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Forest protection best way to control rats finds study

(04/13/2006) The most cost-effective way to stop non-native rats and mongoose from decimating highly endangered species on larger tropical islands is not by intensive trapping, but instead by preserving the forest blocks where wildlife live, according to a study by the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) and other groups.

Fish Flow with the Floods in the Amazon

(04/12/2006) The entire life of the Tambaqui, also called a Pacu, follows the annual rise and fall of the floodwaters. The young are born in the river channel and are carried by the high water into the floodplain, where they live in the floating meadows and eat grass seeds. The fish use their keen senses of smell and vision to find their favorite fruits and seeds in the forest. Tambaqui are unique in their love for rubber tree seeds. They crush the hard seed coating with large molar-like teeth and swallow the seed whole. This does not destroy the seed, in fact, the process is a necessary step in germination, or preparing the seed to sprout. Later, the seed will grow into a rubber tree.

Plants may absorb less carbon dioxide than initially believed

(04/12/2006) The world's land plants will probably not be able to absorb as great a share of the rising atmospheric carbon dioxide as some models have predicted, according to a new study led by Peter B. Reich, professor in the department of forest resources at the University of Minnesota. The work showed that limitations on the availability of nitrogen, a necessary nutrient, will likely translate to limitations on the ability of plants to absorb extra carbon dioxide.

Carbon trading could save rainforests

(04/12/2006) A new rainforest conservation initiative by developing nations offers great promise to help slow tropical deforestation rates says William Laurance, a leading rainforest biologist from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, in an article appearing Friday in New Scientist.

Rainforest education site goes online; resources for students, teachers, and journalists

(04/12/2006), a leading environmental-science web site, announced today a revised version of a rainforest site, that has been a major resource on such forests for teachers, children, and researchers. " is dedicated to providing necessary communication to those interested in the fate of our rainforests," Ira Rubinoff, director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), said. "It has a scientific base that should provide reliable information to all who share an interest in the future quality of life on this planet." The revised site includes environmental profiles and deforestation statistics for more than 60 countries, and features thousands of rainforest wildlife photos from around the world. Additionally, the site includes a section geared towards children, with learning activities and educational resources for teachers.

Automakers, oil companies bicker over responsibility for high gas prices

(04/12/2006) According to The Wall Street Journal automakers and oil companies over who is to blame for high oil prices. In an unusually public exchange, Jason Vines, vice president of communications for DaimlerChrysler's U.S. arm criticized Exxon Mobil Corp, the world's most profitable company, in a blunt blog posting.

Rivers are the highways of the Amazon

(04/11/2006) Rivers are the highways of the Amazon. Instead of driving cars and trucks, people use use boats to travel from place to place. Launchas are large boats powered by strong engines that travel up and down all the major rivers in the Amazon Basin. We have spent the last two day nights and two night on a launcha that is traveling up the Amazon River at about 10 miles an hour.

Brazil closes down illegal timber operation, seizes wood

(04/11/2006) Brazilian environmental authorities closed down an illegal logging operation in the Amazon according to a report from the Associated Press. An agent with Ipaam, the environmental authority of Amazonas state, told Michael Astor of the Associated Press that the Norte Wood logging company was operating without a license in town of Novo Aripuana. The agency made one arrest and seized 500 cubic meters of wood in the raid.

Nitrogen emissions could sink plant species in biodiversity hotspots

(04/11/2006) Rising nitrogen emissions from human activities -- such as fossil fuel burning and livestock farming -- may soon threaten plant species in some of the world's most biodiverse places according to researchers at the Universities of Sheffield and York.

Climate change is serious threat to biodiversity

(04/11/2006) The Earth could see massive waves of species extinctions around the world if global warming continues unabated, according to a new study published in the scientific journal conservation Biology.

Damaged Caribbean reefs under attack

(04/10/2006) After experiencing one of the most devastating coral bleaching events on record during September and October of 2005, reefs in the Caribbean are under attack from deadly diseases according to Reuters.

Palo Alto leads United States in renewable energy use

(04/10/2006) Palo Alto has the highest percentage of renewable energy users in the country according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) 2005 Top Ten list.

