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Uganda abandons rainforest logging for palm oil

(05/27/2007) The Ugandan government abandoned plans to log thousands of hectares of rainforest on Bugala island in Lake Victoria for a palm oil plantation, Reuters reported Saturday.


Army ants form living pothole plugs to speed up delivery

(05/27/2007) Certain army ants in the rainforests of Central and South America conduct spectacular predatory raids containing up to 200,000 foraging ants. Remarkably, some ants use their bodies to plug potholes in the trail leading back to the nest, making a flatter surface so that prey can be delivered to the developing young at maximum speed.


Chinese support shark conservation, but still demand shark fin

(05/25/2007) There is growing public support in China for shark conservation measures, but little understanding of the role of shark finning in declining shark populations, reveals a survey by WildAid, an environmental group.


EU will demand sustainable biofuel production

(05/24/2007) The European Commission is planning new criteria to ensure that biofuels are produced in an environmentally-friendly manner, reports Reuters. The move comes a month after the Dutch issued voluntary guidelines for biofuel production.


Prehistoric bear-like beast discovered in North Dakota

(05/24/2007) The skeleton of a 60-million year old bear-like beat was discovered at an oil drilling site in the North Dakota Badlands, reports the Associated Press.


Possible baby dinosaur tracks discovered near Denver

(05/24/2007) A researcher may have discovered incredibly rare dinosaur tracks of baby stegosaurs near downtown Denver, reports the Denver Post.


Dinosaurs could swim

(05/24/2007) Researchers found evidence that terrestrial dinosaurs were capable of swimming. Examining fossilized footmarks left on the floor of an ancient lake bed in northern Spain 125 million years ago, scientists led by Loic Costeur of the Universite de Nantes in France said the tracks were left by a swimming meat-eating dinosaur.


Extortion or global warming mitigation?

(05/24/2007) Marketwatch reported more details on Ecuador's proposal to forgo development of Amazonian oil fields in exchange for payments from industrialized nations. Last month Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said that if the South American country is compensated with half of the forecasted lost revenues, it will not exploit oil in Yasuni National Park, setting aside the area for wildlife and indigenous people. Correa said the cost would be about $350 million per year.


Scientists find possible cure for global amphibian-killing disease

(05/23/2007) Scientists have discovered a possible treatment for the fungal disease that has killed millions of amphibians worldwide. Presenting Wednesday at the General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Toronto, Professor Reid N. Harris at James Madison University reported that Pedobacter cryoconitis, a bacteria found naturally on the skin of red-backed salamanders, wards off the deadly chytridiomycosis fungus, an infection cited as a contributing factor to the global decline in amphibians observed over the past three decades.


First U.S. offshore wind farm wins preliminary approval

(05/23/2007) The first offshore wind farm in the United States won preliminary approval Tuesday from a panel of Delaware state officials. According to published reports, four Delaware state agencies ordered Delmarva Power, an electric utility, to buy wind-generated power from Bluewater Wind, the wind farm's developer.


Experts: Borneo in urgent need of protection

(05/23/2007) A prominent group of 1500 scientists in over 70 countries have called for the urgent conservation of Borneo's forests, which are fast-disappearing on the southeast Asian island due to logging, fires, and conversion for oil palm plantations.


Uganda rainforest reserve safe, for now

(05/23/2007) Uganda's cabinet has suspended a proposal to allow a sugarcane grower to convert part of Mabria rainforest reserve for a plantation, reports Reuters. The plan, a pet project of president Yoweri Museveni, faced widespread opposition that was capped by deadly riots.


Shark has virgin birth

(05/23/2007) A captive hammerhead shark gave birth to a pup without mating, reported researchers on Wednesday. It is the first time that parthenogenesis, as virginal birth as called, has been observed in a shark.


Intel pushes its environmental initiatives

(05/23/2007) Intel Corp. said is removing lead from its next generation of computer chips. Instead the company will use an alloy made up of tin, silver, and copper.


