Conservation newsFounded in 1999, Mongabay is a leading provider of environmental science and conservation news.
Physically active kids are better students
(08/03/2006) Physically active middle school students tend to do better in school than their more sedentary classmates, according to a new study published by researchers from Michigan State University and Grand Valley State University.
Exxon's PR firm using cheap-looking YouTube video to bash Gore
(08/03/2006) A Washington, D.C., public relations and lobbying firm whose clients include oil company Exxon Mobil may be responsible for a cartoon video that makes fun of Al Gore according to an article in today's issue of The Wall Street Journal.
NASA helps search for "extinct" woodpecker
(08/03/2006) Unlike its more famous cartoon cousin Woody the Woodpecker, the ivory-billed woodpecker is thought to be extinct, or so most experts have believed for over half a century.
World's largest cities sign climate pact
(08/02/2006) While the Bush administration refuses to take legistlative steps to fight climate change, 22 of the world's largest cities joined forces Tuesday in a global warming pact aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Launched by former President Bill Clinton's foundation, the initiative will provide technical assistance to help cities become more energy efficient and allow them to pool their resources to reduce the cost of energy-saving product purchases.
Predators prefer to eat stupid animals
(08/02/2006) Predators such as jaguar and chimpanzees consistently target smaller-brained prey less capable of escape according to research published in the Royal Society Journal Biology Letters.
Magnitude 4.5 earthquake hits Santa Rosa in Northern California
(08/02/2006) A magnitude 4.5 earthquake hit Santa Rosa in Northern California at 8:08 Pacific Daylight Time on Wednesday August 2, 2006. No damage was initially reported.
California fails to curb its oil addiction, no luck with alternative fuels thus far
(08/02/2006) California has failed in its efforts to curb its addiction to oil says an article in today's issue of The Wall Street Journal.
U.S. supports "Heart of Borneo" conservation initiative
(08/02/2006) Tuesday, the U.S. State Department issued a statement supporting the "Heart of Borneo" conservation initiative that will protect 220,000 square kilometers of tropical rainforest across Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.
Orangutans and chimps are smarter than monkeys and lemurs
(08/01/2006) The great apes are the smartest of all nonhuman primates according to scientists at Duke University Medical Center. The researchers found that orangutans and chimpanzees consistently outperformed monkeys and lemurs on a variety of intelligence tests, conclusively proving that apes are more intelligent than monkeys and prosimians.
Pictures of Rare Marine Bacteria Discovered in Ocean Census
(08/01/2006) A startling revelation about the number of different kinds of bacteria in the deep-sea raises fundamental new questions about microbial life and evolution in the oceans.
Earth's 'critical zone' threatened
(08/01/2006) In a report released today, scientists call for a new systematic study of the Earth's 'critical zone'--the life-sustaining outermost surface of the planet, from the vegetation canopy to groundwater and everything in between.Understanding and predicting responses to global and regional change is necessary, they say, to mitigate the impacts of humans on complex ecosystems and ultimately sustain food production.
$100 laptop for children may be nearing production
(08/01/2006) The $100 laptop may be nearing production after One Laptop per Child (OLPC), the nonprofit group behind the device, confirmed that the governments of four countries are in talks to purchase the machines.
Historic Caribbean sea turtle population falls 99%
(08/01/2006) Current conservation assessments of endangered Caribbean sea turtles are too optimistic due declines of populations on historically important nesting beaches, according to new research from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The plunge has significant ecological consequences.
Hypoxic "dead zone" growing off the Oregon Coast
(07/31/2006) A hypoxic "dead zone" has formed off the Oregon Coast for the fifth time in five years, according to researchers at Oregon State University. A fundamental new trend in atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns in the Pacific Northwest appears to have begun, scientists say, and apparently is expanding its scope beyond Oregon waters.
New green building material could cut wood demand in China, India
(07/31/2006) Australian researchers have developed a strong, lightweight building material that they believe could serve as the base for "green construction" in countries like as China and India. Dr Obada Kayali and Mr Karl Shaw of the University of New South Wales have developed building materials that can be manufactured entirely from waste fly ash, a fine powder that is a byproduct of coal-burning power plants. The researchers say that their "unique manufacturing method traps any harmful chemicals, creating an eco-friendly construction material that saves on construction costs and reduces generation of greenhouse gases." Further, the building materials are at least twenty percent lighter and stronger than comparable products made from clay, and take less time to manufacture.
