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The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert | forests | Scoop.it
Elizabeth Kolbert is a staff writer at The New Yorker. She is the author of The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History and Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change
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One of the world's biggest lakes is dying and we're to blame

One of the world's biggest lakes is dying and we're to blame | forests | Scoop.it
Global warming and overfishing are killing Lake Victoria, and locals are scrambling for options.
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3D laser mapping 'weighs' trees

3D laser mapping 'weighs' trees | forests | Scoop.it
A laser scanning technique is being developed by scientists to 3D map the structure of trees in order to determine the biomass and carbon stocks in forests more accurately than by other methods. The authors of the study hope their research will provide better understanding of the role of forests in reducing man-made CO2 emissions and give an effective framework for climate policymakers. Matthew Stock reports.
Video provided by Reuters
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Are the Best Years for Tropical Forest Conservation Still Ahead? | Conservancy Talk

Are the Best Years for Tropical Forest Conservation Still Ahead? | Conservancy Talk | forests | Scoop.it
With the appropriate investment and stakeholder support, low emissions development programs have the potential to become models of forest-friendly development around the world.
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Brazil's soy moratorium still needed to preserve Amazon

Brazil's soy moratorium still needed to preserve Amazon | forests | Scoop.it
In a new study to evaluate the Brazilian Soy Moratorium, researchers across the U.S. and Brazil show that the moratorium helped to drastically reduce the amount of deforestation linked to soy production in the region and was much better at curbing it than governmental policy alone.
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Tourism hope for threatened lemurs

Tourism hope for threatened lemurs | forests | Scoop.it
The world's most threatened primate could be saved from extinction by eco-tourism according to conservationists.
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Palm oil giant launches online platform to support zero deforestation push

Palm oil giant launches online platform to support zero deforestation push | forests | Scoop.it
Wilmar, the world's largest palm oil company, has unveiled a tool it says will help eliminate deforestation from its global supply chain. The tool is an online dashboard that maps the company's supply chain, including the names of locations of its refineries and supplier mills.
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Sumatran village protects environment through agroforestry

Sumatran village protects environment through agroforestry | forests | Scoop.it
The forest behind Indudur village clings to the steep hillside. The topography itself is enough to protect it from most common threats of development. However, the area is under attack by a more pernicious force: a lack of interest by the younger generation in earning their living here. The difficulty of life compels many to migrate out, leaving the village dominated by older people.
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Warming climate likely will change the composition of northern forests, study shows

Warming climate likely will change the composition of northern forests, study shows | forests | Scoop.it

The study, published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, used a unique long-term outdoor experiment to examine the effects of climate change on trees in the boreal forest along the U.S.-Canadian border. Some species in the boreal forest are at the far northern range of their growing area, while others are at the far southern edge of their range. Species like spruce and fir that thrive in cooler areas to the north in Canada suffered poorer growth and survival when warmed by a few degrees, while trees like oaks and maples that prefer a more temperate climate performed better when warmed. Other species like aspen, birch, and pine, had a more neutral response. While all of these species may continue to co-exist, at least for a time, in a warmer climate, the study found that the balance of power, competitively speaking, shifted from the boreal species to the oaks and maples. In addition to being directly affected by warming, spruce and fir might also struggle to compete for sunlight and water with neighboring trees and plants as climate changes.

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Forest certification program is logging industry greenwash: report

Forest certification program is logging industry greenwash: report | forests | Scoop.it
Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), an organization that provides paper, fiber, and lumber certification, is misleading consumers with its ‘green’ wood-based products in Canada, according to ForestEthics.ForestEthics released a report on Friday comparing the thoroughness of forest audits conducted in Canada.
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Tanzania: illegal logging threatens tree species with extinction

Tanzania: illegal logging threatens tree species with extinction | forests | Scoop.it
Over 70% of wood harvested in forests is unaccounted for, causing huge losses of government revenue and driving some tree species to brink of local extinction
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Bet-hedging dry forest resilience to climate-change threats

Bet-hedging dry forest resilience to climate-change threats | forests | Scoop.it

Photo Credit: Miguel Vieira

New research shows that the most significant current threat to western dry forests is from insect outbreaks and droughts, not wildfires; and historically abundant small trees offer the greatest hope for forest survival and recovery after these events. Dry forests are low-elevation western forests with tall pines. The study used government records of insect and wildfire damage to compare current threats to dry forests and used records from land surveys conducted in the late-1800s to understand how dry forests persisted for thousands of years in spite of insect outbreaks, droughts, and fires. These forests persisted, this study suggests, by having both young and old trees that together provided bet-hedging.

