conservation news and environmental science news.
China tropical log imports jump at Jiangsu port
(05/16/2007) Logs imports through Zhangjiagang Port in Jiangsu Province, China have increased significantly in 2007, reports the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) in its bi-weekly update.
Madagascar's cyclone woes worsen, U.N. calls for more money
(05/16/2007) The United Nations relief arm today more than doubled the appeal it launched just two months ago to help Madagascar as the country tries to recover and rebuild its agriculture after a series of deadly recent cyclones and tropical storms since December.
Calpine may benefit from global warming limits
(05/16/2007) Power generator Calpine will be well-positioned when the regularlory environment for carbon dioxide emissions shifts and federal caps are introduced, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Rare softshell turtle rediscovered in Cambodia
(05/16/2007) Scientists from conservation International have successfully hatched a clutch of eggs from one of the world's most endangered turtle species.
Deep-sea creatures discovered near the Antarctic
(05/16/2007) Scientists have found hundreds of new marine creatures in the depths of the Weddell Sea near Antarctica, including Carnivorous sponges, free-swimming worms, crustaceans, and mollusks, reports research published in the current issue of the journal Nature.
California-sized area of snow melt spotted in Antarctica
(05/16/2007) NASA has found clear evidence of a California-sized area of snow melting in west Antarctica in January 2005 in response to warm temperatures.
Top ten threatened species named by WWF
(05/16/2007) The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) announced its top ten list for species in need of trade protection ahead of the upcoming Conference of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in The Hague, The Netherlands.
Biofuels displace indigenous people
(05/15/2007) Indigenous people are being pushed off their lands to make way for an expansion of biofuel crops around the world, threatening to destroy their cultures by forcing them into big cities, the head of a U.N. panel said Monday.
New species of hummingbird discovered in Colombia
(05/15/2007) Ornithologists have discovered a previously unknown blue-and-green-throated hummingbird species in a cloud forest in Colombia, reports BirdLife International, a conservation group. The bird, called the gorgeted puffleg, measures up to 4 inches (10 cm) in length.
Environmental concerns mount as palm oil production grows
(05/15/2007) The booming market for palm oil is driving record production but fueling rising concerns over the environmental impact of the supposedly "green" bioenergy source. The two leading producers of palm oil, Malaysia and Indonesia, have rapidly expanded palm oil production in recent years, often at the expense of biodiverse rainforests and carbon-rich peatlands that store billions of tons of greenhouse gases. Environmentalists say that due to these factors, burning of palm oil can at times be more damaging the global climate than the use of fossil fuels.
Amazon nun-killer sentenced to 30 years in Brazil
(05/15/2007) Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura, a Brazilian rancher charged with ordering the killing of Dorothy Stang, an American nun, in the Amazon rainforest in February 2005, was convicted today of murder and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
20-40% of U.S. bees have disappeared
(05/14/2007) Known and unknown ailments have killed 20 to 40 percent of bee colonies across the United States this winter according to a leading entomologist.
'Green' dams could reduce GHG emissions
(05/14/2007) Scientists in Brazil have developed a way to reduce greenhouse emissions from large hydro-electric dams, according to a report from BBC News. The technology, developed by researchers at Brazil's National Space Research Institute (INPE), extracts methane from reservoir water to supplement energy produced by the dam turbines.
Why poison dart frogs are poisonous
(05/14/2007) Mites -- not ants as long believed -- appear to be the primary source of toxins used by poison arrow frogs to defend against predators, reports new research published in the early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Poison dart frogs, colorful amphibians with skin secretions so toxic that they are used by indigenous populations to poison the tips of hunting arrows, are one of several groups of animals capable of sequestering deadly compounds from dietary sources without being harmed. Until now, it was believed that ants were the primary source of these defensive skin alkaloids in frogs.
California sues Bush administration over fuel standards
(05/14/2007) Monday California sued the Bush administration for "illegally adopting 'dangerously misguided' gas mileage rules." In a lawsuit backed by 11 states, the suit alleges that the Highway Traffic Safety Administration's new mileage standards violate federal law by ignoring both the environment environmental impact on oil use and the country's growing dependence on imported oil.
Canada's boreal forest must be saved
(05/14/2007) At a conference Monday, 1500 prominent scientists called for protection of Canada's boreal forest, one of the largest intact forest and wetland ecosystems remaining on the planet.
Marine reserves help damaged coral reefs recover
(05/14/2007) Marine reserves can help coral reefs damaged by overfishing, disease, and bleaching caused by high temperatures, reports a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Remote sensing tools used to predict bird species richness
(05/14/2007) Scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Maryland have taken a novel approach to studying biological diversity by making use of laser remote sensing (lidar). WHRC scientists examined the relationships between bird species richness and habitat metrics derived from lidar data acquired by aircraft. They then explored the efficacy of predicting bird richness and abundance based on these metrics.
Urban parks can offset warming effects of climate change says study
(05/14/2007) Increasing the number of urban parks and street trees in a city could offset the local heat effects of global warming, reports a new study by researchers at the University of Manchester.
