conservation news and environmental science news.
First U.S. test of ecological services payment underway
(06/27/2007) Farmers in Jamestown, R.I., are being paid by local residents to delay haying their fields until after birds have completed nesting in a unique test to establish investment markets for ecological services.
Biosphere II lives on
(06/27/2007) The ill-fated Biosphere II project, an experiment that attempted to re-create Earth's ecosystems inside a greenhouse in the early 1990s, will live on as a scientific laboratory after the University of Arizona (UA) said it would develop the facility into a research center.
Madagascar rainforests get World Heritage Listing
(06/27/2007) The World Heritage Committee has named the rainforests of Madagascar as one of three new UNESCO World Heritage List sites.
Climate change is making poison ivy worse
(06/26/2007) New research shows that climate change is making poison ivy more potent, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.
Antibiotic-free chicken may boost profit at Tyson
(06/26/2007) Tyson's decision to produce all of its branded chicken without antibiotics could spur growth at the poultry producer, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Set back for AES on rainforest dam project in Panama
(06/26/2007) The World Heritage Committee moved to assess threats to La Amistad International Park, a World Heritage site shared by Panama and Costa Rica, from AES Corporation's planned construction of four hydroelectric dams on the park's border. The decision was based on an April 2007 petition from the Center for Biological Diversity and more than 30 other organizations in the United States, Panama, and Costa Rica.
Past global warming produced monster penguins
(06/25/2007) Scientists have discovered fossil remains of a giant species of penguin that lived some 40 million years ago in what is now Peru. Coupled with the finding of a smaller species from the same time period, the remains reveal that early penguins responded differently to natural climate change than scientists would have expected. The results are published in the PNAS Online Early Edition the week of June 25-29, 2007.
70% of Indonesia's mangrove forests damaged
(06/25/2007) 70 percent of Indonesia's remaining mangrove forests are damaged due to human activities, ANTARA News reported a local expert as saying.
Rainforest trees colonized Africa from the Amazon
(06/24/2007) A giant rainforest tree is helping scientists understand similarities between African and South American rainforests, reports research published in the journal Molecular Ecology.
Sedentary, not migratory birds, face higher extinction risk
(06/24/2007) Sedentary birds face considerably higher risk of extinction than migratory birds, reports a new paper published in the journal Current Biology. The findings have implications for the conservation of increasingly endangered wildlife populations.
Leading Amazon biologist imprisoned in Brazil; witch-hunt suspected
(06/23/2007) A world-renowned primatologist has been arrested in the Brazilian Amazon under charges that he was illegal sheltering 28 primates in his home, according to The Guardian. Supporters say Marc van Roosmalen, 60, has been framed by illegal loggers who have long been adversaries of the prominent conservationist.
Fuel efficiency boost wins unanimous Senate support
(06/22/2007) The U.S. Senate voted Thursday to raise fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks as part of the new energy bill.
Indonesia pledges to cut haze-causing fires by half
(06/22/2007) Indonesia say it aims to reduce forest fires by 40-50 percent this year, following nearly a decade of devastating seasonal fires that release large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, threaten critical orangutan habitat, and raise regional health risks.
Industrialized countries outsource CO2 emissions to China
(06/22/2007) Facing criticism as it surpasses the U.S. as the world's largest producer of carbon dioxide, China says that industrialized countries are hypocritical for criticizing its greenhouse gas emissions while buying its products, according to the Associated Press. China argues that developed countries are effectively outsourcing emissions by shifting manufacturing to its factories.
Highly carnivorous wolves in Alaska killed by global warming
(06/21/2007) Researchers have identified a previously unknown species of "highly carnivorous" wolf in Alaska that appears to have died off during the Pleistocene extinction some 12,000 years ago. The results are published in the June 21 online issue of Current Biology.
Melting Antarctic icebergs help increase biodiversity, slow climate change
(06/21/2007) Icebergs breaking off Antarctica are unexpected hotspots of biological productivity and have a surprising role in climate change, reports a new study published in the journal Science.
Time running out for world's rarest gorilla
(06/21/2007) Time is running out for the world's rarest subspecies of gorilla, the Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli) from the mountainous border region between Cameroon and Nigeria. With less than 300 individuals remaining, conservationists have drawn up a new plan to save the great ape from extinction.
Amazon.com, eBay rank worst for global warming efforts
(06/20/2007) Amazon.com and eBay rank at the bottom of the list when it comes to reducing their impact on climate, reports a new analysis from Climate Counts, a nonprofit that works to promote responsible climate policy among corporations. Microsoft and Yahoo rank at the top of Internet and software companies rated, while Google is in the middle of the pack.
