Read the full story from the American Society of Agronomy.
The phrase “a double-edged sword” describes something that is beneficial in some ways but problematic in others. One example is removing maize stover (the husks, stems and leaves of corn plants) from fields. Maize stover is used to make cellulosic ethanol, a renewable biofuel. And renewable biofuels are beneficial to the environment. However, removing the stover can harm the environment because it can cause the soil to erode and lose nutrients.
Taking up this double-edged sword is Cynthia Bartel, a doctoral candidate at Iowa State University. She’s finding a way to lessen the harm and increase the benefits of removing maize stover.