biodiversity

An inconvenient truth

A new paper in the Marine Ecology Progress Series open access journal (peer-reviewed) tells it like it is in ways that environmental scientists are often reluctant to do.  Authors Camilo Mora and Peter F. Sale took a very big-picture look at how well reserves are protecting biodiversity, on land and at sea. The analysis is …

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The Debt Burden on Future Generations

According to GOP.gov, [T]he amount of debt placed on the backs of children born today is about to explode. If nothing is done, our generation will have the sad legacy of being the first to lower the standard of living of the next generation. . . . Unless drastic actions are taken to reduce spending …

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One Fish, Two Fish, Old Fish, New Fish

  The NY Times has a nice series on a field expedition studying biodiversity in the Amazon.  Here’s a sample paragraph to go with the picture above: As they pick through the specimens, bent over the table with their heads close together, they’re carrying on one of those scientific conversations that are conducted so entirely …

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Saving the Japanese Black Bear

Grist had a really interesting story at the end of last month about Japanese black bears — or ツキノワグマ if you prefer — which have a tenuous hold on survival.  What makes this story particularly interesting is that it is a preview of a world in which the idea of the “natural” has become problematic.  …

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Saving the Polar Bear: The Saga Continues

Follow-up:  Greenwire now (Oct. 22) has more details: The Obama administration today proposed protecting more than 200,000 square miles in Alaska as critical habitat for the polar bear — an area the administration said would be the largest the government has ever put forward in a bid to protect an imperiled species. The Interior Department’s …

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Habitat loss still the key conservation concern

Some time ago, I noted this essay in Slate by environmental journalist Brendan Borrell, arguing that our current obsession with climate change is inhibiting more important conservation work. A new report from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature provides some support for Borrell’s position. The IUCN periodically updates its Red List of Threatened …

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Biodiversity-friendly seawalls

Seawalls as typically constructed are smooth, vertical structures, beautiful to an engineer’s eye but unappealing to tidal creatures looking for the more complex physical structure typical of a rocky shore. A new paper (Oecologia, subscription required) out of the University of Sydney shows that engineering and ecology need not be at odds, however. The authors …

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Don’t Know Much Biology

As a famous biologist once said, “without evolution nothing in biology makes sense.”   And biological science  is obviously basic to a lot of environmental policy. Thus, it is dismaying to learn that only four out of ten Americans believe in evolution.  Trying to understand environmental policy without believing in evolution is like trying to understand …

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New Jungles for Old?

The New York Times has an interesting article about the growth of new forests as poor people abandon farms and move to the cities in less developed countries.  Carbon storage is complicated, so we don’t really know yet just how much effect this might have on climate.  But it’s obviously a very interesting development.

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