Ecosystems

Scientists see looming water crisis in western U.S.
January 31, 2008 02:04 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A water supply crisis is looming in the western United States thanks to human-caused climate change that already has altered the region's river flows, snow pack and air temperatures, scientists said. Trends over the past half century foreshadow a worsening decline in water, perhaps the region's most valuable natural resource, even as population and demand expands in western states, researchers led by a scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography wrote in the journal Science on Thursday.

Antarctic ice riddle keeps sea-level secrets
January 31, 2008 08:22 AM - Reuters

TROLL STATION, Antarctica (Reuters) - A deep freeze holding 90 percent of the world's ice, Antarctica is one of the biggest puzzles in the debate on global warming with risks that any thaw could raise sea levels faster than U.N. projections. Even if a fraction melted, Antarctica could damage nations from Bangladesh to Tuvalu in the Pacific and cities from Shanghai to New York. It has enough ice to raise sea levels by 57 meters (187 ft) if it melted, over thousands of years.

Brazil unable to curb Amazon destruction
January 31, 2008 08:10 AM - Reuters

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's government is unwilling and unable to halt destruction in the Amazon rainforest despite emergency measures it announced last week to curb rising deforestation, environmental experts say. High commodity prices and increased land use elsewhere in Brazil are driving ranchers and farmers deeper into the Amazon in search of cheap land, environmentalists say.

Scientists Call For Urgent Research Into 'Real' Impacts Of Invasive Species
January 30, 2008 09:17 AM - CABI

As well as drawing attention to the rising cost of invasive species on a global scale –estimated at US$1.4 trillion in damage – GISP stresses that too much emphasis has been placed on the problems faced by the agricultural sector in developed countries rather than in developing countries and on the “full range of environmental, social and economic costs.” The report also emphasises that due to the lack of knowledge and research available on the severity of individual pests and the options for best controlling them, policy makers are being left in the dark.

Why don't chimpanzees like to barter commodities?
January 30, 2008 09:13 AM - Public Library of Science

For thousands of years, human beings have relied on commodity barter as an essential aspect of their lives. It is the behavior that allows specialized professions, as one individual gives up some of what he has reaped to exchange with another for something different. In this way, both individuals end up better off. Despite the importance of this behavior, little is known about how barter evolved and developed.

Cambodian conservation work – not just a man’s world
January 30, 2008 08:52 AM - WWF

Women are working as hard and sweating as much as the men in WWF conservation programs in remote areas of Kampuchea. In WWF-Cambodia’s Srepok Wilderness Area Project (SWAP), in the country’s eastern plains, Khmer, foreign and local indigenous Phnong women play a vital role in preserving the Mondulkiri Protected Forest (MPF).

Indigenous peoples win conservation successes in Chile
January 30, 2008 08:41 AM - WWF

A near 20 year struggle for land rights and conservation of their rare Araucaria forests for an indigenous Pehuenche community of the Andes range has been rewarded with a grant of title to 22,000 acres of land in southern Chile. Also in December, the Huiliche indigenous community of Mapu Lahual received a prestigious Seal Award from Chilean president Michelle Bachelet for the contribution of their local development and conservation project to one of the most isolated and poorest areas of coastal Chile. This project, “Strenghtening Governance and Sustainable Livelihoods in the Huilliche Territoty of Mapu Lahual” is being carried out by WWF Chile and the Mapu Lahual indigenous Association.

Claimants tiptoe around lucrative Antarctic rights
January 30, 2008 05:31 AM - Reuters

TROLL STATION, Antarctica (Reuters) - Nations claiming parts of Antarctica are quietly staking out rights to the seabed, in stark contrast to the North Pole where Russia ostentatiously planted a flag to back its claim. "We have a vessel making seismic surveys of the continental shelf," Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told Reuters at the Troll research station, 155 miles inland in a part of Antarctica claimed by Oslo.

U.N. aid chief worried by food inflation, weather
January 29, 2008 12:41 PM - Reuters

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Rising food prices and extreme weather are sparking more humanitarian disasters around the world, the United Nations' top official for emergency relief warned on Tuesday. Fourteen out of 15 U.N. "flash appeals" for help last year were a response to devastation caused by droughts, floods and hurricanes, U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes said.

Antarctica on alert for alien invaders
January 28, 2008 08:28 AM - Reuters

Aliens are landing in Antarctica. Seeds, spores, mites, lichens and mosses alien to the continent have been brought unwittingly by scientists and tourists, and could disrupt life in the icy wilderness. Antarctica is best known for penguins as well as seals and whales, but scientists are finding a host of other tiny organisms from springtails -- closely related to insects -- to mosses.

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