cutting pollution, Environment, Nature, plants, Uncategorized, Wildlife

News from The Treetalker

Pollution is changing the fungi that provide mineral nutrients to tree roots, which could explain malnutrition trends in Europe’s trees.

To get nutrients from the soil, trees host fungi, known as mycorrhizal fungi, in their roots. These fungi receive carbon from the tree in exchange for essential nutrients, like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which they gather from the soil.

A huge, 10-year study of 13,000 soil samples across 20 European countries has revealed that many tree fungi communities are stressed by pollution, indicating that current pollution limits set by European countries may not be strict enough, that they may need to lower the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus levels allowed for soil amendments. To read all of this article, click here.

Imperial College, London

Imperial College, London

Study shows evidence of convergence in bird and primate evolution.

Neuroscientists have identified the neural circuit that may underlay intelligence in birds, according to a new study. “An area of the brain that plays a major role in primate intelligence. . .transfers information between the two largest areas of the brain, which allows for higher-order processing and more sophisticated behavior. In humans and primates, these specific nuclei are large compared to other mammals.”

Birds have a similar structure that has similar connectivity, located in a different part of the brain, which does the same thing – circulates information between the cortex and the cerebellum.

The study determined that the structure in parrots is much larger than that of other birds, with the relevant structure two to five times larger in parrots than in other birds, which has developed independently, involving sophisticated behaviors such as use of tools and self-awareness. Read the rest of the article here.

Andrew Iwaniuk

Andrew Iwaniuk

From the Washington Post Energy and Environment Newsletter. July 6, 2018, Lindsey Bever reporting.

Hawaii just banned your favorite sunscreen to protect its coral reefs

According to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, coral reefs are crucial to marine and human life.

In addition to protecting sea creatures, the Smithsonian said, the reefs provide food, medication and tourism jobs, among other things — at a value of $30 billion to $172 billion per year.

Hawaii’s state lawmakers passed legislation in May that would ban skin-care companies from selling and distributing sunscreens on the islands that contain two chemicals deemed damaging to coral reefs. The chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate, have significant harmful impacts on Hawaii’s marine environment and residing ecosystems.”

The bill was opposed by various companies and business associations and even some dermatologists, who worry that the ban may discourage people from wearing sunscreen at all. (Blah-blah – no surprise that Big Money doesn’t care about anything other than making more money.)

Read the full article here.

Caleb Jones:AP file

Caleb Jones/AP

From NBC News, Associated Press, June 15, 2018.

Lions and tigers and bears are increasingly becoming night owls because of us, a new study says.

Scientists have long known that human activity disrupts nature. Besides becoming more vigilant and reducing time spent looking for food, many mammals may travel to remote areas or move around less to avoid contact with people. (I know how they feel.)

The latest research found even activities like hiking and camping can scare animals and drive them to become more active at night.

Researchers analyzed 76 studies involving 62 species on six continents, including lions in Tanzania, otters in Brazil, coyotes in California, wild boars in Poland and tigers in Nepal. The study suggests that animals might be “playing it safe around people.”

Read the complete article here.

Shivang Mehta Photography

Shivang Mehta Photography

From NBC News, June 7 2018, Brandon Specktor reporting.

Climate change killed the aliens, and it might kill us too!

Professor Adam Frank, astrophysicist at the U. of Rochester, NY published a new paper in May that “aims to take a 10,000-light-year view of human-caused climate change.”

Using mathematical models based on the disappearance of the lost civilization of Easter Island, Frank and his colleagues simulated how various alien civilizations might rise and fall if they were to increasingly convert their planet’s limited natural resources into energy.

The results, as you might expect, were generally pretty grim. Of four common “trajectories” for energy-intense civilizations, three ended in apocalypse. The fourth scenario — a path that involved converting the whole alien society to sustainable sources of energy — worked only when civilizations recognized the damage they were doing to the planet, and acted in the right away.

“The last scenario is the most frightening,” Frank said. “Even if you did the right thing, if you waited too long, you could still have your population collapse.”

Read the rest of this interesting “what if?” article here.

