conservation news and environmental science news.
Amazon to be logged sustainably says Brazil
(03/06/2006) Last week Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced a plan to allow sustainable logging across 3 percent of the Amazon rain forest. The law is aimed at undermining destructive illegal logging activities while generating revenue for forest management and protection, and income for rural Brazilians in the region who often must rely on subsistence agriculture or employment on ranches and plantations under sometimes slave-like conditions.
Congo Pygmies Losing Fight for Their Forests
(03/06/2006) Pygmy chief Mbomba Bokenu says he may soon let loggers cut his people's forests, and all he expects in return are soap and a few bags of salt.
Antarctica is melting, finds study
(03/05/2006) The Antarctic ice sheet continues to shrink according to a NASA study released last week.
World temperatures highest in 1200 years
(02/10/2006) World temperatures are higher than in any period over the last 1,200 years, according to a study published in the current issue of Science.
Volcanic eruption cut warming in 20th century
(02/09/2006) Ocean temperatures might have been warmer and sea levels would have risen higher in the 20th century had Krakatoa not erupted in 1883, said a team of scientists. According to the researchers, the release of ashes and aerosols into the upper atmosphere had a significant long-term impact on global climate.
Largest solar power plant in a generation to be built in Nevada
(02/09/2006) The groundbreaking for the largest solar thermal power plant to be built in 15 years takes place this weekend in Boulder City, Nevada. The 64MW Nevada Solar One power plant will generate enough power to meet the electricity needs of about 40,000 households and follows in the steps of the 354MW solar thermal power plants located in California's Mojave Desert. While California's solar plants have generated billions of kilowatt hours of electricity for the past two decades, the Nevada Solar One plant will use new technologies to capture even more energy from the sun
Polar bear may be listed as endangered species
(02/09/2006) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that it is considering a petition to list the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Scientists believe polar bear populations are increasingly in danger due to the effects of climate change, specifically receding ice and warming temperatures.
Medicinal value of chocolate explored by scientists
(02/09/2006) The cocoa plant (Theobroma cacao) holds tremendous potential to impact public health and improve the socioeconomic and ecological landscape of the countries where it's grown, according to leading world scientists who convened at the National Academies today to examine the latest scientific advances in cocoa research.
The Greening of Wal-Mart?
(02/08/2006) While Wal-Mart is a favorite target for a broad spectrum of activist groups, the world's largest retailer has taken a number of steps in recent months to improve the environmental sustainability of its operations.
Lake Victoria illegally drained for electricity in Uganda
(02/08/2006) Lake Victoria, Africa's largest freshwater lake, is being covertly drained for hydroelectric power according to an article published in the Feb. 11 New Scientist magazine. The report, written by Fred Pearce, says that Uganda is violating a 50-year-old international agreement designed to protect the lake. The following is a release from the New Scientist.
Pictures of newly discovered T-Rex dinosaur
(02/08/2006) A team of scientists led by James M. Clark, Ronald B. Weintraub Associate Professor of Biology at The George Washington University, and Xu Xing of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, have discovered a new genus and species of dinosaur that is the oldest known and most primitive tyrannosauroid.
Microfinance key to alleviating poverty in forest communities
(02/08/2006) Giving poor forest-dwellers access to basic financial services is a key element in helping them improve their living standards, according to a new FAO publication.
Chinese invaders threaten Britain
(02/08/2006) An exotic type of crab is spreading at an alarming rate throughout Britain's coast and rivers, a new study shows. The Chinese mitten crab (pictured), brought to Britain during the last century in ships' ballast water, could cause devastating environmental problems if populations are not monitored and controlled, say the study's authors.
Climate change increases California flood, drought risk
(02/07/2006) Climate change may increase the risk of winter floods and summer water shortages--even within the same year--says new research by scientists Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The study, which appeared in the January 27 edition of the journal Geophysical Research Letters shows that global warming is likely to change river flows in ways that may result in both increased flood risk and water shortages.
Pictures of new species discovered in New Guinea
(02/07/2006) A team of scientists led by conservation International (CI) found dozens of new species in a survey of New Guinea's Foja Mountains. The December 2005 trip by a team of U.S., Indonesian, and Australian scientists discovered new species of frogs, butterflies, plants, and an orange-faced honeyeater, the first new bird from the island of New Guinea in more than 60 years.
Fungus may be devastating amphibian populations worldwide
(02/06/2006) Her most likely culprit is a hugely infectious disease caused by a fungus. In just four months -- from mid-September of 2004 to mid-January of 2005 -- Lips and her colleagues saw more than half the amphibian population of El Cope, Panama, sicken and die from this disease.
