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News articles on green
Mongabay.com news articles on green in blog format. Updated regularly.
(12/21/2006) A new project aims to use advanced satellite imagery to monitor illegal logging activities and help certify the sustainability of timber harvesting in some of the world's most remote forests. The effort could reduce the cost of forest management and certification, while helping to crack down on illicit tree-felling.
Moles and shrews can smell underwater
(12/20/2006) Mammals can smell underwater according to a study published in the December 21 issue of the journal Nature. Kenneth Catania, an assistant professor of biology at Vanderbilt University, found that moles and shrews are capable of detecting prey underwater using their sense of smell.
Virgin dragon to give birth this Christmas
(12/20/2006) A virgin Komodo dragon will give birth to offspring this Christmas (or thereabouts) at the Chester Zoo in Britain according to researchers. Flora, a female Komodo dragon, will reproduce asexually in a process called parthenogenesis, where eggs become embryos without male fertilization. The process is known to occur in about 70 reptile species but hadn't been observed in Komodo dragons -- the world's largest lizard species -- until this year. Another dragon, Sungai, had virginal conception earlier this year. Both cases are described in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature
Paraguay extends deforestation law that has cut forest loss by 85%
(12/20/2006) The government of Paraguay has extended a law has helped deforestation rates in the Upper Parana Atlantic Forest by more than 85 percent according to environmental group WWF.
How did giant dinosaurs digest their food without molars?
(12/20/2006) The giant dinosaurs had a problem. Many of them had narrow, pointed teeth, which were more suited to tearing off plants rather than chewing them. But how did they then grind their food? Until recently many researchers have assumed that they were helped by stones which they swallowed. In their muscular stomach these then acted as a kind of 'gastric mill'. But this assumption does not seem to be correct, as scientists at the universities of Bonn and Tubingen have now proved. Their research findings can be found in the current issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society.
Are Brazil nuts really sustainable?
(12/20/2006) A lot of rainforest conservation initiatives embrace sustainably harvested non-timber forest products (NTFPs) like seeds and nuts as a means to provide income to locals without harming the forest. Operating on the premise that such products are eco-friendly, hundreds of outfits ranging from Whole Foods to the Body Shop to Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream tout their use of sustainably harvested Brazil nuts and related products. But really, how sustainable are these products?
China launches green buying policy
(12/19/2006) China's Ministry of Finance and the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) announced that starting in 2007, the country's central and provincial governments will prioritize their purchasing of environmentally friendly products and services.
Papua New Guinea log exports to China surge
(12/19/2006) Papua New Guinea (PNG) log exports surged in October according to the International Tropical Timber Organization's (ITTO) Tropical Timber Market Report.
New Zealand implements 'green timber' policy
(12/19/2006) New Zealand's government will only buy timber and wood products only from legally and sustainably managed forests according to a new policy paper put out Monday by the minstry of forestry.
Bush administration sued for failure to protect sea otter
(12/19/2006) A conservation group filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal district court in Washington, DC, seeking more protection for sea otters in Alaska. The Center for Biological Diversity, a national nonprofit conservation organization that aims to conserve endangered species and wild places, says that the Bush administration has failed to designate critical habitat for sea otters in southwest Alaska, despite the species' listing as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act in August 2005. Sea otter populations have decline by 90 percent in some areas according to the group.
Pictures of species discovered in Borneo rainforest
(12/19/2006) Yesterday's announcement by WWF that 52 previously unknown species were discovered in the fast-disappearing rainforests of Borneo brings the total number of 'new' species found on the island to more than 400 since 1994.
Time is running out for French Guiana's rainforests
(12/19/2006) Understanding relationships between plants and animals is key to understanding rainforest ecology. Dr. Pierre-Michel Forget of the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle in France is a renowned expert on the interdependency between rainforest trees and seed disperses. Author of dozens of papers on tropical forest ecology, Dr Forget is increasingly concerned about deforestation and biodiversity loss in forests of the Guiana Shield region of Northern South America. In particular he sees the invasion of informal gold miners, known as garimpeiros, as a significant threat to forests in French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana and Venezuela.