Forest fires burn in Central America

(04/10/2006) Hundreds of fires are burning across Central America according to NASA satellite images and reports from the ground. Fires have been detected in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

Long-term cooling driven by Antarctica, not glaciers in Northern Hemisphere

(04/10/2006) Researchers from Brown University have reconstructed 5-million years of climate using tiny marine fossils found in mud off the coast of South America. The climate record unearthed by the Brown team is the longest continuous record of ocean temperatures on Earth.

Exploring the Flooded Streets of Iquitos, Peru

(04/09/2006) Belen is on the edge of the large city of Iquitos. Belen is unique because much of the city is covered in water for most of the year. From January to May the streets, soccer fields, and gardens are underwater. Many of the houses are built on rafts that float up and down as the river rises and falls. Other houses are built on stilts so that the water does not cover the house when the water rises. The floating city was full of life: people paddling canoes, children swimming and laughing, people going about their daily lives in houses floating on the Amazon River.

Ants are 140-168 million years old

(04/07/2006) Ants are considerably older than previously believed, having originated 140 to 168 million years ago, according to new research on the cover of this week'apos;s issue of the journal Science. But these resilient insects, now found in terrestrial ecosystems the world over, apparently began to diversify only about 100 million years ago in concert with the flowering plants, the scientists say

Greenpeace accuses McDonald's of destroying the Amazon rainforest

(04/07/2006) After a year-long investigation, environmental group Greenpeace has accused McDonald's and other western firms of contributing to deforestation in the Amazon. Greenpeace's report, published today, alleges that much of the soy-based animal feed used by fast-food chains to fatten chickens is derived from soybeans grown in the Amazon Basin of Brazil. Thanks to a new variety of soybean developed by Brazilian scientists to flourish in rainforest climate, soybean production has boomed in the region in recent years as firms have converted extensive areas of rainforest and cerrado, a savanna-like ecosystem, into industrial soybean farms. High soybean prices have also served as an impetus to expanding soybean cultivation and Brazil is on the verge of supplanting the United States as the world's leading exporter of soybeans.

Tropical deforestation rates to slow in future - new study

(04/06/2006) As human population growth rates diminish in coming years deforestation rates are expected to slow according to research published in Biotropica online. The report offers hope that reduced rates of forest conversion can stave off a future extinction crisis in the tropics, where most of the world's biodiversity is found. Scientists estimate that as much as 50 percent of the planet's terrestrial biodiversity is found in tropical rainforests distributed around the world but the United Nations recently warned that the current rate of extinction is running 100 to 1,000 times the normal background rate.

Newly discovered rodent not so new or rare after all

(04/05/2006) The newly discovered species of rodent found in a marketplace in Central Laos turns out to not be so new or so rare after all. The Laotian rock rat (Laonastes aenigmamus), as the long-whiskered and stubby-legged rodent is now known, is a species believed to have been extinct for 11 million years. It is a member of a family that, until now, was only known from the fossil record. The species was first described by Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) researcher Dr. Robert Timmins after it was found on a table at a hunter's market in central Laos. In a return trip to the market, WCS conservationist Peter Clyne found the rats to be quite common, photographing several specimens. According to Clyne, the rat is commonly brought in by hunters and eaten by local people.

The Adventure Begins: Wilderness Classroom in Peru

(04/05/2006) We boarded a plane in Chicago at 6 pm on Saturday energized and excited about our trip to Peru. When our plane landed in Lima early on Sunday morning, we were very tired and ready for bed. I think traveling 500 miles per hour at 35,000 feet that makes it hard for me to sleep on airplanes. I think Anna and Patrick were having the same problem.

Giant "Turkeysaurus" dinosaur found in Utah

(04/05/2006) Scientists from the University of Utah and the Utah Museum of Natural History have discovered the remains of a new bird-like, meat-eating dinosaur in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM), southern Utah. Although represented only by the fossilized remains of hand and foot bones, comparisons with more complete skeletons found in Asia demonstrate that this animal was about seven feet tall when standing upright. Discovery of this Utah giant, which is much larger than its counterparts in Canada and the northern US, nearly doubles the documented range of these dinosaurs in North America, and demonstrates that they roamed much farther south than previously thought.

