Uganda scraps controversial rainforest plan
October 17, 2007 09:44 AM - Reuters
Uganda has agreed to scrap an unpopular plan to give a swath of protected rainforest to a sugar planter, the independent Daily Monitor said on Wednesday.
Government officials were not immediately available for comment on what the newspaper said was a final decision not to allow Mabira forest to be destroyed and replaced with sugarcane.
A new baseline of invasive plants in Isabela
October 17, 2007 09:32 AM - Public Library of Science
Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) botanists have published a list of all the introduced plants growing in Puerto Villamil, Isabela Island, the third largest town in Galapagos. 261 species were recorded, 39 of which were found growing wild.
Despite 95% of the archipelago falling under the Galapagos National Park, invasive plants spreading from the inhabited areas are having large impacts on the native flora and fauna.
Canadian province to set aside caribou lands
October 16, 2007 07:28 PM -
CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - British Columbia on Tuesday said it will set aside hundreds of thousands of acres of old-growth forest in order to boost the Canadian province's dwindling mountain caribou herds.
The province said it will add 865,000 acres of protected lands. That will bring the total area of lands where logging and road building will be prohibited to 8,500 square miles, an area nearly the size of New Jersey that covers 95 percent of the animals' range in the province.
Government urged to clean Mississippi River
October 16, 2007 07:15 PM - Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent, Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Mississippi River, storied in American culture and commerce, needs more federal government action if it is once again to be clean enough for fishing and swimming, scientists said on Tuesday.
In a report issued by the National Research Council, the scientists called on the Environmental Protection Agency to take a more aggressive role in enforcing the Clean Water Act, which aims to make U.S. waters "fishable and swimmable."
Climate-change Clues From Wisconsin's Lakes
October 16, 2007 04:10 PM -
Madison, Wisconsin - As part of the world carbon cycle, bacterial communities in freshwater lakes break down carbon in decaying organic matter, converting it into carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere.
However, in humic lakes — darkly stained, bog-rimmed bodies of water that contain high levels of decaying organic matter — this process creates even higher carbon-dioxide emission levels. "There's a lot of concern that, as the climate changes, more carbon will be turned into carbon dioxide in these kinds of lakes," says Katherine McMahon, a University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.
China launches Effort To Green Inner Mongolian Desert
October 16, 2007 04:00 PM -
Bejing, China - Beijing and Seoul recently signed an agreement to launch a joint program to harness China's eighth-largest desert - the Ulan Buh in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
About 15 million yuan (1.99 million U.S. dollars) will be spent growing trees and building greenhouses to prevent environmental deterioration in the Ulan Buh region, according to officials involved in the project.
After drought, ponds keep up with the Joneses
October 16, 2007 08:20 AM - Washington University in St. Louis
An ecologist at Washington University in St. Louis has discovered that after ponds dry up through drought in a region, when they revive, the community of species in each pond tends to be very similar to one another, like so many suburban houses made of ticky tacky.
Virgin Atlantic 747 to Test Biofuel in Early 2008
October 15, 2007 10:47 PM - Al Yoon, Reuters
BOSTON (Reuters) - British billionaire Richard Branson said on Monday his Virgin Group hopes to produce clean biofuels by around the start of the next decade and early next year will test a jet plane on renewable fuel.
Virgin hopes to provide clean fuel for buses, trains and cars within three or four years, Branson told a Mortgage Bankers Association meeting in Boston.
In the meantime, Virgin will be conducting a test jet flight on renewable fuels. "Early next year we will fly one of our 747s without passengers with one of the fuels that we have developed," Branson told the annual conference.
Researchers Genetically Alter Plants Hoping They'll Vacuum Up Toxins
October 15, 2007 10:41 PM - Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Scientists hope they've figured out a way to trick plants into doing the dirty work of environmental cleanup, U.S. and British researchers said on Monday.
"Our work is in the beginning stages, but it holds great promise," said Sharon Doty, an assistant professor of forest resources at the University of Washington, whose study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
In work they describe as preliminary, researchers at the University of Washington say they've genetically altered poplar trees to pull toxins out of contaminated ground water, perhaps offering a cost-effective way of cleaning up environmental pollutants.
Scientists call for drastic cuts in EU cod fishing
October 15, 2007 10:59 AM -
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe's trawlermen should cut back drastically next year on trawling for cod in the North Sea and aim to take less than half their 2006 catch from the sea, a group of international scientists said on Monday.
Cod, one of Europe's most threatened species due to years of chronic overfishing, has long risked a collapse in numbers. But matters seem to have improved slightly, the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) said.
"Our scientific surveys show that the number of young fish has increased, although only to half of the long-term average," said Martin Pastoors, chairman of the ICES' main committee on compiling scientific advice on fish stocks and numbers.