NASA satellite images key to coral reef survey
(07/31/2006) A first-of-its-kind survey of how well the world's coral reefs are being protected was made possible by a unique collection of NASA views from space.
Global warming link to hurricanes challenged
(07/31/2006) Last week a leading meteorologist challenged a proposed link between global warming and hurricane intensity, based on inaccuracies in the historical data used in the studies.
NASA to study how African winds and dust influence hurricanes
(07/31/2006) Scientists from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, universities and international agencies will study how winds and dust conditions from Africa influence the birth of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean.
Biomimicry of Scorpion Venom Fights Cancer
(07/31/2006) A new method of delivering a dose of radioactive iodine -- using a man-made version of scorpion venom as a carrier -- targets deadly brain tumors called gliomas without affecting neighboring tissue or body organs.
Global Warming to Have Significant Impact on California
(07/31/2006) A new report from the state of California warns that climate change could have a significant impact on the state's economy and the health of its residents. The release of the report comes on the day that British Prime Minister Tony Blair and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a climate pact agreeing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Selective logging leads to clear-cutting in the Amazon rainforest
(07/31/2006) A new study links selective logging to clear-cutting in the Amazon rainforest. The research is significant because it identifies an important indicator of rain forest vulnerability to clear-cutting in Brazil.
Coral reef parks established by locals more effective than government reserves
(07/31/2006) Coral reef marine protected areas established by local people for traditional use can be far more effective at protecting fish and wildlife than reserves set up by governments expressly for conservation purposes, according to a study by the New York-based Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) and other groups.
Primate evolution linked to global warming says new study
(07/31/2006) New research suggests the ancient climate change fueled early primate evolution.
Researchers develop new storage system for hydrogen fuel
(07/25/2006) Virginia Commonwealth University researchers have developed a new storage system to hold large quantities of hydrogen fuel that may one day power cars in a more cost-effective and consumer-friendly way.
Northern Ireland madantes green energy for new buildings
(07/25/2006) The changes, which all apply to all new homes, company and public buildings, will make micro-generation, such as solar panels to heat hot water, solar photo voltaic panels on roofs to generate electricity or small wind turbines for houses, mandatory in under two years.
Arguing climate change to an energy executive
(07/25/2006) Earlier this month I had the opportunity to make a pitch to "Mike," a top executive of a major energy company, about climate change and green energy. Mike said he didn't believe humans are influencing climate or that green energy is a key factor in the future business of his firm, "EnergyCo." I tried to persuade him otherwise, not by focusing on the science of climate change but on economics and market opportunities. It's not that science isn't important--I just didn't want to get caught up in an argument about core beliefs, which is akin to arguing over religion.
New Chili Sauce Promotes Elephant conservation
(07/25/2006) First there was dolphin-safe tuna, then came fair-trade coffee. Now, hot sauce lovers can get into the act with a line of Elephant Pepper chili products that help protect elephants in southern Africa, and are available in the United States for the first time, according to the Wildlife conservation Society (WCS).
Global Warming Threatens Australia's Tropical Biodiversity
(07/25/2006) Global climate change will pose serious challenges for wildlife populations around the world in the coming decades. The findings of Dr. Stephen Williams (Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change, James Cook University) suggest that endemic wildlife populations in Australia's Wet Tropics World Heritage Area will be particularly vulnerable to the local warming trend.
Amazon soy becomes greener
(07/25/2006) Brazilian soy crushers and exporters will implement a two-year moratorium on trading soybeans grown on newly deforested lands in the Amazon basin. The governance program takes effect in October 2006 and applies only to forest cleared after that date.
Sun, not carbon dioxide, primary driver of ice ages says new theory
(07/24/2006) A new theory says that carbon dioxide is only a secondary driver of ice ages. In a paper published online in the journal Climate of the Past, William Ruddiman, an environmental scientist with the University of Virginia, argues that "carbon dioxide is a driver of ice sheets only at the relatively small 23,000-year cycle, but not at the much larger ice-volume cycles at 41,000 years and approximately 100,000 years" according to a news release from the university.
Invasive purple flower impacts Iceland's biodiversity
(07/24/2006) A common sight throughout much of Iceland is large fields of vibrant purple nootka, or Alaskan lupine. The flower looks at home in this landscape, but was actually introduced in 1945 to lowland areas as a means to add nitrogen to the soil and also to function as an anchor for organic matter. Lupine has since flourished here, spreading like a wildfire, in almost effortless competition with the other species already in residence. Critics of this initiative view the flower as an invasive species that is threatening low-growing mosses and other native plants.
