Achoo! Native Echinacea angustifolia plant is blown away
February 5, 2014 08:17 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Echinacea, a genus of flower in the daisy family is sold in many over-the-counter cold and flu remedies and sold in pharmacies and health and nutrition stores. Echinacea has nine wild species in eastern and central North America that grow in moist to dry prairies and in open wooded areas. The genus includes the purple coneflower, pale purple coneflower and narrow-leaved purple coneflower. All have large magenta petals that unfurl from early to late summer.
Slowing down the floodwaters
January 29, 2014 10:41 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Putting something called "Natural Engineering" to work in a five-year research project, Newcastle University in cooperation with the Environment Agency are discovering the benefits utilizing the land's natural defenses to slow river flow downstream and prevent flooding. Slowing down water in anticipation of flooding events is being tested all over the world. Strategies include the use of retention basins; wetlands development; levee systems and floodwalls but Newcastle University researchers directed by Dr. Mark Wilkinson are employing additional water retention strategies further up in the catchment system. The Belford Burn is a small catchment system located in Northumberland, a community just south of the Scottish border.
Linking Alzheimer's to environmental contributors
January 28, 2014 09:16 AM - Robin Lally, Rutgers University
Scientists have known for more than 40 years that the synthetic pesticide DDT is harmful to bird habitats and a threat to the environment. Now researchers at Rutgers University say exposure to DDT, banned in the United States since 1972 but still used as a pesticide in other countries, may also increase the risk and severity of Alzheimer's disease in some people, particularly those over the age of 60.
Biofuel crops 'may amplify mosquito-borne disease'
January 23, 2014 01:29 PM - Wagdy Sawahel, SciDevNet
The expansion of the some biofuel crops may unwittingly increase the risk of mosquito-borne disease by altering the insects' life cycle, a study suggests. The so-called first-generation biofuel crops, most notably maize, are increasingly being replaced by second-generation biofuel crops, such as perennial grasses, which require less energy, water, fertilizers and pesticides to thrive.
General Mills Makes Cheerios GMO-Free
January 23, 2014 09:08 AM - Editor, The Ecologist
The GMO Inside campaign has launched a major push to get General Mills to drop genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from Honey Nut Cheerios - the company's and the USA's biggest breakfast cereal. Massive consumer pressure on General Mills persuaded this US food giant to eliminate GMOs from original Cheerios. In a campaign relying heavily on social media to inform and involve consumers, the company was deluged with over 50,000 online postings to make original Cheerios GMO free.
Human response to climate
January 22, 2014 10:22 AM - B. Rose Huber, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
Throughout history, humans have responded to climate. Take, for example, the Mayans, who, throughout the eighth and 10th centuries, were forced to move away from their major ceremonial centers after a series of multi-year droughts, bringing about agricultural expansion in Mesoamerica, and a clearing of forests. Much later, in the late 20th century, frequent droughts caused the people of Burkina Faso in West Africa to migrate from the dry north to the wetter south where they have transformed forests to croplands and cut the nation's area of natural vegetation in half.
Is plant virus linked to honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)?
January 21, 2014 08:27 AM - Jim Sliwa, American Society for Microbiology
A viral pathogen that typically infects plants has been found in honeybees and could help explain their decline. Researchers working in the U.S. and Beijing, China report their findings in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The routine screening of bees for frequent and rare viruses "resulted in the serendipitous detection of Tobacco Ringspot Virus, or TRSV, and prompted an investigation into whether this plant-infecting virus could also cause systemic infection in the bees," says Yan Ping Chen from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, an author on the study.
Beaver, Dam it!
January 20, 2014 09:32 AM - Enn Staff, The Ecologist
As climate change brings more rain, there will be more catastrophic flooding; flooding of crops, homes and businesses, particularly in urban areas where there is simply no place for the water to go. One British writer has identified the beaver as the would-be hero to restore hydrological normalcy. Louise Ramsey writes about the beaver in Britain where reintroductions of the rodent have shown the vital role they once had in reducing flooding and how they could take up that mantle once more.
Land conflicts complicate effort to spare forests from palm oil in Borneo
January 17, 2014 12:19 PM - Rhett A. Butler, MONGABAY.COM
A widely-heralded effort to spare carbon-dense rainforests and peatlands from palm oil development in Indonesian Borneo is facing new criticism after an investigation by rights groups found evidence of unresolved conflicts over community land.
Chemicals of Emerging Concern (CECs) identified in sewage sludge
January 16, 2014 04:17 PM - Richard Harth, Arizona State University
Thousands of chemicals serving a variety of human needs flood into sewage treatment plants once their use life has ended. Many belong to a class of chemicals known as CECs (for chemicals of emerging concern), which may pose risks to both human and environmental health. Arjun Venkatesan and Rolf Halden of Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute have been tracking many of these chemicals outlining a new approach to the identification of potentially harmful, mass-produced chemicals, describing the accumulation in sludge of 123 distinct CECs.