Showing posts with label Forests. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Forests. Show all posts

Friday, April 15, 2022

Spraying herbicides from helicopters? Concerns mount over plans for southern B.C. forests

The Narwhal

The huckleberry. A Wikimedia photo.

To the forestry industry these plants are pests, but for berry pickers they are important foods and medicine. Story here.


RELATED:


Contaminants found in traditional berries of First Nations people in Manitoba, but still declared to be safe to eat. (Video).


Sunday, June 20, 2021

Global Call Goes Out to End Destruction of Canada's Ancient Forests

Common Dreams

Old growth forest in BC. Photo by Nadine Reynolds.

More than 100 prominent individuals throughout Canadian society, along with a handful of international supporters, urged British Columbia Premier John Horgan on Friday to fulfill his campaign pledge to immediately protect the region's imperiled old-growth forests, which continue to be logged despite scientific warnings against further destruction. Story here.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Climate change will alter the position of the Earth's tropical rain belt. Researchers.

PHYS ORG

Pixabay Public Domain

Future climate change will cause a regionally uneven shifting of the tropical rain belt—a narrow band of heavy precipitation near the equator. This development may threaten food security for billions of people. 

Story here.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Do Forests Grow Better With Our Help or Without?

YaleEnvironment360
Riding Mtn. National Park, Manitoba, Canada. A PinP photo.

Nations around the world are pledging to plant billions of trees to grow new forests. But a new study shows that the potential for natural forest regrowth to absorb carbon from the atmosphere and fight climate change is far greater than has previously been estimated. Story here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Bushfires damaged Australian rainforest that is home to Earth's only living specimens of ancient species

PHYS ORG
Rainforest foliage in Nightcap National Park, NSW Wales, an international heritage
site hit hard by the bushfires. Photo by Naught101
Recent wildfires in Australia torched more than 48,000 square miles of land (for context, more than 40 Riding Mountain National Parks). The fires impacted ecologically sensitive regions, including an area called the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Site. This region contains a vast concentration of living plants with fossil records from tens of millions of years ago, according to Peter Wilf. Story here.

RELATED:

The hand of man shows through once again in another climate catastrophe.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Carbon bomb: Study says climate impact from loss of intact tropical forests grossly underreported


Science News - Wildlife Conservation Society
A tropical forest in Guatemala.
Photo by Chixoy.
A new study says that carbon impacts from the loss of intact tropical forests has been grossly underreported. Story here.



Thursday, October 17, 2019

Amazon Watch: What Happens When the Forest Disappears?


YaleEnvironment360
Amazon fires, August 2019, some deliberately set to make way for agriculture.
Satellite image taken by MODIS.


At a remote site where the world’s largest rainforest abuts land cleared for big agriculture, Brazilian and American scientists are keeping watch for a critical tipping point – the time when the Amazon ceases to be a carbon sink and turns into a source of carbon emissions. Story here.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Remote lakes in New Brunswick, Canada, remain dangerously polluted, half-a-century after being drenched with the insecticide, DDT, says study.

It's no secret that the now-infamous bug-killer, DDT,
persists stubbornly in the environment. Still, what scientists found in lake sediments they recently analyzed in the Atlantic province, 50 years after it was last used there, shocked them. The sediment in all five lakes they tested (representing numerous watersheds), were laced with DDT at levels up to 450 times beyond what would be considered safe for key aquatic species and even entire food webs.

by Larry Powell
A plane sprays DDT on bud worms in Oregon, 1955. 
Photo by Forest Health Protection.

In some ways, it was like a real war.

In the early fifties, governments and the forest industry teamed up in New Brunswick to launch a massive aerial assault against spruce bud worms. 

The pests had probably been eating their way through conifer stands in eastern Canada and the U.S. for thousands of years. But now, they were causing hundreds of millions of dollars of damage yearly to forests of mostly spruce and fir, highly valued by a growing human population.

By 1968, almost six million kilograms of DDT had been unleashed on the worms. The area treated, varied widely from year to year - from about 80 thousand hectares to two million. Some years, the same area was treated once - others, twice.
 “Budworm City,” established in the early 1950s and used 
as a base for DDT spray operations in northern 
New Brunswick. Photo credit: D.C. Anderson.

Then, some two years later, as awareness of the harm the product was doing to fish and wildlife grew, authorities stopped using it altogether. 

But not before copious amounts had washed off the land and settled into the water directly from the air. 
But this latest research builds even further on what was known back then. 

In the words of the researchers, "Surprisingly, DDT and its toxic breakdown products are still very high in modern sediments - above levels where harmful biological effects tend to occur." 
Populations of a small water flea, Daphnia sp. (below) were found to have gone down significantly in the lakes tested. While such a creature may not sound impressive, it's considered an important invertebrate in the food webs of lakes.
An image of the aquatic organism Daphnia, commonly known as a water flea. They are often numerous in lakes and important grazers of algae, and are eaten by small fish, waterfowl, and large invertebrates. Daphnia are sensitive to their aquatic environment, including DDT levels and other contaminants. Daphniids are used worldwide in toxicology and ecology studies, and are often considered a keystone aquatic species. The postabdominal claw (indicated by the arrow) of Daphnia are preserved in lake sediments and useful to their identification. Photo credit: Kim Lemmen (Queen's University).
L. to r. Environmental Scientist and lead author Dr Josh Kurek,
study co-author Sarah Veinot, field assistant Marley Caddell, and study 
co-author Paul MacKeigan at a remote New Brunswick lake.

