Category Archives: Ecosystems

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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.)

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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.)

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Can A Simple Subsidy To Landowners Slow Deforestation And Protect Biodiversity?

In a convincing new study conducted in Uganda and based on a program sponsored in part by its government, a team of researchers have found an effective and affordable way to combat deforestation in a country showing some of the fastest tree loss rates in the world. How? The program simply paid owners of forest land not to cut down their own trees for either agricultural purposes or to sell them for timber. The research provides a positive model for protecting a forest region that is a hub for biodiversity, including serving as a key habitat for endangered chimpanzees. At the same time, it also validates the effectiveness of a “Payments for Ecosystems Services” program of the sort that could bolster the battle against global deforestation and its impact as a leading driver of climate change. (Click on title for full story.)

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How Many Tree Species Have Been Identified In The Amazon? 12,000 And Counting

After analyzing more than 500,000 digitized samples taken of fruits, flowers and leaves, a team of ecologists has compiled what they call the first list of every known tree type in the Amazon. (Click on title for full story.)