News Roundup

  • An enormous timber deal has been signed in Canada, protecting or conserving about 72 million hectares of land.
  • You can’t say it enough: communicating conservation research and management is critical to successful projects.
  • Some cool new iPhone apps, one for bird watchers and one for gorillas. The BirdsEye app is especially cool, with up-to-date information on other sightings in your area. I believe the goal is to update sightings from the app, providing an enormous amount of data for ecologists. This article says that in the past 8 years, eBird has gone from a few thousand sightings reported every month to more than 1.5 million.
  • Invasive species news: some invasives, not always bad; although when they look like “sea snot,” that’s probably a bad thing. Oh and “don’t sleep with the windows open” kudzu increases air pollution.
Posted by Tim on May 19th, 2010 • • Comments Off
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News Roundup

  • The return of wolves is not just a problem in the U.S. Grey wolves in Eastern Germany are increasing their population size and expanding their range.
  • Katherine Belov and colleagues at the University of Sydney appear to have found a population of Tasmanian Devils that are immune to devil facial tumor disease, a transmissible cancer that’s decimated (literally) the species.
  • Dave Melhman (TNC) has done a fantastic job blogging the State of the Birds 2010 report.
  • The IUCN on restoring bison in North America.
  • It’s March Madness, time, and the NCAA seems to have a lot of endangered species in its bracket. Those not yet extirpated from the tournament: Baylor bears, Kentucky and Kansas St Wildcats and Northern Iowa Panthers. Lobos, terrapins, grizzlies, owls, bears, and spiders all apparently not covered under the Endangered Species Act. Obama should send out an executive order.
Posted by Tim on March 22nd, 2010 • • Comments Off
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News Roundup

  • I don’t know how long it’s been up, but the University of Wisconsin has a huge collection of digital archives relating to Aldo Leopold. You can see his original Forest Service working papers and things.
  • The likely extinct Yangtze River dolphin is becoming extinct in our minds, as well.
  • An eloquent call for evolutionary biologists to be included in conservation. A lot of the points are accurate, but it’s frustrating to work with paleontologists who work on the time scale of “everything goes extinct. You need to worry about lineages.” But what about THE PANDAS???
  • File under: Only Joel Berger. He and Jon Beckmann published a piece recently in Conservation Biology showing that towns focusing on energy extraction around Yellowstone had a disproportionate rise in human sexual predators. Ladies and gentleman, your newest ecosystem service.
  • The Interior Department recently listed 48 species in Hawaii as endangered and is trying to put in place a landscape-scale plan for their recovery, rather than a species-by-species plan. That raised the number of listed species under Obama from 2 to 50.
  • A longish article on the black market in bushmeat trade in the United States with a shout out to a certain JB.
  • Beware the pizzly bear.
  • Edward Tufte’s epic book on multiple regression, now on-line.
Posted by Tim on March 18th, 2010 • • Comments Off

News Roundup

Posted by Tim on February 8th, 2010 • • Comments Off
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New Year News Roundup

  • Happy New Year, the UN has declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity.
  • On Monday, a ban on red snapper fishing went into effect. Surprise, the fishermen are not happy. The decline is estimated to be about 97% in 60 years.
  • The sea lions of Fisherman’s wharf, who showed up after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and whose disappearance was causing some consternation, have been found off Oregon, where there’s better fishing in an apparent El NiƱo year.
  • SEED magazine interviews Paul Ehrlich. “I don’t think I’ve seen a single scientific review of something I’ve written that says, ‘this is wrong.’”
  • Fantastic / superb essay on the great discrepancy between predicted and observed extinctions.
  • How did Obama do environmentally? Good not great. From the Conservation Maven, reminding me once again how similar ‘conservation’ and ‘conservative’ look.
Posted by Tim on January 6th, 2010 • • Comments Off
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News Roundup

  • Great pictures and story on the banteng, “the most beautiful of all the wild relatives of cattle.” Compared to the Kouprey, banteng are doing pretty well in SE Asia. But then, the Kouprey are probably extinct. That’s probably what happens when you set aside new land for carbon sequestration, and ignore the threats from hunting. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, one woman is hunting the hunters (and by “hunting”, the headline writer meant tracking and trying to carry out legal enforcement against poaching, not killing in cold blood).
  • This paper probably marks the end of the pendulum swing against individual actions in the Global War on Climate Change. If everybody worked on cutting household emissions, the U.S. could reduce carbon emissions by about 20% in the next decade. Call this Obama’s vaunted “Check your tire pressure” initiative.
  • This is crazy: some migratory birds push out a second brood after migration. “He noted that orchard orioles might raise a first brood in the Midwestern and south-central U.S. and a second on Mexico’s western coast, yet both sets of offspring find the same wintering area in Central America. The question is how both groups find the right place, since they must travel in different directions.”
  • Some discussion has arisen about conservation targets due to a recent publication in Conservation Letters. One problem with setting a target may be seen in Britain, where rare species appear to be increasing in abundance (i.e. doing better), while common species are in decline. Sometimes the whole thing feels sort of like the little boy with his finger in the dam. The newly-released IUCN Red List suggests that about 36% of the species analyzed are threatened with extinction (CJB weighs in).
  • Interesting profile of the new National Parks head, Jonathan Jarvis. Jarvis is the first trained biologist to head the NPS.
Posted by Tim on November 9th, 2009 • • Comments Off
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News Roundup

  • Argentina, Paraguay join Brazil in pledging to preserve the Atlantic Forest (the “most endangered” tropical forest, down from an estimated 500,000 sq. kms to about 35,000 sq. kms. today).
  • Columbia University will not be accepting applications for its 2 year program in environmental journalism, due to falling employment in the field, rising costs of education and lack of financial aid for students.
  • This one’s being picked up all over the place: forests in the NW might increase in the next century due to climate change. Although the net effects will be positive (in a value neutral sort of way), there will be a decline in growth at lower elevations, and an increase in growth at higher elevations (= more difficult to log). At, least, that’s what the model says.
  • This is kind of awesome. Communities in the Andes are using large nets to collect fog drip to use for irrigation. Although it only rains about 1.5 inches / year in the area, it’s foggy for almost 9 months.
Posted by Tim on October 21st, 2009 • • Comments Off
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News Roundup

Posted by Tim on October 19th, 2009 • • Comments Off
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Odds & Ends

Posted by Tim on September 24th, 2009 • • Comments Off
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News Roundup

  • 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.
Posted by Tim on August 26th, 2009 • • Comments Off
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