The mass disappearance of North American birds is a dire warning about the planet’s well-being.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2019/09/19/opinion/crisis-birds-north-america.html
Indonesia is the world’s top palm oil producer — yet too often, yields come at the expense of nature’s health.
Source: Charting a sustainable path in a land of peat, oil palm and pollution
Coillte, a state-owned commercial forestry business, started buying land and planting here in the 1960s. Private companies, encouraged by tax breaks, followed. Farm land vanished as Sitkas multiplied. They now number an estimated 34.5m – more than 1,000 for each inhabitant. The trees mature in about 30 years – exponentially faster than oak – and are then felled, making way for a fresh plantation. “The forest closed in bit by bit,” said McCaffrey, a farmer, who now feels surrounded. The trees eclipse sunlight, exude mist and block wifi and phone networks, inducing isolation, he said. “It’s a death sentence for the townlands.” These non-native trees carpet the soil with acidic needles and smother wildlife, said Natalia Beylis, an artist. “A lot of people find them spooky because they don’t have life in them. They’re silent except on the edges.”
Source: The wrong kind of trees: Ireland’s afforestation meets resistance | World news | The Guardian
#13,894 Exactly 7 years ago today ( Feb 27, 2012 ) we looked at an announcement from scientists from the U.S. CDC and the Universid…
Source: Avian Flu Diary: Nature: Bat Influenza Receptors In Other Mammals (Including Humans)
As a lobbyist and lawyer, David Bernhardt fought for years on behalf of a group of California farmers to weaken Endangered Species Act protections for a finger-size fish, the delta smelt, to gain access to irrigation water. As a top official since 2017 at the Interior Department, Mr. Bernhardt has been finishing the job: He is working to strip away the rules the farmers had hired him to oppose.
Based on the camera footage, which was summarized by prosecutors in a news release, Andrew Renner and his son approached the den on Esther Island, in Prince William Sound, on April 14. Owen Renner fatally shot the sleeping mother bear with a rifle, prosecutors said, causing the cubs to start shrieking inside the den. Andrew Renner then fatally shot the cubs. Prosecutors said the recovered video footage showed the Renners butchering the mother bear and taking the remains away in bags. Two days later, the camera caught them returning to the area to collect the bullet shells and dispose of the bear cubs’ bodies, according to a report from Alaska’s Department of Public Safety.
The question is at the heart of investigations by Congress and federal agencies into whether an American gun manufacturer is entangled in the shadowy world of arms smuggling and wildlife poaching.
But this hunt is neither about managing a wildlife population that has exceeded the carrying capacity of its habitat, nor about putting healthy food on the table. Instead, this hunt is about what the great conservationist and thoughtful hunter Aldo Leopold, called a “certificate” — a trophy proving that it’s owner has “been somewhere and done something.” In the case of killing a grizzly, it means you’ve done something that has been considered difficult and dangerous. And it was, when you were hunting with a spear. But anyone who has shot a high-powered rifle knows that knocking off a grizzly bear is no more than an exercise in marksmanship, like shooting an elk. The difference is, you eat the elk. Grizzly bears are not hunted for their meat. Wyoming’s hunting regulations make this clear. If you shoot what’s called a “big game animal” in Wyoming, like an elk, a deer or an antelope, you’re legally bound to bring all the edible portions of the animal out of the field. But if you shoot what’s called “a trophy animal,” like a mountain lion, a black bear and, now, a grizzly, all you have to bring out is its skull and pelt.
Source: Clues in forest food web help predict Lyme risk | CIDRAP
To see if small mammalian predators influence tick infection rates, researchers placed camera traps at dozens of sites throughout Dutchess County in the summers of 2012 and 2013. Trap visitors included coyote, fox, bobcat, fisher, raccoon, and opossum. Then the investigators surveyed and tested ticks at the camera trap sites.
Locations with high predator diversity had lower infection prevalence of nymphal ticks than sites dominated by coyotes. Numbers of nymphal ticks were lowest where forest cover was higher, and bobcats, foxes, and opossums were associated with a reduction in tick infection.