Scientists discover dozens of new species in New Guinea
(02/06/2006) A team of scientists led by conservation International (CI) found dozens of new species in a survey of New Guinea's Foja Mountains. The discoveries were made under CI's Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) which deploys expert scientists to poorly understood regions in order to quickly assess the biological diversity of an area. The conservation organization makes RAP results immediately available to local and international decision makers to help support conservation action and biodiversity protection.
Barges could protect Europe from climate change deep freeze
(02/06/2006) It is ironic that one consequence of global warming is that Europe might plunge into a deep freeze. This possibility stimulated an unusual research project at the University of Alberta.
Malaria linked to Amazon deforestation
(02/02/2006) A pair studies in the Amazon rainforest suggest a link between deforestation and an increased risk of malaria. The first study, conducted in the Peruvian Amazon and published in January's issue of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, found that malaria epidemics in the region were correlated with deforestation. The later research, released in last week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that forest clearing around settlements in the Brazilian Amazon increases the short-term risk of malaria by creating areas of standing water in which mosquitoes can lay their eggs.
African carnivores under threat -- top 20 at risk listed
(02/01/2006) It may still be king of the beasts, but the African lion's kingdom is dwindling, according to a new report released by the New York-based Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) that says these emblematic big cats have disappeared from 82 percent of their historic distribution over the past several decades. The 200-page report looked at the conservation status of the 20 largest species of African carnivores and examined priorities to help ensure that they persist on the continent.
Great Barrier Reef in Trouble says Australian Scientist
(02/01/2006) Australia's Great Barrier Reef may be at risk of one of its worst coral bleaching event on record warned a leading Australian scientist Tuesday.
New tropical timber pact takes aims at illegal logging
(02/01/2006) Late last week, countries that export and export tropical timber reached a 10-year agreement to help promote the sustainable development of forests while fighting illegal logging.
Biofuels can replace about 30 percent of fuel needs
(02/01/2006) With world oil demand growing, supplies dwindling and the potential for weather- and conflict-related supply interruptions, other types of fuels and technologies are needed to help pick up the slack.
Investors with $31 trillion pressure firms on climate change
(02/01/2006) A group of 211 institutional investors with assets of $31 trillion under management is writing to 1,933 of the world's largest public companies asking for the disclosure of investment-relevant information concerning their greenhouse gas emissions.
In search of Bigfoot, scientists may uncover unknown biodiversity in Malaysia
(02/01/2006) Malaysian scientists are scouring the rainforests of Johor state in search of the legendary ape-man Bigfoot, supposedly sighted late last year. But they are more likely to encounter some less fantastic but unique creatures that dwell in these still unexplored ecosystems.
World's smallest fish title in dispute
(01/30/2006) Researchers dispute last week's claim of world's smallest fish in Sumatra. Evidence of an even smaller fish--a species of marine anglerfish 20 percent smaller than the carp found in southeast Asia--is presented by a University of Washington professor of aquatic and fisheries sciences. In a release from the University of Washington, professor Pietsch describes the tiny anglerfish, Photocorynus spiniceps, found in the Philippines.
Hot spring bacteria have two metabolic pathways
(01/30/2006) Scientists at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Plant Biology have found that photosynthetic bacteria living in scalding Yellowstone hot springs have two radically different metabolic identities.
Without recycling, world metals face depletion finds Yale study
(01/26/2006) Researchers studying supplies of copper, zinc and other metals have determined that these finite resources, even if recycled, may not meet the needs of the global population forever, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Picture of the world's smallest fish
(01/26/2006) Scientists have found the smallest known fish in the peat swamps of Sumatra, an island in Indonesia, according to new research.
Global warming may cause 11-inch rise in sea levels by 2100
(01/26/2006) Global warming will cause sea levels to rise up to 34 centimeters (11 inches) by the end of the century, causing increased flooding, worsening the impact of storms, damaging low-lying ecosystems, and accelerating coastal erosion, according to a new study by Australian researchers.
Mother nature encourages diversity in rainforest trees
(01/26/2006) Older forests have a greater diversity of trees than younger forests according to research published in Friday's issue of the journal Science. The study -- conducted by 33 ecologists from 12 countries -- found that nature encourages diversity by selecting for less common trees as the trees mature, indicating that diversity has ecological importance to tropical forests.
Ethanol more energy-efficient than oil, finds study
(01/26/2006) Using ethanol -- alcohol produced from corn or other plants -- instead of gasoline is more energy-efficient that oil say researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
Parks, indian reserves slow Amazon deforestation
(01/25/2006) A new study shows that parks and indigenous reserves in the Amazon help slow deforestation.
