During the 2012-2014 drought, farmers had difficulty maintaining their crops and their livelihoods. New research found that during this drought, water use and dependency actually increased in the Central Valley. This finding gives us pause and a chance to reevaluate our water management practices.
A warming climate in the American West is causing major changes to the iconic conifer forests. A team of researchers describe how we might be losing these forests to drought and more frequent wildfires.
Despite a decline in active mercury pollution, lingering environmental mercury is still a human health concern. Scientists working to track the movement of global mercury have discovered a new route – mercury moves through the stocking of lakes for recreational fishing. Because of fish stocking, the toxic heavy metal is moving from oceans to mountain lakes at an estimated global rate of one ton per year. This finding calls for fisheries managers to pay closer attention to the health of their recreational stock before releasing into lakes.
In the quest to improve air quality, researchers and policymakers aim to determine the costs and benefits of air pollution reduction strategies. Recent research introduces a model to account for both the direct and indirect benefits of clean air, and applies this method to reveal that the benefits of curbing ground level ozone concentrations through a cap-and-trade program far exceed the implementation costs.
Ecosystem service valuation is a method for assigning economic value to an ecosystem. This is not a holistic process. Many environment benefits such as food, water and climate stability cannot be measured by economics alone. To include these additional benefits, researchers developed an innovative method that considers environmental aspects through open dialogue and public engagement.
Antibiotics emitted from pharmaceutical plants have been known to contribute to water pollution in some regions of the world. New research reveals that biological communities downstream of plants change as a result of such exposure. This finding supports growing evidence that antibiotics can change the makeup of rivers and streams.
While it seems the number of forest fires is increasing, an international team of researchers has discovered a downward trend in global burned area over the past two decades. Capital-intensive agriculture expansion, rather than climate change, is the major factor influencing global burned area.
Electric vehicles are running the roads, claiming green fame. Could they also earn their drivers money? In a recent study, researchers mapped out the economics of vehicle-to-grid energy storage for peak electricity demand reduction and potential profits.
In the wake of large-scale hurricane-induced flooding, understanding the characteristics of waterbodies matters more now than ever. A new classification system called the Freshwater Continuum Classification can help effectively identify changes that can occur over time.
When considering the best end-of-life (i.e. disposal) options for construction and demolition wood, there are three categories to consider — recycling, burying, or burning. Life cycle analysis gives insight into the least environmentally harmful and costly end-of-life category.
New research shows that fungi in the forest floor use resources less efficiently when competing with neighboring fungi. This means forests’ may remove less greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than we thought.
As large wildfires threaten communities in many parts of the world, understanding how climate change will influence extreme fire events can help predict future fire risk. In a recent study, researchers used new models to find that human emissions increased fire risk by 1.5 to 6 times in western Canada.
A longstanding conservation scheme known as payment for ecosystem services aims to incentivize forest protection by putting a price on the services forests provide, but questions remain whether the payments generated are going to right people . A recent analysis conducted in Costa Rica indicates that indeed further work is needed to reach rural poor populations that depend on forests for their livelihoods.
To promote environmental advocacy, we need science to be a priority to people. But how scientists better communicate their findings to the wider world? Too often, recent studies suggest, science communication fails to address key factors such as audience curiosity and intelligence, political ideology and personal beliefs.
Foreign direct investment is often seen as an economic blessing for developing nations. However, new research reveals that it stimulates resource depletion, while fostering dependency on the income generated from that depletion.
With rising consumer demand for organic foods, farmers need to explore new methods for pest control. A recent literature review identifies avenues for future research into natural predator-prey relationships that could yield novel alternatives to controversial technologies currently used.
A recent study shows that pre-Columbian Amazonian societies played a key role in the structure of current tree communities. The results refute the idea of the Amazonia as an unspoiled place and highlights the contribution of ancient societies to the shaping of the current forest composition.
Rising sea levels and melting glaciers are certainly worrisome consequences of climate change — but there are more subtle changes that could also be disastrous. The geographical shift of caterpillar fungus, for example, could spell economic disaster for Tibetan people.
More access to water does not mean fairer access. A study of water access in Jakarta found that the poor lacks fair access to clean water compared to their rich neighbors and the quality of groundwater is a culprit.
Pests have damaged U.S. forests for centuries. Globalization is increasing the spread of these pests and their danger to ecosystems. Now, new research models pest spread across landscapes using past data to better prepare for future threats.
Although wind power is often hailed as one of the ultimate sustainable energy sources, siting wind farms can be tricky. A recent study examined the trade-offs between building wind farms close to population centers or in remote regions with more suitable wind conditions. The results can help policymakers locate new wind development more efficiently.
In recent years, water funds have become a crucial tool for managers worldwide to protect both water quality and sustainable livelihoods. But a new study suggests that the most successful water funds seek diverse input and locally-tailored solutions.
As the summer sea ice melts in the Arctic, polar bears struggling to hunt seals are increasingly turning to sea-birds for food. New scientific research suggests that this change in the polar bear diet could severely reduce sea ducks populations and deprive Arctic peoples of a major source of food and livelihood.
Non-timber forest products from urban areas are often overlooked as a viable source of income for impoverished communities. A new study investigates whether or not these products help households in South Africa stay out of poverty.