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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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Activists hijack Pepsi's new product launch on Amazon over deforestation

Activists hijack Pepsi's new product launch on Amazon over deforestation | forests | Scoop.it

 

 
A campaign launched by environmental activists is killing Pepsi's launch of a new product on Amazon.com.

Pepsi True, a new soda that is made from cane sugar and Stevia, a natural no calorie sweetener, launched yesterday to much fanfare. Pepsi True is available exclusively on Amazon.

However environmentalists quickly hijacked the launch, hitting out at Pepsi over what they perceive as weak safeguards for sourcing palm oil. Consumers organized by the SumOfUs campaign, flooded Amazon.com with poor reviews, linking Pepsi to destruction of rainforests and alleged "modern slavery" — labor abuses — in Southeast Asia.


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Community Forests Formally Recognized in Cambodia

Community Forests Formally Recognized in Cambodia | forests | Scoop.it

Photo Credit: Matthew Chrisman

Close to 6,000 hectares of community forests were recently recognized by the Kratie Forestry Administration in northeast Cambodia, extending conservation management to natural habitats along the Mekong River in one of Asia’s last intact lowland ecosystems. The agreements designating the two community forests, one in O’Krieng village and the other in O’Kok village, were signed in December 2013, with approximately 200 stakeholders attending the signing ceremony.

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'Non-echolocating' fruit bats actually do echolocate, with wing clicks

'Non-echolocating' fruit bats actually do echolocate, with wing clicks | forests | Scoop.it
In a discovery that overturns conventional wisdom about bats, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on December 4 have found that Old World fruit bats—long classified as 'non-echolocating'—actually do use a rudimentary form of echolocation. Perhaps most surprisingly, the ...
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Willow trees are cost-efficient cleaners of contaminated soil

Willow trees are cost-efficient cleaners of contaminated soil | forests | Scoop.it
"This is a cost-efficient solution for purifying and restoring contaminated soils. There is no need for earth-moving, as harmful materials can be extracted from the soil naturally, with the help of plants. Furthermore, the wood biomass grown in the process can be used for energy production and as a raw material for biorefineries," says Researcher Aki Villa of the University of Eastern Finland.
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EU labelling changes force industry action on palm oil

EU labelling changes force industry action on palm oil | forests | Scoop.it

GA new law is predicted to benefit the sustainable palm oil industry, but the question is whether consumers will care, writes Tim Smedley

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Disaster ahead for Sumatra's forests?

Disaster ahead for Sumatra's forests? | forests | Scoop.it

The problem is the highly controversial “spatial plan” passed by the Aceh Provincial Government.The plan completely omits the Leuser Ecosystem — and according to Meijaard that’s because the Aceh government plans to log, clear, mine, and essentially destroy much of the Leuser environment.


That would be a tragedy wrapped in a disaster.  The IUCN lists the Leuser Ecosystem — a region of 2.26 million hectares rich in rainforests and peat-swamp forests — as one of the “World’s Most Irreplaceable Places”.

Beyond its unparalleled importance for biodiversity, the Leuser Ecosystem also provides vital environmental services for the people of Aceh — such as reducing flooding and droughts, protecting soils, and providing clean water for people, agriculture, and fisheries. 

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Fantastic Fungi: The Spirit of Good

This is an excerpt from a 3D documentary film by Louie Schwartzberg that features renowned mycologist and author, Paul Stamets, who claims that mushrooms can save the world. Now, that might seem like a ridiculous claim, but I suggest hearing what Paul Stamets has to say before completely ruling him out. Even if you can't buy into the theory, the visuals of watching mushrooms burst from the ground and grow is remarkable.This video shows some seriously incredible aspects of our natural world. - SF Globe

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Some plants evolve tolerance to deer

Some plants evolve tolerance to deer | forests | Scoop.it

Rampant deer have long been munching away on forest plants and altering ecosystems, but new evidence suggests some plants are evolving tolerance to being eaten.

 

Deer tolerance was determined by measuring lifetime seed production when faced with being eaten by deer.

 

The study, recently published online in the Journal of Ecology, found that herbivory by deer reduced lifetime fruit (seed) production by only 20 percent in historically browsed populations, versus reductions of 57 percent in historically protected plants.

 

The researchers believe that more tolerant plants may put more energy into growing fast to counter being eaten, or in this case, producing more seeds.

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Outside a national park, agroforestry helping to save forests inside the park

Outside a national park, agroforestry helping to save forests inside the park | forests | Scoop.it

 

Photo Credit: William White

Virunga National Park—790,000-hectares of jagged montane landscapes in the Democratic Republic of Congo—is under severe pressure from illegal encroachment and exploitation, aggravated by conflicts that have plagued the area for decades.

Not only is there a need to restore degraded lands and forests in the park, experts say, but there is also a need to ease pressure on the forests inside the park by focusing research and development efforts on agroforestry that increases tree cover and diversity outside the park’s borders.

