Friday, June 13, 2003

Journal roundup
Xie Biao, et al., "Critical Impact Assessment of Organic Agriculture," Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 16 (2003): 297-311:
Based on its production guideline, organic agriculture has set for itself the goals of minimizing all forms of pollution and maintaining sustainability of the farming system. By striving for these goals, organic farming meets the demands of an increasing number of consumers who are critical of conventional production methods. This paper gives an overview of the present state of the art in the different issues. Possibilities of and limitations in performing the self-aimed goals under the basic standards of organic agriculture are discussed. Concerning environmental protection, in general, the risk of adverse environmental effects is lower with organic than with conventional farming methods, though not necessarily so; with reference to soil fertility and nutrient management, organic farming is suited to improve soil fertility and nutrient management markedly on the farm level; regarding biodiversity, comparison studies show that organic farming has more positive effects on biodiversity conservation; in relation to product quality, under the basic standards of organic farming, there is no sufficient evidence for a system-related effect on product quality due to the production method.
Also: Myhr and Traavik, "Genetically Modified (GM) Crops: Precautionary Science and Conflicts of Interests," ibid., 227-247.

Fulton and Delany, "Poultry Genetic Resources -- Operation Rescue Needed," Science 5626 (2003), 1667-1668:

With billions of domesticated poultry hatched annually to meet global food production needs, it can be difficult to appreciate the magnitude and significance of the current drain on poultry genetic resources and overall loss of genetic diversity among industrial and locally adapted breed stocks. But, it is a crisis....
June 2003 ISB News Report has two articles on chloroplast DNA [background here and here.

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