Colombia's indigenous communities under threat warns UN agency

(04/05/2006) A humanitarian emergency is looming among Colombia's indigenous communities, with some threatened with extinction in the South American country's decades-long civil conflict, as irregular armed groups encroach upon their land, even torturing and killing their leaders, the United Nations refugee agency warned today.

Report makes case for regulating carbon dioxide emissions

(04/05/2006) A new report evaluating air pollution trends at the nation's 100 largest electric power producers shows that emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) have fallen markedly in recent years, but carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased and will likely spike in coming years. The report comes amid increasing public concern and intensifying pressure for limits on heat-trapping emissions from U.S. power plants and rising investor concern about companies' long-term financial risk from climate change. In the absence of federal regulations, business uncertainty is growing as more U.S. states and regions move to enact their own limits on CO2 emissions from power plants. The U.S. government has opted for voluntary controls on carbon dioxide, but last year the U.S. Senate adopted a resolution calling for mandatory emission limits.

Recent Coral Bleaching at Great Barrier Reef

(04/05/2006) An international team of scientists are working at a rapid pace to study environmental conditions behind the fast-acting and widespread coral bleaching currently plaguing Australia's Great Barrier Reef. NASA's satellite data supply scientists with near-real-time sea surface temperature and ocean color data to give them faster than ever insight into the impact coral bleaching can have on global ecology. Australia's Great Barrier Reef is a massive marine habitat system made up of 2,900 reefs spanning over 600 continental islands. Though coral reefs exist around the globe, researchers actually consider this network of reefs to be the center of the world's marine biodiversity, playing a critical role in human welfare, climate, and economics. Coral reefs are a multi-million dollar recreational destinations, and the Great Barrier Reef is an important part of Australia's economy.

United States and Indonesia to fight illegal logging

(04/05/2006) The United States and Indonesia today agreed to fight illegal logging in some of the world's most diverse rainforests. Indonesian Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu and Chief of the US Trade Office (USTR) Robert Portman said the two countries will coordinate efforts of protect Indonesia's forests which have been significantly degraded and destroyed by the illicit timber trade. While Indonesia houses the most extensive rainforest cover in all of Asia, its natural forest area is rapidly being reduced by logging--most of which is illegal. Between 1990 and 2005 the country lost more than 28 million hectares of forest, including 21.7 million hectares of virgin forest, according to data from the United Nations.

Picture of ancient missing link between fish and land animals

(04/05/2006) Paleontologists have discovered fossils of a species that provides the missing evolutionary link between fish and the first animals that walked out of water onto land about 375 million years ago. The newly found species, Tiktaalik roseae, has a skull, a neck, ribs and parts of the limbs that are similar to four-legged animals known as tetrapods, as well as fish-like features such as a primitive jaw, fins and scales. These fossils, found on Ellesmere Island in Arctic Canada, are the most compelling examples yet of an animal that was at the cusp of the fish-tetrapod transition. The new find is described in two related research articles highlighted on the cover of the April 6, 2006, issue of Nature.

California plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions

(04/04/2006) California plans to introduce legislation that will impose binding limiting on future greenhouse gas emissions. The state aims to cut current levels of emissions 10 percent by 2020, to bring pollution in line with 1990 levels. It would become the first state to implement mandatory controls on greenhouse gasses.

Prairies at risk from climate change, drought, human activities

(04/03/2006) The Canadian prairies are facing an unprecedented water crisis due to a combination of climate warming, increase in human activity and historic drought, says new research by the University of Alberta's Dr. David Schindler, one of the world's leading environmental scientists/

Deep-Sea Fish Populations Boom Over the Last 15 Years, New Scripps Study Shows

(04/03/2006) Scientists make progress toward understanding mysteries surrounding animals that live in the dark recesses of the oceans.

More carcinogens allowed into air under secret new EPA rule

(04/03/2006) A secret proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency, so controversial that it has provoked strong internal dissent, would weaken nearly 100 toxic air pollution standards and allow industrial plants across the country to emit significantly greater amount of toxins, according to a draft rule obtained by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Climate change threatens coldwater reefs

(04/03/2006) Increasing amounts of atmospheric carbon dioxide, driven by the burning of fossil fuels, are dissolving into the oceans, causing them to become slightly more acidic. This change in seawater chemistry could harm deep-sea calcifying animals like corals.

