Ecosystems

Floods kill 10, force thousands to flee in Philippines
February 19, 2008 05:54 AM - Reuters

MANILA (Reuters) - Flash floods have killed at least 10 people in the central Philippines and forced tens of thousands to flee to higher ground after three days of heavy rain, the head of the local Red Cross said on Tuesday. "Ten people have drowned," said Richard Gordon, appealing for food, medicine, warm clothes and materials for temporary shelter. Three people were injured.

Crop biofuels 'create carbon debt'
February 18, 2008 09:17 AM - , SciDevNet

Two studies have shown that changes in land use to produce crop-based biofuels can actually result in more greenhouse-gas emissions than burning fossil fuels. The studies, both published in Science last week (8 February), estimate the impact of converting forests and grasslands into cropland for the production of biofuels.

Southern Ocean rise due to warming, not ice melts
February 18, 2008 08:14 AM - Reuters

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Rises in the sea level around Antarctica in the past decade are almost entirely due a warming ocean, not ice melting, an Australian scientist leading a major international research program said. The 15-year study of temperature and salinity changes in the Southern Ocean found average temperatures warmed by about three-tenths of a degree Celsius.

EU warns Croatia again on fisheries zone
February 18, 2008 05:50 AM - Reuters

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union stepped up pressure on Croatia on Monday not to apply a protected fisheries zone to its EU neighbors. The ecological and fisheries zone came into force on January 1, theoretically excluding fishing vessels from Slovenia, which holds the EU presidency, and Italy from Croatian waters. So far Croatia has done nothing to enforce the zone, aimed at preserving fish stocks and limiting pollution.

Sharks disappearing as fin chopping rises
February 17, 2008 11:54 AM - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Populations of tiger, bull, dusky and other sea sharks have plummeted by more than 95 percent since the 1970s as fisherman kill the animals for their fins or when they scoop other fish from the ocean, according to an expert from the World Conservation Union, or IUCN. At particular risk is the scalloped hammerhead shark, whose young swim mostly in shallow waters along shores all over the world to avoid predators.

Salmon's brain gives clues to pesticides toxicity in people
February 16, 2008 09:19 AM - ENN

In his research, scientist Nat Scholz examines how pesticides that run off the land and mix in rivers and streams combine to have a greater than expected toxic effect on the salmon nervous system. These pesticides are widely used in the United States and their occurrence as mixtures in the food supply for humans may also pose an unexpected risk for people.

Cyclone heads for West Australia mining region
February 16, 2008 01:51 AM - Reuters

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A powerful cyclone off the Western Australia coast was showing signs of intensifying and was likely to cross the country's remote Pilbara mining region over the next two days. Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said on Saturday Tropical Cyclone Nicholas was traveling slowly and was 510 km (320 miles) north north-east of Karratha. On current predictions, it is expected to intensify to a Category 4 cyclone from category 2 currently.

China tightens rules on industrial land use: report
February 15, 2008 07:41 AM - Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has tightened rules on industrial land use, state news agency Xinhua said on Friday, as part of a broader effort to control the rampant development of farmland for non-agricultural purposes. The new rules issued by the Ministry of Land and Resources are effective immediately and limit administrative and living areas of industrial land to a maximum 7 percent of the total area in any given development project, Xinhua said.

Middle East collaborates on seismic mapping
February 14, 2008 09:17 AM - , SciDevNet

Earth scientists from Israel, Jordan and Palestine have formed a research partnership to map seismic activity in the region. The collaboration began last month (January), according to lead scientist Hillel Gilles Wust-Bloch from the Minerva Dead Sea Research Center at Tel Aviv University in Israel, and the team are due to have a meeting next week (21 February).

Britain's Prince Charles urges rainforest funding
February 14, 2008 09:00 AM - Reuters

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain's Prince Charles, called on Thursday for a global fund to preserve tropical rainforests from destruction. "In the simplest of terms, we have to find a way to make the forests worth more alive than dead," the heir to the British throne told the European Parliament in an address.

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