Google to be carbon neutral by year end
(06/20/2007) Google Inc. aims to be carbon neutral by the end of 2007, according to a statement posted on the Official Google Blog. The search giant plans to fight global warming by investing in and using renewable energy sources; reducing energy consumption by maximizing efficiency, and purchasing carbon offsets for the greenhouse gas emissions that it cannot reduce directly.
China surpasses the U.S. in CO2 emissions
(06/20/2007) China has surpassed the United States as the world's largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions, reports the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (EEA), a group that advises the Dutch government.
Most Americans back a $10 monthly global warming tax
(06/20/2007) 73 percent of Americans back a $10-per-month charge to underwrite renewable energy production reports a new survey by New Scientist Magazine, Stanford University and Resources for the Future, an independent think tank. The research indicates that 85 percent of Americans believe global warming in currently happening.
$100 billion invested in renewable energy in 2006
(06/20/2007) $100 billion poured into renewable energy and energy efficiency in 2006, a 25 percent jump from 2005, reports a new analysis by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Plants in outer space may be black
(06/20/2007) Plants in outer space could be black if they is mechanisms other than chlorophyll to harness the energy of the sun, reports a new study published in Astrobiology.
Google will put $10M towards plug-in hybrid cars
(06/19/2007) Google.org, Google Inc.'s philanthropic arm, today unveiled an initiative to convert hybrid cars to plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), a move that will cut carbon dioxide emissions, reduce oil use, and help stabilize the electrical grid.
Sudan arrests 4 journalists trying to cover dam killings
(06/19/2007) GReporters Without Borders has condemned the continuing detention of four journalists employed by Khartoum-based daily newspapers who were arrested in Dongola, in the state of Shamiliyah (North), on 13 June 2007 while on their way to cover a protest against the building of a dam in the Kijbar region.
Gecko biomimicry produces adhesive better than the real thing
(06/19/2007) Mimicking the agile gecko, with its uncanny ability to run up walls and across ceilings, has long been a goal of materials scientists. Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Akron have taken one sticky step in the right direction, creating synthetic "gecko tap" with four times the sticking power of the real thing.
Spring arrives 2 weeks earlier in Arctic due to climate change
(06/19/2007) Arctic summers are arriving two weeks earlier than just a decade ago reports a study published the June 19th issue of Current Biology. The research, based on phenology--the study of the timing of familiar signs of spring seen in plants, insects, birds, and other species--found that the arrival of spring is advancing at 14.5 days per decade.
Eating foie gras may cause mad cow-like disease
(06/19/2007) Consumption of foie gras can transmit amyloidosis, a disease which is sometimes manifested as mad cow or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), reports a new study in early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Giant manta ray born in captivity for first time
(06/18/2007) For the first time, a giant manta ray was born in captivity at an aquarium in Japan, reports the Associated Press. The baby manta ray was born Saturday at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, 374 days after its parents mated. The birth was recorded on film.
Is the Amazon longer than the Nile?
(06/18/2007) Brazilian researchers claim they have evidence proving that the Amazon is the longest river in the world, some 65 miles (105 km) longer than the Nile, reports BBC News.
Coffee plantations may preserve tropical bird species
(06/18/2007) Agricultural areas offer opportunities for conservation in deforested landscapes in the tropics, reports a study published in the April 2007 issue of the journal conservation Biology by Stanford University biologists.
Study: Global cooling of oceans did not occur from 2003-2005
(06/18/2007) The top 700-meters of global oceans did not cool from 2003-2005, reports a study published in the June 18 early online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The results challenge recent findings that suggest otherwise.
Researchers create mutant midget trees through genetic modification
(06/18/2007) Researchers have genetic modification to manipulate the growth in height of trees, a development that could lead to miniature trees and a variety of new ornamental plants, reports Oregon State University.
Pygmy panda discovered in China
(06/18/2007) Researchers have discovered an extinct pygmy panda in the tropical forests of China.
U.S. bird populations plummet
(06/14/2007) Populations of some of America's most common birds have plummeted over the past forty years, reports a new analysis by the National Audubon Society. Some species have seen a decline of 80 percent. The study, which combines the National Audubon Society's Christmas Bird Count with summertime surveys by the U.S. Geological Survey, found California species were particularly affected, with populations declines of 75 to 96 percent for several species, including the Northern Pintail, Horned Lark, and Loggerhead Shrike.