China city officials to get $258,000 bonus for environmental gains

(05/23/2007) Shanxi Province in China will pay city government officials 2 million yuan ($258,000) each if they are able to pull their cities out of the ranking of China's five most polluted cities, reports China state media. Cities that see their air quality improve 10 spots in the national ranking system, world reward city heads 2 million yuan ($258,000).


Global warming may worsen infectious disease

(05/22/2007) Outbreaks of infectious disease will likely worsen due to global warming, warn scientists at the 107th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Toronto.


Photo of rare Indonesian coelacanth

(05/22/2007) Reuters has published photos taken of the rare coelacanth captured off the northern coast of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on May 19, 2007. The coelacanth is fish species that dates back more than 400 million years in the fossil record.


IBM launches "green" chip

(05/22/2007) IBM is touting the "green" credentials of its newest and most powerful microprocessor, the "Power6."


conservationists team with justice dept to fingerprint carnivores

(05/22/2007) A new study in the May issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management reports that scientists from the New York State Museum, Wildlife conservation Society and other groups have teamed up with the New York State Department of Criminal Justice to developed a new technique that uses fingerprints to track the fisher -- an elusive member of the weasel family, and the only carnivore species known to have unique fingerprints.


NASA issues guide on global warming

(05/22/2007) NASA issued a guide to global warming on its Earth Observatory web site, possibly marking a shift for the agency, which in recent years has often skirted use of the term "global warming", famously censoring comments on the subject by James E. Hansen, the director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.


Sugar could power hydrogen fuel cars says VTU researcher

(05/22/2007) Sugary carbohydrates could be used to produce low-cost hydrogen to power fuel cells report researchers writing in the May 23 issue of PLoS ONE, the online, open-access journal from the Public Library of Science ( www.plosone.org)


Plan to bring lions, elephants to U.S. excludes Africans

(05/22/2007) Writing in the June 2007 Scientific American one of the scientists who helped put forth a radical proposal to reintroduce historical megafauna -- including camels, cheetah, elephants, and lions -- revisits the scheme, reviewing its basic points and refuting some of the criticism the plan received from the general public and other conservation biologists.


Saving big cats depends on science, practical interventions

(05/21/2007) Big cats are some of Earth's largest and most threatened predators. Long persecuted as perceived threats to livestock and humans, hunted for their skins and purported medicinal values, and losing critical habitat to deforestation and conversion for agriculture, big cat populations have dwindled around the world for the past century. Given these trends, it should come as no surprise that big cats have become the focus of conservation efforts. Not only are large predators often the most vulnerable to human pressures and the first to disappear from ecosystems, but efforts to conserve them effectively help protect thousands of other species that share their habitat. At the forefront of these efforts in Dr. Luke Hunter, a biologist with the Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) where he heads their Great Cats Program. In a May 2007 interview with mongabay.com, Hunter discussed strategies for conserving carnivores and offered insight for students interested in pursuing careers in conservation science.


Photos of newborn baby giraffe at the Bronx Zoo

(05/21/2007) A baby giraffe born October 30, 2006 at the Bronx Zoo in New York is doing well reports the Wildlife conservation Society (WCS). The youngster is the second offspring of Margaret Sukari, a 12-year old giraffe that lives on the African Plains' Giraffe Lawn at the zoo.


Viagra helps hamsters recover from jet lag

(05/21/2007) A small dose of Viagra (sildenafil) can help hamsters recover more quickly from a six-hour advance in its daily cycle, report researchers in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


CO2 emissions growth surges as global energy efficiency falls

(05/21/2007) Worldwide growth in carbon dioxide emissions has doubled since the close of the 1990s, reports a study published in the early on-line edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings suggest that the global economy is more dependent on fossil fuels than ever before, with carbon intensity--the amount of carbon needed to produce a unit of economic output--decreasing after a period of increases.


Congo guerillas threaten to kill rare gorillas

(05/21/2007) Fresh off killing a park ranger, a group of Congo guerillas said they will slaughter highly endangered mountain gorillas in Congo's Virunga National Park if their demands for immunity aren't met, says WildlifeDirect, a wildlife conservation organization active in the region.


