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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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A new innovative way to fertilize through leaves

A new innovative way to fertilize through leaves | forests | Scoop.it

A new study suggests that foliar fertilization could be used as a tool to produce plants for high quality reforestation. Foliar feeding is used in agriculture to rapidly and precisely control the nutrition of plants. This technique has not been tested in the forestry area, but its application for nursery production can provide solutions to improve plant quality produced for afforestation.

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If you plant different trees in the forest, is it still the same forest?

If you plant different trees in the forest, is it still the same forest? | forests | Scoop.it

Nature Conservancy will plant seeds for 100,000 red oak, bur oak and white pine trees on 2,000 acres of federal, state and local forests in Minnesota’s Iron Range. Seeds from each species will come from two zones: one from within the test range, and another from distant parts of the species’ historic range (mostly from southern Minnesota, and, in some cases, a portion of Michigan where the trees exist).

 

Researchers from the University of Minnesota Duluth will then manage these test forests in different ways to find out whether varying how the trees are planted and managed affect how each species fares; how different climate conditions affect their viability; and whether seeds originating from other parts of the forest – where different conditions exist – impact how two seemingly identical trees withstand the same conditions.

 

If the trees moved from distant zones prove to adapt well, this kind of assisted migration could be adopted as a way to maintain the health of forests that might otherwise be decimated by climate change.

Some critics argue that this type of intervention would change the essential character of the forest. Indeed, some of the species being moved are the hardwoods that may one day replace the North Woods’ conifers in any case as a result of climate change.

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Oil palm: A visual story

Oil palm: A visual story | forests | Scoop.it
Palm oil can be produced without driving deforestation, two experts write in a book newly translated to English and published by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).


“The problem,” authors Alain Rival and Patrice Levang write in “Palms of controversies: Oil palm and development challenges,” is not the oil palm “but the way people have chosen to exploit it.”
Click here to read more about the book. See below for a visual story of oil palm and the controversy behind it (click on the inforgraphic to expand it).

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A Stamp to Protect Wildlife

A Stamp to Protect Wildlife | forests | Scoop.it

The Save Vanishing Species stamp is now on sale at the U.S. Postal Service. The semipostal stamp is designed to raise money to help protect endangered wildlife, including tigers, rhinos and marine turtles.

The stamp features an Amur tiger cub and is the result of a 10-year effort begun and led by WWF, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Postal Service and other international conservation organizations.

On September 19, 2014, President Obama signed the stamp reauthorization bill into law.

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Mgmt concerns for moist mixed-conifer forests of the US Cascades

Mgmt concerns for moist mixed-conifer forests of the US Cascades | forests | Scoop.it

Moist mixed-conifer forests—which are dominated by a combination of grand fir, white fir, and Douglas-fir trees—cover a large area east of the Cascade crest, where they occupy a critical intermediate position between the drier conifer forests and the wetter mixed-conifer forests that are juxtaposed on these eastside forested landscapes. These forests are important for watershed protection, wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, outdoor recreation, and other ecosystem services, yet are drought-stressed and vulnerable to high-severity wildfire following decades of human disturbances and climate warming.

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Research on climate-resilient wheat keeps "Green Revolution" on track

Research on climate-resilient wheat keeps "Green Revolution" on track | forests | Scoop.it

Photo Credit: Malcolm Carlaw

Already, U.N. food agencies estimate that at least 805 million people do not get enough food and that more than 2 billion suffer from micronutrient deficiency, or “hidden hunger.”

 

Wheat production must grow 60 percent over the next 35 years to keep pace with demand, statistics from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization show – an achievable goal only if wheat yields increase from the current level of below 1 percent annually to at least 1.7 percent per year.

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True Altruism: Can Humans Change To Save Other Species?

True Altruism: Can Humans Change To Save Other Species? | forests | Scoop.it

Photo Credit: Anita Ritenour

A grim new census of the world’s dwindling wildlife populations should force us to confront a troubling question: Are humans capable of acting in ways that help other species at a cost to themselves?

 

Ever since Darwin, biologists have been arguing about altruism — the concept that an individual may behave in a way that benefits its species, at a cost to itself. After all, the self-sacrifice implicit in altruistic behavior seems to run against the grain of evolutionary theory, which proposes that the well-being of a species depends on robust, individual self-interest. Many biologists argue that in the non-human world what looks like altruism — benefiting another at a cost to oneself — may be merely the final refinement of self-interest, self-interest operating not at the level of the organism or the species but at the level of the gene.


This is all very interesting. But the discussion nearly always concerns the behavior of individuals within a single species — the warning cries of vervet monkeys, which alert their fellow monkeys to predators while calling attention to themselves; the self-abnegation of a stinging bee. What I wonder is this: Is altruism possible across species boundaries? Can an individual from one species, at cost to itself, act in a way that benefits individuals from another species? And — the crucial question — can an entire species learn to shape its behavior, to its own cost, for the good of other species? 

