(NEW YORK – June 16, 2016) Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) announced today the addition of Eric Davidson, Ph.D., to the NutrientStar science review panel. Dr. Davidson is a professor and director at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s Appalachian Laboratory.
NutrientStar is the first-ever program to provide famers, their advisors and supply chain actors with reliable, field-tested data on the performance of fertilizer management tools. The program’s independent science review panel conducts rigorous assessments of nutrient use efficiency tools on the market to determine how a tool works on the ground, in different regions and on different soil types.
“The review panel is comprised of leading scientists, fertilizer experts and technology practitioners from across the country,” said Karen Chapman, agricultural sustainability project manager at EDF and administrator of the NutrientStar program. “We are delighted to add Dr. Davidson to this distinguished group, as he brings a unique ecological perspective that will help the program to highlight the potential environmental benefits of tools and products under assessment.”
Davidson, an ecologist and expert in the nitrogen cycle, researches biogeochemical processes, including the exchange of plant nutrients from the land to streams and groundwater, and the exchange of greenhouse gases between the soil and the atmosphere.
In his position on the review panel, Dr. Davidson will assess all tools based upon established scientific criteria and their ability to improve nutrient use efficiency in the field. These reviews involve analysis of company-shared data, publicly available data and field trial data.
“NutrientStar seeks to create a trustworthy source of information for farmers, and can help showcase why fertilizer efficiency makes economic sense,” noted Dr. Davidson. “Building confidence one farmer at a time is incredibly powerful, and building alliances among different stakeholders, as EDF already does, can also lead to win-win scenarios.”
Prior to his position at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Dr. Davidson studied the nitrogen cycle at the Woods Hole Research Center. He has worked in the Brazilian Amazon researching how the conversion of forests to cattle pastures and row crop agriculture impacts soil carbon, nitrogen and greenhouse gas emissions. He also studied agriculture on the Delmarva Peninsula on the East Coast of the U.S. and in temperate forests of New England.
“We face the problem of excess nitrogen in the environment, and the challenge is figuring out how to optimize our nitrogen use to maximize the productivity of food while minimizing unintended pollution,” added Davidson. “I strongly believe that optimizing nitrogen use can benefit humanity while minimizing environmental impacts.”
Dr. Davidson is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and President-Elect of the 60,000-member scientific society, the American Geophysical Union. He served as the Coordinator of the North American Center for the International Nitrogen Initiative and is the leader of a Research Coordination Network on Reactive Nitrogen in the Environment. Davidson has also written a popular book, You Can’t Eat GNP, which explores the links between economics and ecology.
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