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Biodiversity News

Invasive beetle pushing US ash trees to extinction: conservationists

Geneva - An invasive beetle has driven North America's most widespread ash tree towards extinction, conservationists said Thursday, also warning of dramatic declines among several African antelope species.

'Klingon Newt' one of 163 new species found in Southeast Asia

A snake with iridescent scales, a mouse-eared flower, and a newt resembling a Klingon are just a few of the 163 unusual species of flora and fauna discovered in Southeast Asia in 2015, and they are a reminder of our planet's unusual biodiversity.

Syrian seed bank moved away from the war zone

With the horrific war continuing in Syria, biologists have taken steps to protect the Syrian seed bank to ensure that precious strains are protected and conserved for future research.

Over 10 percent of Earth's wilderness lost in under 20 years

A study from a university in Canada has found that during the past two decades the Earth has lost, thanks to humans, 20 percent of its wilderness. It's being called an alarming rate of loss and it continues unabated.

New study assesses our ability to deal with invasive species

An international team of researchers has come up with a global assessment on how invasive alien species could spread in the 21st century due to increasing globalization and a changing climate.

Invasive toads ‘taking over’ Madagascar

Madagascar’s wildlife and impressive biodiversity is under threat from Asian toads. The toads arrived in the early 2000s and they are taking over the island.

Animal diversity urgently needed for the future

London - According to a new United Nations report, animal biodiversity is needed to improve production and food security on a warmer, more crowded planet.

Climate change could slash polar bear numbers 30% by 2050

Ginebra - Polar bears look set to see their numbers dwindle by nearly third by mid-century, a top conservation body said Thursday, warning climate change poses the greatest threat to the king of the Arctic.

Why diversity is beneficial to a species survival

Kalmar - A healthy population of any species is often defined as having a large amount of genetic diversity. But altered or new environmental conditions can become a challenge to living organisms, and individual differences can become key to their survival.

Marine populations 'slashed by half since 1970'

Ginebra - Populations of marine mammals, birds, reptiles and fish have dropped by about half in the past four decades, with fish critical to human food suffering some of the greatest declines, WWF warned Wednesday.

Poor state of the world’s soils revealed

Soils are essential for the world’s food system. Soil regulates water, carbon and nitrogen cycles. However, the state of many soils in the world is poor and action is needed as part of strategies to boost food production.

Op-Ed: Luxury hotels linked to palm oil plantations, forest destruction

If you remember those quaint drawings of big fish eating progressively smaller fish, until there's only one big fish at the end, you have the general gist of how palm oil companies often destroy rain forests.

Enhanced biodiversity of digestive tract keeps us healthy

Durham - There is a growing body of evidence that says an enhanced diversity of bacteria and even worms in the digestive system will actually aid in protecting us from many allergy and autoimmune problems.

Converting Africa's savannas into farmland too costly

Analysts and policymakers are looking at converting the wet savannas of Africa into farmlands. But a new study shows that this conversion will come at a high cost to the environment and will not meet the standards for renewable fuels.

Study: Plants less affected than animals during mass extinctions

Gothenburg - Plants are truly survivors and apparently aren't as affected as animals are during mass extinctions. In Earth's long history of five major extinction events, plants have fared better in the survival game than animals have, scientists say.

Australia is on the brink of an 'extinction calamity'

Much of Australia's biota is unique and diverse. But in the past 200 years, the continent has lost one in ten of its native animals, through predation by introduced predators like the feral cat and red fox, and large-scale managed fires.

Tiny fraction of military budget could save planet's biodiversity

Sydney - A new study claims just 2.5 percent of what the world drops on military spending could protect enough of the planet's natural areas to reverse biodiversity loss.

Biodiversity museum opens in Panama

Panama City - A Frank Gehry-designed biodiversity museum has opened in Panama. Called the Biomuseo, the complex has been built at the entrance from the Pacific ocean to the Panama Canal.

WWF report: global wildlife populations drop 52% since 1970

The numbers of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles and amphibians experienced a 52 percent decline in the 40-year period between 1970 and 2010, mainly as a result of over-hunting and habitat destruction.