Taking Care of Business: Diapers Go Green

(04/02/2006) Every year some 20 billion disposable diapers are dumped into landfills throughout the United States, generating approximately 3.5 million tons of waste which can take 500 years to biodegrade. Besides creating huge amounts of trash, most disposables are made from materials whitened with chlorine in a process that produces dangerous toxins such as dioxin, furans and other organic chlorines. Cloth diapers--often touted as environmentally superior to disposables--have drawbacks as well, requiring large amounts of water and pesticides, in addition to going through a similar bleaching process. So what's the ecologically responsible alternative? Well, it may come from the land down under. An Australian couple has developed a diaper that is not only biodegradable but serves as a benchmark for green design in that it gives more to the environment than it takes. "gDiapers", as the product is known, was recently awarded the prestigious "Cradle to Cradle Design Certification Award" from MBDC, a design consulting organization that stresses green design. The diaper is the first packaged consumer product to be so honored.

Insects worth $57 billion to US economy

(04/01/2006) A new study says insects are worth at least $57 billion to the American economy. In the April 2006 issue of BioScience, John E. Losey of Cornell University and Mace Vaughan of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate conservation estimate the value of ecological services provided by insects. Looking at just four services--dung burial, control of crop pests, pollination, and wildlife nutrition--Losey and Vaughan calculate that the annual value of insects in these roles is at least $57 billion in the United States.

Pacific Ocean getting warmer and more acidic

(03/31/2006) The Pacific Ocean is getting warmer and more acidic, while the amount of oxygen is decreasing, due to increased absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide say scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and the University of Washington.

Shahtoosh becomes illegal as Tibetan antelope is protected

(03/30/2006) The Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife conservation Society today applauded a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Tibetan antelope, also known as chiru, as an endangered species. Through a series of expeditions to China's windswept Chang Tang Reserve over the past two decades, WCS had played a key role in sounding the alarm about the dramatic decline of this elegant animal due to poaching.

Does tropical biodiversity increase during global warming?

(03/30/2006) Forest fragmentation may cause biodiversity loss lasting millions of years according to a new study published in the March 31, 2006 issue of the journal Science. Using cores drilled through 5 kilometers of rock in eastern Colombia and western Venezuela, Carlos Jaramillo of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama and a team of researchers derived a fossil pollen record for a 72 million-year period with samples ranging from 10 to 82 million years ago.

Air above Antarctica warming rapidly

(03/30/2006) Winter air temperatures over Antarctica have risen by more than 2C in the last 30 years, according to a study by scientists from the British Antarctic Survey. The increase Antarctic temperature is three times larger than that observed globally over the same time period.

Past mass extinction events linked to climate change

(03/29/2006) Most mass extinctions were caused by gradual climate change rather than catastrophic asteroid impacts says Peter Ward, a paleontologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, in an upcoming article in New Scientist magazine.

Lack of oxygen triggers sex imbalance in fish

(03/29/2006) Oceanic oxygen depletion resulting from agricultural run-off and pollution can trigger sex imbalance in fish and pose an extinction risk according to a new study published by researchers in Hong Kong. The finding raises new concerns about "dead zones",expanses of water so devoid of oxygen that most sea life cannot survive.

Borneo photos

(03/28/2006), a leading rainforest information web site, has launched a new section featuring photographs from the island of Borneo. More than 500 photos from Kalimantan have been added to the site.

Borneo rainforest protected, oil palm plantation canceled

(03/28/2006) Today Indonesia announced its would end plans to establish a 1.8 million hectare oil plantation in the rainforest of Borneo. The proposed plan, which was backed by Chinese investments, would have destroyed one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth.

Brazil to protect Amazon rainforest

(03/28/2006) At the United Nations-sponsored environmental conference meeting in Curitiba, Brazil announced plans to protect an additional 210,000 square kilometers (84,000 square miles) of the Amazon rain forest in the next three years.

