Ecology & Environment

Economic impacts of combating sea-level rise

By 2100, sea levels are expected to rise by almost seven feet in the Bay Area. New research shows how traditional approaches to combating sea-level rise can create a domino effect of environmental and economic impacts for nearby communities.

Discovery illuminates a 120-million-year record of ancient Earth

Stanford-led expeditions to a remote area of Yukon, Canada, have uncovered a 120-million-year-long geological record of a time when land plants and complex animals first evolved and ocean oxygen levels began to approach those in the modern world.

Stanford Engineering —

Using nature’s miracle bugs to help feed the world

It takes massive energy to make nitrogen fertilizer – temperatures of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit at extremely high pressure. Now, researchers at Stanford have developed a way to leverage nature’s own processes to produce plant-ready nitrogen at room temperature.

How plants compensate symbiotic microbes

Combining economics, psychology and studies of fertilizer application, researchers find that plants nearly follow an “equal pay for equal work” rule when giving resources to partner microbes – except when those microbes underperform.

Tips to protect against wildfire smoke

Warnings of another severe wildfire season abound, as do efforts to reduce the risk of ignition. Yet few are taking precautions against the smoke. Stanford experts advise on contending with hazardous air quality.

Bellwether for a drying delta

Downstream of hydroelectric dams and Alberta’s oil sands, one of the world’s largest freshwater deltas is drying out. New Stanford University research suggests long-term drying is making it harder for muskrats to recover from massive die-offs. It’s a sign of threats to come for many other species.

Clean air boosts crop yields

A Stanford-led study estimates pollution reductions between 1999 and 2019 contributed to about 20 percent of the increase in U.S. corn and soybean yield gains during that period – an amount worth about $5 billion per year.

Designing sustainable cities

By 2050, more than 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. Stanford Natural Capital Project researchers have developed software that shows city planners where to invest in nature to improve people’s lives and save billions of dollars.