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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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Dirt Diagrams Developed
13 January 2009 3:00 am
Agricultural experts in Africa say the continent faces a crisis of depleted soil and they're hoping that a detailed, high-tech map of soil quality will help them solve the problem. This morning at an event in Nairobi, Kenya, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture announced that it will lead the $18 million effort. Most of the money will come from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
That price tag sounds almost too good to be true for a map of soil conditions on every hectare of land in sub-Saharan Africa. But Don Doering, project coordinator at the Gates Foundation, says new technology makes it possible. Researchers will first analyze samples of soil from 60 "sentinel sites" across the continent. Each such site—represented by red dots on the map to the left—covers 100 square kilometers. Then, with the help of computer models, scientists will extrapolate to the rest of the continent, predicting soil conditions based on such factors as elevation, how much the land is sloping, and whether it's covered with vegetation.