Pine plantations may be contributing to global warming
(07/24/2006) The increasing number of pine plantations in the southern United States could contribute to a rise in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, a new study reports. This is important because carbon dioxide is a key greenhouse gas, one that is linked to global warming. Landowners in the South are turning stands of hardwood and natural pine trees into pine plantations because pine is a more lucrative source of lumber. But pine plantations don't retain carbon as well as hardwood or natural pine forests, said Brent Sohngen, a study co-author and an associate professor of agricultural, environmental and development economics at Ohio State University.
Elephants avoid hills
(07/24/2006) Using global-positioning system data corresponding to the movements of elephants across the African savannah, researchers have found that elephants exhibit strong tendencies to avoid significantly sloped terrain, and that such land features likely represent a key influence on elephant movements and land use. On the basis of calculations of energy use associated with traversing sloped terrain by such large animals, the researchers found that this behvaior is likely related to the fact that even minor hills represent a considerable energy barrier for elephants because of the added calorie consumption required for such movements.
Bees and flowers disappearing together
(07/23/2006) The diversity of bees and of the flowers they pollinate, has declined significantly in Britain and the Netherlands over the last 25 years according to research led by the University of Leeds and published in Science this Friday (21 July 2006). The paper is the first evidence of a widespread decline in bee diversity.
NASA no longer seeks to 'understand and protect' Earth
(07/22/2006) The New York Times reports that NASA no longer seeks to 'understand and protect' Earth according to its mission statement. The Times found that the American space agency modified its mission statement in early February 2006, deleting the phrase 'to understand and protect our home planet'.
Bicycle riders worse for the environment than car drivers?
(07/22/2006) A new paper argues that bicycling may be more damaging to the environment than driving a car, but not for the reason you might think. Karl T. Ulrich, a professor at the Wharton School of the Business at the University of Pennsylvania, argues that there are environmental costs associated with increased longevity of those who engage in physical activity. Ulrich reasons that because cyclers live longer they will produce more carbon emissions over the course of their extended life.
Tropical Asia needs to act to save biodiversity, say scientists
(07/22/2006) A group of scientists urged governments of tropical Asia to take steps to stem biodiversity loss across the region. At the annual meeting for the Association for Tropical Biology and conservation, hosted at the Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in the Yunnan province of China, scientists said that population growth and booming economic expansion are fueling illegal logging, wildlife poaching, and habitat destruction. The scientists noted that populations of elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers, sun bears, orangutans, and other species unique to tropical Asia have fallen significantly in recent years as a result of these activities.
Brazil, U.S. renew Amazon research agreements
(07/22/2006) Thursday Brazil and the U.S. renewed two Amazon forest research agreements. Brazilian Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Dr. Luis Manuel Rebelo Fernandes signed two continuation agreements for research on the Amazon: the Large-Scale Biosphere - Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA) and Biological Determinants of Forest Fragments Program (BDFFP). Implementation of the programs will be lead by Brazil's INPA, or the Brazilian Institute for Research in the Amazon.
Eco-Friendly Computers and Monitors Identified
(07/22/2006) More than 60 desktop computers, laptops, and monitors from three manufacturers were recognized today as part of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funded effort to identify high performance, environmentally friendly computer equipment. All of the products meet the new EPEAT green computer standard and they are listed online in the EPEAT database at ww.epeat.net.
Texas utility racing to build polluting coal-fired power plants
(07/21/2006) The Wall Street Journal today reported that TXU, a Dallas-based utility, is building 11 power plants that use pulverized coal. The paper notes that pulverized coal 'releases substantial amounts of carbon dioxide, the most worrisome of several heat-trapping gases widely blamed for global warming.' The 11 new plants would more than double the company's carbon-dioxide emissions, from 55 million tons in 2004 to more 133 million tons in 2011.
Multispecies conservation Plans Have Scientific Flaws
(07/21/2006) A new San Diego State University-led study found that many multispecies habitat conservation plans -- a cornerstone of modern efforts to balance development and ecological preservation -- have significant informational flaws that limit or overestimate the plans' conservation potential.
Venomous snakes key to human evolution says new theory
(07/21/2006) The ability to spot venomous snakes may have played a major role in the evolution of monkeys, apes and humans, according to a new hypothesis by Lynne Isbell, professor of anthropology at UC Davis. The work is published in the July issue of the Journal of Human Evolution.
