Ecosystems

'Hellish' Hot Springs Yield Greenhouse Gas-eating Bug
December 7, 2007 08:54 AM - University of Calgary

A new species of bacteria discovered living in one of the most extreme environments on Earth could yield a tool in the fight against global warming.

In a paper published on Dec. 6 in the prestigious science journal Nature, U of C biology professor Peter Dunfield and colleagues describe the methane-eating microorganism they found in the geothermal field known as Hell’s Gate, near the city of Rotorua in New Zealand. It is the hardiest “methanotrophic” bacterium yet discovered, which makes it a likely candidate for use in reducing methane gas emissions from landfills, mines, industrial wastes, geothermal power plants and other sources.

New report on deforestation reveals problems of forest carbon payment schemes
December 7, 2007 08:21 AM - Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research

BALI, INDONESIA - A new study by one of the world’s leading forestry research institutes warns that the new push to “reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation,” known by the acronym REDD, is imperiled by a routine failure to grasp the root causes of deforestation. The study sought to link what is known about the underlying causes of the loss of 13 million hectares of forest each year to the promise—and potential pitfalls—of REDD schemes.

Tanker Leaks Oil Off S.Korea Coast
December 7, 2007 05:45 AM - Reuters

SEOUL (Reuters) - A large oil tanker gushed thousands of tons of oil into the sea near one of South Korea's most scenic coastlines after being hit by a barge, South Korea's maritime ministry said on Friday.

The Hong Kong-registered Hebei Spirit was struck while at anchor off Daesan port in the Taean region on the country's west coast and the ministry said it had already leaked some 10,800 metric tons of crude oil.

"A barge ship being towed ... collided with the oil tanker at anchor, breaching the cargo section and leaking crude oil," ministry official Lee Jang-hoon told reporters.

Kenya issues alert over desert locust invasion
December 7, 2007 03:28 AM - Reuters

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Desert locusts have invaded Kenya's arid northeastern region, threatening maize and wheat crops, but the Agriculture Ministry said on Friday it was well prepared to fight the pests.

The desert locust's destructive power stems from its gregarious nature that allows it to move in swarms, eating whatever vegetation it finds in its path.

A ministry statement published in local newspapers said the locusts were not aggressively feeding yet, but were in their last stage of development and laying eggs in the moist sandy soil of the hot region.

Greenland ice could be next puzzle for U.N. panel
December 7, 2007 02:20 AM - Reuters

BALI, Indonesia (Reuters) - A thaw of Greenland ice that could raise world sea levels may be the next puzzle for the U.N. climate panel that won the Nobel Peace Prize, a senior member of the group said.

Dutch scientist Bert Metz said the risk of an accelerating melt of Greenland's ice sheet was among the unsolved issues in the U.N. reports this year that blame mankind for causing global warming and urge quick action to avert the worst impacts

 

Climate change will significantly increase impending bird extinctions
December 6, 2007 10:09 AM - Stanford University

Where do you go when you've reached the top of a mountain and you can't go back down?

It's a question increasingly relevant to plants and animals, as their habitats slowly shift to higher elevations, driven by rising temperatures worldwide. The answer, unfortunately, is you can't go anywhere. Habitats shrink to the vanishing point, and species go extinct.

Climate change speeds up Amazon’s destruction
December 6, 2007 09:19 AM -

A vicious cycle of climate change and deforestation could wipe out or severely damage nearly 60% of the Amazon forest by 2030, says WWF.

The WWF report, The Amazon's Vicious Cycles: Drought and Fire in the Greenhouse, reveals the dramatic consequences for the local and global climate as well as the impacts on people’s livelihoods in South America.

Polluting Pulp Mill Draws Protest and Spurs World Court Case
December 6, 2007 09:17 AM - , Worldwatch Institute

Environmentalists from Argentina are continuing their more than two-year protest of an Uruguayan pulp mill along a river that separates the two countries. Protesters say the cellulose processing plant, which went into operation on November 9, will release pollutants into the Uruguay River and threaten local ecosystems and human health. Argentine authorities claim that the mill violates a bilateral treaty and have taken the issue to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Communities Across the Globe Getting to Grips with Adapting to Climate Change
December 6, 2007 09:13 AM - UNEP

Bali/Nairobi, 4 December 2007 - The way farmers in the Sudan, flood-prone communities in Argentina and dengue-challenged islands in the Caribbean are beginning to adapt to climate change are distilled in a new report launched today.

The five-year Assessments of Impacts and Adaptations to Climate Change provides new and inspiring examples of how vulnerable communities and countries may 'climate proof' economies in the years and decades to come.

New study finds biodiversity conservation secures ecosystem services for people
December 6, 2007 08:48 AM - Conservation International

Healthy ecosystems that provide people with essential natural goods and services often overlap with regions rich in biological diversity, underscoring that conserving one also protects the other, according to a new study.

Titled Global Conservation of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, the report confirms the value of making biological diversity a priority for conservation efforts. It shows that more than 70 percent of the world’s highest priority areas for biodiversity conservation also contain significant value in ecosystem services such as fresh water, food, carbon storage, storm buffers and other natural resources that sustain human life and support social and economic development.

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