With the demand for fresh local produce on a upward spiral, so is the demand for growing space. And that, in turn, inspires innovation and invention. A good example of this forward-thinking approach is the Urban Garden at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. On the mezzanine level of one of the busiest airports in the world, travelers will find a 928-square-foot organic oasis that features nearly 50 kinds of vegetables and herbs. The technique that makes the indoor garden possible is aeroponics, a method of cultivating plants without soil but with a nutrient-rich solution that is misted onto their roots.
We can all do more (or less) to manage our landscapes for pollinators. Resist the urge to clean up your landscape; instead, leave natural items such as plant stems, logs, dead trees and leaves. Pollinators need undisturbed, pesticide-free, habitat-rich, plant diverse landscapes in order to thrive. Here are some ways we can all improve pollinator habitat in our own yards:
Much of what we know about patterns of biodiversity has come from extensive fieldwork, with expert researchers sampling and identifying species in a process that takes thousands of man-hours. But new technologies may revolutionize this process, allowing us to monitor changes in biodiversity at speeds and scales unimaginable just a decade ago.
A new paper published in Ecology Letters offers one technological solution to the problem of monitoring biodiversity in real time - Metabarcoding. This method can provide rapid biodiversity estimates from a mashed-up cocktail of specimens nicknamed “insect soup.” It works by simply blending all the samples, then using DNA technology to pick out known species.
Feeding garden wildlife has become a regular habit and providing a balanced menu can help keep these welcomed visitors coming back.
While gardens can naturally provide an abundance of fruits, seeds and insects, offering tit-bits means nature lovers can provide a nutritional boost during stressful times as well as enjoy watching wildlife from their window.
Although it's important to remember that the food you provide is only a supplement - and there are consequences to attracting wildlife to your garden - a few snacks could make a big difference in extreme weather or help to feed demanding young.
Most of us have weeds in our gardens and we try to eradicate them to one degree or another.
Aggressive weed management can create situations where weeds proliferate as fast as they are removed, soil is extremely disturbed and desired species struggle to gain a foothold. In the battle against weeds it is easy to feel like the weeds are winning and begin to wonder whether weeds might actually be of value as wildlife habitat that should be left to grow unthwarted. While it’s easy to be discouraged, the crux of the issue is whether or not weed control is helping improve wildlife habitat in our native gardens. Does weed control really improve habitat or is it just an insane compulsive human activity?
Fifteen heat-stressed baby flying foxes (bats) are lined up ready to feed at the Australia bat clinic near the Gold Coast in Queensland. Thousands of bats near Brisbane and the Gold Coast have succumbed to the extreme heat, falling out of trees and dying in heat waves in what is turning out to be Australia's hottest year so far. ...
Antibiotics used to protect them from bacterial illnesses ravaging hives are making them die from commonly used pesticides, some of which are used to ward-off bee-killing parasites. Matthew Thompson reports.
Antibiotics widely used in the bee industry, such as oxytetracycline, are preventing bees from effectively excreting widely used pesticides.
Honey bees are trapped in a Catch 22 where antibiotics used to protect them from bacterial illnesses ravaging hives are making them die from commonly used pesticides, some of which are used to ward-off bee-killing parasites.
Recent flooding has highlighted the importance of land use in either contributing to or mitigating flood risk. In particular the suggestion that trees might play an important role in helping reduce flood risk.
Reports from the Woodland Trust on water and farming and water in towns provide a review of the evidence for the role of trees. Forest Research has also undertaken a significant amount of work looking at the role of trees in delivering better water quality as well as modelling the impacts of increased tree cover on flood risk. These show that trees can make an important contribution both to mitigating flooding and improving water quality.
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — A conservation group says it is capturing and relocating elephants in Ivory Coast to stave off future conflicts with villagers and townspeople in the first such operation attempted in Africa's forests.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare this week began tranquilizing up to a dozen forest elephants outside the western town of Daloa and transporting them to Assagny National Park on the southern coast.
Sam Droege is head of the US Geological Survey Bee Inventory and Monitoring Laboratory in Maryland, and for the past seven years he and his team have been photographing bees and other insects to create online reference catalogues to help researchers identify the thousands of species across North America. Here is a selection of their work.
More white rhinos were illegally killed in South Africa in 2013 than in any previous year, according to government figures.
A total of 1,004 animals were poached, representing a 50% increase over the previous 12 months.
Campaigners say that a growing demand for rhino horn from markets in Vietnam and China is fuelling the killing.
They are concerned that illegal hunting on this scale threatens the survival of the species in the long term.
The White Rhino is one of the world's greatest conservation success stories. At the end of the 19th century there were just 100 alive in South Africa. Today there are around 20,000 according to experts.
If all honey bees disappeared, it would be catastrophic for agriculture, as we know it, and we would certainly suffer grievously, but we would survive. Nevertheless, over time, other pollinators could, and would, take over all the tasks that the Jack-of-all-trades performs today. This would require profound changes in agriculture to meet these pollinators’ needs such as nesting habitat, diversity of crops, protection from pesticides and more. Fortunately, several groups of pollination experts are already exploring this issue and coming with alternatives.
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