Yesterday, WCS released some great camera trap photos of snow leopards in the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan. It’s a fascinating place, generally removed from a lot of the unrest that’s been afflicting the rest of the country. Some effort underway to get an international peace park set up in that area.
Couldn’t resist: The Museum of Animal Perspectives on flickr.
Bringing you one full year of nature videos. And speaking of E.O. Wilson…
- Help conserve the boreal forest in Canada; sign a letter of support for sustainable land-use planning. Scientists only.
- The Pakistan Supreme Court shut down a potential tourist development in a sensitive area of forest in the Punjab. It sounds like (at least from the WWF press release) they were particularly responsive to the argument that the forest was providing an important ecosystem service that guaranteed better water quality. Ecosystem services for the win?
- A quick review of what’s happening in the Endangered Species Office at USFWS. The good news: they’re actually reviewing petitions for listing, something Bush pretty much never did.
- A long essay on the problems with strict protected areas (Parts 1, 2, 3, 4). It’s well-written and nuanced, but as with most critiques of protected areas approach to conservation, it fails to value the importance that some people have for “human-less” landscapes. That is, the inability to distinguish between Manhattan and Yellowstone. They both have humans in them, after all, right? Nevertheless, it does highlight the problems of a PA approach for conservation, which tends to be lacking when criticizing it from a sociological / historical philosophy.
- And yet, here’s an interview with E.O. Wilson: “It sounds immodest but I call it Wilson’s law. It says that if you save the living environment, you will automatically save the physical environment. But if you only try to save the physical environment, you will lose them both…when we talk about the world going green, the media and the public think of pollution or fresh-water shortage. They understand, and want to do something. But that is the physical world; concern for the living environment has been slow to take off.”
- Good article on assisted migration, though it could’ve been better with a recognition that species might be considered, biogoegraphically, more or less native to a continent. Migrating them to the next mountain top is really different from moving them across an ocean.
Been reading Menagerie Manor.
- 17 new invert species being described in South Africa.
- “In the future, giant, autonomous fish farms may whir through the open ocean, mimicking the movements of wild schools or even allowing fish to forage “free range” before capturing them once again. Already scientists have constructed working remote control cages.” I try not to get too much into semiotics/the simulacrum, but seriously. We have to build robots to simulate what once worked just fine? How about just not over-harvesting? “In the future, the ocean will be teeming with fish, an astounding return to a once-extraordinary abundance.” WTF SCIENCE.
Now downloadable: “a species-level database of life history, ecology, and geography of extant and recently extinct mammals.”A phenomenal effort, and a true step forward for massive datasets.
Kate E. Jones et al. PanTHERIA: a species-level database of life history, ecology, and geography of extant and recently extinct mammals. Ecology, 90:9. (doi: 10.1890/08-1494.1)
Corey has two great posts up recently, one on a paper he published in TREE on the worrying decline of boreal forests, and the other of the importance of very common species, which actually tend to be quite rare (when the financial crisis hit, it wasn’t the little banks going under that caused the problems).