Heavy metal in suburban earthquake gardens

At my flat in Sydenham we have a respectful sized vegetable garden. OK – all that is growing there currently are weeds. But it has potential. The strawberry patch has been bountiful this season and produced fruits even till late autumn. We have two peach trees that provided us with big juicy…

The Kauri killer and the three soil types — Looking for answers underground to stop a deadly fungus in its tracks

This past February, I saw my first kauri tree. I had just arrived in New Zealand from the United States and was moving into my office at Lincoln University. There was a small potted plant on my officemate Alexa’s shelf, which was labelled with the name tag “Eric”. Eric seemed…

The ebb and flow of soil

Loss of soil, although not recognised by many, is one of the major problems that society has to face. It provides habitat for a variety of species, influences the hydrological cycle by its water holding capacity and, therefore, affects vegetation. Soil has a large impact on agriculture because of its…

There’s something in the water (potential)

On our regular summer beach holidays to Kaka Point in the Catlins, my family’s favourite pastime is boogie-boarding. We don our wetsuits, slap on some sunblock, grab our boards and hit the beach whenever we can. There is something very primeval about pitting yourself against the waves. The exhilaration of…

The majestic Southern Alps counteract climate change

Two major factors affecting the environment word-wide are the production of greenhouse gases (GHG), and soil loss due to erosion. Understanding how soil production and erosion processes occur on hillslopes is important not only for understanding soil transport but, less known to the average person, important for understanding global carbon…