Ecosystems

Restoring Tanzania's ecosystems
March 28, 2008 09:24 AM - , SciDevNet

Degraded land in western Tanzania is gradually being reclaimed — two decades after work began to rehabilitate the declining ecosystems. Once a thriving and diverse woodland environment, western Tanzania supported the livelihoods of local communities without difficulty.

U.S. West warming faster than rest of world: study
March 27, 2008 09:04 PM - Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The U.S. West is heating up at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the world and is likely to face more drought conditions in many of its fast-growing cities, an environmental group said on Thursday. By analyzing federal government temperature data, the Natural Resources Defense Council concluded that the average temperature in the 11-state Western region from 2003-07 was 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit (0.94 degrees Celsius) higher than the historical average of the 20th century.

Arctic Melting May Lead To Expanded Oil Drilling
March 27, 2008 09:54 AM - , Worldwatch Institute

More than half of the Arctic Ocean was covered in year-round ice in the mid-1980s. Today, the ice cap is much smaller. Alarming evidence of this warming trend was released last week when the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) released satellite evidence that perennial Arctic ice cover, as of February, rests on less than 30 percent of the ocean. "The rate of sea-ice loss we're observing is much worse than even the most pessimistic projections led us to believe," says Carroll Muffett, deputy campaigns director with Greenpeace USA. For the first time in recorded history, this past summer the entire Northwest Passage between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans was ice-free, according to scientists.

Elephants Without Borders :Scientists Track Elephants by Satellite
March 27, 2008 09:38 AM - UMass Amherst

“Elephant populations have been increasing in Botswana and Tanzania since the late 1980s, when protection measures banned the international ivory trade,” says Curtice Griffin of the department of natural resources conservation. “But human populations are also rising. Elephants graze in areas used by cattle and some raid farm fields, where they do a lot of damage in a short time. People have been killed when they try to chase elephants away or encounter them unexpectedly at night.” Additional researchers include doctoral student Alfred Kikoti, a native of Tanzania and Mike Chase of Botswana, who completed his doctorate at UMass Amherst in 2007.

Asia must reverse massive deforestation: U.N.
March 27, 2008 08:21 AM - Reuters

Parts of Asia are losing more than 28,000 square kilometers (10,800 square miles) of forest every year, a trend that must to be reversed immediately to fight climate change, a United Nations report said on Thursday. Deforestation accounts for about 20 percent of global greenhouse gases -- trees soak up carbon dioxide when they grow and release it when they rot or are burnt.

New protections eyed for ice-dependent Alaska seals
March 27, 2008 07:50 AM - Reuters

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - Ribbon seals, which depend on floating sea ice that is growing scarce in a warming Arctic, will be considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act, a U.S. government agency said on Wednesday. The National Marine Fisheries Service launched a 12-month review in response to a petition filed by an environmental group, the Center for Biological Diversity, which has also sought protection for the polar bear and other far-north animals faced with a thaw of their icy habitats.

Logging road threatens rare peat dome, tigers
March 26, 2008 09:41 AM - World Wildlife Fund

Pekanbaru, INDONESIA – In an investigative report published today by Eyes on the Forest, evidence shows that a new logging road in Riau Province -- strongly indicated as illegally built by companies connected to Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) -- is cutting into the heart of Sumatra’s largest contiguous peatland forest, a rare hydrological ecosystem that acts as one of the planet’s biggest carbon stores. The road would allow APP and affiliated companies to restart clearance of natural forest and destruction of deep peat soil at any time in a globally recognized conservation area, according to Eyes on the Forest, a coalition of local NGO network Jikalahari, Walhi Riau, and WWF-Indonesia.

Climate change threatens Amazonian small farmers
March 26, 2008 09:36 AM - Indiana University

A six-year study of Amazonian small farmers and their responses to climate change shows the farmers are vulnerable to natural catastrophes and risky land use practices, say Indiana University Bloomington anthropologists Eduardo Brondizio and Emilio Moran. The researchers report in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (now accessible online) that an increase in climate anomalies like El Nino could ultimately drive many small farmers to ruin, forcing them into Brazilian cities that may be ill-equipped to employ, house and feed them.

Conservationists in Melanesia mourn death of colleague
March 26, 2008 09:33 AM - WWF

Conservationists in the Melanesia area are mourning the death of Belgian-born botanist Henri Blaffart, swept away in by a flooded river in northern New Caledonia on March 21. “Henri Blaffart was an exceptional man, and an remarkably effective wildlife and wildlands conservation professional,” said WWF New Caledonia Country Programme Director Ahab Downer, who survived the river crossing.

Western Canadian pine beetle infestation spreads
March 26, 2008 07:49 AM - Reuters

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - About half of the marketable pine trees in West Coast Canadian province of British Columbia have been ravaged by a nearly decade-long beetle infestation, according to new government statistics. The outbreak of mountain pine beetles has affected trees over an area of 13.5 million hectares (33.4 million acres) in the Western Canadian province, which is a major source of softwood lumber exports to the United States.

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