Citigroup commits $50 billion to fight global warming
(05/13/2007) Citigroup said last week that it plans to spend $50 billion towards mitigating climate change, mostly through investments in clean energy and 'alternative technology' over the next 10 years.
Asian gangs fueling the illegal ivory trade
(05/13/2007) Asian-run organized crime syndicates based in Africa are behind the rising illegal trade in elephant ivory, reports TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network of WWF and IUCN-The World conservation Union.
Carnivorous plants invade San Francisco
(05/13/2007) While most plants derive nutrients from soil, some trap and consume living creatures for their primary source of sustenance. Now a special exhibit at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers offers a journey into the strange world of carnivorous plants.
Climate shift in East Africa due to geology, not global climate change
(05/11/2007) A shift towards a drier climate in East Africa may be due to geological changes like the emergence of the Rift Valley, not global climate change suggests research published in the current issue of the journal Nature. Dr. Bonnie Jacobs, Chair of Environmental Science Program at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, reports that the rise of the high Ethiopian plateau may have caused dramatic shifts in the region's vegetation.
Global warming to cause summer temperature spike in Eastern U.S.
(05/11/2007) NASA scientists warn that average summer temperatures in the eastern United States will climb as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the 2080s as a result of human-induced global warming.
iPod can distrupt cardiac pacemakers
(05/11/2007) An iPod can tigger monitoring malfunctions in cardiac pacemakers due to electromagnetic interference, reports a study presented by a 17-year-old school student to a group of heart specialists at a meeting of the Heart Rhythm Society in Denver, Colorado.
Sex differences fuel evolution
(05/10/2007) Some Caribbean lizards' strong sexual dimorphism allows them to colonize much larger niches and habitats than they might otherwise occupy, allowing males and females to avoid competing with each other for resources and setting the stage for the population as a whole to thrive. The finding, reported this week in the journal Nature, suggests sex differences may have fueled the evolutionary flourishing of the Earth's wildly diverse fauna in a way not previously appreciated by scientists.
Ocean 'burps' may have ended last ice ages
(05/10/2007) A University of Colorado at Boulder-led research team tracing the origin of a large carbon dioxide increase in Earth's atmosphere at the end of the last ice age has detected two ancient 'burps' that originated from the deepest parts of the oceans.
Reducing tropical deforestation will help fight global warming
(05/10/2007) Scientists have lent support to a plan by developing countries to fight global warming by reducing deforestation rates. Tropical deforestation releases more than 1.5 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year, though in some years, like the 1997-1998 el Nino year when fires released some 2 billion tons of carbon from peat swamps alone in Indonesia, emissions are more than twice that. Writing in the journal Science, an international team of scientists argue that the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation (RED) initiative, launched in 2005 by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is scientifically and technologically sound, and that political and economic challenges facing the plan can be overcome.
UN warns on dangers of bioenergy
(05/09/2007) Biofuels offer "an extraordinary opportunity" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but could make "substantial demands on the world's land and water resources at a time when demand for both food and forest products is also rising rapidly," said the U.N. in its first assessment on the growing bioenergy industry.
South Korea fishermen cheat on whale killing
(05/09/2007) Fishermen in South Korea are killing far more whales than they claim, reports an article in New Scientist Magazine. DNA fingerprinting of whale meat purchased in local markets suggests that South Korea caught 827 minke whales between 1999 and 2003, well above the 458 they reported.
NASA: U.S. may face extreme summer temperatures
(05/09/2007) A new NASA study warns that the eastern United States could experience extreme warming by 2080, with average summer temperatures rising 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
Global carbon cycle is key to understanding climate change
(05/09/2007) Despite its importance to mankind, the global carbon cycle is poorly understood. With concerns over climate change mounting, it becomes all the more imperative to understand how carbon is absorbed by the Earth's oceans, vegetation, and atmosphere.
More birds killed by cats than wind turbines
(05/09/2007) Last week's report by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on the environmental impact of wind farms warned that turbines may kill up to 40,000 birds per year, a toll that makes some question the clean energy source is worth the trouble.
Cuddly slow loris threatened by the pet trade
(05/09/2007) The slow loris, a big-eyed primate found in the rainforests of southeast Asia, is threatened by the international pet trade said ProFauna Indonesia, a wildlife activist group that has called for a ban on the illegal trafficking of the charismatic animal.
Technology presented at Google can track billboard viewers
(05/08/2007) A new technology provides an affordable way for advertisers to track the effectiveness of their advertising by measuring how many people are looking at their billboards and screens.
North Atlantic circulation may be more sensitive to Greenland melting than thought
(05/08/2007) According to two international-research studies on the last ice age, studies with the participation of Dr Rainer Zahn, research professor in the ICREA at the UAB Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA), before the great ice sheets of the Arctic Ocean began to melt, early sporadic episodes of melting of the old ice sheet which covered the British Isles had already begun to affect the circulation of the ocean currents, which played a key role in the climatic stability of the planet. Based on this observation, scientists consider that the acceleration of the melting of the Greenland ice cap could play an important role in the future stability of ocean circulation and, hence, in the development of climate change.
