Alabama map turtle, Eco-tourism, Ethiopia, forests, Maria Fire, protecting rain forests, rescue animals, trees, Uncategorized

News from The Treetalker

Nature.com

Sorry, haven’t posted much in a while.

I check out the headlines of the NY Times every day, and have made note of a few recent articles, of which I will give a brief rendition, over the next few days. Here’s the first 3:

The Church Forests of Ethiopia, by Jeremy Seifert, Dec. 3 2019

From an interview and video by Dr. Alemayehu Wassie, Forest Ecologist, working with priests and communities since 1992 to save Ethiopia’s rapidly shrinking church forests.

“In Ethiopian Orthodox teaching, a church–to be a church–should be enveloped by a forest. It should resemble the garden of Eden.

A hundred years ago the highland was one big continuous forest. That big continuous forest has been eaten up by agriculture. It is the church who has protected these forests and only their patronage has safeguarded them from destruction.

Over the past century, nearly all of Ethiopia’s native forests have been cleared to make way for farming and cattle grazing.

“Every plant contains the power of God, the treasure of God, the blessing of God. The church is within the forest; the forest is inside the church. In ecology culture the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The mystery is to think beyond what we see. Everything is important and interlinked. So if you really care, we have to respect trees, the role of trees, and we have to learn to live with forests.  We can bring back the landscape given that these church forests exist. That’s my hope, that’s my vision. ” 

ram, post rescue
Owl rescued from ashes of Maria Fire by firefighters on patrol
Gretchen Wenner, Ventura County Star, Nov. 3, 2019

A Ventura County Fire Department hand crew was patrolling the fire line of the Maria Fire, which burned thousands of acres between Santa Paula, Saticoy and Somis during a Santa Ana wind event.  The crew was in a eucalyptus grove looking for “hazard” trees: burnt-out trees that can fall and kill firefighters and civilians, when they saw a Great horned owl hopping around in the ashes. One crew member, firefighter Caleb Amico, approached the owl, who was docile, wrapping it in his flame-resistant jacket.

Firefighters brought the owl to Nicky Thole at the nonprofit Camarillo Wildlife Rehabilitation, Des Forges said. The bird’s wings were fine and no bones were broken.

“She thinks the bird inhaled smoke and became dazed and confused,” he said. The owl is expected to make a full recovery and will be released back into its territory when conditions are safe.

The fire crew named their feathered find before handing it off: Ram. A ram is the crew’s mascot and Amico and the other crew members are big fans of the Los Angeles Rams football team, Des Forges said.

Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador

Looking to Scientists to Expand Eco-Tourism Efforts,
By Abby Ellin, Nov. 13, 2019

Hotels, lodges and resorts are bringing in scientists to conduct serious academic inquiries while also offering nature tours, workshops and classes for guests. Two years ago, the Mashpi Lodge, a luxury hotel in Ecuador, opened a research lab just steps from its main lodge.

Carmen Soto, a research scientist with a master’s degree in ecology and natural resources, collaborates with José Koechlin, the founder and chief executive of Inkaterra Hotels in Peru. He offered Ms. Soto a full-time job to help him with a pest problem at the Lodge.

Within a year, Ms. Soto was the resident biologist and orchid specialist at that hotel and at Inkaterra Asociación, the company’s nonprofit organization. Since then, she and her team of nearly a dozen workers have helped identify 372 orchid species, 22 of which are new. While continuing to identify new species of birds, butterflies and flora in the cloud forest, she also organizes specialized excursions for guests and educational workshops for area schoolchildren. Today, Mashpi has 12 biologists on staff, and seven studies have been published about the frogs, flowers, butterflies and birds found there.

Eco-tourism has been a part of the travel industry for some time now, but some other companies have begun hiring scientists to conduct serious academic inquiry while also offering nature tours, workshops and classes for guests. Hotel owners and managers say their ecological efforts trump any financial hits they may take.

As Daydream Island Resort’s “Living Reef Manager,” Mr. Johhny Gaskell is one of six full-time resident marine biologists. He is responsible for the resort’s reef restoration program and protecting the creatures of the Living Reef, one of Australia’s largest man-made living coral reef lagoons. He also runs the Reef After Dark program, when he’ll jump into the ocean at night and live-stream his findings onto a giant screen for guests.

Eleanor Butler, the resident biologist at Soneva Jani resort, in the Maldives, is inviting guests to help resore the coral reefs surrounding the resort, which were being destroyed by the high temperatures of the 2016 El Niño event.

She believes she’s able to reach more people, about climate change and the importance of reefs, than if she were working in academia.

ALSO, an excerpt from Volume Three of Secret Voices from the Forest:

