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Cornstalks Everywhere But Nothing Else, Not Even A Bee

Cornstalks Everywhere But Nothing Else, Not Even A Bee

<p>David Liittschwager spent years on a photo project called <a href="http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2010/02/cubic-foot/liittschwager-photo... Cubic Foot". </a>Liittschwager would drop a metal frame measuring one cubic foot into different environments and document every living thing visible to the human eye which lived or moved through the space. The biodiversity of the ecosystems Liittschwager visited are showcased in his photographs, above.</p><p>Craig Childs, a Science Writer for NPR, tried to more or less recreate&nbsp;Liittschwager's project, but in an Iowa cornfield. Except he didn't limit himself to just one cubic foot, and in stark, chilling contrast to the beautiful diversity&nbsp;Liittschwager captured, Childs encountered practically no life among the corn fields, as shown below in NPR's photo illustration.</p><p>[[{"fid":"1795","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_credit[und][0][value]":"NPR Photo Illustration"},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"446","width":"624","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]</p><p></p><p>(Photos:&nbsp;Liittschwager, Cape Town; NPR illustration)</p>

That's a startling visual, especially when you consider enough corn is grown in America to "fill a freight train longer than the circumference of the Earth". With the benefits of cover crops and other sustainable practices, Iowa farmers can rebuild the soil fertility and gain biodiversity back on their farmland.

When you think about the amount of pesticides and herbicides used within these cornfields, the stark contrast illuminated here is not surprising.  The chemicals sprayed upon these crops kill the very insects and creatures that keep the soil rich and fertile. What's left, instead, is a biological desert.   

Sometimes, seeing is believing. And Craig Childs has illustrated the reality within the micro-ecosystems of cornfields. 

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