Rare coelacanth captured in Indonesia

(05/20/2007) An Indonesian fisherman caught a coelacanth, a species so ancient it is called a 'living fossil', off the coast of Sulawesi, Indonesia, according to the Associated Press. The fisherman managed to keep the specimen alive for 17 hours in a pool before it expired.


Improving energy efficiency will require overcoming market distortions

(05/20/2007) In a new study, McKinsey&Company, one the world's most respected management consulting firms, reports that the world should be able to cut energy demand growth by half over the next 15 years without compromising economic growth. However it says that market forces along will not drive the transition--targeted policies will be needed to overcome present market failures and policy distortions.


High corn price mean pigs eat candy bars, french fries

(05/20/2007) Near record high prices for corn mean that farmers are feeding their pigs people food according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.


Abalone poaching drives meth drug trade in South Africa

(05/20/2007) Abalone poaching helps drive the methamphetamine trade in South Africa, reports an article in The Wall Street Journal.


U.S. ethanol may drive Amazon deforestation

(05/17/2007) Ethanol production in the United States may be contributing to deforestation in the Brazilian rainforest said a leading expert on the Amazon. Dr. Daniel Nepstad of the Woods Hole Research Center said the growing demand for corn ethanol means that more corn and less soy is being planted in the United States. Brazil, the world's largest producer of soybeans, is more than making up for shortfall, by clearing new land for soy cultivation. While only a fraction of this cultivation currently occurs in the Amazon rainforest, production in neighboring areas like the cerrado grassland helps drive deforestation by displacing small farmers and cattle producers, who then clear rainforest land for subsistence agriculture and pasture.


16 cities to get energy-saving retrofits

(05/17/2007) Sixteen cities will get financing to make buildings "greener" through environmental renovations, former President Clinton announced Wednesday at the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit in New York, where mayors and local government officials are meeting to discuss strategies to flight global warming. The green building initiatives will cut carbon emissions and reduce waste.


Southern Ocean may not absorb more CO2 emissions

(05/17/2007) Climate change has weakened one the Earth's largest natural carbon 'sinks' raising the possibility that increased warming could reduce the capacity of some systems to absorb carbon dioxide, reports a study published this week in the journal Science.


Coral diseases largely result from human activities

(05/17/2007) The apparent increase in infectious disease among coral is likely the result of environmental change and, as such, researchers should focus on understanding the relationship between coral diseases and environmental changes, rather than the diseases themselves, argues a paper published in the August 2007 issue of the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.


Did asteroid wipe out America's first people?

(05/17/2007) An asteroid may have caused the near-extinction of North America's first humans, argues a series of studies to be presented May 24, at the American Geophysical Union's meeting in Acapulco, Mexico. Nature reports that while the theory has been discounted in the past, new research suggests that an comet or asteroid could have exploded above or on the northern ice cap some 13,000 years ago, plunging regional temperatures to plunge for the next 1000 years. The theory would also help explain the disappearance of the continent's large mammals, including woolly mammoths, American lions, and the saber tooth tiger.


Deep-sea mining threatens fragile marine ecosystems

(05/17/2007) Undersea habitats supporting rare and potentially valuable organisms are at risk from seafloor mining scheduled to begin within this decade, says a new study led by a University of Toronto Mississauga geologist.


Ancient Amazonian technology could save the world

(05/17/2007) Terra preta, the ancient charcoal-based soil used by ancient Amazonians to create permanently fertile agricultural lands in the rainforest, is getting serious consideration as a means to fight global warming and meet domestic energy demand, reports an article in Scientific American.


US tropical hardwood imports fall 24% since 2002

(05/16/2007) The United States is importing considerable less tropical hardwood according to the International Tropical Timber Organization's (ITTO) Tropical Timber Market Report.


Peru makes progress on illegal mahogany logging

(05/16/2007) Last month Inrena, Peru's environmental agency, implemented regulations for mahogany loggers that will now require forest concession holders to replant ten times the logged amount of trees. Overall, the initiative calls for the production and establishment of one million of mahogany plantlets over 5 years.


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.


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