. TheNicaraguadeveloping countries that embody many of the cli-so-called Kraft pulping processwhich involves treating hempsmate shocks in store for the coming decades, including propen-stalks with hot water, sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfide tosity for droughts, floods and high-temperature extremesby the separate the fibersproduces seven tons of toxic waste for everyCGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and ton of pulp extracted, it says. Food Security (CCAFS). The findings were published March 27 With that in mind, the EPA grant will go toward the devel- in PLOS ONE.opment of hempcrete using a more sustainable pulping pro- The crop models in this study simulate the climate suita-cess. Researchers will use co-solvent enhanced lignocellulosicbility of specific crops, including rice, maize, beans, coffee and fractionation technology to allow for much cleaner and fastercacao, under current and future climate conditions.pulping of hemp fibers without the production of [toxic waste]. Vulnerability assessments already exist but the Climate Instead of a multi-step pulping procedure, the hemp fibersRisk Vulnerability Assessment (CRVA) is novel in its focus on will be extracted by simply applying tetrahydrofuran, a renew- integrating a wide range of natural hazards, crops, and factors able organic compound, and diluted sulfuric acid to the hempindicating social vulnerability into a standardized score. The fine stalks. The EPA said this mechanism is comparable to that ofresolution of outputs, which allows users to pinpoint hotspots the Kraft pulping process while also producing a useful ferment- as small as a district in Vietnam, for instance, will be useful for able sugar solution as a byproduct, thus allowing more of thenational policymakers and others who must decide which areas original hemp to be used before waste treatment. of a country to prioritize for support. CRVA is designed to be Once the hemp fibers are extracted, they can be added torobust, replicable, and flexible enough to accommodate limi-cement as a reinforcing agent or used on their own for drywalltations in data-scarce countries, drawing on national datasets or structural reinforcements. where possible.With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalizedCRVA is a big step forward for decision-makers, especially in industrial hemp at the federal level, farmers and manufactur- countries across the tropics that are hard-hit by climate change, ers are exploring the crops potential for a variety of industries,said Peter Lderach, a CCAFS researcher and study co-author including construction. Hempcrete has even intrigued allies ofat the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). It President Donald Trump who reached out to a Kansas-basedhas major potential to increase the efficiency of climate-related hemp business to learn how the crop could be used to build adevelopment projects for the most vulnerable smallholder farm-proposed border wall. (Source: Marijuana Moment) ers. (Source: International Center For Tropical Agriculture)BIRDS BUG OUT OVER COFFEECoffee grown under a tree canopy is promoted as good habitatconverted to coffee agriculture occupies more than five million for birds, but recent University of Delaware research shows thathectares of what was once prime overwintering natural habitat some of these coffee farms may not be as friendly to our feath- for migratory birds.ered friends as advertised. Coffee grows right at the altitude that most of our neo-trop-Working with geographer Robert Rice of the Smithsonianical migratory birds are spending the winter, particularly species Migratory Bird Center (SMBC), University of Delaware Professorthat are losing one to two percent of their population every year of Entomology Doug Tallamy and former UD graduate studentlike the cerulean warbler, Canada warbler and wood thrush, Desire Narango studied canopy tree preference of birds insaid Tallamy. A lot of this land has been leveled for coffee farms. shade-coffee farms with a particular focus on the implicationsIn these and other countries in the tropical zone, forests are for migratory birds that spend the winter in neotropical coffeebeing cut down and turned into ecological deserts at an alarming farms. The research was published in the journal Biotropica. rate. In traditional coffee agriculture, farmers clear-cut an area, Americans drink a lot of coffee 64 percent of those agedremove all trees, and plant coffee plants in direct sun. In that 18 or over had at least one cup per day. That's more than 150 mil- case, the cultivated area provides almost no habitat for species lion people in the U.S. and we all know one cup is a light day forof birds and insects. An alternative method for growing coffee many of our friends and family. This incredible demand for coffeeis shade-grown coffee. The beans are grown in the shade of a means a lot of land in tropical zones is used to grow coffee beansmature tree canopy, which can also provide ecosystem services in neotropical countries like Colombia and Nicaragua (where thefor the farmer (like shade) as well as habitat for local wildlife. UD study took place). Across central and South America, land(Source: University Of Delaware)56IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM"