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Saving lemurs: Action plan devised to save Madagascar’s 101 lemur species

Saving lemurs: Action plan devised to save Madagascar’s 101 lemur species

Lemurs, the most endangered mammal group on Earth, represent more than 20 per cent of the world’s primates. Native only to Madagascar, more than 90 percent of the species are threatened with extinction. A Western University primatologist has teamed with 18 lemur conservationists and researchers, many of whom are from Madagascar or have been working there for decades, to devise an action plan to save Madagascar’s 101 lemur species. The action plan contains strategies for 30 different priority sites for lemur conservation and aims to help raise funds for individual projects. Ian Colquhoun from Western’s Faculty of Social Science co-authored […]

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British farmland butterflies bounce back after 2013 summer, survey finds

British farmland butterflies bounce back after 2013 summer, survey finds

The warm and sunny summer of 2013 enabled British farmlandbutterflies to bounce back from a crash in numbers in 2012, a new survey has found. Results of the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey (WCBS) show that the majority of farmland species have recovered after the worst year on record for butterflies in 2012, when 52 out of 56 British species monitored suffered declines as a result of miserably wet weather. Individual species that recorded an increase in 2013 included the brimstone, common blue, small and large skipper and small tortoiseshell. The annual survey, conducted by a coalition of conservation agencies aiming […]

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Legal harvest of marine turtles tops 42,000 each year

Legal harvest of marine turtles tops 42,000 each year

Anew study has found that 42 countries or territories around the world permit the harvest of marine turtles — and estimates that more than 42,000 turtles are caught each year by these fisheries. The research, carried out by Blue Ventures Conservation and staff at the University of Exeter’s Centre for Ecology and Conservation, is the first to comprehensively review the number of turtles currently taken within the law and assess how this compares to other global threats to the creatures. All seven marine turtle species are currently listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Frances Humber of Blue […]

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Fertilization destabilizes global grassland ecosystems

Fertilization destabilizes global grassland ecosystems

New study led by University of Minnesota researchers demonstrates that fertilization of natural grasslands — either intentionally or unintentionally as a side effect of global farming and industry — is having a destabilizing effect on global grassland ecosystems. Using a network of natural grassland research sites around the world called the Nutrient Network, the study represents the first time such a large experiment has been conducted using naturally occurring sites. Led by Yann Hautier, a Marie Curie Fellow associated with both the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the University of Minnesota and the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and […]

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Conserving potato agrobiodiversity: Top-down and bottom-up approach needed

Conserving potato agrobiodiversity: Top-down and bottom-up approach needed

Mashed, smashed and fried, Americans love potatoes, but only a few varieties are grown in much of North American agriculture. In South America, where potatoes originated, more than 5,000 varieties continue to exist. A Penn State geographer is gathering all the information he can about the agrobiodiversity of these uniquely adapted tubers with an eye toward sustainability of this fourth largest food crop worldwide. “In the U.S. we rely primarily on 10 to 12 types of potatoes total,” said Karl Zimmerer, department head and professor of geography. “In fact, mostly we use only 5 to 8 varieties. In South America, […]

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Sevan for Sale: Environmentalist Claims Government Intends to Privatize Lake

Sevan for Sale: Environmentalist Claims Government Intends to Privatize Lake

In a conversation this reporter had with Hakob Sanasaryan, who heads the Greens Union of Armenian, the environmental activist lambasted the Armenian government’s policy regarding Lake Sevan and claimed that top officials wanted to privatize the “blue jewel” of Armenia. “According to the information reaching me, Armenia’s Deputy Prime Minister Armen Gevorgyan is involved in the scheme and a former official from the Ministry of Justice,” Hakobyan stated, adding that he’s certain that President Sargsyan and Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan have given the go-ahead. “They want to divide it into 4-5 sections. The owners will have to monitor the river […]

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Cities support more native biodiversity than previously thought

Cities support more native biodiversity than previously thought

The rapid conversion of natural lands to cement-dominated urban centers is causing great losses in biodiversity. Yet, according to a new study involving 147 cities worldwide, surprisingly high numbers of plant and animal species persist and even flourish in urban environments — to the tune of hundreds of bird species and thousands of plant species in a single city. Contrary to conventional wisdom that cities are a wasteland for biodiversity, the study found that while a few species — such as pigeons and annual meadow grass — are shared across cities, overall the mix of species in cities reflects the […]

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The World’s Largest Solar Thermal Power Plant Started Generating Power Today

The World’s Largest Solar Thermal Power Plant Started Generating Power Today

The amazing Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System uses 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors, to focus Sunlight to the top of 459-foot towers, where water is turned into steam to power turbines. The implications of this new project are great, but even more amazing solutions exist. President Obama has repeated time and time again that he will use executive authority to move forward his climate change agenda. He referenced climate change in his State of the Union address, completely lying to the public that a shift to a cleaner energy economy will be hard. He emphasized that there aren’t any new clean green technologies we can use, […]

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Arctic wildlife and landscapes are crucially at risk

Arctic wildlife and landscapes are crucially at risk

Unique and irreplaceable Arctic wildlife and landscapes are crucially at risk due to global warming caused by human activities according to the Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA), a new report prepared by 253 scientists from 15 countries under the auspices of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF), the biodiversity working group of the Arctic Council. “An entire bio-climatic zone, the high Arctic, may disappear. Polar bears and the other highly adapted organisms cannot move further north, so they may go extinct. We risk losing several species forever,” says Hans Meltofte of Aarhus University, chief scientist of the report. From […]

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