Tiger habitat declining
(07/20/2006) The most comprehensive scientific study of tiger habitats ever done finds that the big cats reside in 40 percent less habitat than they were thought to a decade ago. The tigers now occupy only 7 percent of their historic range.
Economists ignoring threat of climate change says Royal Society
(07/20/2006) Economists need to play "a bigger and more constructive role in dealing with the threat of climate change" said Martin Rees, president of the Royal Society, the academy of sciences of the United Kingdom.
Ocean floor gas may fuel global warming
(07/19/2006) Gas escaping from the ocean floor may provide some answers to understanding historical global warming cycles and provide information on current climate changes, according to a team of scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The findings are reported in the July 20 on-line version of the scientific journal, Global Biogeochemical Cycles.
Corn waste potentially useful for more than ethanol
(07/19/2006) After the corn harvest, whether for cattle feed or corn on the cob, farmers usually leave the stalks and stems in the field, but now, a team of Penn State researchers think corn stover can be used not only to manufacture ethanol, but to generate electricity directly.
Insect diversity in rainforests results from plant biodiversity
(07/18/2006) The high diversity of leaf-eating insect species in tropical forests results from the large number of plant species that exist in these ecosystems, according to new research published in the current issue of the journal Science.
Map projects regional population growth for 2025
(07/18/2006) The number of people living within 60 miles (100 km) of a coastline is "expected to increase by 35 percent over 1995 population levels, exposing 2.75 billion people worldwide to the effects of sea level rise and other coastal threats posed by global warming," according to a new map showing projected population change for the year 2025. The map, developed by researchers at the Center for Climate Systems Research, a part of The Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York, shows "that the greatest increases in population density through 2025 are likely to occur in areas of developing countries that are already quite densely populated," according to a release from The Earth Institute.
Greenlanders looking forward to global warming
(07/18/2006) Some people in Greenland are looking forward to climate change according to an article in today's issue of The Wall Steet Journal. In 'For Icy Greenland, Global Warming Has a Bright Side', journalist Lauren Etter finds examples of global warming-induced changes that could benefit Greenlanders. She notes that the 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit rise in temperatures over the past 30 years has extended the growing season by two weeks while melting glaciers have exposed land for grazing and warmer seas enable fishermen to catch warm-water cod.
American cars heavier, less fuel efficient in 2006 than 1986 finds EPA
(07/18/2006) $3 gasoline no impact on American car sales finds EPA but agency takes a noteworthy stance on both climate change and energy security. Despite record nominal gas prices, American consumers continue to cars that are less fuel efficient than 20 years ago according to a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
China to spend $175 billion on the environment
(07/18/2006) China plans to spend about $175 billion protecting its environment over the next five years according to a report from BBC News. The money will be used to reduce pollution, improve water quality, and cut soil erosion. China has some of the world's most polluted cities and waterways. A December 2005 report from the Chinese government said some 300 million Chinese drink unsafe water tainted by chemicals and other contaminants, while a nationwide survey found that about 90% of China's cities have polluted ground water.
Madagascar, Mired in Poverty, Lures Exxon Oil Search
(07/18/2006) Two-wheeled ox carts and decades-old Renaults choke the cobbled streets of Antananarivo, Madagascar's capital, reminders of how slowly the country has advanced since independence in 1960. Now the government is auctioning oil drilling rights to improve the lives of its 18 million citizens.
Amazon Port Pits Farmers Vs. Rainforest
(07/18/2006) When U.S. grain giant Cargill opened a $20 million port in this sleepy Amazon River city three years ago, it expected to cash in on the rising global demand for soybeans that had become Brazil's richest agricultural export.
West African black rhino may be extinct
(07/17/2006) Recent surveys conducted by IUCN in northern Cameroon found no evidence of the West African black rhino (Diceros bicornis longipes). The organization fears the sub-species is now extinct in the wild.
2006 on pace to be warmest year on record in the US
(07/17/2006) The average temperature for the continental United States from January through June 2006 was the warmest first half of any year since records began in 1895, according to scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). NOAA data showed that the average January-June temperature for the contiguous United States was 51.8 degrees F (11.0 degrees C) -- 3.4 degrees F (1.8 degrees C) above the 20th century (1901-2000) average. The government agency noted that five states (Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri) experienced record warmth for the period while no state was cooler than average. NOAA also reported that last month was the second warmest June on record and national precipitation was below average. It said that continued below-normal-levels of precipitation combined with warmer-than-average temperatures expanded drought conditions across the country.