The study's lead author, Dr. Joshua Kurek, tells PinP, "Just to be clear, the loss/reduction of Daphnia is a concern, as Daphnia eat algae and are also food for fish. Fewer Daphnia mean less food for fish (and other organisms). It also means less grazing pressure on algae. It's very difficult to quantify. But other studies do show more algae (and blooms of algae), when Daphnia are fewer in lakes."
Excessive growth of sometimes toxic algae can clog lakes, robbing them of their oxygen and killing fish. It has become a huge problem in waterways, worldwide. 

Because New Brunswick had likely become the most heavily-sprayed forested region on the continent, DDT's harmful legacy could well be playing out well beyond the five lakes that were studied. (There are about 2,500 in the province, in all.) 

Another co-author, Dr. Karen Kidd of McMaster University, adds a cautionary note of her own. "The lesson from our study is that pesticide use can result in persistent and permanent changes in aquatic environments."

The project was conducted by experts from three Canadian Universities; Mount Allison, New Brunswick and McMaster. Its findings were published today in the journal,Environmental Science & Technology.

DDT's "rap sheet" is a long one.






























Rachel Carson's famous book, "Silent Spring," published in the early 60s, dedicates almost an entire chapter to the New Brunswick experience. Called "Rivers of Death," it documents the loss of countless fish, insects and birds along the Mirimachi River, one of North America's best salmon-fishing spots, in the wake of the spraying. She noted the pilots made no effort to avoid spraying directly over waterways. She also observed that the spraying was having questionable results, in any event, since the amounts applied kept having to be increased, just to keep ahead of the hungry worms.

Also, years ago, DDT was found to cause a thinning of the eggshells of dozens of bird species, leading to reproductive failure. While their numbers have since recovered, raptors, notably the bald eagle, were especially hard hit.
A swift, as depicted in
Bird Craft - 1897.
























And, by killing the bugs eaten by insectivorous birds such as the swift (above), DDT has long been recognized as instrumental in widespread species declines, as well. 

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Older forests resist change, climate change, that is


Science News
A  forest in Maritime Canada. A PinP photo.

With age, forests in eastern US and Canada become less vulnerable to climate change, study finds. Story here.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Soil communities threatened by destruction, instability of Amazon forests


ScienceDaily
 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.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Make EU trade with Brazil sustainable


Science
The Amazon, near Manaus. 
Photo by Neil Palmer (CIAT).
Brazil, home to one of the planet's last great forests, is currently in trade negotiations with its second largest trading partner, the European Union (EU). We urge the EU to seize this critical opportunity to ensure that Brazil protects human rights and the environment. More here.
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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The World Lost an Area of Primary Rainforest Last Year, the Size of Ten Riding Mountain National Parks in Manitoba!


WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE
Manitoba's Riding Mtn. Park.
The tropics lost 12 million hectares of tree cover in 2018, the fourth-highest annual loss since record-keeping began in 2001. Of greatest concern is the disappearance of 3.6 million hectares of primary rainforest, an area the size of Belgium (ten Riding Mountain Parks). The figures come from updated data from the University of Maryland, released today on Global Forest Watch. More here.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The last great tree: a majestic relic of Canada's vanishing rainforest


The
Guardian
Spared by the loggers’ chainsaws, a Douglas fir perhaps 1,000 years old stands in splendid isolation on Vancouver Island. Story here.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Rivers in the Sky: How Deforestation Is Affecting Global Water Cycles


Yale Environment 360
Producing charcoal in the rainforest.
By User Kelberul on de.wikipedia 
A growing body of evidence indicates that the continuing destruction of tropical forests is disrupting the movement of water in the atmosphere, causing major shifts in precipitation that could lead to drought in key agricultural areas in China, India, and the U.S. Midwest. Story here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Palm oil ‘disastrous’ for wildlife but here to stay, experts warn


The Guardian
The deforestation it causes is decimating species such as orangutans and tigers - but the alternatives could be worse, finds authoritative report. More here.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Environmentalists accuse B.C. government of fudging the numbers to log some of the world's biggest trees


NATIONAL OBSERVER
Environmentalists have accused the B.C. government of lying about the amount of majestic, centuries-old trees left standing in the province. Story here.

An 800 year-old Douglas-fir near Port Alberni, 
BC Photo by Gillian (EverySpoon)

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Melbourn's water supply at risk due to "collapse" of forests caused by logging.


The Guardian

Logging in Australia. Photo by Peter Campbell
Tree-felling helped trigger ‘hidden collapse’ of mountain ash forests, ecologists say. More here.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Vancouver Island rainforest stands are becoming as rare as white rhinos


The Province

Part of the remaining stand of rainforest on Vancouver Island. Photo by Jason Holinger.
For millennia, Vancouver Island was mostly covered by spectacular, globally rare ancient rainforest. Many trees were 1,000 years old or older. Indigenous peoples co-existed with the rainforest using many of its plants and animals without destroying it. Shortly after the arrival of Europeans, logging began in earnest. In less than 100 years, the majority of the ancient trees have been logged. Story here.