China's Hollow Villages Undergo a Transformation

As an agricultural engineering professor, I was excited to visit and tour the farm village Houbali, in southwestern Shandong Province. I found myself standing among newly constructed high-rise buildings, a vastly different community than I had expected to encounter. A bicycle repair shop was setting up alongside other bustling businesses in the first-floor storefronts. 

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  1. Urine-diverting dry toilets - Research just published

    Feb 17, 2023

    Research examined barriers and facilitators to adoption of sanitation technologies. Barriers were beliefs incompatible with UDDT by-product reuse, a lack of supporting infrastructure, high capital costs, and ineffective promotional communication strategies. The benefits promoted by the diffusion agency were often misaligned with the desires and interests of the potential adopters.  Ensuring supporting infrastructure was in place and tailoring the promotional communications to the adopters’ perspectives facilitated adoption.

  2. Closing the Loop on Plastic Waste in the US and China

    Jan 30, 2023

    As the world’s largest consumers and producers of plastics, the United States and China are pivotal for helping to close the loop on global plastic waste. The issue contains OpEds from US, China and Europe focing on citizen action, indistry efforts and policy. Karen Mancl authored 2 OpEds on agricultural and biodegradable plastic.

    To download the issue go to link

  3. Rice: A Recipe for Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the U. S. and China?

    Jan 20, 2023

    Rice cultivation contributes 2.5 percent of human-induced greenhouse gases. Two particular gases are the culprits. One is methane, a short-lived greenhouse gas that is 25 to 80 times more impactful than CO2.

  4. Nitrous Oxide an Issue for US and Chinese Agriculture

    Dec 12, 2022

    Decisions that farmers and government officials make – sometimes with good intentions – result in nitrogen escaping the agricultural landscape to create algal blooms and emit greenhouse gases. In the United States, 79 percent of nitrous oxide emissions come from agriculture. Nitrous oxide emissions from China’s agriculture in 2008 accounted for 74 percent of all the country’s N2O emissions. Nitrous oxide, a powerful, long-lived greenhouse gas that is 300 times stronger than CO2that persists in the atmosphere for 120 years.

  5. Biodegradable Plastic and Soil Pollutions

    Aug 11, 2022

    China is number 1 in the world in the use of plastic mulch in agriculture. Not surprizingly, much of the research on environmental issues caused by plastic pollution of soils and technology to reduce plastic pollution are also emerging from China. Just published in the New Security Beat is Biodegradable Plastic in Chinese and US Agriculture.

  6. Low-pressure pipe septic systems

    Jul 21, 2022

    The new Extension manual "Low-pressure Piping in Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems for Ohio" authored by Drs. Kristen Conroy and Karen Mancl just received an Outstanding Bulletin Blue Ribbon Award from the American Society of Agricultural & Biological Engineers. Find the manual

  7. Sustainable Agriculture in US and China

    May 10, 2022

    On the webinar "Climate Action Down on the Farm" hosted by the Wilson Center China Environment Forum Karen spoke about "Success in Sustainable Agriculture to Combat Climate Change in the US and China". Her presentation starts at 54:20. Climate Webinar

  8. Microplastics in Soil – Small Size Big Impact on U.S. and Chinese Agriculture

    Apr 29, 2022

    Ocean plastic pollution looms large as a growing threat to both marine ecosystems and seafood safety. Sadly, microplastics polluting the soil is an even bigger, yet less visible, threat to food security that demands more attention and action. As much as 23 times more microplastics are dumped on agricultural soils than are disposed of in the ocean. To learn more go to the New Security Beat

  9. The Dirt on Agricultural Plastic Pollution of the Soil in the U.S. and China

    Mar 10, 2022

    The global consumption of plastic mulch is almost 2 million tons per year, of which about 75 percent is used in China. Because of the extensive and continuous use of plastic mulch, agricultural plastic film residual pollution is uniquely Chinese. To learn more go to New Security Beat

  10. Low Pressure Piping (LPP)

    Dec 3, 2021

    New Bulletin - Low-pressure piping in Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems in Ohio

    An LPP is a shallow, pressure-dosed soil absorption system that evenly distributes wastewater in the entire trench area. LPP systems may be required at sites with shallow limiting conditions. They are also benefitial for any system that requires pumping the effluent upslope.

    Purchase and download a copy of the new bulletin at this link