Cotton. How many of us come into daily contact (literally) with this wondrous natural fiber? Used in a huge array of materials, from the obvious clothing and cotton wool buds, to the less obvious products like cottonseed oils used to make soap, margarine, emulsifiers, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, rubber and plastics, the cotton plant is woven into the fabric of our lives.
By Eduardo Hidalgo, Project Scientist, CABI South America
The Mosquitia is a territory of 16,997 km², located on the Caribbean coast of Honduras and inhabited mainly by the indigenous Miskito, Tawahka, Pech, and Garífuna ethnic groups. Of the 100,000 inhabitants, 36% are Miskitos who depend mainly on agriculture and fishing. The Mosquitia is one of the last virgin regions of Central America and one of the biologically richest areas of the planet, housing the Reserve of the Biosphere of Platano River, classified in 1982 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Mosquitia is considered the poorest region of Honduras. As there are no roads, the only way to access the area is by air or by boats locally called pipantes. These isolated conditions make it difficult for the population to access basic public services, including agricultural assistance.
La Mosquitia es un territorio de 16.997 km², ubicado en la costa del Caribe de Honduras y habitado principalmente por las etnias indígenas misquita, tawahka, pech y garífuna. La población es de 100,000 habitantes de los cuales el 36% son misquitos y sus principales actividades son la agricultura y la pesca. La Mosquitia es una de las últimas regiones vírgenes de Centro América y una de las áreas biológicamente más ricas del planeta, albergando la Reserva de la Biosfera del Rio Plátano, clasificada en 1982 como Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la UNESCO. La Mosquitia es considerada la región más pobre de Honduras. Como no hay carreteras, la única forma para acceder el área es por vía aérea o por el rio, en botes localmente llamados pipantes. Estas condiciones de aislamiento dificultan el acceso de la población a servicios públicos básicos incluyendo la asistencia agrícola.
Every time you see a ladybug—also known as the ladybird beetle—you should tuck it in your wallet as a lucky charm to bring prosperity, according to the folklore of many countries. There’s a grain of truth in the old stories. Research shows that each ladybird in a cotton field in the North China Plain provides an economic benefit to farmers of at least 0.05 yuan, or one U.S. cent. This may not sound like much, but consider: Doubling the current ladybird density in two-thirds of Chinese cotton fields could bring farmers around $300 million per year.
A recent study published in Nature Climate Change has suggested that the future global effects of climate change will impact the livelihoods of over 200,000 coastal farmers in Bangladesh as sea levels rise. Flooding of saltwater is already negatively impacting coastal residents in the country as soil conditions alter, causing farmers to either change from historic rice farming to aquaculture or to relocate further inland to avoid such salinity changes.
We’ve selected a few of the latest new geographic, host and species records for plant pests and diseases from CAB Abstracts. Records this fortnight include the first report of Trochoideus desjardinsi in Cuba. 8 new records of Curculionidae in Saudi Arabia and 3 new species of aphids in China. Continue reading →