Dinosaur extinction the result of 'perfect storm' of events

Edinburgh - And if that perfect storm hadn’t come about, say scientists, dinosaurs might still be with us today — except their continued existence might have meant a very different "us" having evolved — if at all.

Human activity encroaching on Antarctica's ecosystems

Antarctica is the world's last great wilderness, a continent covering 5.4 million square miles, or about twice the size of Australia, Antarctica belongs to no one nation, and there is no government, other than an international agreement.

New Caledonia is home to The largest nature park on earth

Covering an area twice the size of the state of Texas, New Caledonia's 320 million acre marine park is without a doubt the planet's largest wilderness preserve, on land or sea. The Natural Park of the Coral Sea shares space with a quarter million people.

Concerted action will secure future of Scotland’s national tree

Forres - Amid much fanfare the native Scots pine was declared Scotland’s national tree, end January, but a leading conservation charity is calling for concerted action to ensure the iconic species has a secure future.

Better coffee from biodiversity

Coffee plants grown around Mount Kilimanjaro produce more coffee beans of a better quality if they are surrounded by diverse plant and animal communities, according to a new study.

Pathogenic fungi help plant biodiversity

Oxford - Rather than being damaging pests, it seems that pathogenic fungi and insect herbivores appear to support plant biodiversity in the world's rainforests.

Biodiversity loss can lead to toxin build up in soil

A new study suggests that a moderate loss of less than 5 percent of soil microbes may compromise some key ecosystem functions and could lead to lower degradation of toxins in the environment.

Documenting the loss of the Sahara's 'mega-fauna'

Covering most of North Africa, the Sahara Desert is the world's largest tropical desert, covering 3.6 million sq. miles, about the size of Brazil. Largely undeveloped, the Sahara has one of the harshest ecosystems to survive in, for humans and wildlife.

Study estimated abundance and diversity of Amazonian tree species

A large study in the Amazon Basin, which includes parts of Brazil, Peru, Colombia, among others, found that in this area there are approximately 390 billion trees belonging to about 16,000 different species.

Animal life on Earth expanded rapidly after 'Cascade of events'

Oxford - On Earth, animal life expanded rapidly during the early Cambrian period, around 520 million years ago. Many theories have been advanced to explain this rapid expansion of animal species which has come to be known as the Cambrian explosion.

Scientists discover four new lizard species in California

Berkeley - Biologists based in California this week announced the discovery of four new species of legless lizards. Nothing unusual about that, you might think. But the discovery wasn't made thousands of miles away. Quite the contrary.
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Biodiversity Image

Peak District National Park  England.
Peak District National Park, England.
Ben Benjamin
Map showing the traditional (inset) distribution of Anniella pulchra and a detail (main) showing the...
Map showing the traditional (inset) distribution of Anniella pulchra and a detail (main) showing the hypothesized distribution of the newly described species of legless lizards in California.
Breviora Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard
The nature of Antarctica is in its diversity
The nature of Antarctica is in its diversity
Georges Nijs from Diepenbeek, Belgium
Grizedale Forest National Park  North west England.
Grizedale Forest National Park, North west England.
Jenny Mackness
A lake next to an old mill in Denmark
A lake next to an old mill in Denmark
Antarctic hair grass at Petermann Island/ Antarctica.
Photo taken: 01/19/2010
Antarctic hair grass at Petermann Island/ Antarctica. Photo taken: 01/19/2010
Trees for Life s Alan Watson Featherstone with a giant Scots pine uprooted during severe storms that...
Trees for Life's Alan Watson Featherstone with a giant Scots pine uprooted during severe storms that struck Dundreggan Conservation Estate near Loch Ness, Scotland, Dec. 2013
Trees for Life - by permission
This image is part of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment reports on Biodiversity and human well-bei...
This image is part of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment reports on Biodiversity and human well-being. It illustrates the relationship between biodiversity, ecosystem services, human well-being, and poverty. Moreover it shows areas where conservation strategies, planning, and intervention can alter the drivers of change from local, regional, to global scales.
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment