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Posts tagged: Asia

Researchers Track “Gray Ghosts” Across the Southern Appalachians

Gray ghosts are a common sight in the southern Appalachians. A hemlock woolly adegid infestation has killed many hemlock trees in the Linville Gorge area of Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. (U.S. Forest Service/Steve Norman)

Gray ghosts are a common sight in the southern Appalachians. A hemlock woolly adegid infestation has killed many hemlock trees in the Linville Gorge area of Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. (U.S. Forest Service/Steve Norman)

Residents of the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States have long enjoyed a rich culture of storytelling. Often rooted in a deep connection to the natural world, stories from Appalachian folklore serve to entertain as well as to educate; sometimes, important life lessons emerge, especially from tales of demise. A present-day ghost story from the southern Appalachians has captured the attention of U.S. Forest Service researchers who are using high-tech tools to follow the footprints of lost life.

The ghosts in this story are eastern and Carolina hemlock trees. Hemlocks provide valuable ecosystem services in Appalachian forests, including cover for wildlife and cooling shade along waterways. But they are being killed in increasing numbers by an exotic invasive insect, the hemlock woolly adelgid. Native to Asia, the hemlock woolly adelgid is transported through forests by animals, wind and, accidentally, by people. Often called “gray ghosts” because of their pale, skeleton-like appearance, the dead hemlocks are obvious across the mountain landscape. Using a forest monitoring tool known as ForWarn, scientists are able to see just how devastating the hemlock losses have become across the southern Appalachians, where the hemlock woolly adelgid thrives in the warmer temperatures. Here, the hemlock woolly adelgid is killing trees much more quickly than in the more northern areas of the hemlocks’ range, sometimes in as few as four years after infestation. Read more »

USDA Collection Preserves Garlic’s Genetic Diversity

“This group of diverse garlic germplasm represents all the types that might be found at a farmer’s market.” Photo courtesy of Barbara Hellier, ARS

“This group of diverse garlic germplasm represents all the types that might be found at a farmer’s market.” Photo courtesy of Barbara Hellier, ARS

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Raw or dehydrated, garlic is a staple ingredient in dishes the world over. This herb, Allium sativum, is also the focus of medical research investigating the health-imparting properties of allicin, a compound that gives garlic its pungent aroma and flavor.

Americans consumed 2.3 pounds of garlic per person in 2010. Perhaps most familiar to consumers is the large white bulb commonly sold in supermarkets. But there’s more diversity there than meets the eye, or the taste buds, says USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) horticulturist Barbara Hellier. Read more »

Why You Should Know the Name Norman Borlaug

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog.  Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Most Americans have never heard the name Norman Borlaug—and that’s ironic, considering that he is hailed around the world as one of the greatest Americans ever.

Compared to storied politicians, creative industrialists, brilliant inventors, or military heroes, Borlaug’s accomplishments have never been the topic of discussion at the dinner table — he merely set the world’s table. But what a table. The simple Iowa farm boy is credited with saving a billion people around the world from starvation and malnutrition. Read more »

Using Data to Change The World One Goat at a Time

Goats are an important part of the solution to global food security. USDA-ARS Photo. Taken by Heather Huson.

Goats are an important part of the solution to global food security. USDA-ARS Photo. Taken by Heather Huson.

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

USDA scientist Tad Sonstegard’s comparison of the World Food Programme’s “Hunger Map” to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s goat census statistics, reveals that 90 percent of all goats in the world are located in main ‘hunger zones’ of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.   What’s the connection?  Goats are a common animal of the poorest people, and they are an important part of the solution to global food security.   They are fairly low maintenance and easy to raise and farm. Read more »

U.S. Ag Products Make Their Mark in the Middle East

U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Michael Corbin (second from left) and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Administrator Sue Heinen cut a ceremonial ribbon during the opening ceremony for the USA pavilion at the 2013 Gulfood trade show as Consul General Rob Waller (far left) and the USA pavilion organizers exhibitors look on.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Michael Corbin (second from left) and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Administrator Sue Heinen cut a ceremonial ribbon during the opening ceremony for the USA pavilion at the 2013 Gulfood trade show as Consul General Rob Waller (far left) and the USA pavilion organizers exhibitors look on.

Recently, I traveled to the Middle East to meet with local and U.S. Embassy leaders to discuss agricultural strategy within the region. Towards the end of my two-week journey, I also had the opportunity to meet with U.S. agricultural companies, state regional trade groups and cooperators at the USDA-endorsed Gulfood trade show in Dubai.

The show is the Middle East’s largest food, drink, food service and hospitality equipment exhibition, drawing buyers from throughout the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) helps U.S. companies market their food and agricultural products at international trade shows through market development programs such as the Market Access Program (MAP). Read more »

With USDA Help, Rural African Farming Comes to Rural Massachusetts

World Farmers Inc. and some of the farmers it serves. (Left to right) Fabiola Nizigiyimana, Lucia Ngatia, Maria Mbonimpa, Maria Moreira (Executive Director World Farmers), and Virginia Apraiari.

World Farmers Inc. and some of the farmers it serves. (Left to right) Fabiola Nizigiyimana, Lucia Ngatia, Maria Mbonimpa, Maria Moreira (Executive Director World Farmers), and Virginia Apraiari.

What do immigrant farmers from Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, and Liberia have in common with central rural Massachusetts?

The Answer:  World Farmers Inc. or WFI. Read more »