Showing posts with the label Biodiversity

Flooding caused by rapidly expanding hydroelectric dams in the tropics is pushing many jaguars and tigers to the brink of extinction

by Larry Powell Balbina Dam flooded 3,129 square kilometers of tropical rainforest in the Brazilian Amazon. This hydroelectric reservoir is located in the core of the distribution of jaguars. Credit: E. M. Venticinque. New research just published, finds hydropower development to satisfy the growing human demand for energy has become one of the major drivers of habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation everywhere. The dams create massive reservoirs, which drown out the homes of many creatures, including these top predators. A jaguar in the Brazilian Pantanal, the largest tropical wetland habitat in the world. Credit: Steve Winter/National Geographic. The scientists found no less than 164 dams intruding on more than 25 thousand square kilometres of jaguar range in Latin America. Sadly, plans show that number could well triple into the future. Tigers in Sumatra are a critically endangered subspecies, which face additional threats from two hydropower dams planned to be constructed withi

A third of global farmland at 'high' pesticide pollution risk

PHYS ORG A public domain photo. A third of the planet's agricultural land is at "high risk" of pesticide pollution from the lingering residue of chemical ingredients that can leach into water supplies and threaten biodiversity, according to research published Monday. Story here.

Location! Location! Location! "Rewilding" less than a third of the world's damaged ecosystems in the right places, could go a long way toward curbing both species extinctions and atmospheric carbon!

Nature The Great Egret in a wetland in southwestern Manitoba, Canada.  Canadian populations are said to be declining. For decades, the egrets have had to contend with major habitat loss and degradation, as well as threats like contaminated runoff from farm fields. A  PinP  photo. Restoring 30% of the world’s ecosystems in priority areas could stave off more than 70% of projected extinctions and absorb nearly half of the carbon buildup in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution. As the world focuses on dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, a landmark report in Nature pinpoints the ecosystems that, if restored, give us the biggest "bang for our buck" in terms of both climate and biodiversity benefits. Despite being shown to be beneficial, shelterbelts are being systematically  destroyed  by  modern farmers.  A PinP video. Returning specific ecosystems in all continents worldwide that have been replaced by farming to their natural state would rescue the maj

Plants at Risk of Extinction, New Report Finds

Common Dreams One of several species at risk in Canada, the small white lady's slipper, (Cypripedium candidum).  Photo by Mason Brock. A grim new assessment of the world's flora and fungi has found that two-fifths of its species are at risk of extinction as humans encroach on the natural world.  Details here.                 

Ecology: Conservation and food system changes needed to bolster biodiversity

Trees, shrubs and debris are burned on the Canadian prairies to make  way for more cropland. A  PinP  photo. Nature Declines in terrestrial biodiversity from habitat conversion could be reversed by adopting a combination of bold conservation methods and increases in the sustainability of the food system, a modelling study published in Nature suggests. Human pressures, such as the destruction of natural habitats to make way for agriculture and forestry, are causing rapid declines in biodiversity, and placing at risk the ecosystem services upon which we depend. Ambitious targets for biodiversity have been proposed, but it is unclear how these targets can be achieved whilst retaining the ability to feed a growing population. Using land-use and biodiversity models, David Leclère and colleagues show how this is possible.  Conservationists need to increase the amount of actively managed land, restore degraded land and adopt generalized landscape-level conservation plann

Mining for renewable energy could worsen threats to biodiversity

Nature Communications A University of Queensland photo. Threats to biodiversity could increase in the future as more mines target materials used for renewable energy production, suggests a study in Nature Communications. Renewable energy production is necessary to mitigate climate change. However, only 17% of current global energy consumption is achieved through renewable energies. Generating the required technologies and infrastructure will lead to an increase in the production of many metals, which may create potential threats for biodiversity. Laura Sonter and colleagues mapped mining areas globally and assessed their coincidence with biodiversity conservation sites. The authors found that mining potentially influences approximately 50 million km2 of the Earth’s land surface with 82% of mining areas targeting materials used in renewable energy production. When looking at the spatial overlap between mining areas and conservation sites, they found that 8% of mining areas c

The more we carve up natural landscapes with roads and fields, the closer we’re pushing large predators like lions and wolves, toward extinction.

by Larry Powell While the consequences of habitat loss have been known for some time, new research just published, underlines just how grave the situation has become.  While this latest research is German, animals like the grey wolf face similar disruption in North America.  It’s called “habitat fragmentation.” And, it’s been happening on such a large scale, it’s been hard to tell what aspects are the most destructive. That's because ecologists - at least 'til now - ha ven't been able to properly keep track of all wildlife within an entire eco-system when human developments confine them to smaller and more isolated patches of livable space.  -30-

Soil communities threatened by destruction, instability of Amazon forests

Science Daily  In this image, intact forest is deep green, while cleared areas are tan (bare ground) or light green (crops, pasture, or occasionally, second-growth forest). The fish-bone pattern of small clearings along new roads is the beginning of one of the common deforestation trajectories in the Amazon.  A NASA photo. The clearing and subsequent instability of Amazonian forests are among the greatest threats to tropical biodiversity conservation today.  Story here.

Researchers say Canada’s race to conserve marine biodiversity may backfire

Laurier Canada’s race to meet biodiversity conservation targets could jeopardize the very goal it is trying to achieve.  More here. Aerial view of the Bunsby marine park. West coast of Vancouver Island. Bc. Photo by  Kiwican

Biodiversity moves beyond counting species

nature Ecologists are increasingly looking at how richness of traits — rather than number of species — helps set the health of ecosystems. Details here.

Scientists Warn of 'Unsafe' Decline in Biodiversity

BBC News An international team of scientists has issued a warning that biodiversity is dropping below safe levels for the support and wellbeing of human societies. Story here.

Canada's Process to Protect Endangered Species is Failing, Study Finds

CBC News Marmot. Photo credit: Quirks  and Quarks  86% of country's at risk species stay at same risk level or have deteriorated over time. Story here.

On World Migratory Bird Day, UN Calls for Greater Protection of Habitats

United Nations News Centre Yellow-headed blackbird. PinP photo. As an estimated 50 billion birds commence their annual migrations, the critical staging areas they need to complete these journeys continue to be degraded or are disappearing completely, the United Nations today warned on this year's World Migratory Bird Day.  Details here. Brush-clearing on a Manitoba farm. PinP photos.

Black Market in Moose Thrives in Manitoba

Winnipeg Free Press The animal has been wiped out in parts of Manitoba, so why is it easy to get moose meat? Details here. Graham Powell Photography

Back Biodiversity 100, Save our Wildlife

The Guardian, 4 Oc 2010 - George Monbiot To press governments into action, not platitudes on the biodiversity crisis,...