In the 21st century, urbanization has become one of the most dominant forms of land use in the world. As natural ecosystems are converted to city landscapes, how do urban forests play a role for both birds and humans?
Beavers are powerful ecosystem engineers that change entire river systems, often to the benefit of humans. These benefits, however, have been overlooked in the past, when beavers were hunted to the brink of extinction for their fur, and even today as we continue to destroy and degrade their habitat. What if we understood the full value their work?
The popularity of ski mountaineering as a winter sport is increasing – and with it, impacts on mountain wildlife. In the European Alps, researchers used data from the exercisetracking app Stravato assess these impacts on vulnerable bird species. Understanding how skiers affect their surroundings can help prevent harm to wildlife and maintain a healthy relationship between outdoor recreation and mountain ecosystems.
Andrew Ofstehage, postdoctoral associate at Cornell University, used his background in agronomy and anthropology to investigate the soy boom in Brazil. In his upcoming book “Welcome to Soylandia!”, Ofstehage shows how transnational North American farmers are managing both soils and investors while creating narratives around their presence in Brazil.
The United States has a reputation for successful land conservation. But who are we protecting this land for? Dr. Beth Rose Middleton is researching a new way of working with the land’s first stewards, Native American tribes, to protect not only natural resources but also cultures and traditional ways of knowing.
The island of Borneo is changing rapidly. Infrastructure development and palm oil production are hastening deforestation on the island, which is occurring at alarming rates. Widespread deforestation has many consequences for biodiversity, including habitat loss and decreased habitat connectivity. Even more ominously, changes in land use and tree cover are shifting precipitation levels across the island.
Land rights conflicts are a well-known problem in the expansion of industrial plantations in the Global South. To resolve conflicts, the disputing groups tend to choose mediation instead of an inefficient formal court system. Despite the advantages of mediation, findings from Indonesia show that mediation is incomplete without addressing wider injustices in land rights issues.
The dramatic rise in Oklahoma’s earthquake activity since 2009 is due to its wastewater injection. Notoriously hard to measure, scientists created a method that modeled seismic conditions as a result of wastewater disposal. A thoughtful approach to disposal will limit environmental damage as a result of seismic activity.
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.