Michael Osadciw:U of Rochester

Illustration by Michael Osadciw/U of Rochester

Also, on my “Spotlight On” page, a bit about our favorite summer plant, Poison Ivy.

poison-ivy

Again, don’t forget, Volume 3 of Secret Voices from the Forest is available now on Amazon – you can get there directly via this link.

Have a great week!

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News from The Treetalker

Focus on: the Rainbow Snake

    Highly aquatic, this beautiful snake can be found among floating vegetation in freshwater streams, along riverbanks and in cypress swamps and marshes of the coastal plain of southern North America. Not a great deal is known about

Farancia-erytrogramma-6.24.03-SRS-SC-copy-300x200

Herpsofnc.org

this non-venomous species, as it is very reclusive and spends most of its life in the water or hiding in available cover.
As an adult, the Rainbow snake eats only American eels. Landlubbers such as myself probably never consider that eels are fish, with a complicated life cycle that begins in the Sargasso Sea. Visit this page for the rest of the article.

Young gorillas are working together to destroy poachers’ traps in Rwanda

Reblogged from Eben Diskin, June 5, 2018 – visit here for the full article:

Joakim Odelberg.jpg

Photo: Joachim Odelberg


The famed Highland Gorillas of the Rwanda National Park have apparently learned how to dismantle the traps that poachers have been setting for them, and have teamed up to do the job.  Kick ass! Read the original – it’s not very long.

Bringing more Green power to the Res, with Renewable energy:

Rachel Hamalian, volunteer from Trees, Water and People, reports from Pine Ridge about the Lakota Solar Enterprises. They say this about themselves:
IMG_8173+copy
“In partnership with Trees, Water & People (TWP), Lakota Solar Enterprises founded and now operates the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center (RCREC), where Native Americans from around the country come to receive hands-on training in renewable energy applications from fellow Native American trainers. RCREC’s facilities also include demonstration solar air furnaces, a solar electric system, straw bale home demonstration sites, a wind turbine, green houses and garden, buffalo from the Red Cloud herd, and wind break and shade trees. In addition to educating about the benefits of renewable energy, RCREC’s workshops are creating green jobs for residents of Pine Ridge, S.D., as well as visiting trainees from other tribes. As tribal leaders learn how to incorporate sustainable technology into housing plans, employment training, and energy strategies, the impact will increase exponentially.”

from the NY Times weekly newsletter, Climate Fwd:

from June 27, 2018, both positive and negative. Please visit the page for the stories in their entirety. The reporters are Henry Fountain, Livia Albeck-Ripka, John Schwartz and Brad Plumer

Getty images

Bad News for Ozone Layer Recovery  (Getty Images)

1)  Research by an investigative reporter from the Times, stationed in Beijing, has shown that there’s a high probability that several businesses in China are supplying and/or using CFC-11, even though it’s long been banned. This could delay the restoration of atmospheric ozone by 10 years or more.

Maine Lobster – Greta Rybus for The New York Times

2)  Apparently climate change can be bad for some, good for others. There has been a recent boom of Maine’s lobster fishery. Warming waters and conservation efforts by the lobstermen has helped the industry increase by 500%.

Carl de Souza:Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

3)  Brazil isn’t doing so well in it’s efforts to protect its rain forests, with more than 3 million acres cleared by ranchers, farmers and miners. Not only are fires set deliberately, to clear the land, but a severe drought last year caused the fires to spread rapidly, out of control, making the losses much worse. Double-whammy, causing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere to increase ever more.

In all the world’s tropical forests lost roughly 39 million acres of trees. This is only slightly less than the total losses from 2016. Tropical forests are shrinking overall, with losses outweighing the gains. And they’re just talking about tropical forests. . .

A

Arkansas Rig – Andrea Morales for The New York Times

4)  From a new study that came out in mid-June, in the journal Science, we see that much, much more methane (the main component of natural gas) is leaking from domestic oil and gas operations than the industry admits – nearly 2 ½ percent – you might think, “That’s not much,” but in truth, it’s enough to fuel 10 million homes for a year.

