We’ll have more and better consblog for you in 2009,
but in the meantime please go act like baby elephants.
Former deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes rising, Grijalva out of
- A bunch of groups have signed on to a letter supporting Rep. Raul Grijalva for Interior Secretary.
- The UN has released an atlas of carbon-wildlife hotspots, where protection would save biodiversity and carbon sinks. (Atlas PDF)
- More species downgraded (upgraded? So confusing being a conservation biologist) on the IUCN Red List.
- In terms of carbon reduction, palm oil plantations do better planted in grasslands than forest. Meanwhile, HSBC is cutting ties with palm oil companies in Indonesia and Malaysia. Also, Sime Darby (big palm oil co.) is devoting some cash to protecting orangutan habitat.
- Some thoughts on science reporting in the Washington Post.
- It might seem like I’m sharing this story (thanks, Em) because it’s got a money quote from our fearless leader. No, it’s because I can relate this anecdote: at the Lawrence Berkeley campus up in the hills, they have cops on Segways. They also have aggressive turkeys. I have a source who has seen the turkeys chasing the cops on Segways. Just FYI, they have almost identical land speeds.
- This story came up in my feed reader of conservation news. Not really sure why, but it really is a huge potato. 2008 is the Year of the Potato, apparently, which makes this whole thing smell kind of fishy. Or, potato-y.
I think appreciation for this video splits well along the pro-/anti- reviving mammoth line. If only it had been Yakkety Sax.
- Science recently published further evidence of the “broken window” theory, which suggests that people act badly in degraded environments. These studies are about human-dominated environments, but it seems likely that the same is true for more “natural” areas, too.
- Christopher Dunn argues in Nature that cultural diversity ought to be preserved alongside biodiversity. He even suggests that maps of hotspots of the two tend to overlap. Okay, so let’s make a deal: people can stay in and around areas of high biodiversity if they agree to live according to their “traditional” culture — any development or significant growth and you’ve got to move to the city. Fair?
- Yesterday I mentioned some worry about homogenizing landscapes in rural areas. There was a paper published in Conservation Biology by Rahmig et al. recently that suggested exactly that: homogenization of farming practices has led to declines in avian diversity.
- Also in Cons Bio, Ben Collen and colleagues at ZSL take a closer look at the “Living Planet Index,” one of the 22(!) headline indicators established by the Convention on Biological Diversity used to assess trends in biodiversity loss. Their conclusion: it’s good, but we need more data.
- Kindberg et al. have shown that hunter-reported observations of moose in Sweden were (if corrected) a pretty good method of monitoring.
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- Here’s an article about a BirdLife project emphasizing links between biodiversity conservation and rural livelihoods. They claim they’ve succeeded. Meanwhile, some researchers are wondering if we’ll get an increasingly homogenized landscape as people move to the city and rural areas de-populate.
- They’re going out again to search for the ivory-billed woodpecker. “We’re going to find a big black and white woodpecker,” Allan Mueller says, the avian conservation manager for TNC in Arkansas. Indeed, they’re quite likely to find a few Pileateds. I’m kind of leaning towards the “still extinct” camp — there’s actually a competent overview of the debate on Wikipedia.
- Lots of good gorilla news these days: a new park in Cameroon, African governments are “committed” to protecting gorillas at a conference in Rome, and (perhaps best of all), rangers are returning to Virunga, and finding lots of new babies. Adorable.