Ecosystems

China's economic boom sparks biological invasions
April 1, 2008 09:20 AM - American Institute of Biological Sciences

The rapid growth of China’s industrial and transportation infrastructure is helping to establish non-native species throughout that country and “setting the stage for potentially rampant environmental damage,” according to an article in the April 2008 issue of BioScience. The article, by a Chinese-US team, describes how more than 400 alien plants and animals are now considered invasive in China, including some that are causing serious harm even though they were first documented in the country only a few years ago.

Study sheds light on Woolly Mammoth demise
April 1, 2008 12:12 AM - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Climate change drove woolly mammoths to the edge of extinction and then humans finished them off, according to a Spanish study on Tuesday that adds to the debate over the demise of the Ice Age behemoths. Using climate models and fossil remains, the researchers determined that warming temperatures had so shrunk the mammoths' habitat that when humans entered their territory about 6,000 years ago the species were already hanging by a thread.

Is Lake Mead Disappearing
March 31, 2008 09:33 AM - , The Alternative Consumer

The water supply crisis is not just a third world issue. Nevada’s Lake Mead, the largest man-made lake and reservoir in the U.S., could go dry by 2021, according to a pair of scientists at the Scripp’s Institute of Oceanography in San Diego, California. If human-induced climate change and water usage continues at the present rate, or even slower, there is a 50% chance the lake will go dry in coming years – and sooner, rather than later. The Colorado River’s water is being consumed far beyond a sustainable level.

Deforestation-Carbon Markets Research
March 31, 2008 09:13 AM - , Triple Pundit

Finding ways to include deforestation abatement projects into the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and private sector emissions trading schemes such as the EU's ETS– thereby providing a market-based mechanism that offers an incentive and financing to jumpstart forest conservation initiatives – is one of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s priorities.

"Kyoto II" climate talks open in Bangkok
March 31, 2008 05:16 AM - Reuters

BANGKOK (Reuters) - The first formal talks in the long process of drawing up a replacement for the Kyoto climate change pact opened in Thailand on Monday with appeals to a common human purpose to defeat global warming. "The world is waiting for a solution that is long-term and economically viable," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said in a video address to the 1,000 delegates from 190 nations gathered in Bangkok.

US Fears Over Honey Bee Collapse
March 28, 2008 11:26 PM - , Organic Consumers Association

The pollination of crops by bees is responsible for a third of the food produced in the US. One in every three mouthfuls has been touched by their tiny feet; but our six-legged friends are in trouble. They are getting sick and leaving their hives. Without bees, food gets more expensive - some products could disappear altogether.

Making Markets for Ecosystem Services

Ecosystems thinking is slowly changing from concern about losing species to concern about losing the services that keep our own species – and its civilization – thriving. The 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), the largest and most comprehensive multi-stakeholder review of ecosystems and their services, concluded that some two-thirds of the ecosystems assessed and their services were being degraded or used unsustainably. The rate of ecosystem degradation has been swifter in the last 50 years than in the 150 years previously.

At toxic Montana dam, a river now runs through it
March 28, 2008 08:37 PM - Reuters

MILLTOWN, Montana (Reuters) - Engineers breached a hydroelectric dam in Montana on Friday, the first time an American dam was removed to clean up toxic sediments captured behind it from years of mining upriver. The intent was the restore some of the pristine beauty of the water as portrayed in "A River Runs Through It," Norman McLean's classic novel about fly fishing later made into a film directed by Robert Redford.

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.

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