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Ecology News

Essential Science: Has COVID-19 really helped the environment?

From the environmental perspective, what has been the effect of the pandemic upon the environment? The results are mixed, depending upon which aspect of ecology is examined. We look at four contrasting cases in this week's Essential Science.

Microplastics and our planet: Part 2 – developing a strategy

It is well documented that microplastics present a major problem for life on Earth and the problem is accelerating. How can humanity move away from its reliance on plastics? We look at the EU solution.

Microplastics and our planet: Part 1 – looking at the problem

Microplastic pollution continues to be an issue of pressing concern for humanity. Particles are found in everyday items like fertilizers, cosmetics, household detergents, cleaning products, paints and products used in the oil and gas industry.

Drones are helping to protect the environment in novel ways

Drones have a number of useful applications, especially in assisting scientists to better understand the planet. This includes environmental and conservation work. Three examples are presented.

How sustainable is your toothbrush?

Materials technologists have undertaken a review of the relative sustainability of different models of toothbrushes. The review considers the best oral care devices for the Earth and also what is optimal for human health.

Diversity-decomposition relationships in forests worldwide

Two new studies, exploring how biodiversity impacts plant decay in forests worldwide, could help predict the potential effect of species loss on ecosystems. The studies set out a policy direction for governments.

Essential Science: Can big data solve our environmental problems?

Big data itself can assist with environmental problems if directed by the right policies. By applying the correct algorithms and orientating a study in a particular direction, then the potential power of big data can be harnessed for the social good.

Bikes wedge their way into heavy Paris traffic

Paris - Stein van Oosteren was cycling along the Avenue Denfert Rochereau in Paris when, to his surprise, he found himself in a "caravan" of bikes."Not too long ago, I was all alone on that street," he said.

Extinction alert: Many animal species could disappear in 50 years

Biologists have expressed concern about plant and animal species extinction, making predictions about what could happen over the course of the next fifty years. A major driver for this threat is climate change.

Predictive model assesses who is likely to be pro-environment

How to predict whether a person will or will not be a supporter of environmental issues? It seems that targeting deeply held values is important for inspiring pro-environmental behavior, according to a new study.

Canada and US lose 3 billion birds in fifty years

Bird populations in both U.S. and Canada are down by some 3 billion over a 50 year period, according to new research. Human activity appears to be the main reason for the population decline.

Call from scientists to make environmental damage a 'war crime'

A consortium of scientists have called for fifth Geneva convention to protect wildlife and nature reserves in conflict regions. This would make it a war crime to damage protected areas during a war or military skirmish.

Virtual reality assesses coral reef recovery after bleaching

Around the world corals are in danger. While different measures are being taken to protect corals, assessing how effective these measures are is not straightforward. New research shows how virtual reality can assist with assessing ecological actions.

Guatemala to deploys bio-fences to slow down plastic pollution

Globally, equivalent of one garbage truck full of plastic enters the sea every minute. To play its part Guatemala has pledged to increase waste collection in its rivers by deploying artisanal bio-fences to trap plastic waste.

Canso spaceport project on hold over environmental concerns

Canso - Nova Scotia's environment minister has asked for a rethink in relation to the Canso spaceport. The company have been told to go back to drawing board so that the government can better understand the potential for significant environmental effects.

Renewable energy leaps forward with floating wind farm

Aberdeen - New technology will enable the world's first floating wind farm to be constructed and the platform has emerged, for its first public viewing, off the coast of Scotland. The technology promises lower costs energy for businesses and consumers.

Using microbes to measure ecological health

There are different measures of the state of an environment, such as toxins in soil or gasses in air. One measure, that can be qualified, is the microbial population since living entities directly signal the ‘health’ of a given locale.

Environmentally-friendly concrete manufactured

Materials scientists have succeeded in developing an environmentally-friendly concrete. This is based on energy-efficient technology that harnesses largely low-temperature, water-based reactions.

Prawn shopping bags made to help the environment

Nottingham - Shopping bags are major contributors to waste. Although there have been moves to reduce plastic bags, many types of bags end up in landfill. To create biodegradable shopping bags, a type based on shrimp shells have been developed.