Logging resumes in Liberia
(07/17/2006) As former US president Bill Clinton arrives in Liberia to meet with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, it's time to take a look at the state of the forests in the country. While Liberia's brutal civil war delayed the commercial exploitation of its tropical forests during the 1990s, 'conflict timber' was a key source of revenue for warring factions. The harvesting of this wood, combined with collateral damage from military operations and wildlife poaching, took a heavy toll on Liberia's forests. With the end of the war, Liberia's new government--which took power at end of the war in 1998--immediately established forestry as a national priority and instituted a five-year tax holiday on timber industries. This policy, combined with the return of commercial interests to the country, repopulation, and reconstruction efforts, has put pressure on Liberia's remaining forest resources. Since the close of the 1990s, deforestation rates have increased by 17 percent, and primary forest cover in the country has fallen to just over 1.3 percent of the total land area (or 4.1 percent of the forest cover).
War of words over new climate change report, 'hockey stick' model
(07/16/2006) Paleoclimatologist Michael Mann criticized a report challenging the familiar 'hockey stick' temperature record of the past thousand years. The report, commissioned by Texas Representative Joe Barton, chairman of the House Energy Committee, and championed in an op-ed piece appearing in last Friday's issue of The Wall Street Journal said that there is no evidence that the 1990s were the warmest decade in a millennium or that 1998 was the warmest year in the last 1,000.
DDT linked to smaller brains in birds
(07/14/2006) For the first time researchers have found evidence that natural exposure to a contaminant damages the brain of a wild animal. Scientists at the University of Alberta discovered that the regions in robins' brains responsible for singing and mating shrink when exposed to high levels of DDT. The new study, published in the current issue of Behavioural Brain Research, suggests that exposure to environmental levels of DDT can cause significant changes in the brains of songbirds.
High school students compete in solar car race
(07/13/2006) Beginning on July 16th, high school students from the US, Puerto Rico and India will travel to Texas Motor Speedway to compete in the 11th annual Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge, a race tasking students to design, build and race their own solar powered cars.
Increased hantavirus risk in the US southwest
(07/13/2006) The Four Corners region of the United States will be at greater risk for hantavirus outbreak this year than in 2005, say scientists at Johns Hopkins University, the University of New Mexico, and other institutions.
Formation of clouds linked to air pollution
(07/13/2006) NASA scientists have determined that the formation of clouds is affected by the lightness or darkness of air pollution particles. This also impacts Earth's climate. In a breakthrough study published today in the online edition of Science, scientists explain why aerosols -- tiny particles suspended in air pollution and smoke -- sometimes stop clouds from forming and in other cases increase cloud cover. Clouds not only deliver water around the globe, they also help regulate how much of the sun's warmth the planet holds. The capacity of air pollution to absorb energy from the sun is the key.
Meerkats are teachers
(07/13/2006) A team of scientists from Cambridge University has found that adult meerkats directly teach their young how to obtain food. The findings which are significant because they depart from the more commonly observed behvaior whereby young learn simply by observing older members of their group. Evidence of true "teaching" with the sole intent of instructing young has been rare in animal research.
Rare indri lemur born in forest reserve in Madagascar
(07/13/2006) A rare lemur known for its haunting whale-like call has given birth in a reserve outside its native forest. The news is significant because the Indri, as the world's largest living lemur is known, has traditionally done poorly when kept in captivity or introduced to outside its montane forest in Madagascar. The birth occurred at Palmarium, a small private reserve of lowland tropical forest established by a tour operator in Madagascar, and provides further hope for the successful conservation of the endangered species.
Soybean biodiesel has higher net energy benefit than corn ethanol
(07/11/2006) The first comprehensive analysis of the full life cycles of soybean biodiesel and corn grain ethanol shows that biodiesel has much less of an impact on the environment and a much higher net energy benefit than corn ethanol, but that neither can do much to meet U.S. energy demand.
Large dinosaurs may have been hot-blooded
(07/11/2006) If you think dinosaurs are hot today, just think back to about 110 million years ago when they really ran hot and heavy. One of the larger animals, a behemoth called Sauroposeidon proteles, weighed close to 120,000 pounds as an adult. Now, a new study led by the University of Florida suggests it may have had a body temperature close to 48 degrees Celsius. The new findings show that even though dinosaurs were cold-blooded reptiles, large dinosaurs dissipated body heat more slowly, and thus maintained higher, more constant body temperatures similar to today's birds and mammals.
