Confidences Canopéennes
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Senegal's Great Green Wall combats desertification

"A 7,000 km barrier is being built along the footsteps of the Sahara to stop the desert expanding. The Great Green Wall project started in 2007 in Senegal, along with 10 countries in Africa to combat the effects of climate change. Al Jazeera’s Nicolas Haque reports from Widou, deep in the Sahel."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, March 10, 11:37 AM

The Great Green Wall initiative is composed of 11 countries that are cooperating together to combat the physical and human geographic characteristics that make the Sahel one of the more vulnerable ecosystems in the world.  This swath running through Africa is the transition zone where tropical Africa meets the Sahara.  The Sahel is susceptible to drought, overgrazing, land degradation and desertification.  These issues of resource management and land use transcend international borders so this "Green Wall" was created with the intent to protect the environment, landscapes and people of the Sahel from desert encroachment (the shorter, social media friendly version of this video is available here).

 

Tags: Africa, Senegal, development, environment, waterbiogeography, ecology, environment depend, physical, weather and climate, supranationalism, political ecology.

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How Geospatial Analytics Are Changing Habitat Conservation

"The BirdReturns program is an effort to provide 'pop-up habitats' for some of the millions of shorebirds, such as sandpipers and plovers that migrate along the Pacific Flyway, a route that spans from Alaska to South America. Birds flying on this journey seek out the increasingly rare wetlands teeming with tasty insects to fuel their long-distance flights.  Over the last century, California's Central Valley has lost 95% of the wetlands habitat to development, agriculture, and other land use changes. As a solution, scientists use big data, binoculars, and rice paddies."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, June 17, 2016 4:35 PM

This project combines data from satellite imagery to map surface water in California's Central Valley, and individual bird observations to select locations that can be temporarily converted into wetlands to aid the migratory birds (for more information than the video provides about this project, read this article). 

 

This is a great example of using both 'big' geospatial data as represented by the satellite imagery and combining it with field data and actual observations to make the world a better place.  We need more decision makers that can think spatially and use geographic skills.  

 

Tags: physicalCalifornia, water, environmentbiogeography, remote sensing.

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Revisiting Alexander von Humboldt

Revisiting Alexander von Humboldt | Confidences Canopéennes | Scoop.it
On why a Prussian scientific visionary should be studied afresh…In a superb biography, Andrea Wulf makes an inspired case for Alexander von Humboldt to be considered the greatest scientist of the 19th century. Certainly he was the last great polymath in a scientific world which, by the time he died in Berlin in 1859, aged 89, was fast hardening into the narrow specializations that typify science to this day. Yet in the English-speaking world, Humboldt is strangely little-known.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, December 10, 2015 8:28 AM

Alexander von Humboldt has been described as the last great ancient geographer concerned with understanding an eclectic cosmography as well as the first modern geographer. He is honored far and wide throughout Europe and especially  Latin America for his explorations, but given that people are confused as how to categorize him and classify his contributions, today he is under-appreciated.  Geographers need to reclaim his memory and call his extensive, globetrotting work on a wide range of subjects ‘geography.’  Here is another article and TED-ED video on the most influential scientist that you might not have heard of (at least until today).

 

Tags:  historicalbiogeography.

Tony Burton's curator insight, January 29, 2016 11:32 AM

An interesting biography, but, strangely, Ms Wulf almost completely ignores Humboldt's time in Mexico. In some ways, his time in Mexico was more pivotal in terms of geography than his time in South America. Claiming that Humboldt is a virtual unknown in Europe is a gross distortion of the facts; there have been numerous books about Humboldt over the last thirty to forty years, let alone before that time!.

Pieter de Paauw's curator insight, February 15, 2016 6:25 AM

De nieuwe methode van de onderbouw: (Alexander von) Humboldt

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The Very Great Alexander von Humboldt

The Very Great Alexander von Humboldt | Confidences Canopéennes | Scoop.it
The Prussian naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) is all around us. Yet he is invisible. “Alexander von Humboldt has been largely forgotten in the English-speaking world,” writes Andrea Wulf in her thrilling new biography. “It is almost as though his ideas have become so manifest that the man behind them has disappeared.” Wulf’s book is as much a history of those ideas as it is of the man. The man may be lost but his ideas have never been more alive.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 19, 2016 4:37 PM

Alexander von Humboldt has been described as the last great ancient geographer concerned with understanding an eclectic cosmography as well as the first modern geographer. He is honored far and wide throughout Europe and especially Latin America for his explorations, but given that people are confused as how to categorize him and classify his contributions, today he is under-appreciated.  Geographers need to reclaim his memory and call his extensive, globetrotting work on a wide range of subjects ‘geography.’  Here are more articles and videos on the man that I feel geographers should publicly champion as their intellectual ancestor the way that biologists point to Darwin.   

 

Tags:  historicalbiogeography, book reviews.

ROCAFORT's curator insight, July 17, 2016 2:24 AM
The Very Great Alexander von Humboldt
Matthias Henkel's comment, July 23, 2016 2:45 PM
A Man who is still a Brand
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Vultures, Environment, and Mapping Trash

"For generations we vultures, armed with our senses, have fought in silence. We’ve waged a battle against garbage, but now we’re losing that battle. We want to help humans, so we’ve launched a movement to help you detect piles of garbage so that you can take action to eliminate them. Join us in this fight. Vultures Warn, you take action!"


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 23, 2016 4:24 PM

This video is an introduction to a fascinating (Spanish language) website and project that uses GPS-tagged vultures to map out the urban trash hot-spots in Lima, Peru.  We look at vultures as the dregs of the food chain and ascribe moral filthiness to the species (just think of any number of movie, literary, and cultural references), but they are simply filling an ecological niche.  This mapping project is a way to use vultures nature in a way that allows for humanity to fix our trash production/disposal problems.    

 

Tagspollution, PerudevelopmentmappingGPSbiogeography, environment, environment modify, South America, land use, megacities, urban ecology, consumption.

 

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Earth's Green Places Mapped

"Although 75% of the planet is a relatively unchanging ocean of blue, the remaining 25% of Earth's surface is a dynamic green. Data from the NASA/NOAA Suomi NPP satellite is able to detect these subtle differences in greenness. The resources on this page highlight our ever-changing planet, using highly detailed vegetation index data from the satellite, developed by scientists at NOAA. The darkest green areas are the lushest in vegetation, while the pale colors are sparse in vegetation cover either due to snow, drought, rock, or urban areas. Satellite data from April 2012 to April 2013 was used to generate these animations and images."


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Louis Culotta's curator insight, July 16, 2013 5:05 PM

This is something to check out if you want to see first hand look at the green and not so green places on our planet. It really makes you see the parts of the world that get enough rain and the areas that don't that makes what we see from Satellite images from space.

Magnus Gustafsson's curator insight, July 16, 2013 5:13 PM

Useful insiight how we humans can change the world!

Al Picozzi's comment, July 18, 2013 11:19 AM
Can really see the effect of development in the Amazon river basin. Also this system can be a great use to help in areas that are facing a drought.