A project now under way seeks to do just that.

“Forests and Climate Change in the Congo” (FCCC), funded by the European Union’s Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA), and led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), works with a host of national and international partners to strengthen forestry research to protect the park.
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A Decade After Asian Tsunami, New Forests Protect the Coast

A Decade After Asian Tsunami, New Forests Protect the Coast | forests | Scoop.it

The tsunami that struck Indonesia in 2004 obliterated vast areas of Aceh province. But villagers there are using an innovative microcredit scheme to restore mangrove forests and other coastal ecosystems that will serve as a natural barrier against future killer waves and storms.

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Judit Urquijo's curator insight, December 9, 5:38 PM

Hay ocasiones en las que no hay estructura humana que iguale el ingenio de la naturaleza. Es lo que ocurre con los manglares. El tsunami que azotó las costas de Indonesia en 2004 dejo tras de sí cuantiosísimas pérdidas en la economía, los cultivos, las infraestructuras y en forma de vidas humanas. No obstante, los estudios posteriores han demostrados que las áreas que tenían una amplia zona de manglar a modo de protección, recibieron un menor impacto, ya que estas zonas disiparon parte de la energía del mar, efecto que no se produjo sobre las zonas deforestadas.


Vistos los resultados que en este sentido supone este ecosistema, se ha optado por extender la plantación de manglar en amplias zonas cercanas a núcleos habitados mediante un sistema de microcréditos. El manglar, además de protección, también suministra alimento, fomenta la acuicultura (tradicional) y prevé la erosión costera.

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We can feed the world without chopping down more forests

We can feed the world without chopping down more forests | forests | Scoop.it

Maybe this is obvious, but expanding our agricultural footprint to feed the growing population — cutting down forests, plowing prairies — is a really bad idea.

 

What’s less obvious, and more interesting/troubling, is that farmland expansion is so harmful on so many levels that it’s worth doing just about anything that helps us avoid opening up new land — even things that have their own environmental costs.

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An end to unjust conservation?

An end to unjust conservation? | forests | Scoop.it
In September 2014, events took place in three different parts of the world, which together highlight the multifaceted relationship between human rights and conservation. First, in New York, the UN General Assembly adopted the Outcome Document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.
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Only 60 Years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues

Only 60 Years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues | forests | Scoop.it
Generating three centimeters of top soil takes 1,000 years, and if current rates of degradation continue all of the world's top soil could be gone within 60 years, a senior UN official said
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Another Northern White Rhino Dies, Only 5 Remain

Another Northern White Rhino Dies, Only 5 Remain | forests | Scoop.it
And then there were five. The death by old age this past weekend of Angalifu, a 44-year-old northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) that lived at ...
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Kenya's 'Maasai Olympics' fights dwindling lion numbers

Kenya's 'Maasai Olympics' fights dwindling lion numbers | forests | Scoop.it
Leaping high into the air and hurling spears instead of javelins, traditional lion hunters in Kenya tested their skills Saturday in a special 'Maasai Olympics' organised to save the endangered animals.
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9 Rainforest Facts Everyone Should Know

9 Rainforest Facts Everyone Should Know | forests | Scoop.it

Photo Credit: Neil Palmer, CIFOR

 

 

Although rainforests cover only 2 percent of the earth’s surface, these ecological powerhouses are critical to pretty much every aspect of the planet’s health you can imagine—including our very exi...

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Eben Lenderking's curator insight, December 15, 4:23 AM

Tenemos que luchar para certificar las forestas de todas las Americas.  Aquí en Mexico CONAFOR esta trabajando para proteger nuestro patrimonio natural--pero todavía hay mucho que hacer.  Fomentar una cultura de conservación en la nueva generación es algo que llevara mucho tiempo, pero vale la pena para que nuestros hijos tendrán chance de vivir en un mundo sano.

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Flock of geneticists redraws bird family tree

Flock of geneticists redraws bird family tree | forests | Scoop.it
Birds get fresh perches in revamped tree of life built by vast collaboration.
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10 years following tsunami, Aceh aims to create its own, new, and totally preventable disaster

10 years following tsunami, Aceh aims to create its own, new, and totally preventable disaster | forests | Scoop.it
In the run-up to the tenth anniversary of the devastating 2004 tsunami, that claimed the lives of around 200,000 of Aceh’s people, there is much concern that Aceh seems now to be deliberately steering itself towards yet another, entirely avoidable disaster. One that will harm yet more people and cause even more long-term economic damage to the province.
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Selective logging misses the forest for the trees

Selective logging misses the forest for the trees | forests | Scoop.it

 

Photo Credit: Luke Parry

University of Kent researcher Jake E. Bicknell argues that selective logging, for all its improvements over conventional logging, is not all its cracked up to be. Earlier this week in the journal Current Biologyhe and his colleagues argue that we can do better through a process they call “reduced impact logging” or RIL.

