To Monarch Butterflies, My Milkweed Patch May Be More Attractive Than Yours

A team of researchers has discovered that milkweed plants in farmland have 3 ½ times more monarch butterfly eggs than milkweed growing in urban gardens, natural areas and roadsides. They also found that monarchs prefer small patches of the plant to larger ones. (Click on title for full story.)

The Smallest Bees May Hold The Biggest Hope For Trees Facing Climate Change

To the biologists’ surprise, the smallest bees managed to cover distances just as far as their larger pollinating cousins, frequently acting as tiny matchmakers for trees separated by more than a mile (>2 km). In fact, in half of the cases where a pair of trees separated by a significant distance created a fruit together, the pollen had been carried by a bee no bigger than a grain of rice. (Click on title for full story.)

Agricultural Fields With Cover Crops A Haven For Wildlife

We think cover crops, such as cereal rye, likely provide migrating birds with more vegetation and a safe area to escape from the elements and from predators, Cover crops also increase insect abundance, another food source for birds. The increased number of insects allows migrants to fuel up faster and move on to their breeding grounds. (Click on title for full story.)

With Cacao Crops Threatened Can Jackfruit Be Chocolate’s Replacement?

Jackfruit seeds are a waste product that can be fermented, roasted and converted to flour imparting a chocolate aroma, according to research. (Click on title for full story.)

Lemurs Dependent On Bamboo Risk Climate Caused Extinction

Future projections show that many present-day greater bamboo lemur populations will experience prolonged dry seasons similar to those of the localities where only fossils of the greater bamboo lemur are found. Whereas abundant foods such as bamboo allow feeding specialists to thrive, even a moderate change in seasonality may outstrip the capacity of greater bamboo lemurs to persist on their mechanically demanding food source. Coupling known changes in species distribution with high-resolution ecological and historical data helps to identify extinction risks. (Click on title for full study.)

When Is Enough, Enough? An Approach To Evaluate Alien Plant Invasions And Native Species Decline

Plants comprise the biggest and best-studied group of invasive species. There is a growing debate; however, regarding the nature of the alien plant threat—in particular whether the outcome is likely to be the widespread extinction of native plant species. The debate has raised questions on whether the threat posed by invasive plants to native plants has been overstated. We provide a conceptual framework to guide discussion on this topic, in which the threat posed by invasive plants is considered in the context of a progression from no impact through to extinction. (Click on title for full story.)

Deforestation For Palm Oil Is Changing Indonesia’s Climate

Land use change from forest to cash crops such as oil palm and rubber plantations does not only impact biodiversity and stored carbon, but also has a surface warming effect, adding to climate change (Click on title for full story.)

Is This Plant The Cure For The U.S. Opioid Crisis?

“There’s a huge wealth of anecdotal evidence, and some scientific, that there is definite medical potential for this plant. If it’s not in the treatment of mild and moderate pain, it’s definitely in the treatment of potential opioid withdrawal,” (Click on title for full story.)

What Makes Beets Red May Change Medicine

Scientists do not know exactly why this ability helped beets thrive. While some research suggests betalains may help plants weather stress, perhaps their primary usefulness is that humans — and presumably other creatures, like pollinators — love the way they look. Beyond questions of color, the research has implications for medicine.

What Makes Tropical Area A Rain Forest Instead Of A Savanna? Soil Depth Plays A Role.

If trees have access to a larger volume of soil, this promotes more wooded vegetation whereas shallower rooting, lower precipitation and fire promote less wooded, grass dominated vegetation zones. It’s all about water availability: Access to deeper soil layers typically increases the total amount of soil water available to plants which in turn favors tropical rainforest with its evergreen trees. It doesn’t stop there though, these interactions also alter plant communities composition and diversity. (Click on title for full story.)