Ocean Acidification and Deep-sea Organisms
May 23, 2013 04:17 PM - Allison Winter, ENN
Although the natural absorption of CO2 by the world's oceans help mitigate climate effects, the resulting decrease in pH causes ocean acidification which can have negative consequences for much of the marine life, specifically calcifiers such as corals and mollusks that construct their shells and skeletons from calcium carbonate.
India's hornbill conservator is awarded the "Green Oscar"
May 23, 2013 08:54 AM - Akhila Vijayaraghavan, MONGABAY.COM
The Whitley Awards is a prestigious international prize awarded annually to individuals working in nature conservation at a grassroots level. They were first awarded in 1994 and over the past two decades, the Whitley fund for nature has given almost £10 million ($15 million USD) to conservation and recognized 160 conservation leaders in more than 70 countries. These awards are known as the 'Green Oscars' and are often awarded to conservationists working in conflict-torn and developing countries. This year, the prestigious prize was awarded to Aparajita Datta's project, "threatened hornbills as icons for the conservation of the Himalayan forests of Arunachal Pradesh, India".
African soil diversity mapped for the first time
May 22, 2013 10:19 AM - Bernard Appiah, SciDevNet
A team of international experts has drawn up the Soil Atlas of Africa — the first such book mapping this key natural resource — to help farmers, land managers and policymakers understand the diversity and importance of soil and the need to manage it through sustainable use. They say that despite soil's importance, most people in Africa lack knowledge about it, partly because information about it tends to be confined to academic publications read only by scientists.
May 22, 2013 09:39 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire in an area of combustible vegetation that occurs in the countryside or a wilderness area. Wildfires occur on every continent except Antarctica. Wildfires are a common occurrence in Australia and the far US west. Concerns continue to grow about the effects of climate change on fire. Wildfires are expected to increase 50 percent across the United States under a changing climate, over 100 percent in areas of the West by 2050 as projected by some studies. A new article published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management by U.S. Forest Service scientists synthesizes recent findings on the interactions between fire and climate and outlines future research needs. Authored by research meteorologists Yongqiang Liu and Scott Goodrick from the Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) and Warren Heilman from the Northern Research Station, the article homes in on the effect of emissions from wildfires on long-term atmospheric conditions.
Arctic Ocean Rapidly Acidifying
May 22, 2013 08:44 AM - Thomas Schueneman, Global Warming is Real
After three years of ongoing research by an international team of scientists, a study commissioned by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme for a first-ever comprehensive assessment of Arctic Ocean acidification was presented last week at a meeting of Arctic Council Ministers in Bergen, Norway. The research show that the cold waters of the Arctic sea are more vulnerable to acidification. Cold water more readily absorbs CO2 and combined with the precipitous drop in summer sea ice extent, thus exposing more open water, northern oceans are rapidly acidifying.
Aquifers in US Depleting, Contributing to Sea-Level Rise
May 21, 2013 10:24 AM - Allison Winter, ENN
The High Plains (also known as Ogallala) aquifer underlies more than 170,000 square miles of the United States. Aquifers are water storage areas that are made up of bodies of permeable rock that contain and transmit groundwater. The High Plains aquifer serves as the principal source of water for irrigation and drinking in the Great Plains, serving over two million people. However, substantial pumping of the aquifer for irrigation since the 1940s has resulted in large water-table declines. Depleting aquifers of groundwater can lead to serious consequences as pumping water out of the ground faster than it can be replenished can permanently dry up wells, reduce water in lakes and streams, and deteriorate water quality.
In the News: First crane egg in the western UK in four centuries
May 21, 2013 08:59 AM - Liz Shaw, ARKive.org
The first common crane egg in the western United Kingdom in over 400 years has been laid at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire, England. A round-the-clock guard has been set up to protect the egg from collectors, as despite egg collecting being illegal in the UK it is still practiced by an unscrupulous minority. Video cameras are in place to allow the public to view the nest, as well as to provide important footage for conservation scientists. Lucky visitors can also view the nest from the centre’s bird hides.
Fishing the Gulf of Maine: Tradition at a Crossroads
May 20, 2013 11:41 AM - Michael Sanders, The Ecologist
Lobster fishing remains big business off the coast of Maine but even with new regulations and new gadgets can it ever be sustainable? Michael Sanders investigates the real costs of the crustacean on your plate... When most of us go down to the coast, whether to walk or swim or fish or sail, we take for granted what we see before us. We see the lobster boats and the colorful buoys marking the strings of traps, the bobbing green and red cans marking safe passage, the gulls and other seabirds. In the larger working harbors like Portland and Stonington and Port Clyde, there might be draggers tied up, unloading fish they've caught far out in the Gulf of Maine and on Georges Bank. What we don't realize is that this seemingly unchanging marine world is in fact always changing in ways both large and small. What we think of as "the coast of Maine" - those 3,000 vaunted miles of rocky shoreline punctuated by seaside villages and docks and lobster pounds and fishing fleets - was largely built on the backs of the fishermen and lobstermen who are there, however picturesque or authentic to the eye, for a single purpose: to harvest the sea in order to feed us.
Non-native goats and iguanas threaten Pacific islands
May 20, 2013 08:41 AM - Shaira Panela, SciDevNet
Feral goats and green iguanas wreaking havoc with the ecosystems in the small islands in the Pacific, biologists warn, in two separate studies published in Pacific Science last month, calling for control or elimination of these animals. The animals have been introduced there by humans, but are now threatening the survival of native wildlife.
Drought and Desertification - Global Response
May 19, 2013 09:11 AM - ANDREW BURGER, Global Warming is Real
Land degradation — more specifically drought and desertification — have become increasingly pressing problems for a growing number of countries around the world, threatening efforts to alleviate poverty, improve basic health and sanitation and address socioeconomic inequality, as well as spur agricultural and sustainable economic development. The only multilateral, international agreement linking development and environment to sustainable land management (SLM), high-level representatives from 195 nations will be gathering in Windhoek, Namibia from September 16-27 for the 11th bi-annual Conference of Parties (COP) to review implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Meeting for the first time in southern Africa, UNCCD delegates will review implementation of the convention to date and plan for the ensuing two years of programs and actions.