 

The problem with selective logging is that it doesn’t account for collateral damage. In practice, it’s no different from conventional logging; it simply targets fewer trees. But the practice of logging is a lot more expansive than the simple removal of trees. “Harvest intensities are not always indicative of actual disturbance levels resulting from logging,” writes Bicknell.

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Judit Urquijo's curator insight, December 16, 6:25 PM

En un estudio conducido por Jake E. Bicknell de la Universidad de kent se concluye que la tala selectiva, aunque registra un menor impacto, no resulta tan inocua como se pretende. Este investigador argumenta que una generalización de este sistema de extracción de madera supondría extender la superficie de tala debido a que se extraen menos árboles por superficie. En los métodos de tala tradicional, las zonas fuertemente impactadas se alternan con áreas vírgenes o poco alteradas que acaban convirtiéndose en reductos de fauna.


No obstante, la web Mongabay publicaba el día 16 de diciembre que en el caso concreto de Borneo, eran las actividades cinegéticas las que mayor presión representaban para la fauna, no la tala de arbolado. 

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Behavioural Ecology, In Our Time - BBC Radio 4

Behavioural Ecology, In Our Time - BBC Radio 4 | forests | Scoop.it

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Behavioural Ecology, the scientific study of animal behaviour.

 

What factors influence where and what an animal chooses to eat? Why do some animals mate for life whilst others are promiscuous? Behavioural ecology approach questions like these using Darwin's theory of natural selection, along with ideas drawn from game theory and the economics of consumer choice.


Scientists had always been interested in why animals behave as they do, but before behavioural ecology this area of science never got much beyond a collection of interesting anecdotes. Behavioural ecology gave them techniques for constructing rigorous mathematical models of how animals act under different circumstances, and for predicting how they will react if circumstances change. Behavioural ecology emerged as a branch of zoology in the second half of the 20th century and proponents say it revolutionized our understanding of animals in their environments.

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Indigenous medicine – a fusion of ritual and remedy

Indigenous medicine – a fusion of ritual and remedy | forests | Scoop.it
In traditional Indigenous Australian society, healers used plants in tandem with precise ritual. Thousands of years later, we're beginning to understand the science underlying these medicines.

 

Australia has an abundance of endemic aromatic plants which yield high levels of essential oil. Even though Indigenous Australians didn't have the technology to extract essential oils via hydrodistillation, particular properties of aromatic plants in various healing methods, such as smoking ceremonies, were widely used.

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Early humans single-handedly nudged out New Zealand megafauna

Early humans single-handedly nudged out New Zealand megafauna | forests | Scoop.it
A small human population which initially inhabited New Zealand swiftly caused the extinction of the country's flightless bird, the moa (Aves:Dinornithiformes), according to recent international research.
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A landmark year for forests (commentary)

A landmark year for forests (commentary) | forests | Scoop.it

About one year ago today, I was pretty down. It was Thanksgiving night, and the Forest Heroes campaign, which I chair, had been running a big global campaign to persuade Wilmar International, Asia’s largest agribusiness company, to eliminate deforestation and human rights abuse throughout its enormous supply chain.

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Why engaging in civil disobedience was my obligation as a scientist, parent and citizen

Why engaging in civil disobedience was my obligation as a scientist, parent and citizen | forests | Scoop.it
Another engaging post from Alejandro Frid, Canadian ecologist and modern moral compass. I also recommend that you check out his new book 'Storms and Stillness: An ecologist's search for optimism th...
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World’s Oldest Engraving Upends Theory of Homo sapiens Uniqueness

World’s Oldest Engraving Upends Theory of Homo sapiens Uniqueness | forests | Scoop.it

It is getting harder and harder to figure out what distinguished Homo sapiens from other members of the human family and fueled our extraordinary success as a species. One popular notion holds that our propensity for symbolic thought, which underlies language, was key. For a long time, experts thought this capacity first emerged around 40,000 years ago in early Europeans, based on the seemingly sudden appearance of things like cave art and jewelry in the archaeological record there. But over the past two decades older evidence of art and body decoration, as well as other sophisticated practices, such as complex tool manufacture, have turned up at H. sapiens sites in the Near East and in Africa, where our species got its start. Furthermore, scientists have found evidence that our cousins the Neandertals were similarly capable in many respects.

 

Now comes news that an even older, more primitive human ancestor—Homo erectus from Asia—showed signs of symbolic thought, too. Researchers have discovered a shell engraved with a geometric pattern at a H. erectus site known as Trinil, on the Indonesian island of Java, that dates to between 540,000 and 430,000 years ago. The find is at least 300,000 years older than the oldest previously known engravings, which come from South Africa.

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