Secrets of hallucinogenic mushrooms uncovered by scientists
(07/11/2006) Using unusually rigorous scientific conditions and measures, Johns Hopkins researchers have shown that the active agent in "sacred mushrooms" can induce mystical/spiritual experiences descriptively identical to spontaneous ones people have reported for centuries.
Yellowstone May Lose Pronghorn Antelope
(07/10/2006) A mammal that embarks on the longest remaining overland migration in the continental United States could vanish from the ecosystem that includes Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, according to a study by the Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) and National Park Service. The pronghorn antelope, which travels more than 400 miles between fawning grounds and wintering areas could disappear because of continued development and human disturbance outside the parks according to the study, which appears in the latest issue of the journal Biology Letters.
Technique could add "tens of billion of barrels" to Saudi reserves
(07/10/2006) An oil recovery technique using steam injection could add "tens of billion of barrels" to Saudi Arabia's reserves said Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. The paper reports that earlier this year U.S.-based Chevron Corp. began a field test of a technique that could pump heavy crude oil that previously considered unrecoverable. The story shows that high oil prices will continue to drive drillers to pursue traditionally marginal sources of energy, even ones that a particularly difficult to recover and refine.
Japan depletes Borneo's rainforests; China remains largest log importer
(07/10/2006) Almost three quarters of Japan's tropical timber imports come from the endangered rainforests of Borneo according to figures from the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), an industry group. Meanwhile, ITTO says that China remains, by a large margin, the largest consumer of tropical logs. Japan is the third largest importer of tropical logs after China and India. 74 percent of tropical logs brought into Japan come from Sarawak, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo. Sawarak has seen a rapid decline in its forest cover since the 1980s, raising the ire of environmental groups and causing the Malaysian government to recently announce it would phase out logging in some areas. About 20 percent of Japan's tropical logs originate in Papua New Guinea.
Brazil establishes 3 new parks in the Amazon rainforest
(07/10/2006) Last month Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva decreed three new protected areas in the Amazon basin, placing 1.84 million hectares (4.55 million acres) of rainforest off-limits for development. The environmental ministry said that since 2002 President Silva has created 57 protected areas in the Amazon preserving some 19.3 million hectare of rainforest. More than twice that area -- at least 55 million hectares -- has been cleared since 1978, mostly as a result of forest conversion for cattle pasture and settlement.
Alps could lose 80% of glacier cover by 2100
(07/10/2006) The European Alps could lose 80 percent of their glacier cover by the year 2100, if summer air temperatures increase by three degrees Celsius according to a study published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. The research, based on modeling experiments by Swiss scientists, found that should in summer temperature rise more than three degree Celsius, only the largest glaciers and those on the highest mountain peaks could survive into next century.
$400-Million Initiative Proposed to Address Amphibian Crisis
(07/09/2006) Fifty of the leading amphibian researchers in the world have called for a new Amphibian Survival Alliance, a $400-million initiative to help reduce and prevent amphibian declines and extinctions -- an ecological crisis of growing proportion that continues to worsen.
Ancient raindrops reveal the origins of California's Sierra Nevada range
(07/07/2006) One of the longest ongoing controversies in Earth science concerns the age of California's Sierra Nevada, the tallest mountain range in the continental United States and site of Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe and other scenic wonders. "The debate falls into two camps," said C. Page Chamberlain, professor of geological and environmental sciences at Stanford University. "One is that the mountains rose from sea level in the last 3 to 5 million years, which is very recent on a geologic time scale. The other group suggests a much more ancient origin going back 60 million years or so."
Silent earthquakes may foreshadow destructive temblors
(07/07/2006) A team of American geoscientists is urging colleagues around the world to search for evidence of tiny earthquakes in seismically active areas, such as the Pacific Northwest, that are periodically rocked by powerful temblors of magnitude 8 and higher.
Saving the world in six "easy" steps
(07/06/2006) General ideas toward a future where I won't have to apologize to my grandkids. Lots of people more intelligent than I am have theorized ways to "save the world" in terms of the preserving the environment in its current condition for future generations. Without getting too specific I believe there are six key concepts to address in achieving this goal.
