Across the globe, rangelands are rapidly changing due to human-caused disturbances. New research shows that in Australia, livestock grazing is shifting the balance of plant diversity in favor of non-native species. This could pose serious conservation challenges for Australian rangelands in years to come.
Humans have long looked to the ocean for opportunities, sustenance, and growth. Today, advocates of “Blue Growth” aim to foster sustainable economic growth in the marine sector. Absent in the grandiose vision, however, is where our interaction with the ocean first began: fishing. Global fisheries production has stagnated: ecology is fragile, regulations are strict, and fish prices are low. So, what is the future for marine fisheries? What will be its role in Blue Growth?
Human activity is increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, causing the ocean to absorb more carbon dioxide as well. New research shows that increasing oceanic carbon dioxide levels are also fluctuating with the seasons. Over time, these fluctuations are becoming more dramatic. As a result, marine animals will be pushed earlier than expected towards threatening conditions.
Scientists from the Institute for Conservation Research at the San Diego Zoo and UCLA are researching animal decision making across disciplinary boundaries. In a recent study, they investigated how animal decision making can be affected by human impacts on the environment. They argue that understanding the ways animals respond to different situations can help scientists conserve species more effectively.
Forest fragmentation breaks apart ecosystems and accelerates deforestation. The causes of deforestation differ around the globe, but scientists have identified similarities in their patterns. Doing so might mitigate further deforestation.
Solar energy is hailed as the holy grail of climate change mitigation. But is it really? Like any other technological solution, solar has its issues especially regarding its impact on land use change. A recent study highlighted some promising alternatives for siting solar in areas that can spare prime agricultural land, thus reducing solar land footprint.
Does news coverage affect the length of people’s showers? A recent scientific study seeks to understand how mass media is related to water use behavior, by examining the influence of abnormally high drought related news coverage in California’s San Francisco bay area. The researchers find a strong link between heightened news coverage and a reduction in urban water use, indicating that mass media has the potential to lead to significant behavioral changes.
As the current United States Federal government moves to dismantle environmental protections, many have turned to the business community to lead the way on environment. However, a new study has found that most businesses are only working on sustainability to generate profit. The study categorizes profit-minded sustainability work as “weak,” stating that more ambitious sustainability approaches have goals beyond growing a business.
Climate change is increasing storm severity globally. During storms, polluted sediment can be transported. A study focusing on the Meadowlands demonstrates how tide gates can prevent the transportation of contaminated sediment.
Towering wind turbines have been overlooking the European seas for almost a decade. Why is the U.S. lagging in offshore wind development? A recent study examined the psychological and social factors that influence public opinion and eventually facilitate or hinder project development.
You know the skin-crawling, hair-raising feeling right before you drift off to sleep? It might not be “all in your head”.Bed bugs are on the rise, and travelers are unknowingly shuttling them across the oceans. Researchers wanted to know exactly how bed bugs were making long journeys at an unprecedented rate. They found bed bugs are attracted to dirty laundry, not just old mattresses. As international travel increases, bed bugs are jumping into suitcases and spreading across the globe.
As cities seek to provide residents with places for recreation, cleaner air, and beautiful scenery, it is crucial to know which sector can best increase the amount of green infrastructure. New research examines developers’ decision-making process for property design, and shows that developers may not be the best group to be in charge of providing green space for cities.
Agricultural land is not often thought of as an ecosystem or as habitat. However, farmers as a group collectively manage a large fraction of the land in Britain (as in every country) and their choices have a significant impact on the health of the environment and wildlife. How can farmers be encouraged to become environmental stewards?
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 the production food and 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.