College of the Environment and Life Sciences

Education, Experience, Excellence for the 21st Century

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Big Thinkers

URI professor helping with local food systems and sustainable agriculture

Dr. Rebecca Brown in the Department of Plant Sciences and Entomology at the University of Rhode Island is using plant sciences to improve Rhode Island’s climate resiliency. Specializing in vegetable production and turfgrass management, Brown is helping to use native grasses along roadsides, and working with local farmers to improve sustainability and crop yields.

Roadside vegetation is important to prevent soil erosion and to filter road pollution from our waterways. Unfortunately, Rhode Island roadside vegetation has a history of not growing well. To fix this problem, Dr. Brown created plots on state roadside areas as part of a research project funded by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation. Brown’s research showed that planting native, more salt-tolerant grasses and adding organic material to roadside soil, develops healthier, more resilient roadside plantings. The difference is so noticeable, that by using this technique in 2007, the new vegetation could be seen from Google Earth…. [Read More]

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