Dam protest leaves four dead in Sudan
(06/14/2007) Four people were killed and at least 10 wounded when police dispersed a group of protesters in Sudan, reports Sapa-AFP. The domestrators had gathered to protest a dam in the Kijbar region. Local press said that police fired on group as they tried to attack construction equipment being used to build the dam.
Photos of baby Matschie's tree kangaroo
(06/14/2007) An endangered baby Matschie's tree kangaroo has emerged from its mother's pouch for the first time at the Bronx Zoo's JungleWorld exhibit in New York. The baby, called a joey, was born on October 25, 2006, but only recently left her puch for the outside world.
France to see scorching summers due to global warming
(06/14/2007) Mediterranean countries will face a 200-500 percent rise in the number of dangerously hot days due to global warming, reports a study published in the June 15 Geophysical Research Letters.
African elephants get 9-year reprieve
(06/14/2007) African countries have agreed to extend a ban on ivory exports for another nine years. In a deal reached Wednesday at the meeting of the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in The Hague, four African countries will be allowed to sell their ivory stockpiles to raise funds for conservation and community development efforts. The ivory had been intercepted from black market transactions and the sale by Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe had been previously approved. The four countries say their elephant populations are increasing thanks to conservation and law enforcement efforts.
NASA monitors China's Three Gorges Dam
(06/13/2007) Some call it the eighth wonder of world. Others say it's the next Great Wall of China. Upon completion in 2009, the Three Gorges Dam along China's Yangtze River will be the world's largest hydroelectric power generator and one of the few man-made structures so enormous that it's actually visible to the naked eye from space. NASA's Landsat satellites have provided detailed, vivid views of the dam since construction began in 1994.
Mother lizards select color patterns of offspring
(06/13/2007) Mother lizards can induce different color patterns in their offspring in response to social cues, reports research published June 10 in the online early edition of the journal Ecology Letters. Female side-blotched lizards determine the patterns "most likely to ensure success under the conditions they will encounter as adults," according to scientists from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Ocean acidification monitoring system launched
(06/13/2007) The first buoy to monitor ocean acidification has been launched in the Gulf of Alaska reports the National Science Foundation (NSF). Scientists hope the instrument, which will transmit data via satellite, will help examine how ocean circulation and ecosystems interact to determine how much carbon dioxide the north Pacific Ocean absorbs each year.
Mars had oceans
(06/13/2007) Up to one third of Mars was once covered by oceans, reports a study published in this week's issue of the journal Nature. While observers have long noted what looks like a dry ocean basin on the surface of Mars, images from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor suggested otherwise, showing a shoreline that varied in elevation by several kilometers. On Earth, shoreline elevations are typically constant relative to sea levels.
Google, Intel seek greener computers
(06/13/2007) Google, Intel, and other tech giants announced an energy efficiency drive develop "greener" computers that use 50 percent less power by 2010. The plan, dubbed the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, seeks to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming..
Indo-Chinese tiger spotted in China for first time in years
(06/13/2007) Scientists captured a wild Indo-Chinese tiger on film in a nature reserve in China's southeastern Yunnan Province, reports the Worldwatch Institute.
Mining gets approval despite recent species discoveries
(06/13/2007) Suriname will allow mining in a highly biodiverse tract of forest where 24 previously unknown species were recently discovered. The decision had been expected.
Ancient gliding reptile discovered
(06/12/2007) A remarkable new long-necked, gliding reptile discovered in 220 million-year old sediments of eastern north America is described in the latest issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (Vol. 27, No. 2), scientists report. Mecistotrachelos apeoros (meaning "soaring, long-necked") is based on two fossils excavated at the Solite Quarry that straddles the Virginia-North Carolina state line.
Carbon capture and storage could help combat global warming
(06/12/2007) While solar power and hybrid cars have become popular symbols of green technology, Stanford researchers are exploring another path for cutting emissions of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas that causes global warming.
An interview with author and eco-lodge pioneer Jack Ewing
(06/12/2007) In 1970 a young man went to Costa Rica, a place he initially confused with Puerto Rico, on an assignment to accompany 150 head of cattle. 37 years and several lifetimes' worth of adventures later, Jack Ewing runs a eco-lodge that serves as a model for a country now considered the world leader in nature travel.
Massive wildlife population discovered in Southern Sudan
(06/12/2007) Aerial surveys by the New York-based Wildlife conservation Society found more than 1.3 million white-eared kob, tiang antelope and Mongalla gazelle in Southern Sudan, despite decades of civil war. The population, which includes more than 8,000 elephants, rivals that of the legendary Serengeti in Tanzania and suggests that the region is of critical importance for conservation efforts.
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