• Borneo may lose half its orangutans to deforestation, hunting, and plantations

    Borneo will likely lose half of its orangutans if current deforestation and forest conversion trends continue, warns a comprehensive new assessment by an international team of researchers. The study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, overlays orangutan distribution with land use regulations in Malaysian and Indonesian Borneo. Borneo has suffered high rates of deforestation, logging, and forest conversion for industrial plantations in recent decades, endangering the world's largest surviving populations of orangutans. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ash dieback: number of affected counties doubles

    As tree growers and plant health experts from 80 organisations met at a summit convened by the environment secretary, Owen Paterson, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said ash dieback had now been confirmed in the wild in six new counties: Berkshire, Bedfordshire, Lincolnshire, Northumberland, Sussex and Yorkshire. A total of 115 sites in 11 counties, including some in Wales and Scotland, are now confirmed. >> Read the Full Article
  • Scientists Fear the Extinction of Arabica Coffee

    Scientists in the United Kingdom recently completed a study suggesting that Arabica coffee, the species that makes up 75 percent of coffee beans sold, could become extinct in 70 years. Due to climate change and its symptoms including deforestation, a team at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens ran a series of computer simulations that indicate that wild Arabica coffee could become extinct by 2080. Such a development should worry everyone from growers to consumers. Coffee is the second most traded global commodity after petroleum and is an economic lifeline for many countries in Africa and Latin America. >> Read the Full Article
  • Planting Forests for Carbon Sequestration

    Imagine a forest landscape where every tree is aligned and equally spaced apart. A forest where there are no sounds, no undergrowth and a distinct lack of species. Could this be the fate of our environment as carbon forestry becomes a common way to offset greenhouse gas emissions? Or, could it supplement reforestation programs and slowly ease the biodiversity crisis? Post-Kyoto there has been strong support for global emissions to be 'capped'. Key nations, including Australia, Norway and Japan, have already started to place a price on carbon, with internal stakeholders now having a legal obligation to pay for the greenhouse gasses they emit. One strategy that has been adopted by these 'compliance' markets – as well as many 'voluntary' markets – includes the purchasing of carbon credits that are linked with the forestry sector. >> Read the Full Article
  • New Emperor Penguin Colonies Found in Antarctica

    While about 2500 chicks of emperor penguins were raised this year at the colony close to the French Dumont d'Urville Station, two new colonies totalling 6000 chicks have just been observed about 250 km away, near Mertz Glacier by the scientists Dr André Ancel and Dr Yvon Ancel, from the Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien in Strasbourg (CNRS and Université de Strasbourg). Since a pair of emperor penguins may only successfully raise one chick a year, the population of breeding emperor penguins in this area of the Antarctic can therefore be estimated to more than about 8500 pairs, about three fold that previously thought. >> Read the Full Article
  • An Early Eco Disaster at the Great Barrier Reef.

    The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 1,600 miles over an area of approximately 133,000 sq miles. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. It is a fragile and immense ecosystem subject to continuing and increasing man made exposure hazards. Australian marine scientists have unearthed evidence of an historic coral collapse in Queensland’s Palm Islands following human development on the nearby mainland. Cores taken through the coral reef at Pelorus Island confirm a healthy community of branching Acropora corals flourished for centuries before European settlement of the area, despite frequent floods and cyclone events. Then, between 1920 and 1955, the branching Acropora failed to recover. >> Read the Full Article
  • Mountain Pine Beetle Epidemic

    The mountain pine beetle is a species of bark beetle native to the forests of western North America from Mexico to central British Columbia. It has a hard black exoskeleton, and measures about 5 mm, about the size of a grain of rice. Mountain pine beetles inhabit ponderosa, Scotch and limber pine trees. Normally, these insects play an important role in the life of a forest, attacking old or weakened trees, and speeding development of a younger forest. A new University of Colorado Boulder study shows for the first time that episodes of reduced precipitation in the southern Rocky Mountains, especially during the 2001-02 drought, greatly accelerated development of the mountain pine beetle epidemic. >> Read the Full Article
  • Exploring the Ocean for Minerals

    Global demand for metals continues to grow, fuelled largely by increasing populations and the industrialisation and urbanisation of China and India. To meet this demand, the international minerals industry has had to search new areas of the globe for additional resources. As Africa — the last underexplored continent — becomes more developed, it is inevitable that the oceans, which cover three-quarters of our planet, will be explored and exploited for their mineral wealth. It is a question of when and how, not if. >> Read the Full Article
  • The Reasons that the Great Barrier Reef Lost Massive Amounts of Coral

    The expansion of European settlement in Australia triggered a massive coral collapse at the Great Barrier Reef more than 50 years ago, according to a new study. The study, published Nov. 6 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, found that runoff from farms clouded the pristine waters off the Queensland coast and killed the natural branching coral species, leaving a stunted, weedy type of coral in its place. The findings suggest that decades before climate change and reef tourism, humans were disrupting the ecology of the Great Barrier Reef. >> Read the Full Article
  • Shocking Number of Squatters Found in Sumatran National Park

    Sumatra's Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park—home to the Critically Endangered Sumatran rhinos, tigers, and elephants—has become overrun with coffee farmers, loggers, and opportunists according to a new paper in Conservation and Society. An issue facing the park for decades, the study attempted for the first time to determine the number of squatters either living in or farming off Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the rough census—over 100,000 people—shocked scientists. "In some parts of the Park the squatters are so numerous that the area looks more like a Javanese countryside," lead author Patrice Levang with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) told mongabay.com. >> Read the Full Article