Ecosystems

Geologists Recover Rocks from San Andreas Fault
October 5, 2007 08:00 AM - NSF

CALIFORNIA - For the first time, geologists have extracted intact rock samples from two miles beneath the surface of the San Andreas Fault, the infamous rupture that runs 800 miles along the length of California.  Never before have so-called "cores" from deep inside an actively moving tectonic boundary been available to study. Now, scientists hope to answer long-standing questions about the fault's composition and properties.  Altogether, the geologists retrieved 135 feet of 4-inch diameter rock cores weighing roughly 1 ton. They were hauled to the surface through a borehole measuring more than 2.5 miles long.

Offspring of Hatchery Trout Are Fishy Flops: Study
October 5, 2007 07:41 AM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - When it comes to making babies, steelhead trout like it wild.  In a study published on Thursday with great implications for captive breeding programs, U.S. researchers found that after being set free, steelhead trout reared in hatcheries produced offspring far less fit than those of wild-bred fish.  In fact, when these captive-bred trout are released in the wild, they are roughly 40 percent less successful at producing offspring that survive to adulthood than their wild cousins, according to the research in the journal Science.

China Tightens Environment Rules for Coast Projects
October 5, 2007 07:33 AM - Reuters

BEIJING  - China has amended regulations to require environmental impact assessments for coastal construction projects, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.  The amendment, which takes effect on January 1, requires reports on the marine impact of all coastal projects, including rebuilding and expansion projects, before they win environmental approval.

Vast African Dump Poisons Children: U.N
October 5, 2007 07:30 AM - Reuters

NAIROBI - Willis Ochieng, 10, scavenges through smoking refuse piled as high as a house at one of Africa's biggest rubbish mountains, his friends sitting nearby sucking on dirty plastic bottles of noxious yellow glue. Located near slums in the east of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, the open dump receives some 2,000 tons of garbage daily. A U.N. study published on Friday says it is seriously harming the health of children and polluting the city.

The Nature Of The New World
October 4, 2007 03:02 PM - Lester R. Brown

We recently entered a new century, but we are also entering a new world, one where the collisions between our demands and the earth’s capacity to satisfy them are becoming daily events. It may be another crop-withering heat wave, another village abandoned because of invading sand dunes, or another aquifer pumped dry. If we do not act quickly to reverse the trends, these seemingly isolated events will occur more and more frequently, accumulating and combining to determine our future.
Resources that accumulated over eons of geological time are being consumed in a single human lifespan.

Another warm winter seen for much of U.S.
October 4, 2007 01:31 PM - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Long-range weather forecasts are predicting a warmer than average winter with less precipitation for much of the United States except the Pacific Northwest.

"It will be a lot like last year but the climate models are even more in agreement now than they were last fall," said Mike Halpert, head of forecast operations at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center.

"Temperatures will be warmer than average in most places except the northwest of the country, which could see some cold."

Forecasters believe the emergence of a La Nina condition -- unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean -- will be the main factor behind the anticipated warmth for much of North America.

Rumbling Volcano Sparks Panic in Indonesia
October 4, 2007 07:51 AM - Reuters

KEDIRI, Indonesia - Hundreds of Indonesians have begun evacuating the slopes of a rumbling volcano in East Java following increased levels of toxic fumes and tremors, a local rescue official said on Thursday.  The country's volcanological survey raised Mount Kelud's alert status to the second-highest level on Sunday, following increased activity.   A mix of carbon dioxide and toxic substances seven times normal levels has been recorded from the volcano in recent days, prompting authorities to isolate the area, said Saut Simatupang, head of the survey's volcano observation unit.

Indonesia to Plant 79 Million Trees in One Day
October 4, 2007 07:39 AM - Reuters

JAKARTA - Indonesia, which has destroyed vast tracts of forest, will plant 79 million trees in a single day ahead of the U.N. climate change summit in Bali in December, an official said on Thursday. The event, scheduled for November 28, is part of a global campaign to plant one billion trees launched at U.N. climate change talks in Nairobi last year, said Ahmad Fauzi Masud, spokesman for the forestry ministry. "Everybody, residents and officials from the lowest unit of the government to the president, will take part in this movement," he said. "It will be a national record and, possibly, a world record."

Scientists Get $1 Million To Demonstrate How Restored Prairies Filter Water, Produce Bioenergy
October 3, 2007 07:44 PM -

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL - University of Minnesota researchers Clarence Lehman, John Nieber and David Tilman and colleagues have been awarded a $1.07 million grant to show how restored prairie areas can act as buffers to filter water polluted by agriculture while simultaneously producing bioenergy.

The strategy will also conserve prairies, expand areas available for wildlife habitats, reduce the amount of water needed for biofuels, enhance biodiversity in Minnesota and reduce Minnesota's greenhouse gas emissions by sequestering carbon.

Rain Stops Banff Beetle Blight Burn
October 3, 2007 06:54 PM - Reuters

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Wet weather has thwarted a Canadian plan to stem the spread of tree-killing pine beetles eastward through the Rocky Mountains by burning an Alberta forest near Banff National Park, an official said on Wednesday.

The province of Alberta had planned to burn about 80 square kilometers of trees last week and it is now too late to make the attempt this year, said Duncan MacDonnell, a spokesman for the province's Sustainable Resource Development ministry.

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