Europe's largest tropical rainforest invaded by gold miners
(12/19/2006) As Europe frets over climate change and deforestation, threats to "Europe's largest tropical rainforest" are mounting, according to reports from French Guiana. While French Guiana is best known for its infamous Devil's Island penal colony and as the main launch site for the European Space Agency, which is responsible for more than 50% of the state's economy activity, most of the territory is covered with lowland tropical rainforest. French Guiana's forests are biologically rich with some 1,064 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles, and 5,625 species of vascular plants according to figures from the World conservation Monitoring Center.
52 species discovered in Borneo rainforest
(12/19/2006) In 2006 scientists discovered 52 species in the highly threatened rainforests of Borneo according to a new report from WWF, an environmental group working to preserve the biodiverse 'Heart of Borneo' from further destruction.
Marine protected areas boost fishing yields
(12/18/2006) A new study conducted on the reefs of Madagascar found that marine protected areas can benefit the fishing industry. The study, authored by Frances Humber, a scientist with conservation group Blue Ventures, found that implementing seasonal fishing closures for octopus boosted returns for fishermen when the closed areas were reopened to fishing after seven months. Octopus yields increased 13 times while the total weight of octopus caught jumped 25 times.
Worst coral reef die-off in 11,000 years
(12/18/2006) Two new studies by scientists at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University suggest that coral reefs may be in worse shape than previously thought. The first, appearing in the journal Geology indicates that the current large scale coral die-offs are now occurring more frequently than at any time in the last 11,000 years. The second, published in Current Biology, suggests that the loss of a single 'keystone' species can trigger a rapid shift in the health of a reef.
Audible warfare: how moths avoid bats
(12/18/2006) A new study published in Current Biology suggests bats and moths may be engaged in evolutionary warfare when it comes to their sense of hearing.
Coral reefs help protect from tsunami damage
(12/18/2006) Healthy coral reefs can help reduce the impact of tsunami waves relative to unhealthy or dead reefs, according to a new Princeton University study published in the December 14 edition of the journal Geophysical Review Letters.
Does green investing pay as well as conventional investing?
(12/18/2006) Socially responsible investing is now a major Wall Street trend. But the real question is this: Can you make as much dough when you're being virtuous?
China will continue search for 'extinct' baiji river dolphin
(12/18/2006) Chinese state media reports that scientists will continue to search for the baiji dolphin even after a 38-day search failed to produce any evidence of its existence in the Yangtze River.
2006 is sixth warmest year, but hurricanes below average
(12/15/2006) 2006 will be the sixth-warmest year on record according to the World Meteorological Organization (WHO). The United Nations weather agency said the ten hottest years have all occurred in the past 12 years. 2005 was the warmest year since record keeping began 150 years ago, according to the agency.
2006 is third warmest year on record for the United States
(12/15/2006) 2006 will likely go down as the third warmest year on record for the United States according to scientists at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in Asheville, North Carolina. Globally, 2006 will have the sixth highest annual global temperature since record keeping began in 1880 NCDC says that the 2006 annual average temperature for the contiguous United States (based on preliminary data) will likely be 2F (1.1C) above the 20th century mean, making 2006 the third warmest year on record, just cooler than 1998 and 1934. 2006 has been a record year for wildfires which researchers say will continue to increase in frequency and intensity as climate continues to warm.
Global warming improves sex life of seals
(12/15/2006) Climate change is enhancing the sex life of subordinate male grey seals on the remote Scottish Island of North Rona according to researchers at Durham University and the University of St Andrews.
Are biofuels good or bad for the environment?
(12/15/2006) Sometimes hailed as a savior from global warming and foreign oil dependence, biofuels are as often criticized for deforestation and pollution. So, are biofuels good or bad for the environment? Grist, an independent online environmental magazine, examines the question in a new series devoted to biofuels.
President Museveni needs to do what's best for Uganda
(12/15/2006) In recent months Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has moved to destroy some of Uganda's last remaining primary rainforests to give land to politically-connected plantation owners. Personally intervening in two disputes, one in Mabira Forest Reserve and the other on Bugala island in Lake Victoria, Museveni has argued that his country urgently needs such projects to industrialize and bring a better quality of life to Ugandans. He would be wrong.