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Activists urge outgoing Indonesian president to protect key forest area before he steps down

Activists urge outgoing Indonesian president to protect key forest area before he steps down | forests | Scoop.it
Activists have launched an urgent appeal calling upon outgoing Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to step up protection of the only ecosystem that houses Sumatran orangutans, rhinos, elephants and tigers.

 

Environmentalists fear that a proposed plan to revise Aceh's spatial plan — the zoning law that governs land use in the north Sumatran province — will spur conversion of key habitat for industrial plantations and mining concessions. 

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Tree Kangaroo: Facts About a Declining Species

Tree Kangaroo: Facts About a Declining Species | forests | Scoop.it

Tree kangaroos inhabit the lowland and mountainous rainforests of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and the far north of Queensland, Australia. Living up in the foliage, this species looks like a cross between a kangaroo and a lemur.

These animals need our help. Habitat loss through deforestation and poaching are pushing this species to the brink of extinction.

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Industrial engineer quits job to plant mini-forests everywhere

Industrial engineer quits job to plant mini-forests everywhere | forests | Scoop.it
Using efficiency techniques learned at Toyota, Shubhendu Sharma believes he can grow native forests faster than nature ever could.
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No single explanation for biodiversity in Madagascar

No single explanation for biodiversity in Madagascar | forests | Scoop.it

Photo Credit: Jason L. Brown

No single 'one-size-fits-all' model can explain how biodiversity hotspots come to be, finds a study of more than 700 species of reptiles and amphibians in Madagascar. By analyzing the distribution of Madagascar's lizards, snakes, frogs and tortoises, researchers find that each group responded differently to environmental fluctuations on the island over time. The results are important because they suggest that climate change and deforestation in Madagascar will have varying effects on different species.

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Measuring impact a challenge as China reclaims farmlands for forests

Measuring impact a challenge as China reclaims farmlands for forests | forests | Scoop.it
China does not usually come to mind when one thinks about reforestation or afforestation.

It should. China’s Conversion of Cropland to Forests Program (CCFP) is the world’s largest Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) afforestation program. In a recent article, Bennett et al. analyze which household-level and local institutional factors are important in determining survival rates of trees planted on CCFP croplands. Two co-authors from CIFOR, Louis Putzel and Nick Hogarth, have been working closely with colleagues from the National Forest Economics and Development Research Center (FEDRC) of China’s State Forestry Administration to monitor and evaluate the program’s impacts.
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'Canary in the cornfield': monarch butterfly may get threatened species status

'Canary in the cornfield': monarch butterfly may get threatened species status | forests | Scoop.it

Monarch butterflies were once a common sight throughout the North American heartland. In Mexico, where they overwinter, single trees would often be covered in thousands. But declines in milkweed – their caterpillars’ only source of food – have led to a 90 percent decline in monarch numbers. Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is reviewing a petition that would grant the iconic species protection through the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

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Lizard Stowaways Revise Principle of Ecology

Lizard Stowaways Revise Principle of Ecology | forests | Scoop.it
The movement of lizards around the Caribbean is forcing an accounting for human activity in even the most basic ecological models
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Behind on biodiversity targets, govts pledge to increase funding for conservation

Behind on biodiversity targets, govts pledge to increase funding for conservation | forests | Scoop.it
On the heels of a report showing that the world is far behind on targets to halve habitat loss, cut pollution, and reduce overfishing, delegates meeting at a United Nations conference in Pyeongchang, South Korea have agreed to increase step up efforts to conserve biodiversity in developing nations.
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Garry Rogers's curator insight, October 19, 5:24 PM

GR:  The UN appears to have the correct sentiment, but the increased funding for conservation is too small.  The fundamental fuel for environmental decline, human population growth, remains uncontrolled.  Scientists are telling us that the growing human population has exceeded the Earth's carrying capacity.  What motivates our leaders to continue with development and "progress" when they surely know what is happening?  Governments should budget an amount equal to the increased funding for conservation to reversing population growth.

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Don’t be afraid of landscapes complexity, expert says

Don’t be afraid of landscapes complexity, expert says | forests | Scoop.it
Balancing the many competing demands on rural lands is inherently complex—and researchers need to embrace this, according to a leading rural development specialist.

“We need to not be afraid of complexity,” said Kwezi Atta-Krah, Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics, a global initiative that uses research to boost the incomes of rural farmers in the tropics.

Speaking at the recent CGIAR Development Dialogues in New York, Atta-Krah advocated for holistic “landscape” approaches to managing multiple land uses such as agriculture and conservation as the only way to responsibly balance tradeoffs among different sectors, such as forestry and agriculture. “We don’t have an option,” he said.
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Halloween Without Bats?