Venezuela plans 5000-mile pipeline across Amazon rain forest
(01/25/2006) Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president, announced a plan to build a massive gas pipeline that would carry natural gas from the oil rich state 5,000 miles south. Environmentalists fear that the project could damage the Amazon rain forest by polluting waterways and creating roads that would attract developers and poor farmers, while analysts question the wisdom and viability of the plan which may cost $20-50 billion depending on who makes the estimate.
Deforestation rates jump in Uganda and Burundi, fall in Rwanda
(01/25/2006) Tropical deforestation rates have skyrocketed in Uganda and Burundi, while declining significantly in Rwanda according to mongabay.com's analysis of data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
Citigroup to cut carbon emissions by 10%
(01/25/2006) Demonstrating its ongoing commitment to environmental and social issues globally, Citigroup Inc. today announced a commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions on a global basis by 10% by 2011.
Number of hungry Africans doubles in a decade
(01/24/2006) number of Africans requiring food assistance has doubled in the past decade due to crop failures, drought, failing governments, civil strife, and the impact of AIDS, said the United Nations World Food Programme. The World Food Programme says it will to provide food assistance this year to some 43 million people across Africa, including some 35 million in need of emergency food aid, for a total of over $1.8 billion.
Coral reefs and mangroves have high economic value
(01/24/2006) Protecting coral reefs and mangrove forests makes economic sense according to a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The report argues that conserving these ecosystems for the services they provide--from fisheries protection to erosion control to a source for medical compounds--is cost-effective relative to destroying them and substituting their role with man-made structures.
2005 was the warmest year on record
(01/24/2006) A new study by NASA says 2005 was the warmest year in at least a century, surpassing 1998. The five warmest years over the last century occurred since 1997: 2005, then 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004.
Study finds deforestation has pushed orangutans to brink of extinction
(01/24/2006) A three year genetic study by wildlife geneticists from Cardiff School of Biosciences has shown a population collapse in the Bornean orang-utan.
Indigenous Amazonians Display Core Understanding Of Geometry
(01/23/2006) Researchers in France and at Harvard University have found that isolated indigenous peoples deep in the Amazon readily grasp basic concepts of geometry such as points, lines, parallelism and right angles, and can use distance, angle and other relationships in maps to locate hidden objects. The results suggest that geometry is a core set of intuitions present in all humans, regardless of their language or schooling.
Sustainable farm practices improve Third World food production
(01/23/2006) Crop yields on farms in developing countries that used sustainable agriculture rose nearly 80 percent in four years, according to a study scheduled for publication in the Feb. 15 issue of the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science and Technology.
Goodbye to West Africa's Rainforests
(01/22/2006) West Africa's once verdant and extensive rainforests are now a historical footnote. Gone to build ships and furniture, feed hungry mouths, and supply minerals and gems to the West, the band of tropical forests that once extended from Guinea to Cameroon are virtually gone. The loss of West Africa's rainforests have triggered a number of environmental problems that have contributed to social unrest and exacerbated poverty across the region.
Adventures in following Lonely Planet through Israel
(01/18/2006) Travel writer Sydney Palmer recounts her adventures in following the Lonely Planet guide through Israel .
Americans care less about the environment finds study
(01/18/2006) Public support for environmental protection in the United States as a federal government priority has dropped substantially since 2001 according to new analysis.
Don't blame plants for global warming
(01/18/2006) A week after announcing their surprising discovery that plants release 10 to 30 percent of the world's methane—a potent greenhouse gas—researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics warn that plants should not be blamed for recent global warming.
Madagascar establishes new park system to protect lemurs, benefit people
(01/17/2006) Madagascar has created a new agency for managing the parks of the Indian Ocean island nation. The System of Protected Areas of Madagascar, or SAPM, simplifies the legal process used to create a protected areas, while providing for flexibility for local people to earn a living from conservation activities.
Plants face extinction threat due to lack of sex
(01/16/2006) The decline of birds, bees and other pollinators may be putting plants at risk of extinction according to a new study.
California adopts massive solar energy project
(01/13/2006) The California Public Utilities Commission approved a $2.9 billion program to make the state one of the largest producers of solar power in the world.
China and India Key to Ecological Future of the World, Says Report
(01/12/2006) Earth lacks the energy, arable land and water to enable the fast-growing economies of China and India to attain Western levels of resource consumption according to a new report released by the Worldwatch Institute .
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