Sea levels may rise higher than predicted due to global warming
(12/15/2006) Global warming could cause sea levels to rise by four-and-a-half feet (140 cm) according to new projections published in Friday's issue of the jounral Science. Stefan Rahmstorf, a scietist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Potsdam, Germany, uses air temperature measurements and past sea level changes rather than computer models to calculate that ocean levels could rise by 50-140 cm by 2100, well above the 9-88 cm projected by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. A 140 cm rise in sea levels could swamp low-lying cities like New York and Venice while causing catastrophic flooding in Bengladesh and South Pacific island nations.
Looming desertification could spawn millions of environmental refugees
(12/14/2006) Africa may be able to feed just 25% of its population by 2025 if soil degradation on the continent continues at its current pace, according to a water expert presenting at an upcoming United Nations University (UNU) conference on desertification in Algiers, Algeria. Karl Harmsen, Director of UNU's Ghana-based Institute for Natural Resources in Africa, says that should soil conditions continue to decline in Africa, nearly 75% of the continent could come to rely on some sort of food aid by 2025.
Goodbye to the Baiji
(12/14/2006) After a short illness spurred by pollution, overfishing, boat traffic, and obstructions like dams, the Baiji was declared 'functionally extinct' last night. As a species, the river dolphin found only in China's Yangtze River was 20 million years. The Baiji is survived by other river dolphins, all themselves threatened, in the Ganges, Indus, Amazon, Orinoco, and La Plata rivers. No memorial service will be held.
Mammals may have flown before birds
(12/14/2006) Mammals may have flown before birds according to a fossil discovery by scientists working in China. Working in the Inner Mongolian region of China, a team of Chinese and American scientists discovered a 125 million year fossil that provides evidence that mammals were capable of gliding flight some 70 million years earlier than previously believed.
Forests need good soil to sequester more carbon
(12/14/2006) Soil nutrition is key to helping forests absorb more carbon under elevated CO2 conditions according to new research by scientists with the USDA Forest Service and Duke University. "The researchers found that trees can only increase wood growth from elevated CO2 if there is enough leaf area to support that growth," reported the Southern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service in a statement. "Leaf area, in turn, is limited by soil nutrition; without adequate soil nutrition, trees respond to elevated CO2 by transferring carbon below ground, then recycling it back to the atmospheric through respiration."
Monkey trials for medical research should continue in Britain
(12/13/2006) British scientists support the use of primates in medical research to improve human health and reduce deaths from disease but only if no alternatives are available according to a report by the Academy of Medical Sciences. The report, which examines the scientific basis for recent, current and future use of non-human primates in biological and medical research, comes as a poll by the journal Nature reveals that most researchers have no ethical misgivings about the role of animals in their work.
Circumcision reduces HIV/AIDS infection in men
(12/13/2006) Medical circumcision of men reduces their risk of acquiring HIV during heterosexual intercourse by 53 percent according to a University of Illinois at Chicago study. The results were so compelling researchers stopped the trial early to protect the health of participants. The study's safety board recommended that all men enrolled in the study who remain uncircumcised be offered circumcision.
Tigers can recover given protection, adequate food supplies
(12/13/2006) A new study says that if tigers are protected and have sufficient access to abundant prey, their populations can quickly stabilize. The findings have implications for conservation of the world's largest cat species which is fast-disappearing due to poaching for the animal parts trade.
Yellow Sea biodiversity needs protection says WWF
(12/13/2006) In response to worsening pollution in China's Yellow Sea, environmental group WWF is pushing for the establishment of a network of protected areas between China and South Korea.
African river basins are drying up says NASA
(12/13/2006) New satellite data from NASA show that the Mississippi and Colorado River basins are storing more water over the past five years, while the Congo, Zambezi and Nile basins are drying.
Asian pollution fuels rain in Australia
(12/12/2006) A new study says that the haze produced by fires in southeast Asia causes increased rainfall in Australia by lowering regional ocean temperatures. Particulate matter in the upper atmosphere has been shown to reflect sunlight, hence lowering temperatures.
President Museveni again moves against Uganda's forests
(12/12/2006) Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has again taken action against rainforest conservation in Uganda, moving to hand a protected forest reserve over to private agricultural interests intent on clearing trees, according to a report from Reuters.