Halloween Without Bats? | forests | Scoop.it

What would Halloween be like without bats? Maybe a little less scary. Probably a little less fun. A really scary thought is to imagine what the world would be like if we didn't have any bats at all.

There are about 1200 species of bats in the world—one in every five mammal species. The largest bat is the flying fox, with a wingspan of six feet! The smallest species is the bumblebee bat that weighs less than a penny. Among all of those species, only three are vampires, so you don't really have to worry much about bats sucking your blood.

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Badru’s Story: Early Warnings From Inside an Impenetrable African Forest

Badru’s Story: Early Warnings From Inside an Impenetrable African Forest | forests | Scoop.it

In this six-minute video, winner of the 2014 Yale Environment 360 Video Contest, Benjamin Drummond and Sara Joy Steele document the researchers' work in Bwindi's remote, mountainous landscape. For the filmmakers, just preventing their equipment from snagging on the dense understory while trying to keep up with Badru and his colleagues posed a serious challenge. But their efforts were rewarded with remarkable camera-trap images of the park's primates, elephants, anteaters, and leopards – striking evidence of what is at stake in Bwindi and the world's tropical forests.

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Food security successes earn World Food Prize

Food security successes earn World Food Prize | forests | Scoop.it

“Global objectives for food security can most definitely be met. However, we must be able to rely on guaranteed research funding from both the public and private sectors to address the many challenges we face, including decreasing land availability and erratic environmental changes related to climate change.”

 

Wheat currently provides 20 percent of overall daily protein and calories consumed throughout the world. Production must grow 70 percent over the current amount by 2050, according to the international Wheat Initiative – an achievable goal if annual wheat yields are increased from a current level of below 1 percent to at least 1.7 percent.

 

Researchers at CIMMYT are aiming to develop resilient wheat varieties tolerant to the drought, heat, extreme wet and cold conditions anticipated by scientists to grow more extreme as mean annual temperatures continue to increase and weather patterns become more volatile.

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Bolivia enshrines natural world's rights with equal status for Mother Earth

Bolivia enshrines natural world's rights with equal status for Mother Earth | forests | Scoop.it

Bolivia is set to pass the world's first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans. The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country's rich mineral deposits as "blessings" and is expected to lead to radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry.

The country, which has been pilloried by the US and Britain in the UN climate talks for demanding steep carbon emission cuts, will establish 11 new rights for nature. They include: the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered.

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'River wolves' recover in Peruvian park, but still remain threatened inside and out

'River wolves' recover in Peruvian park, but still remain threatened inside and out | forests | Scoop.it
Lobo de río, or river wolf, is the very evocative Spanish name for one of the Amazon's most spectacular mammals: the giant river otter. This highly intelligent, deeply social, and simply charming freshwater predator almost vanished entirely due to a relentless fur trade in the 20th Century. But decades after the trade in giant river otter pelts was outlawed, the species is making a comeback.
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World's oldest art found in Indonesian cave

World's oldest art found in Indonesian cave | forests | Scoop.it

Artwork in an Indonesian cave has been found to date back at least 40,000 years, making it the oldest sign yet of human creative art — likely pre-dating art from European caves.

 

The findings, published on 8 October in Nature, undermine a Eurocentric view of the origins of human creativity and could prompt a ‘gold rush’ to find even older art on the route of human migration from Africa to the east.


The analysis hints at “just what a wealth of undiscovered information there is in Asia”, says Alistair Pike, an archaeologist at the University of Southampton, UK, who in 2013 identified what had been considered the world’s oldest cave art, in Europe2, and had no involvement in the current project. “This paper will likely prompt a hunt.”

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Fossil fuel divestment: a brief history

Fossil fuel divestment: a brief history | forests | Scoop.it
As Glasgow becomes the first university in Europe to divest from fossil fuels, we take a look at the key moments in the movement’s history
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Empower youth leaders in forest conservation?

Empower youth leaders in forest conservation? | forests | Scoop.it
Want to save forests? Don't forget the youth, says Pedro Walpole, the Chair and Director of Research for the Environmental Science for Social Change, a Jesuit environmental research organization promoting sustainability and social justice across the Asia Pacific region. 'Youth leadership in environmental management is key,' Walpole told mongabay.com.
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Studying common birds could help save rare species in Vietnam

Studying common birds could help save rare species in Vietnam | forests | Scoop.it

Photo Credit: Jason Thompson

Studies in conservation biology often focus on rare, threatened species faced with impending extinction, but what about common animals of least concern? Could they too help conservationists fine-tune their approach? Doctoral researcher Laurel Yohe not only claims that they can, but demonstrates how in a new study. She and five other researchers compared ranges of five babblers with development across Vietnam.

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