Venture capitalists fund tiger conservation program
(07/06/2006) A new program that calls for a 50 percent increase in tiger numbers in key areas over the next decade blends a business model with hard science and has already attracted $10 million from venture capitalists according to an article published in the current issue of the journal Nature. The new initiative, backed by the Wildlife conservation Society, involves a dozen the conservation organization's field sites that are home to an estimated 800 tigers. The plan projects that these tiger populations can climb to an approximately 1,200 individuals across these sites within ten years.
Some corals can adapt to ocean acidification
(07/06/2006) While scientists warn that increasing ocean acidity will doom marine animals that build skeletons and structural elements out of calcium carbonate, new research has found that corals can change their skeletons, building them out of different minerals depending on the chemical composition of the seawater around them. However, the research provides further evidence that corals are extremely sensitive to rapid environmental change and will be negatively affected by increased carbon dioxide levels in the short-term.
Frog extinction crisis requires unprecedented conservation response
(07/06/2006) The world's leading amphibian experts are calling for dramatic steps, including the formation of an Amphibian Survival Alliance (ASA), to prevent the massive extinction of amphibians worldwide. Scientists say amphibians -- cold-blooded animals that include frogs, toads, salamanders, newts and caecilians -- are under grave threat due to climate change, pollution, and the emergence of a deadly and infectious fungal disease, which has been linked to global warming. According to the Global Amphibian Assessment, a comprehensive status assessment of the world's amphibian species, one-third of the world's 5,918 known amphibian species are classified as threatened with extinction. Further, at least 9, and perhaps 122, have gone extinct since 1980.
Climate change fuels more forest fires in the United States
(07/06/2006) New research says the frequency of large forest fires has increased in the western United States since the mid-1980s as spring temperatures climbed, mountain snows melted earlier and summers got hotter. The new findings, published in the July 6 issue of Science Express, suggest that climate change, not fire suppression policies and forest accumulation, is the primary driver of recent increases in large forest fires.
Bushmeat from African apes sold in American markets
(07/06/2006) Bushmeat from wild primates in Africa is ending up on plates in North America and western Europe according to an article published in the current issue of New Scientist. Justin Brashares, a wildlife biologist at the University of California at Berkeley who carried out a survey of clandestine markets in seven major cities, says that the meat, which includes chimpanzee and gorilla parts, makes up nearly a third of the illegal international trade in bushmeat killed in Africa.
Genetic contact between reef fish across the 5000 km Pacific divide
(07/05/2006) Reef fish share genetic connections across what Darwin termed an 'impassable barrier', 5000km of deep ocean separating the eastern and central Pacific, according to a report by Smithsonian scientists.
Increasingly acidic oceans damaging to marine life
(07/05/2006) Carbon dioxide emissions are altering ocean chemistry and putting sea life at risk according to a new report released today. The report, "Impacts of Ocean Acidification on Coral Reefs and Other Marine Calcifiers," summarizes known effects of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide on marine organisms that produce calcium carbonate skeletal structures, such as corals. Oceans worldwide absorbed approximately 118 billion metric tons of carbon between 1800 and 1994 according to the report, resulting in increased ocean acidity, which reduces the availability of carbonate ions needed for the production of calcium carbonate structures.
Land use, land cover affect human health, food security
(07/05/2006) A Kansas State University geography professor is using satellite imagery to research how land use and land cover changes affect human health and food security.
Birds Face Extinction Risk Due To Human Activities
(07/05/2006) Human activities have caused some 500 bird species worldwide to go extinct over the past five millennia, and 21st-century extinction rates likely will accelerate to approximately 10 additional species per year unless societies take action to reverse the trend, according to a new report. Without the influence of humans, the expected extinction rate for birds would be roughly one species per century.
Half of Brits want more energy efficient products
(07/04/2006) Half of British consumers want to see energy inefficient products banned from the market according to a new survey by Energy Saving Trust (EST), a UK-based non-profit organization.
Severe damage expected for Caribbean coral reefs in 2006
(07/04/2006) Caribbean Sea temperatures have reached their annual high two months ahead of schedule according to a report from The Associated Press. Scientists are concerned that the region's coral reefs may suffer even worse damage than last year when 70 percent of coral was bleached in some areas.
1250 bird species may be extinct by 2100
(07/04/2006) Two new studies paint a mixed future for the world's bird populations, one suggesting that 12 percent of existing species could be extinct by 2100 and the other finding shifts in migration patterns among birds that migrate long distances. Researchers at Stanford University, Duke University and the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis examined the extinction record for birds and found that scientists have likely underestimated the number of extinctions.