Who pays for Amazon rainforest conservation?
(12/12/2006) Last Monday, Brazil created the world's largest rainforest protected area in the northern Amazon. Covering more than 15 million hectares (57,915 square miles) -- or an area larger than England -- the network of seven new protected reserves has been met with praise by environmental groups. Instrumental in the development of the conservation project has been an organization that most people wouldn't associate with rainforest conservation but certainly should: the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
ESA seeks to better understand impact of oceans on climate
(12/11/2006) The European Space Agency (ESA) said it is backing two projects that aim to better understand the impact of oceans on climate.
Hotspot conservation will not protect global biodiversity
(12/11/2006) The concept of biological hotspots has served as a fundamental principle guiding conservation efforts over the past generation. A new study, published in the Dec. 15 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), argues this may be a mistake and that conservation efforts based on hotspots will not effectively preserve biodiversity.
Unknown species of lizard discovered in Borneo
(12/11/2006) A previously unknown species of lizard was discovered in Borneo by Chris Austin, assistant curator of herpetology at Louisiana State University's Museum of Natural Science. Photos and the scientific name of the lizard, which was discovered while Austin was conducting field research in Sarawak, will be unveiled in the March 2007 edition of Journal of Herpetology.
Melting glaciers, not ice sheets, primarily responsible for rising sea levels
(12/11/2006) A new study says that melting glaciers are contributing more to the global rise in sea levels than melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. Of the estimated 650 billion tons of ice lost to the oceans annually, some 400 billion tons comes from the melting of small glaciers and icecaps, according to Professor Tad Pfeffer of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Only 250 billion tons -- or less than 40 percent -- comes from the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.
Global warming could save NASA millions in fuel costs
(12/11/2006) Carbon dioxide emissions produced from the burning of fossil fuels will produce a 3 percent reduction in the density of Earth's outermost atmosphere by 2017, according scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Pennsylvania State University (PSU).
Small insects tell us Earth is warming
(12/11/2006) Small insects known as midges are telling scientists that Earth is warming, according to research to be presented December 15 at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
'Loch Ness Monster' found in Antarctica
(12/11/2006) Paleontologists found a well-preserved fossil skeleton of a juvenile plesiosaur in Antarctica. Cryptozoologists say the plesiosaur resembles the legendary Loch Ness Monster, despite scientific evidence indicating that the marine reptile has been extinct for millions of years.
Global warming could make Arctic sea ice-free by 2040
(12/11/2006) Global warming is causing an abrupt retreat in Arctic sea ice that could leave the Arctic Ocean with ice-free summers by 2040 according to research published in the December 12 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.
Butterfly biomimicry improves communications technology
(12/11/2006) A new DARPA-sponsored study says that biomimicry of butterfly wings can help researchers build complex photonic integrated circuits to improve communications technology. "By replicating the complex micron- and nanometer-scale photonic structures that help give butterfly wings their color, researchers have demonstrated a new technique that uses biotemplates for fabricating nanoscale structures that could serve as optical waveguides, optical splitters and other building blocks of photonic integrated circuits," stated a release from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Nuclear war could cause global cooling (i.e. block global warming)
(12/11/2006) Nuclear war would disrupt global climate for at least a decade according to new research presented Dec. 11 at the annual meeting of American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. The research, based on findings from historic volcano eruptions, found that a small-scale, regional nuclear war could produce millions of tons of 'soot' particles that could block solar radiation, in effect, cooling the planet.
4-pound lobster discovered off coast of Madagascar
(12/11/2006) Researchers with the Census of Marine Life discovered a 1.8 kg (4 lb) rock lobster that lives off the coast of Madagascar. Named Palinurus barbarae, the beast is half a meter (one-and-a-half feet) long.
500 species found in census of marine life
(12/11/2006) Some 500 previously unknown species of marine life were discovered during the latest Census of Marine Life (CoML), a research effort involving some 2000 researchers from 80 countries. The discoveries, made during 19 ocean expeditions in 2006, included a gigantic 1-centimeter in diameter single-celled organism in the Nazare Canyon off Portugal, a "blonde-haired" lobster near Easter Island, a "chewing" squid, and a four-pound (1.8 kg) lobster off Madagascar.
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