Red Tide Causes Sea Turtle Die-Off in El Salvador

(03/23/2006) A Red Tide event that occurred off the coast of El Salvador late last year directly caused the deaths of some 200 sea turtles, according to test results released today by the Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) and other organizations.

Avian Flu Threat to Biological Diversity

(03/23/2006) A far wider range of species including rare and endangered ones may be affected by highly virulent avian flu than has previously been supposed. Experts attending the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) conference say there is growing evidence that the H5N1 virus can infect and harm big cats like leopards and tigers, small cats such as civets and other mammals like martens, weasels, badgers and otters.

Sea levels to rise 20 feet if ice melting trend continues

(03/23/2006) New research says if current warming trends continue, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are on track to melt sooner than previously thought, leading to a global sea level rise of at least 20 feet.

Home Depot, Lowe's selling illegal wood from Papua New Guinea-Report

(03/23/2006) Consumers in the United States are being mislead as to the origin of merbau hardwood flooring being sold by Home Depot and Lowe's. According to a new report published by the Environmental Investigation Agency and their Indonesian NGO partner Telepak, such timber is coming from the forests of Indonesia's remote Papua Province, where 80 percent of logging is estimated to be illegal.

New satellite maps show forest loss and degradation

(03/22/2006) Greenpeace today launched a set of satellite maps showing the world's remaining extent of "intact forests", the planet's most biodiverse ecosystems.

40 percent of the Amazon could be grassland by 2050

(03/22/2006) Scientists today warned that 40 percent of the Amazon rainforest could be lost by 2050 due to agricultural expansion unless strict measures are taken to protect the world's largest tropical forest.

Greenpeace targeted by Exxon-backed group

(03/21/2006) Greenpeace was the target of a campaign to challenge its tax-exempt status according to a report in today's edition of The Wall Street Journal.

Is climate change worsening malaria?

(03/21/2006) A widely-cited study published a few years ago said global warming was not contributing to the resurgence of malaria in the East African Highlands, but new research by an international team that includes University of Michigan theoretical ecologist Mercedes Pascual finds that, while other factors such as drug and pesticide resistance, changing land use patterns and human migration also may play roles, climate change cannot be ruled out.

Jungle trekking in Malaysia's Taman Negara

(03/21/2006) Taman Negara is Malaysia's largest and best-known national park. Spanning 4343 square kilometers, the protected forest area is home to some of southeast Asia'apos;apos;s rarest creatures including tigers, the Malaysian tapir, forest elephants, and the Sumatran rhino. Scientists believe that these rainforests may be the oldest on Earth. Untouched by glaciers during recent ice ages, Taman Negara'apos;apos;s forests have remained largely the same for some 130 million years. This stability produces some of the highest levels of biodiversity on Earth: more than 350 species of birds, 14000 species of plants, and 210 species of mammals can be found in Taman Negara.

Disappearing drylands spell trouble says UN

(03/21/2006) According to the United Nations, the continuing degradation of the world'apos;apos;s dryland ecosystems is threatening biodiversity and worsening poverty around the globe. In an effort to bring attention to the dire condition of these important lands, which cover almost half the planet'apos;apos;s land surface, the world organization has proclaimed 2006 the International Year of Deserts and Desertification.

Amazon rainforest grows fastest during dry season

(03/21/2006) New research out of the University of Arizona has found that the Amazon rainforest grows fastest during the dry season. The finding counters the convention in other ecosystems where peak plant growth generally occurs during the rainy season.

Good-looking birds more immune against bird flu

(03/20/2006) A research team at Uppsala University, Sweden has shown in a new study, published in the journal Acta Zoologica, that the size of the spot on a male collared flycatcher's forehead reflects how well the immune defence system combats viruses such as avian influenza. The white spot is also attractive to female birds searching for a mate.

Global biological diversity in decline

(03/20/2006) Global biological diversity is increasingly threatened according to a report released by at the outset of the largest biodiversity conference in more than a decade. More than 3000 delegates and 100 government ministers have gathered in Curitiba, Brazil at the eighth Convention on Biological Diversity to discuss the outlook for Earth's species.

