Ecosystems

China reels from worst drought in a decade
December 21, 2007 01:35 AM - Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is suffering its worst drought in a decade, which has left millions of people short of drinking water and has shrunk reservoirs and rivers, state media said on Friday. Hardest hit are large swathes of the usually humid south, where water levels on several major rivers have plunged to historic lows in recent months.

USDA's Conner: Crop supplies "dicey" in 2008
December 20, 2007 02:38 PM - Charles Abbott, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. farmers will win the race to grow enough corn, wheat and soybeans to satisfy food, feed and biofuel needs although 2008 will be "very dicey," said acting Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner on Thursday. "I would never bet against our farmers on this issue," Conner said in looking ahead to 2008 crops. For the second year in a row, zooming demand for U.S. crops will require a huge harvest to avoid shortfalls. "We have said it is going to be very dicey."

Songbird killings in Cyprus rise: conservation group
December 20, 2007 11:04 AM - Reuters

NICOSIA (Reuters) - Up to half a million migrating songbirds, mainly warblers and robins, were killed in Cyprus this year to end up pickled or fried as an illegal restaurant delicacy, a conservation group said on Thursday. Wildlife groups have long campaigned against trapping of the tiny birds on the east Mediterranean island. The practice is banned but conservation group BirdLife Cyprus estimates some 500,000 birds were trapped this year.

Improving quality of life for indigenous peoples
December 20, 2007 09:37 AM - BioMed Central

‘Human Development’ is a concept developed by the United Nations Development Program to encompass the economic, educational and health status of a population and is measured by the Human Development Index (HDI). Martin Cooke, of the Department of Sociology and the Department of Health Studies and Gerontology, at the University of Waterloo, Ontario and colleagues in Australia and Canada describe how the countries of the developed world are consistently at the top of the HDI rankings. However, indigenous peoples in those countries commonly have much poorer health and social conditions than the non-indigenous population.

Greece must act to replenish fish stocks: Greenpeace
December 20, 2007 08:41 AM - Reuters

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece should immediately set up marine reserves to replenish depleted fish stocks due to overfishing or face a collapse of the industry, Greenpeace said on Thursday. The environmental group's call, which came as the EU announced lower-than-expected cuts for 2008 catch quotas, said stocks in the Aegean and Ionian seas had fallen dramatically in recent years.

Plant Debris may be hazardous to global health
December 19, 2007 03:57 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL - A new study looks at a poorly understood process with potentially critical consequences for climate change. Emma Sayer, postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Jennifer Powers, an assistant professor in the University of Minnesota's department of ecology, Evolution and Behavior, and Edmund Tanner, researcher at Cambridge University, published the findings of their long-term study on the effects of increased plant litter on soil carbon and nutrient cycling in the Dec. 12 edition of PLoS ONE.

Scientiosts find origin of “breathable” atmosphere half a billion years ago
December 19, 2007 12:46 PM - Ohio State University Newswire

COLUMBUS , Ohio -- Ohio State University geologists and their colleagues have uncovered evidence of when Earth may have first supported an oxygen-rich atmosphere similar to the one we breathe today. The study suggests that upheavals in the earth's crust initiated a kind of reverse-greenhouse effect 500 million years ago that cooled the world's oceans, spawned giant plankton blooms, and sent a burst of oxygen into the atmosphere. That oxygen may have helped trigger one of the largest growths of biodiversity in Earth's history.

New IMAX Film: Dolphins and Whales - Tribes of the Ocean
December 19, 2007 10:37 AM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

SANTA BARBARA, LONDON - Filmmakers and environmentalists Francois and Jean-Jacques Mantello and ocean explorer Jean- Michel Cousteau are pleased to announce they have joined forces on the brand new 3D film "Dolphins and Whales 3D: Tribes of the Ocean", which will be released at IMAX Theatres beginning on February 15th, 2008. The documentary film will deliver a strong and compelling conservation message while bringing audiences on a close encounter, for the very first time in 3D, with small and giant cetaceans such as humpback whales, orcas and dolphins.

Displaced By Industry, India Grapples With More People In Need
December 19, 2007 09:25 AM - Jonathan Allen, Reuters

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - More than 1.4 million Indians have been moved from their land in four states alone in the last decade to make way for industry and infrastructure, and most of them are unhappy about it, a report said on Wednesday. "If I am going to be displaced from the land of my birth in the name of progress, I have every right to ask to be the first beneficiary of that progress," said Shabana Azmi, an actor and campaigner for ActionAid agency that did the survey. But this is not how things turn out, according to the anti-poverty group's account of its interviews with more than 1,700 displaced people.

Pakistan says no threat of bird flu pandemic
December 19, 2007 08:59 AM - Reuters

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan said on Wednesday there was no threat of a pandemic from bird flu, as World Health Organization experts visited the country's northwest which reported the first human death from the virus. Pakistani authorities confirmed at the weekend eight human bird flu cases, including the one death, that the WHO said were likely a combination of infections from poultry and limited person to person transmission due to close contact.

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