Category Archives: Ecosystems

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Unfair! Invasive Plants Succeed By Inhibiting The Competition

Allelochemicals, released from the roots, leaves, and/or other parts of a plant, can negatively impact neighboring species. The “novel weapons hypothesis” suggests that allelochemicals from invasive plants may have a negative effect on native plants because they have not yet been able to evolve tolerance or resistance to the chemicals . The effects of allelochemicals can be direct or indirect. For example, germination and/or growth may be directly affected. Indirect effects can also occur when allelochemicals modify interactions in the soil, including mycorrhizal associations. (Click on title for full story.)

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Preserving Forests Makes Farms Better

The literature review showed that trees on farms and in agricultural landscapes in most cases result in improved food security via, e.g., reduced pest problems, improved soil fertility and water regulation. The positive effects were most consistent in semi-arid areas. In general, trees in the agricultural landscape were positive, but in some cases a decline in production of particular crops was noted as a trade-off. Very few of the available studies had investigated the production of wood, medicinal products, fruits and nuts, and no studies had looked at cultural ecosystem services such as recreation and spiritual values. This makes it difficult to establish all the synergies and trade-offs associated with trees in the landscape. (Click on title for full story.)

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How Did African Forests Become Savannas? The Acacias Blame The Antelope

A study that includes a group of South African scientists has found that the arrival of browsing medium sized antelopes was probably what turned Africa’s ancient forests into the open savannas. (Click on title for full story.)

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How Millennia Of Human Habitation Left An Ecosystem Healthier Than Before

Human occupation is usually associated with degraded landscapes but 13,000 years of repeated occupation by British Columbia’s coastal First Nations has had the opposite effect, enhancing temperate rainforest productivity. )Click on title for full story)

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Irrigation Kills? Landscaping For Drought Can Make Some Regions More Livable

At night, the modeling projected a cooling effect from the changing landscapes that would be exceed the daytime warming effect. Across L.A., nighttime lows were projected to fall by an average of nearly 6°F if irrigation suddenly ended. (Click on title for full story.)

0213001849

Loss Of Forests Imperils A Nation

For years, wood charcoal burners had been destroying this forest, the catchment basin for the Lilongwe River, the source of the capital’s water. Fewer trees mean the ground is less able to absorb water in the rainy season and gradually surrender it the rest of the year. With the supply reaching the capital dwindling and increasingly turbid, and with the El Niño drought spreading across Malawi and the rest of southern Africa, the capital was under imminent threat. (Click on title for full story.)

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Increasing Urbanization In Tropics Affects Butterflies And Forests In Complex Ways

Most tropical butterflies feed on a variety of flower types, but those that are ‘picky’ about their flower diets tend to prefer native plants and are more dependent on forests. These ‘picky’ butterflies also have wings that are more conspicuous and shorter proboscis. The reduction in native plants due to urbanisation affects the diet of such butterflies, and researchers suggest that intervention may be needed to manage their preferred flower resources. (Click on title for full story.)

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Do Reforestation Projects’ Failure Begin At The Roots?

Experts in reforestation are concerned with the reasons why some replanted sites struggle. They suspect the problem may be solved through soil science. (Click on title for full story.)

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Looking For Ocean Plastic Pollution? Check The Mangrove Forests

This part of the island is uninhabited, yet the area is full of rubbish, and most of it is fairly new. (Click on title for full story.)

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Are These The Final Days For Our Forests?

Our study shows that human disturbance negatively affects the early steps of the plant regeneration cycle, while the effects on the later regeneration processes vary greatly, Our findings suggest that conservation efforts should prioritize the protection of animal pollinators and seed dispersers to maintain the regeneration potential of forest ecosystems in the future. (Click on title for full story.)