Methane has the capacity to warm the planet 80 times as much as the same amount of carbon dioxide, over a 20-year period, if it escapes into the atmosphere before being burned. If the rate of leakage rises above 4 percent, it could actually be worse for climate change than burning coal!

The good news is that most of the leakage is fixable at a relatively low cost, and the fix would pay for itself with income from the saved gas, which is estimated to be some $2 billion a year. Exxon Mobil, the largest gas producer in the country, hopes to reduce its methane emissions by 15 percent over the next year and a half.

Not sure if that’s a sufficient sense of urgency.

**************************************

That’s all the news for this posting. Don’t forget, Volume 3 of my series, Secret Voices from the Forest—Thoughts and Dreams of North American Trees, is brand new, and available through Amazon. Here’s the link.

Vol. 3 - The East copy

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The Treetalker

spanish-moss-and-cypress

Focus on: Spanish Moss—This familiar plant, seen draping off Live oak and Bald cypress trees all along the Gulf Coast, is not a moss at all. Rather, it is an epiphyte, which attaches itself to tree trunks and branches, rather than rooting in the soil.
However, it is not parasitic, and does not compete with its host for food. It takes in nutrients and moisture directly from air and rain, through the scales on the long gray “stems.”—thus the common name, “air plant;” but because it is so exposed, it is unable to tolerate airborne pollution or excessively cold temperatures.
It is the only member of the bromeliad family—which includes orchids and pineapples—that is indigenous to the North American continent.
Although today Spanish moss is mostly used in flower arrangements and as packing material, it was once utilized as stuffing for furniture, mattresses, automobile seats and the walls of homes as insulation. In 1939, over 10,000 tons of moss were processed for these purposes.

Environmental Happenings:— This week, some articles from the NY Times special newsletter, “Climate Fwd:” You can access the report at this link. 
The articles were written by
By John Schwartz, Brad Plumer and Livia Albeck-Ripka for the article, published on May 30, 2018.

* 1) Creating an ice rink in the deserts of Nevada? Boy, there’s an energy guzzler!

merlin_138827868_49f3e31a-3d19-4c81-ac7f-b4c305d0cf89-superJumbo

** 2) Most of us environmentally-minded folk have heard that the methane produced by livestock accounts for 26% of all methane emissions in the U.S. (Do they consider what people might be adding to that figure?) Some scientists—of course—are trying to develop a drug to counter the problem; however, one Canadian farmer discovered, by accident, that his cows were healthier and produced less gas when they ate seaweed that had washed up on the shore. Turns out some types of seaweed contains a substance that neutralizes the methane-producing stomach enzyme.

Ah, nature always finds a way. . .

So the scientists are testing new diets, with some promising results.

cow-burp-superJumbo

*** 3) final article in this report: “Aspirational recycling.”

You may also have heard recently that China, who has been one of the world’s main importers of recyclable waste (geez – who would WANT that job?), has recently said it will reject shipments that are more than 0.5 % impure – like, when people don’t wash things out, or put other kinds of garbage in the recycling bins – apparently messy cardboard pizza boxes are a big offender, along with all those things we think are #1’s and #2’s, but are actually #5’s or something else (like the lids of just about everything!)

So, “rinse stuff out and read the numbers in the little triangles on the bottom of the item” is the main takeaway, but do read the article.

20cli-aspirational-lede-superJumbo

My new book, Secret Voices from the Forest—Thoughts and Dreams of North American Trees, Volume Three: The East has just come from the printer. Buy at Amazon—I’m the only one selling it!  $32.95 + shipping.

Vol. 3 - The East copy

And finally, my latest blog post, “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing,” in which I (sort of) express my views on current events.

For all these articles, visit my personal website.

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New Stories on The Treetalker

Coming Soon!

Secret Voices from the Forest—Thoughts and Dreams of North American Trees—Volume 3: The East will be available by this time next week, through my website http://secret-voices.com or on Amazon. Check there after June 10.cover proof #1

Also this week, at The Treetalker, some new posts

Spotlight on: The Coywolf – a new species!  http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com/index.html

image-20160510-20698-1hcqds5

Environmental Happenings:  http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com/environmental-happenings.html

  1. Silvopasturing – a way of raising cattle that is far more environmentally friendly than the common practice of raising animals in feedlots.
  2. Don’t Kill That Spider! – the little beasties that live in our homes.