13 rare rhinos found in Borneo survey by WWF

(03/17/2006) World Wildlife Fund today released the results of a field survey from the island of Borneo which found that poaching has significantly reduced Borneo's population of Sumatran rhinos, but a small group continues to survive in the "Heart of Borneo," a region covered with vast tracts of rain forest.

Brazil to flood Amazon rainforest for hydroelectric power

(03/17/2006) Brazil's plans to dam two rivers in the Amazon basin to generate power threaten a treasure trove of animals and plants in a region with one of the world'apos;apos;s richest arrays of wildlife, environmentalists say.

Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are melting find new studies

(03/17/2006) Scientists have confirmed that climate warming is changing how much water remains locked in the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, according to an article published in the Journal of Glaciology.

Malaysia to phase out Borneo logging in parts of Sabah state

(03/16/2006) The Malaysian state of Sabah on the island of Borneo announced it will phase out logging in large parts of its remaining rainforests. Sabah, once home to some of the world's most biodiverse forests, was largely logged out during the 1980s and 1990s but some parts of the state still support wild populations of endangered orangutans. In recent years, the Malaysian government has set aside protected areas and sponsored reforestation projects in the state.

Global warming causing stronger hurricanes

(03/16/2006) The link between warmer ocean temperatures and increasing intensity of hurricanes has been confirmed by scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Last year, two studies published in the journals Nature and Science found a strong correlation between rising tropical sea surface temperatures and an increase in the strength of hurricanes.

Reefs threatened by tsunami reconstruction

(03/16/2006) Indian Ocean coral reefs that escaped serious damage are coming under increasing threat from reconstruction efforts in the region according to a new report from the international environmental groups, World conservation Union and the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.

Pollution from smog linked to climate warming in the Arctic

(03/15/2006) In a global assessment of the impact of ozone on climate warming, scientists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies evaluated how ozone in the lowest part of the atmosphere changed surface temperatures over the past 100 years. Using the best available estimates of global emissions of the various gases that produce tropospheric ozone, the GISS computer model study reveals how much this single air pollutant and greenhouse gas has contributed to warming in specific regions of the world.

Bill Gates says laptop for the poor is a joke

(03/15/2006) Microsoft's Bill Gates mocked a $100 laptop computer for developing countries being developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

76% of Americans say government not doing enough to address global warming

(03/15/2006) A new survey released today by the nonpartisan Civil Society Institute found that 76 percent think the federal government is not doing enough to address global warming and develop alternative energy sources in order to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Predator control fails to help sheep industry

(03/15/2006) Decades of U.S. government-subsidized predator control has failed to prevent a long-term decline in the sheep industry, according to a study by the Wildlife conservation Society, which says that market forces are responsible for the drop-off in sheep numbers.

Climate change due to water vapor from cosmic explosion, not fossil fuels says new theory

(03/13/2006) A controversial new theory attributes climate change not to atmospheric carbon dioxide levels but water vapor. In an unpublished paper, Vladimir Shaidurov of the Russian Academy of Sciences argues that the apparent rise in average global temperature recorded by scientists over the past hundred years could be due to atmospheric changes resulting from the Tunguska Event, a massive explosion over Siberia on the June 30th, 1908 that is thought to have resulted from an asteroid or comet entering the earth's atmosphere and exploding

Harmless frogs gain protection by mimicking toxic species

(03/13/2006) When predators learn to avoid a highly toxic frog, they generalize, and this allows a harmless frog to mimic and be more abundant than a frog whose poison packs less punch, biologists at The University of Texas at Austin studying poison dart frogs in the Amazon have discovered.

Easter Island settled around 1200, later than originally believed

(03/13/2006) New evidence suggests that colonization of Easter Island (Rapa Nui) took place later than originally believed. The research is published in this week's issue of the journal Science. A later settlement supports the premise that human impact on the environment played a key role in the downfall of Easter Island society

Environmentalism is born with exposure to nature before age 11

(03/13/2006) A new study out of Cornell University suggests that environmentalism is born in children who are exposed to nature before the age of 11.

Clean coal could fight climate change

(03/13/2006) A new chemical process for removing impurities from coal could lead to significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power stations say researchers sponsored by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Britain's main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences.

