Although the medical breakthroughs in the early part of the 21st century have made significant progress in the treatment of many chronic diseases, disease prevention or even delay is of critical importance. Healthy People 2010 & 2020 and USDA dietary guidelines for Americans strongly recommend increased consumption of fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants and bioactive phytochemicals to prevent or attenuate diet-related chronic diseases and to improve health.
Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station
The causes of climate change are global, but the impacts are experienced locally. Communities across the New England region and the country are facing challenges from climate change including more extreme storms, hotter and longer-lasing heat waves, more rain in winter and less in summer, as well as the slower but significant effects of sea level rise. Given the incremental development and long lives of the built environment, changes in municipal regulations take years to significantly change the buildings and infrastructure that make up our cities and towns.
After years of decline, many American cities are experiencing growth and renewal. In the first decades of the new century a host of U.S. cities saw increases in urban employment and population along with decreased rates of poverty and crime (McDonald, 2008). For the last three years data show American cities growing faster than their surrounding suburbs (Voith & Wachter, 2014).
Global climate change is altering the Earth's natural cycling of water from the ground to the air and back again, what is known as the hydrologic cycle. In New England, climate change is predicted to increase temperatures and increase the frequency and strength of rain events. The increased temperatures will result in less snow accumulation in the winter and an increased need for irrigation in the hotter summer as evapo-transpiration increases. This will alter significantly the recharge/extraction cycle. Will less water enter groundwater aquifers because of reduced snow fall?
Total wetland area in the U.S. has been in precipitous decline since the 1900's, and although recent decades have slowed the decline and advocated strongly for the services and economic benefits (not to mention ecological benefits!) these lands provide, still much more work needs to be done to preserve existing wetlands and promote restoration of impaired ones.
The safety of the food supply is a continuing issue for agriculture, with an estimated 81 million instances of food borne illnesses in the USA annually, with an estimated cost of $152 billion dollars per year to the US economy. The Center for Disease Control and prevention estimates that 46% of these illnesses were due to produce - thus food safety is very much an agricultural issue.
The red-backed salamander P. cinereus is an important component of forest ecosystems and, because they are widely distributed, occur at high densities, and are sensitive to environmental change and habitat disturbance/alteration, they are an ideal indicator species for assessing forest ecosystem health. However, the behavioral ecology of P.
Family forest owners (FFOs) control 263 million acres (or 35%) of U.S. forests. In the eastern U.S, FFOs control more than 50% of the forests (Butler, 2008). The average age of FFOs is over 60 years old. It is estimated that over 75% of family forest land is owned by people over the age of 55 and nearly 50% is owned by people over the age of 65 (Butler, et al. 2016). In the coming years, nearly 3.8 million FFOs will be deciding the future of their land. We are, in fact, in the midst of the largest intergenerational shift of land our country has ever experienced.
Invasive plants are species introduced from another region (non-native) that have established self-sustaining populations and are spreading, often with substantial negative consequences (Lockwood et al., 2007). Invasive species are a prominent component of global change (Vitousek et al., 1997, 1996), and have been identified as one of five major threats to ecosystems by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (along with, for example, climate change; MA, 2003).
Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) is a crucial ecological and economic component of forests in the eastern U.S. and Canada. In the southeastern U.S., white pine is an especially critical associate of forests in the Appalachian Mountains as hemlock trees have been in decline due to the exotic hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae).