User: flenvcenter Topic: Biodiversity-National
Category: Specific Organisms :: Plants
Last updated: Jan 31 2015 02:46 IST RSS 2.0
 
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Celebrating the International Year of Soils 30.1.2015 Switchboard, from NRDC
Claire O'Connor, Policy Analyst, Santa Monica: Did you know that 2015 is the International Year of Soils? Each month, the USDA is celebrating the International Year of Soils by focusing on a different benefit of healthy soil. I kicked off January's theme of "Soils Sustain Life"...
Oregon Snowpack At Miserable Lows As State Stares Climate Change 'Right In The Eye' 30.1.2015 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's mountain snowpack, vital for farms, fish and ski resorts, is in the midst of another miserable year, posting record low depths despite normal precipitation. The reason is persistent warm weather, which is turning into the new normal as the climate heats up. "We are really kind of staring climate change right in the eye right now," said Kathie Dello, associated director of the Oregon Climate Change Institute at Oregon State University. While there will still be plentiful snowpacks in some years, overall the trend is for them to decline as average temperatures continue to rise, she said. "Last year we had a bad fire season, and that is in part due to the lack of snow," which left the ground bare, and prone to dry out, she added. Snow that builds up in the mountains serves as a natural reservoir, feeding streams and replenishing groundwater as it melts. Natural Resources Conservation Service hydrologist Julie Koeberle says there is time for things to improve, but ...
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Biofuels Are Not a Green Alternative to Fossil Fuels 29.1.2015 WRI Stories
This blog post was originally published in The Guardian on January 29, 2015. Powering cars with corn and burning wood to make electricity might seem like a way to lessen dependence on fossil fuels and help solve the climate crisis. But although some forms of bioenergy can play a helpful role, dedicating land specifically for generating bioenergy is unwise. It uses land needed for food production and carbon storage, it requires large areas to generate just a small amount of fuel, and it won’t... [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ...
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Record Sea Lion Pup Strandings Reported In Southern California 29.1.2015 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
By Marty Graham SAN DIEGO, Jan 28 (Reuters) - California sea lions - mainly pups - are turning up stranded and starved on Southern California beaches in record numbers this year, leaving experts worried that this winter may be the worst season ever documented for the marine mammals. The precise cause is not clear, but scientists believe the sea lions are suffering from a scarcity of natural prey that forces nursing mothers to venture farther out to sea for food, leaving their young behind for longer periods of time. Experts theorize that this winter's mild El Nino effect, which alters ocean currents and temperatures, may be compounding the shortage of fish that sea lions rely on for food, said Keith Matassa, executive director of the nonprofit Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach. That group's pup rescues for the month are already running 20 percent above the same period in 2013, when the National Marine Fisheries Service declared an "unusual mortality event" in which five times the ...
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Why Dedicating Land to Bioenergy Won't Curb Climate Change 29.1.2015 WRI Stories
This post is part of WRI's blog series, Creating a Sustainable Food Future. The series explores strategies to sustainably feed more than 9 billion people by 2050. All pieces are based on research being conducted for the 2013-2015 World Resources Report. How does bioenergy contribute to a sustainable food and climate future? A new WRI paper finds bioenergy can play a modest role using wastes and other niche fuelstocks, but recommends against dedicating land to produce bioenergy. The lesson:... [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ...
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Rare Sierra Nevada Red Fox Caught On Camera In Yosemite National Park 29.1.2015 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
One of the rarest mammals in North America, the Sierra Nevada red fox , was recently caught on camera twice inside Yosemite National Park. The two sightings on remote wildlife cameras, on Dec. 13, 2014 and Jan. 4 of this year, mark the first time the Vulpes vulpes necator has been seen inside the park in nearly a century, the National Park Service said in a news release. The animal, a subspecies of the red fox that's native to the Sierra Nevada mountains, is so rare that no one is certain just how many are left. They are solitary creatures, nocturnal, do not travel in groups and avoid people, making them even harder to track and study. However, it's believed the total population is less than 50. “ We are thrilled to hear about the sighting of the Sierra Nevada red fox , one of the most rare and elusive animals in the Sierra Nevada,” Yosemite National Park superintendent Don Neubacher said in a news release. “National parks like Yosemite provide habitat for all wildlife and it is encouraging to see that ...
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Revealed: Asteroid That Killed the Dinosaurs Boiled Earth's Atmosphere 28.1.2015 Truthout - All Articles
The asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs set off an intense heat wave that briefly boiled the Earth’s atmosphere – but it didn’t burn off all the plants. Humanity has not been unlucky enough to observe at first hand the effects of a large impact, so to investigate whether a massive asteroid would spark off a global wildfire we had to turn to the laboratory. We have modelled, for the first time, the heat generated by the impact and what it meant for the planet’s plants. Our  research  is published in the Journal of the Geological Society. This all happened 65m years ago at the end of the Cretaceous period, when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. Suddenly, between 60 and 80% of all living species became extinct. Until the 1980s, this catastrophic loss of life was a mystery, but then scientists found a clue – traces of the element iridium in rocks of this age. Iridium generally falls to Earth with extraterrestrial objects. This suggested a massive asteroid collided with the planet and that this could be ...
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Hatching Giants on Galapagos! 27.1.2015 The Earth Times Online Newspaper - Health News
The Galapagos tortoise is, along with one or two other island species, precious and almost mythical in its great size and long life. Now, we at last, we are conserving these interesting creatures properly, instead of letting them slowly die out, like Lonely George!
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Monarch Numbers Up Slightly, But Butterfly Still at Risk of Extinction 27.1.2015 Commondreams.org Newswire
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Beetle vs. Bird: Expert Panel Weighs in on Biocontrol of Invasive Tamarisk Trees 27.1.2015 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
What do you do when a problem is also a solution? Such is the case with exotic tamarisk (a.k.a., Tamarix spp., saltcedar), criticized for its ability to take over riverbanks, salinize soil, increase fire risk, and trap river sediments, among other ills. Tamarisk was introduced to the Western U.S. from Eurasia in the late 1800s, and over the next 50 years it was widely planted as a fast-growing, drought-resistant ornamental and riverbank stabilizer. However, the negative impacts of the tree were increasingly evident, leading to the passage of a national bill to address the issue. Among the actions taken to reduce tamarisk populations was the development of a biological control agent, the tamarisk leaf beetle (Diorhabda spp.), which eats the leaves in both its adult and larval (pictured above) stages. It was released in 2003 and currently is rapidly spreading, leaving a sea of defoliated tamarisk in its wake. Except there was a problem, and not the one you might expect. Most aspects of the beetle release ...
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Exeter University study casts doubt on theory of dinosaur extinction 22.1.2015 Environmental News Network
Pioneering new research has debunked the theory that the asteroid that is thought to have led to the extinction of dinosaurs also caused vast global firestorms that ravaged planet Earth.A team of researchers from the University of Exeter, University of Edinburgh and Imperial College London recreated the immense energy released from an extra-terrestrial collision with Earth that occurred around the time that dinosaurs became extinct. They found that the intense but short-lived heat near the impact site could not have ignited live plants, challenging the idea that the impact led to global firestorms. These firestorms have previously been considered a major contender in the puzzle to find out what caused the mass extinction of life on Earth 65 million years ago.
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40 Years Ago the World 'Discovered' Mexico's Monarch Habitat -- Today Its Survival Is at Stake 21.1.2015 Politics on HuffingtonPost.com
MEXICO CITY -- Forty years ago the winter habitat of the monarch butterfly in Mexico was supposedly discovered. After searching for decades, on January 9, 1975 the Canadian scientist Fred A. Urquhart, an entomologist at the University of Toronto's Scarborough College, received a phone call from an American living in Mexico City named Kenneth Brugger , married at the time to Mexican-born Cathy Aguado (known today as Catalina Trail), who told him that "We have located the colony. We have found them -- millions of monarchs -- in evergreens beside a mountain clearing." The "discovery" had taken place a week earlier in northern Michoacan, in an oyamel forest on Cerro Pelon, 10,000 feet up in the mountains of Mexico's Transvolcanic Belt , and a few days later the Bruggers happened upon other monarch roosts at El Rosario and Chincua. The Bruggers were volunteer " research associates " in Urquhart's longstanding monarch tagging program, in which tiny labels reading " Send to Zoology University Toronto Canada " ...
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY 20.1.2015 Philly.com News
BLUE BELL While conducting an insect survey of the Wissahickon Creek watershed, scientists found several rare species, including the Juniper Hairstreak butterfly, at the Crossways Preserve in Blue Bell.
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A Horseback Account of America's Vanishing Prairie 17.1.2015 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
I peered through my mule's ears at a copper-coated bison squaring off with me in a remote corner of Northeastern Montana, and shortened my reins. Two weeks into a 3-month expedition to document the changing Great Plains landscape, this was our first bison. I swiveled around in my saddle to ask my partner if we had come a little too close for comfort. The enormous creature stood next to the only gate for miles. Not wanting to backtrack and traverse the prairie by night, I threw caution to the wind. With one eye on the bull, I jumped down, swung the gate wide, and shuffled our pack string through. The bull snorted, then slowly pivoted and ambled away. As the sun nestled into the horizon, we watched him disappear over the lip of the nearest hill. Next to the dried up creek bed where we pitched camp that night, the primordial grunts of a bison herd in rut floated across the sage brush steppe into our tent. 150 years ago, experiences like these would have been so commonplace as to border on the mundane. Bison ...
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The CEO Interview: Chad Nelsen, Surfrider Foundation 16.1.2015 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
Sunshine, soft sand beneath your feet, the squeals of children splashing in waves -- these are the memories of summer vacations. Chad Nelsen wants your children's children to have these memories too. As the newly appointed CEO of the Surfrider Foundation, one of the nation's largest grass roots environmental organizations, Nelsen has a formidable task in front of him. Coastal development, beach erosion and wastewater runoff are just a few of the environmental challenges threatening both public access to beaches and the health of the ocean -- issues that are at the heart of Surfrider's mission. Nelsen's outdoor ruggedness, with the glow of a surfer straight out of central casting -- belie his intelligence. He has a degree from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and an environmental science doctorate from UCLA. I wondered what the challenges of leading such a large grass-roots organization were and Nelsen said, "It's to find a way to organize and coalesce a multitude of local issues into ...
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2 Endangered Cotton-Top Tamarin Monkeys Freeze To Death At Louisiana Zoo 14.1.2015 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
By Jonathan Kaminsky NEW ORLEANS, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Two monkeys belonging to a species that is critically endangered died at a Louisiana zoo after they were left out overnight in the cold by a caretaker, officials said on Wednesday. The cotton-top Tamarins, weighing less than a pound and distinguishable by their shock of white hair, were among three that were kept outside overnight last week in temperatures that dipped into the 30s Fahrenheit at the Alexandria Zoo in central Louisiana. One of the monkeys survived, officials with the city of Alexandria, which owns the zoo, said. "This is a tragedy," zoo director Lee Ann Whitt said in a statement. The zoo keeper who was responsible for the monkeys on the night in question has resigned after being placed on administrative leave, and an investigation into the incident is ongoing, said David Gill, the city's public works director. "This appears to have happened as a result of human error and not a system problem," Gill said in a statement. The ...
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Nonprofit Employment Actually Grew During The Recession: Report 7.1.2015 Yahoo: Business

Nonprofit Employment Actually Grew During The Recession: ReportNonprofits are becoming an increasingly vital aspect of the American economy, new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows.For the first time, the bureau has released jobs data regarding charitable organizations, as Trib Live Media reported. It found nonprofit employment, standing at 11.4 million jobs in 2012, is the third largest by...


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Jewell orders firefighting strategy that protects habitat 7.1.2015 AP Washington
BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is calling for a new wildfire-fighting strategy that protects a wide swath of sagebrush country in the intermountain West that supports cattle ranching and is home to a struggling bird species....
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Climate Change Threatens Quechua and Their Crops in Peru's Andes 3.1.2015 Truthout - All Articles
Quechua Indian women bargain and sell vegetables. (Photo: Global Water Partnership ) Pisac, Peru - In this town in Peru's highlands over 3,000 metres above sea level, in the mountains surrounding the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the Quechua Indians who have lived here since time immemorial are worried about threats to their potato crops from alterations in rainfall patterns and temperatures. "The families' food security is definitely at risk," agricultural technician Lino Loayza told IPS. "The rainy season started in September, and the fields should be green, but it has only rained two or three days, and we're really worried about the effects of the heat." If the drought stretches on, as expected, "we won't have a good harvest next year," said Loayza, who is head of the Parque de la Papa or Potato Park, a biocultural conservation unit created to safeguard native crops in the rural municipality of Pisac in the southeastern department or region of Cuzco. In the Parque de la Papa, which is at an altitude of ...
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Another Record Year For Rhino Slayings After More Than 1,000 Killed In 2014 2.1.2015 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
By Ed Stoddard JOHANNESBURG, Jan 2 (Reuters) - South Africa lost a record number of rhinos in 2014 as big animals across Africa were relentlessly poached to meet rising demand for horn and ivory in newly affluent Asian countries or to provide meat to fighters in the bush. From South Sudan, where conservationists say elephants are being slain by both government forces and rebels, to South Africa, where more than three rhinos are poached every day, there is an arc of illegal animal slaughter across the region. South Africa is the center of the rhino crisis as it is home to close to 20,000, or over 90 percent, of the world's population of the animals. Government figures for 2014 show that by mid-November 1,020 of the animals had been killed for their horns. That tops the previous record of 1,004 from 2013 and experts say it will probably hit at least 1,200, an almost four-fold increase over 2010, when 333 were killed. Pelham Jones, chairman of the Private Rhino Owners Association, told Reuters ...
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