Amazon rainforest locks up 11 years of CO2 emissions
(05/08/2007) The amount and distribution of above ground biomass (or the amount of carbon contained in vegetation) in the Amazon basin is largely unknown, making it difficult to estimate how much carbon dioxide is produced through deforestation and how much is sequestered through forest regrowth. To address this uncertainty, a team of scientists from Caltech, the Woods Hole Institute, and INPE (Brazil's space agency), have developed a new method to determine forest biomass using remote sensing and field plot measurements. The researchers say the work will help them better understand the role of Amazon rainforest in global climate change.
China finds 7.5 billion barrel oilfield
(05/08/2007) PetroChina, Asia's largest oil and gas producer, announced the discovery of a 7.5 billion barrel oil field off the northeast coast of China. The find, in an undersea field in Bohai Bay, is the largest in Asia in four decades and will boost China's known oil reserves by 20 percent. Nevertheless, the discovery will not be enough to offset China's oil imports, which have surged in recent years due to a booming economy and rapid adoption of automobiles.
Reps Lott and Stevens oppose fuel efficiency bill
(05/08/2007) Tuesday the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee approved a bill that would raise the passenger fleet automobile fuel standard to an average 35 miles per gallon by 2020, reports Reuters.
Massive oil palm expansion planned by Indonesia's richest man
(05/08/2007) Indonesia's richest man plans to spend $4 billion to expand his company's palm oil, energy, and pulp and paper holdings, according to a report from Reuters.
Peatlands store 100 years of CO2 emissions
(05/08/2007) The UN Convention on Climate Change is putting global climate at risk by ignoring carbon dioxide emissions from the destruction of carbon-rich peatlands in Indonesia, charged Wetlands International, a Dutch environmental group that has highlighted the climate impact of land-use change in southeast Asia.
Carbon dioxide emissions lag 25% behind 2012 targets
(05/08/2007) The world is far behind carbon dioxide emissions targets set by the Kyoto Protocol reports the Little Green Data Book 2007, an annual publication put out by the World Bank. The publication notes that global carbon dioxide emissions have risen 19 percent since 1990, more than 25 percent behind goals set forth under the Kyoto Protocol, which called for a 5.2 percent reduction from 1990 levels.
Madagascar's president calls on Adventists to be "green"
(05/08/2007) Madagascar's president Marc Ravalomanana told some 30,000 Seventh-day Adventists gathered at a church outreach event that they need to help make the country "green" again after decades of deforestation have left the Indian Ocean island nearly denuded, reports the Adventist News Network.
Deal to end destructive bottom trawling reached
(05/07/2007) Governments have reached a landmark agreement to end high seas bottom trawling in nearly a quarter of the world's oceans. Environmentalists say bottom trawling, which destroys reefs and depletes slow-growing fish species, is one of the world's most destructive fishing practices.
conservation is saving lemurs and helping people in Madagascar
(05/07/2007) Madagascar, an island nation that lies off the coast of southeastern Africa, has long been famous for its unique and diverse species of wildlife, especially lemurs--primates found nowhere else on the planet. In recent years, the island country has also become world-renowned for conservation efforts that are succeeding in spite of extraordinary pressures from a poor population that relies heavily on forest burning for basic subsistence. A large part of this success is due to the early efforts of Patricia Wright, a primatologist who has been working in the country for more than 20 years. Wright led the effort to launch the country's leading protected area and helped Madagascar become a leading global example of conservation despite its economic adversity.
ITTO has failed to end tropical forest destruction says Greenpeace
(05/07/2007) Greenpeace activists today abseiled from the top of the Crowne Plaza hotel in downtown Port Moresby, where delegates were gathering for the start of the 42nd International Tropical Timber Organization's (ITTO) committee meeting, and unfurled a banner which read 'ITTO Stop Forest Destruction'.
Ecosystems are capital assets argues report
(05/07/2007) Global ecosystems should be treated as capital assets argues a new report released today by the World Resources Institute (WRI). The new WRI report examines trends revealed in the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) by the U.N. and puts forth an agenda for business, governments, and civil society to reverse ecosystem degradation.
Tropical plants may be more adaptable to climate change
(05/07/2007) Tropical plants may be more adaptable to environmental change by extracting nitrogen from a variety of sources, reports a study published in the May 7 early online edition of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Indonesia may import timber due to supply shortage
(05/07/2007) Indonesia, the world's largest exporter of tropical timber, may need to import wood from neighbors due to supply shortages caused by a crack down on illegal logging and resource depletion, reports the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO).
Indonesia will plant 2 billion trees in 2007
(05/07/2007) Indonesia plans to rehabilitate 59.2 million hectares (146 million acres) of damaged forest throughout Indonesia, according to Malam Sambat Kaban, Indonesia's Forestry Minister.
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