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Brazil's hopeful lessons from the battle to save rainforests

Brazil's hopeful lessons from the battle to save rainforests | forests | Scoop.it
"Save the rainforest” is an environmental slogan as old as time — but Tasso Azevedo catches us up on how the fight is actually going these days. Spurred by the jaw-dropping losses of the 1990s, new laws (and transparent data) are helping slow the rate of deforestation in Brazil. Is it enough? Not yet. He has five ideas about what we should do next. And he asks if the lessons learned in Brazil could be applied to an even bigger problem: global climate change.
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Why some geckos lose their ability to stick to surfaces

Why some geckos lose their ability to stick to surfaces | forests | Scoop.it
Biologists have found that evolution can downgrade or entirely remove adaptations a species has previously acquired, giving the species new survival advantages. The researchers focused their attention on geckos, specifically the adhesive system that allows geckos to cling to surfaces. They found that gecko species in which the adhesive system was either lost or simplified saw elevated rates of evolution related to morphology and locomotion.
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The science is clear: Forest loss behind Brazil’s drought

The science is clear: Forest loss behind Brazil’s drought | forests | Scoop.it
The role of tropical deforestation in global climate change has been the subject of much international discussion and debate in the media and in policy forums like the UN Climate Change Convention.
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A Gorgeous Look at Some of the Oldest Trees on Earth

A Gorgeous Look at Some of the Oldest Trees on Earth | forests | Scoop.it
Beth Moon’s father made an impression on her when he told stories about his childhood learning the names of birds, trees, and flowers. Around 14 years ago, while living in England, she began to photograph trees, traveling around the country in search of some of the oldest yews. She then...
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As trees are cut and climates shift, can the animals of Borneo be saved?

As trees are cut and climates shift, can the animals of Borneo be saved? | forests | Scoop.it
As the third-largest island in the world and the largest island in Asia, Borneo stands out as a hotspot for biodiversity, and there is no question that Borneo's many rare species are in trouble. And yet -- with targeted conservation measures -- there's hope, according to researchers who predict changes to the Bornean landscape over the next 65 years.
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Tasmania plans to open wilderness world heritage area to logging and tourism

Tasmania plans to open wilderness world heritage area to logging and tourism | forests | Scoop.it
Government seeking to reduce protection of internationally listed wilderness and remove pledge to keep 1.5m-hectare area in same condition
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Company chops down rainforest to produce 'sustainable' chocolate

Company chops down rainforest to produce 'sustainable' chocolate | forests | Scoop.it
A cacao grower with roots in Southeast Asia’s palm oil industry has set up shop in the Peruvian Amazon. The CEO of United Cacao has told the international press that he wants to change the industry for the better, but a cadre of scientists and conservation groups charge that United Cacao has quietly cut down more than 2,000 hectares of rainforest.
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Indigenous territories play dual role as homelands and protected areas

Indigenous territories play dual role as homelands and protected areas | forests | Scoop.it
Indigenous communities claim—and scientific evidence increasingly shows—that indigenous forested territories are as well protected as, or better protected than, government-designated parks. In areas under pressure from roads or development projects, deforestation rates are sometimes even lower in indigenous territories than in official protected areas.
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Global gold rush is killing the world's rainforests

Global gold rush is killing the world's rainforests | forests | Scoop.it

Photo Credit: Randy Olson

Mining can have huge impacts in certain areas.  Alvarez-Berríos and Aide found that mining was especially severe in four general regions of South America: the Guianas, the Southwest Amazon, the Tapajós–Xingú area of the western Amazon, and the Magdalena Valley in the Colombian Andes.  This shocking video shows just how badly miners are decimating the Southwest Amazon in Peru following construction of the Inter-oceanic Highway there.