Would you put an hour aside to hunt slugs?

Oslo - One of Norway's political parties has called upon the population to put aside one hour twice per year for the hunting of slugs. This is to deal with the rise of an invasive species.

Ecologists propose technological solution for disease tracking

Many disease patterns are predictable provided that the information about the disease is accurate and a suitable technological framework is constructed. This is complex, but it can work based on appropriate algorithms and accurate information.

Morel mushroom abundance after wildfires is focus of new study

University of Montana forest ecology professor Andrew Larson has posted a research paper that estimates the abundance of morel mushrooms after a wildfire in California's Sierra Nevada mountains.

Drones used for ecological modelling

A new study has concluded that drones are much more accurate for monitoring the size of seabird colonies in tropical and polar environments. This could lead to a wider application of drones for ecological research.

EU delays glyphosate decision

The European Union has delayed any decision about extending the license that permits the use of the controversial weedkiller glyphosate. This is because of a potential cancer risk.

Extinction of species: humans are speeding up evolution

Vancouver - Scientists at the University of British Columbia (UBC) claim human actions are responsible for accelerating the evolutionary process by causing the extinction of “younger” species.

Energy crisis solution could be to use human waste

Toronto - Researchers in Canada are considering the feasibility of using biogas, derived from human waste, to produce energy. They argue that each year people produce waste that could be converted to energy worth $9.5 billion, at current prices.

Op-Ed: How ‘green’ are the U.K. Conservatives?

London - The new U.K. Conservative Government has covertly and overtly dropped a number of pro-environmental policies. Many of these were policies the party appeared to support when in coalition.

New Japan volcano island 'natural lab' for life

Toukyo - A brand new island emerging off the coast of Japan offers scientists a rare opportunity to study how life begins to colonise barren land -- helped by rotting bird poo and hatchling vomit.

Canadians to knit for monarch butterflies Special

The David Suzuki Foundation is asking Canadians to knit during the spring as a way of symbolically welcoming monarch butterflies back to the country after a long, difficult winter in Mexico.

Protecting wetlands is of pressing importance Special

Disturbing data suggests that almost two-thirds of the world’s wetlands have been lost over the past 100 years. This has resulted in a loss of freshwater animals and plants.
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 Consulting the Genius of the Place  by Wes Jackson is published by Counterpoint Press of Berkeley  ...
"Consulting the Genius of the Place" by Wes Jackson is published by Counterpoint Press of Berkeley, CA (2010)
Black morels growing in the  Peace River Area  British Columbia  Canada.
Black morels growing in the Peace River Area, British Columbia, Canada.
Johannes Harnisch
Scattered remnants of a once great forest - Mature Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris. Glen Quoich  looking...
Scattered remnants of a once great forest - Mature Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris. Glen Quoich, looking towards Beinn a Bhuird, Scotland.
Graham Lewis - Wikipedia CC License
An alternative view of an Eden Project biome  located in an area richly steeped in Cornwall s wild f...
An alternative view of an Eden Project biome, located in an area richly steeped in Cornwall's wild flowers.
Canadian Cabinet Minister Leona Aglukkaq  representing Canada at the 2013 meeting of the Arctic Coun...
Canadian Cabinet Minister Leona Aglukkaq, representing Canada at the 2013 meeting of the Arctic Council, signs the Kiruna Declaration with US Secretary of State John Kerry in the background.
Arctic Council
Yellow morel mushrooms growing in West Virginia.
Yellow morel mushrooms growing in West Virginia.
Gzirk
Believe it or not back in 1971  youngsters were able to become a member of the  Sugar Bear Ecology C...
Believe it or not back in 1971, youngsters were able to become a member of the "Sugar Bear Ecology Club" courtesy of Super Sugar Crisp Cereal made by General Foods Corp. Ah, the things kids could get in a box of breakfast cereal back then!
Pripyat - School. View from the class to school playground full of trees. They are growing from conc...
Pripyat - School. View from the class to school playground full of trees. They are growing from concrete and asphalt. Photo taken: June 12, 2010.
Roman Harak
Stunning waterfalls in Croatia
Stunning waterfalls in Croatia

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