    And on my blog: http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com/blog.html

    “The Problem with Self Publishing”

    dd55722239a914d6d84bc4052e09c230

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global warming, gulf coast, ocean, Greenland ice melt, climate change, Industrial Revolution, EDF, methane, shale oil, satellite, greenhouse emissions, Louisiana, Mississippi River Delta, coastal wetlands, bird habitat, Big Oil, Uncategorized

The Treetalker – a bit of the latest news about global warming and the oceans

This week, at my website, 4 articles from the Washington Post’s Climate and Environment newsletter, a new “Focus on” the Sweetgum tree, and a blog post about patience (since I have so little  😉.) If you want to read any of the entire articles, visit my website and you’ll find my summaries and links to the original articles.

The news articles are:

(Levke Caesar:Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research)

(Levke Caesar/Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research)

The oceans’ circulation hasn’t been this sluggish in 1,000 years. That’s bad news.

The Atlantic Ocean circulation that carries warmth into the Northern Hemisphere’s high latitudes is slowing down because of climate change, a team of scientists asserted Wednesday, suggesting one of the most feared consequences is already coming to pass.

A rendering by the Environmental Defense Fund

A rendering by the Environmental Defense Fund

 

This environmental group is launching its own satellite to learn more about greenhouse gas leaks

The satellite will enable The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to more accurately measure methane emissions, which account for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Michael Taylor and Adam Voiland

NASA Earth Observatory image by Michael Taylor and Adam Voiland.jpg

 

Seas are rising too fast to save much of the Mississippi River Delta, scientists say

The state of Louisiana is proceeding with ambitious plans to redirect the Mississippi River and rebuild some of its rapidly vanishing wetlands — but even this massive intervention may not be enough to save the most threatened lands from fast rising seas, scientists concluded in a study published Wednesday in Science Advances.

Shell foresaw climate dangers in 1988 and understood Big Oil’s big role

Chris Ratcliffe:Bloomberg

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg


Jelmer Mommers, a reporter with De Correspondent, a Dutch newspaper, has uncovered Royal Dutch Shell documents as old as 1988 that showed the oil company understood the gravity of climate change, the company’s large contribution to it and how hard it would be to stop it.

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News from The Treetalker

I haven’t posted for a while, as I’ve spent most of my time working on Volume Three: The East of my book series, Secret Voices from the Forest—Thoughts and Dreams of North American Trees. This volume concerns trees east of the Mississippi River, but doesn’t include most of Florida, as it will be featured in Volume Four: Tropics and Deserts.

Anyway, I’ve just spent some time updating my website http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com

where you can find the following articles, as well as my blog and updates on the book (and eventually) how to buy it.

in “Focus On”

 Green frog
rana-clamitans03    Ranidae has the widest distribution of all frog families, and its members are abundant throughout the world, occurring on all continents except Antarctica. Its origin was Indochina, and over a 40 million year period, its ancestors dispersed, diversifying according to the different environments they encountered.
The green frog has a smooth, moist skin, large powerful legs and highly webbed feet. Like another member of this family, the much larger bullfrog, the green frog will eat any other animal that it can fit into its mouth, including other frogs, sitting and waiting for the prey to come near.
It is both terrestrial and aquatic, and lives in the borders between freshwater ponds, streams and lakes, ditches and swamps, able to escape predators by leaping into the nearby water. The male is territorial, staking his 3-20 foot claim by patrolling the outer edge and singing, or growling if an intruder male comes near. A green frog has a number of different calls for different purposes; its call to advertise for a mate sounds has been likened to the plucking of a loose banjo string.
Mating takes place in the water, and produces egg clusters containing one to five thousand eggs each that float on the water or hang from aquatic plants. A tadpole, which eats algae and water plants, overwinters in the water, taking three to twenty-two months to mature and begin to breed. Adult frogs reach their maximum size at around the age of four, and may live ten years. (From Tamarack Companions, Secret Voices from the Forest, Volume 3: The East.)

From “Environmental Happenings”

from The Washington Post: 
Even under pro-coal President Trump, U.S. solar is doing pretty well

(Lucy Nicholson:Reuters)

Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

By Chris Mooney March 15

An analysis by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Assoc. (SEIA), published on  March 9, 2018, found that the U.S solar industry had its second-best year on record for installations in 2017. New capacity of 10.6 billion watts was installed by a combination of Utilities, individuals (like me!) and businesses. The previous year set the record, with 15.1 billion watts, under President Obama, although installations in 2016 were boosted by companies that were moving quickly on projects to ensure they didn’t miss out on a 30 % federal investment tax credit.

With President Trump at the helm, who proposes slashing funding for solar energy programs, and has recently imposed import tariffs (China is a big producer of solar panels) that are expected to lead to few installations, because of increased costs.

However, the “growth in midsize solar, or the nonresidential market, was driven in part in 2017 by a major “community solar” initiative in Minnesota. In community solar programs, large groups of individuals in a community in effect share solar power from a larger installation. This is expected to be a growth area in coming years, in part because apartment and condo residents cannot put solar panels on their roofs but still may want solar power in some manner.

Mr. Trump’s tariffs will have the effect of slowing the growth of the industry by 10-15%, but the industry is considered to be strong enough to keep growing.

Full article at – www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/03/15/under-coal-boosting-president-trump-u-s-solar-is-actually-doing-pretty-well/?utm_term=.9deb5d0dd53c&wpisrc=nl_green&wpmm=1

Next:
Hunting Club Cancels Crow Shoot in Face of Criticism
March 25, 2018, WILLIAMSTOWN, Vt. (AP)

Lars Petersson

©️Lars Petersson


A Vermont hunting club has cancelled its crow shooting competition after a social media outcry.  Critics of the shoot say they understand “hunting for food” but are against “wanton killing.”

The Burlington Free Press, http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com

Full article:  www.usnews.com/news/best-states/vermont/articles/2018-03-25/hunting-club-cancels-crow-shoot-in-face-of-criticism

Good News for Grey Wolves—The Anti-Wolf Rider Didn’t Make it!

gray-wolf-sam-parks

©️Sam Parks, for Defenders of Wildlife

Posted on March 22, 2018 by Rachel Tilseth“Congress passed the 2018 spending bill without the War-on-Wolves rider that would eliminate Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Wyoming.”

Full wordpress blog post at:  wolvesofdouglascountywisconsin.com/2018/03/22/good-news-for-gray-wolves-as-the-anti-wolf-rider-didnt-make-it/

Zinke backs grizzly bear recovery in N. Cascades—Interior secretary surprises conservationists
By Joel Connelly, SeattlePI March 23, 2018

rizzly Bear #399 and her cubs. Photo by Mike Wheeler

“Bear 399 and her cubs” ©️ Mike Wheeler


“Restoring the grizzly bear to the North Cascades ecosystem is the American conservation ethic come to life,” said Zinke, a former Montana congressman.

“We are managing the land and the wildlife according to the best science and best practices. The loss of the grizzly bear in the North Cascades would disturb the ecosystem and rob the region of an icon. We are moving forward with plans to restore the bear to the North Cascades, continuing our commitment to conservation and living up to our responsibility as the premier stewards of our public lands. ”

Surprising words from the Trump administration’s point man in cutting 2 million acres out of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah.

I agree, and it seems a bit hypocritical, considering all the other areas that are threatened by this current administration, and the fact that it has already lifted Endangered Species Act protection for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem.

Federal agencies have received more than 126,000 comments and correspondence in preparing their environmental studies.  The bulk of it has supported grizzly recovery. “Wildlife science as well as public opinion support restoration of the grizzly bear to the North Cascades for ecosystem health and as a legacy for future generations.”

The British Columbia government has recently put an end to all trophy hunting of grizzly bears.

Full article at:  www.seattlepi.com/local/politics/article/Connelly-Sec-Zinke-backs-grizzly-bear-recovery-12777419.php

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