 

Around 17O,OOO hectares of forest was destroyed outright in these four regions, but even worse was the broader-scale impacts on aquatic ecosystems and water quality. 

Gold miners cause enormous siltation of streams and rivers as well as water pollution by toxic mercury, which they use to separate gold from river sediments. 

 

Gold miners also often have conflicts with local indigenous groups and poach wildlife.  For instance, armed miners in French Guiana murdered two park guards there, who were attempting to defend the park.

 

The scourge of illegal gold mining is by no means limited to Latin America.  It is escalating rapidly across vast expanses of Africa, Asia, and many other regions of the tropics. 

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Tree climbing as a tool to build respect for forests

Tree climbing as a tool to build respect for forests | forests | Scoop.it
The bulk of life in the rainforest is found the leafy layers of the canopy. But little was known about this world until relatively recently, when hobbyists, naturalists, and researchers began devising ways to access the upper levels of the forest. These efforts accelerated in the 1970s when scientists started to use mountaineering techniques and ropes to climb towering rainforest trees for long-term study and observation.
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In the tropics, an alien invasion remains largely below the radar

In the tropics, an alien invasion remains largely below the radar | forests | Scoop.it
Outside the tropics, the scale of invasion by alien plant species has become unprecedented over the last few decades in terms of areas affected, species involved and the extent of economic, ecological and health impacts.
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Rate of environmental degradation puts life on Earth at risk, say scientists

Rate of environmental degradation puts life on Earth at risk, say scientists | forests | Scoop.it
Humans are “eating away at our own life support systems” at a rate unseen in the past 10,000 years by degrading land and freshwater systems, emitting greenhouse gases and releasing vast amounts of agricultural chemicals into the environment, new research has found. Two major new studies by an international team of researchers have pinpointed the key factors that ensure a livable planet for humans, with stark results. Of nine worldwide processes that underpin life on Earth, four have exceeded “safe” levels – human-driven climate change, loss of biosphere integrity, land system change and the high level of phosphorus and nitrogen flowing into the oceans due to fertiliser use.
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What the people of the Amazon know that you don’t

What the people of the Amazon know that you don’t | forests | Scoop.it
"The greatest and most endangered species in the Amazon rainforest is not the jaguar or the harpy eagle," says Mark Plotkin, "It's the isolated and uncontacted tribes." In an energetic and sobering talk, the ethnobotanist brings us into the world of the forest's indigenous tribes and the incredible medicinal plants that their shamans use to heal. He outlines the challenges and perils that are endangering them — and their wisdom — and urges us to protect this irreplaceable repository of knowledge.
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No Time for Bats to Rest Easy

No Time for Bats to Rest Easy | forests | Scoop.it

Scientists are discovering, the bat immune system is astonishingly tolerant of most pathogens — a trait that could pose risks to people, but that also offers clues to preventing human diseases of aging, including cancer.

 

Evidence is mounting that bats can serve as reservoirs of many of the world’s deadliest viruses, including the pathogens behind Ebola, Marburg and related hemorrhagic fevers; acute respiratory syndromes like SARS and MERS; and even familiar villains like measles and mumps.

 

Yet bats appear largely immune to the many viruses they carry and rarely show signs of the diseases that will rapidly overwhelm any human, monkey, horse, pig or other mammalian host the microbes manage to infiltrate.

 

Scientists have also learned that bats live a seriously long time for creatures of their small size. The insectivorous Brandt’s bat of Eurasia, for example, weighs an average of just six grams, compared with 20 grams for a mouse. But while a mouse is lucky to live for a year, the Brandt’s bat can survive well into its 40s — a disparity between life span and body mass that a report in Nature Communications called “the most extreme” of all mammals.

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