Sea creatures may have role in global warming
(07/04/2006) Small sea creatures known as salps may have a role in global warming by locking up carbon in surface seas and sending it to the depths of the ocean. By prevening carbon from re-entering the atmosphere, these animals may have a small role in countering climate change resulting from increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Environmental education lacking in the U.S. finds new study
(06/29/2006) A new study found that there is a general lack of consensus when it comes to teaching students about human interaction with the environment.
Ozone hole recovery slower than expected
(06/29/2006) Scientists from NASA and other agencies have concluded that the ozone hole over the Antarctic will recover around 2068, nearly 20 years later than previously believed. Researchers from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) have developed a new tool, a math-based computer model, to predict the timing of ozone hole recovery. Their findings will be published tomorrow in Geophysical Research Letters.
New process makes fuel from simple sugar
(06/29/2006) The soaring prices of oil and natural gas have sparked a race to make transportation fuels from plant matter instead of petroleum. Both biodiesel and gasoline containing ethanol are starting to make an impact on the market.
Great flood disrupted ocean currents, cooled climate, finds new research
(06/29/2006) Ocean circulation changes caused at the end of the past glacial period were more extensive than previously thought, according to new research scientists at the University of East Anglia and Cardiff University. The findings, published in the June 30 issue of the journal Science, indicate that the catastrophic freshwater release from glacial lakes in North America slowed ocean circulation and cooled the climate some 8200 years ago.
Future crop yields lower than expected under higher carbon dioxide levels
(06/29/2006) Open-air field trials involving five major food crops grown under carbon-dioxide levels projected for the future are yielding signifcantly less than those raised in earlier enclosed test conditions. Scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign warn that global food supplies could be at risk without changes in production strategies.
Japan, China may be less affected by climate change
(06/28/2006) Temperature change in East Asian countries may be less significant than in countries bordering the North Atlantic, such as America and Great Britain, according to new research led by scientists at Newcastle University. Researchers examined pollen samples take from a Japanese lake sediment core and found moderate changes in temperature and precipitation during the period from 16,000 years ago to 10,000 years ago, a time that experienced climate change similar to what we expect in the near future.
Some earthquakes may be linked to climate change
(06/28/2006) Scientists say melting glaciers could induce tectonic activity. The reason? As ice melts and waters runs off, tremendous amounts of weight are lifted off of Earth's crust. As the newly freed crust settles back to its original, pre-glacier shape, it can cause seismic plates to slip and stimulate volcanic activity according to research into prehistoric earthquakes and volcanic activity.
Color-changing chameleon snake discovered in jungles of Borneo
(06/27/2006) Scientists discovered a species of snake capable of changing colors. The snake, called the Kapuas mud snake, resides in the rainforest on the island of Borneo, an ecosystem that is increasingly threatened by logging and agricultural development.
Last 50 years 'unusually warm', tropical glaciers melting rapidly finds research
(06/27/2006) Researchers studying ancient tropical ice cores have found evidence of two abrupt climate shifts -- one 5000 years ago and one currently underway. The findings, published in the current issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, may have important implications for immediate future since more than two-thirds of the world's population resides in the tropics.
Documentary explores Borneo for possible anti-HIV medicine
(06/27/2006) Rainforest plants have long been recognized for their potential to provide healing compounds. Indigenous peoples of the rainforest have used medicinal plants for treating a wide variety of health conditions while western pharmacologists have derived a number of drugs from such plants.
When elephants attack. Surviving an elephant charge in the Congo rainforest of Gabon
(06/26/2006) The elephant charges. The ground trembles. Hearts racing, we are now sprinting through the forest dodging vegetation as the elephant plows right through it. The problem with being chased by an elephant, aside from their obvious size advantage, is they can run faster than you. While wild elephants can be dangerous animals under the right circumstances, other creatures are responsible for more deaths in Africa. Topping the list is the hippo, whose penchant for capsizing canoes that come too close results in the dumping of passengers who often can't swim. Buffalo, crocodiles, and lions are directly responsible for more deaths and injuries.
Consumers want environmentally friendly computers
(06/26/2006) A study conducted earlier this year by Ipsos-MORI on behalf of Greenpeace found that consumers say they would be willing to pay more for an environmentally friendly computer. The amounts ranged from $59 in Germany, $118 in UK, $199 in China and $229 in Mexico.
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