Biodiversity & Species

A Beautiful Day for Bumblefish?

A California court just ruled that bumblebees are fish. It’s not as crazy as it sounds.

A California appeals court ruled last week that bumblebees are fish and are therefore protected by the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). That may sound ridiculous, but there’s actually a convoluted legal argument to support the court. That argument does justify giving the CESA some extra coverage beyond what we would ordinarily classify as fish.  …

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When is a bee a fish?

The California Court of Appeal finds that invertebrates can be protected under the California Endangered Species Act

  That was the question before the Third District of the California Court of Appeal.  The California Fish and Game Commission had accepted petitions to list four species of native California bees for protection under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).  A group of agricultural trade associations challenged the decision as exceeding the Commission’s authority …

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War and the Environment: Ukraine in 2022

The environment is also a victim of the Russian invasion — perhaps to the point of being a war crime.

Memorial Day began as a day to commemorate the Civil War dead, then became a day to commemorate the dead from many wars. But war’s toll goes beyond direct harm to humans.   The environment also suffers. On top of its human tragedies, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is also wreaking environmental havoc. One source of …

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Clarifying the Congressional Review Act

The Ninth Circuit rules on the preclusive effect of a CRA disapproval in a wilderness protection case.

Soon after Trump took office, Republicans used the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn sixteen Obama-era regulations. If they win control of the government in 2024, they’ll undoubtedly do the same thing to Biden regulations. It behooves us, then, to understand the effect of these legislative interventions. A Ninth Circuit ruling last week in a …

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Olá Jeff

Governor of Amazonas calls on Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos (and other wealthy business leaders) to invest in a sustainable tropical forest economy

A new video from the governor of Amazonas kicks off with an informal salutation: “Olá, Jeff.” Directed at Jeff Bezos, the founder and former CEO of Amazon, the video is narrated in the voice of the Amazon rainforest and contrasts the activities and value of the mega corporation with that of the world’s largest tropical …

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Governors Launch Action Plan to Reduce Deforestation and Improve Lives in Forested Regions

Wilson Lima, Governor of Amazonas and chair of the GCF Task Force 12th Annual Meeting, introduces the Manaus Action Plan alongside other governors and high-level representatives. Photo credit: GCF Task Force

Manaus Action Plan for a New Forest Economy advances ambitious action at Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force 12th Annual Meeting hosted by state of Amazonas

For more than a decade of leadership and innovation, member states and provinces of the Governors’ Climate and Forests (GCF) Task Force have been developing strategies, programs, investment plans, and new legal structures to address tropical deforestation, embark on a low-emissions development path, and benefit their populations and the climate. These governments have developed jurisdiction-specific, …

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Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force Kicks Off Annual Meeting in Heart of the Amazon Basin

The Amazon and Rio Negro rivers meet in Manaus, Brazil

12th Annual Meeting of GCF Task Force hosted by Governor of Amazonas in Manaus, Brazil, March 15-18, 2022

This week, on the banks of the largest river system in the world, Governors, environment secretaries and civil servants, Indigenous peoples and local community leaders, national governments, the private sector, and partner organizations will be meeting to discuss innovative partnerships and solutions to the threat of tropical deforestation at the 12th Annual Meeting of the …

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Can we govern large-scale green infrastructure for multiple water benefits?

Yolo Bypass Aerial View

by Lidia Cano Pecharroman, Christopher Williams, Nell Green Nylen, and Michael Kiparsky

Green infrastructure is increasingly emphasized as an alternative, novel path for water infrastructure. The possibilities are intriguing: Can we transition from a landscape dominated by siloed grey infrastructure (think concrete and steel, constructed for one or a few key outcomes like water supply or flood control) to one that centers natural processes in water infrastructure …

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Reforming the California Endangered Species Act

Updating the state’s landmark biodiversity law for the twenty-first century

California has a rich heritage of biodiversity, with many species found nowhere else in the world (including the iconic giant sequoia trees).  But California’s biodiversity faces grave threats – pressures from development that eliminates habitat; water shortages that harm aquatic species in California’s rivers; and climate change impacts that are shifting and altering habitats, among …

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Science article argues that conservation should be allowed to pay its own way on public lands

The law too often restricts resource rights on public lands to extraction activities and precludes conservation

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) auction in February, 2016, for oil and gas drilling rights near Arches National Park was unremarkable. The high bidder, Tempest Exploration Co. LLC, paid $2,500 for the 1,120 acre lease by credit card and began paying annual rental fees. What soon did prove remarkable, though, was the revelation that …

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