Record one-year increase in carbon dioxide levels

(03/13/2006) Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels jumped 2.6 parts per million (ppm) in 2005, one of the largest increases on record according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Carbon dioxide levels now stand at 381 ppm, about 36 percent above pre-industrial levels.

Warming climate causing biological changes in the Arctic

(03/10/2006) Physical changes--including rising air and seawater temperatures and decreasing seasonal ice cover--appear to be the cause of a series of biological changes in the northern Bering Sea ecosystem that could have long-range and irreversible effects on the animals that live there and on the people who depend on them for their livelihoods. In a paper published March 10 in the journal Science, a team of U.S. and Canadian researchers use data from long-term observations of physical properties and biological communities to conclude that previously documented physical changes in the Arctic in recent years are profoundly affecting Arctic life.

Crazy jungle rodent is 11 million years old

(03/09/2006) The newly discovered species of rodent found in a marketplace in Central Laos turns out to not be so new after all. The Laotian rock rat, as the long-whiskered and stubby-legged rodent is now known, is a species believed to have been extinct for 11 million years. It is a member of a family that, until now, was only known from the fossil record.

Slowing global warming may be less costly than initially thought

(03/09/2006) Preventing carbon dioxide levels from rising to potentially dangerous levels could cost less far less than originally projected--less 1 percent of gross world product as of 2050--but a major shift in the way energy is found, transformed, transported and used will be necessary to prevent a severe energy crisis within the next century, say researchers from the The Earth Institute.

Wind turbines could power China says expert

(03/09/2006) Wind could become China's second-largest source of electricity according to a Chinese energy expert. Wang Weicheng, an energy professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, told reporters that China has the potential to install up to 100 gigawatts of wind power. Wang's comments come as China has been aggressively expanding its interests in renewable energy sources including wind, solar, biofuels, tidal, and small hydroelectric dams.

Papua New Guinea's forests under threat from corruption, illegal logging

(03/08/2006) Illegal logging is destroying large areas of rainforest in Papua New Guinea according to a report released last week by Forest Trends, a leading international forestry organization.

Photo of newly discovered blonde-haired lobster

(03/08/2006) Divers found a new species of crustacean living deep in hydrothermal vents of the South Pacific. The creature resembles a lobster covered with "silky, blond" fur say researchers who made the discovery.

Camisea pipeline leaks in rainforest of Peru

(03/08/2006) The Camisea gas pipeline in the Peruvian Amazon has leaked for the fifth time in 18 months according to Reuters. Two people were injured and a small fire was ignited by the spill of 750 cubic meters of gas.

Evidence of early maize cultivation and agricultural trade uncovered in Peru

(03/07/2006) Maize, better known as corn in some parts of the world, was cultivated by people living in the Peruvian Andes of South America about 1,000 years earlier than previously believed reported a team of researchers last week.

New extinction hotspots identified

(03/07/2006) Scientists have identified 20 potential extinction hotspots where hunting and human-caused habitat destruction are set to suffer significant declines in animal populations in coming years. In developing their map of future extinction hotspots, the researchers analyzed current and predicted IUCN Red List data on the extinction risk to almost 4,000 species of land mammals. Their roster includes areas not typically found on lists of the world's most imperiled habitats, including Greenland, the Patagonian coast of South America, and Siberian tundra.

Hydrogen fuel cars closer after major fuel advancement

(03/06/2006) Chemists at UCLA and the University of Michigan report an advance toward the goal of cars that run on hydrogen rather than gasoline. While the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that practical hydrogen fuel will require concentrations of at least 6.5 percent, the chemists have achieved concentrations of 7.5 percent.

Organic farming is eco-friendly finds study

(03/06/2006) A new study confirms the notion that organic farming is an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional agriculture.

Carbon fiber composites could boost future car fuel efficiency 30 percent

(03/06/2006) Highways of tomorrow might be filled with lighter, cleaner and more fuel-efficient automobiles made in part from recycled plastics, lignin from wood pulp and cellulose.

Next sunspot cycle stronger, may be more damaging to satellites and communication networks

(03/06/2006) The next sunspot cycle will be 30 to 50 percent stronger than the last one, and begin as much as a year late, according to a breakthrough forecast using a computer model of solar dynamics developed by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo.

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.

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