The Alabama Map Turtle, a companion of the Longleaf Yellow Pine

Unknown     

Commonly known as the “Sawback” turtle, because of a black, knobbed ridge on its back, the Alabama map turtle can be seen basking on brush piles, tree branches or trunks along river banks.
Researchers have recently discovered a turtle’s organs do not gradually break down or become less efficient over time, unlike most other animals. It was found that the liver, lungs, and kidneys of a 100-year-old turtle are virtually indistinguishable from those of a juvenile.
The inner layer of a turtle’s shell is made up of about sixty bones that include portions of the backbone and the ribs, meaning the turtle cannot crawl out of its shell. In most turtles, the outer layer of the shell is covered by horny scales called scutes that are part of its outer skin.
Turtles once had a complete set of teeth, like most other animals, but now all turtle species have beaks. Generally, once an organism stops producing teeth, the genes specific to teeth start to mutate and become non-functional, but in turtles, most of these tooth-specific enamel genes are still present and in reasonable shape despite turtles having lost their teeth well before birds even evolved, about 150-200 million years ago. This indicates that turtles have a really slow mutation rate.
The first primitive ancestors of turtles are believed to have existed about 220 million years ago. Their shell is thought to have evolved from bony extensions of their backbones and broad ribs that expanded and grew together to form a complete shell that offered protection at every stage of its evolution, even when the bony component of the shell was not complete. A genetic analysis suggests that turtles are a sister group to birds and crocodiles, the separation of the three estimated to have occurred around 255 million years ago.
The Alabama map turtle lives only in the Mobile Bay drainage basin, inhabiting flowing waters in areas of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana. Because of its limited range, it is variously—according to state—listed as “rare,” “protected,” “near-threatened” or “a species of special concern,” because of habitat destruction and fragmentation, caused primarily by development, and by collection for the pet trade. Although sale of under-4-inch turtles is highly restricted by the FDA, and illegal in many states, dealers discovered a loophole in the regulation that allows for the sale of small turtles for educational purposes.

And, don’t forget that all 3 volumes of my book series, Secret Voices from the Forest, Thoughts and Dreams of North American Trees, are on sale on Amazon!

Vol. 3 - The East copy    cover     cover-SV2

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News from The Treetalker

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Getty Images

These days, when there is some new assault on Nature occurring almost daily, I find it difficult to locate stories about the environment that can give hope. More and more, I’m seeing that it’s up to those who, like we all did in the 1960s, see problems that are urgent, and are willing to not just speak truth to Power, but to put their bodies on the line.

So my first story is about the group called “Extinction Rebellion.” They are an international “non-violent civil disobedience activist movement.” Their co-founder, Gail Bradbrook, says that the the future of the planet depends upon actions such as theirs.

They believe that governments must declare a climate “emergency,” that nations like the U.K. must legally commit to reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2025, and that a citizens’ assembly must be formed to “oversee the changes.” (Sounds like they don’t trust government!!)

They foresee severe restrictions on flying, drastically cutting back on the consumption of meat and dairy, and a massive increase in renewable energy, to name just a few of the radical changes needed.

For more information, you can just google them, but my source on this story was the BBC.

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In other encouraging news, we find that,
“Automakers, Rejecting Trump Pollution Rule, Strike a Deal With California”
The New York Times, July 25, 2019, Coral Davenport and Hiroko Tabuchi

Ford, Volkswagen, Honda and BMW, in order to avoid having to have 2 separate operations, made a secret deal with California regulators that allow them to follow rules, increasing fuel efficiency, slightly less than the Obama standards, but still much stricter that those proposed by the Trump administration.

The Trump administration is suing California, but state officials vow to take the fight all the way to the Supreme Court.

Lots more information on this at:

TJ Watt

T.J.Watt for U of B.C.

UBC scientists find high mutation rates generating genetic diversity within huge, old-growth trees
University of British Columbia News, Jul 8, 2019, Lou Corpuz-Bosshart

The original of this article is kind of scientific, so let me boil it down for you:

U. of British Columbia researchers studied some several-hundred-year-old Sitka spruce trees in Vancouver Island. After doing DNA sequencing, they found that a single tree, starting at the base and going all the way to the top, might have gone through up to 100,000 genetic mutations over its lifespan.

This opens a discussion of how trees evolve over time, passing on genetic changes to their offspring that may help them survive and adapt to environmental changes.

Read the story at:

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Chang W. Lee/NY Times

New York Awards Offshore Wind Contracts in Bid to Reduce Emissions,
By Ivan Penn, NYTimes, July 18, 2019

Technological advances have reduced the cost of wind turbines; as a result, NY State passed an ambitious law to reduce greenhouse emissions last month, and it has now reached an agreement for two large offshore wind projects, to be built off the coast of Long Island. They are supposed to start operation within the next five years.

More of this article at:

 

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A French Town’s Green Policies Aim to Win Over the Working Class
The NYTimes, July 25, 2019, By Constant Méheut

But Grande-Synthe, near the northern city of Dunkirk, stands out as an unlikely laboratory for working-class environmentalism. The town’s Green party mayor, Damien Carême, has a vision of “social environmentalism.” In his efforts to convince his voters that innovative green policies, such as the installation of LED bulbs in street lights, serving organic food in school cafeterias, grown by local farmers who lease their land from the government for a cut rate.

The town is one of the poorest in France, surrounded by a sprawling industrial park, filled with closed factories and apartment blocks, including France’s oldest nuclear plant.

The jury is still out on whether or not Carême’s policies will save the town, but we wish him luck.

Read more on this story at:

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Sorry it took me so long to get these posted. Just too much going on to think straight!

Vol. 3 - The East copy   cover-SV2   cover

P.S. Look for my books, Secret Voices from the Forest—Thoughts and Dreams of North American Trees—Volume One: The West, Volume Two: Midcontinent, and Volume Three: The West. Coming eventually (probably in a year or two) Volume Four: Tropics and Deserts. You can find them on Amazon, by title.

 

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News from The Treetalker

WWF“What does ‘protecting people and forests,
supporting economic growth’ mean to you?”

Forest News, Gabrielle Lipton, July 12, 2018, Dateline: Indonesia

At the 2018 Asia-Pacific Rainforest Summit, Forest News spoke to the director for The Nature Conservancy about rethinking the way forests factor into development, if they are to keep giving us the things we want and need.

The initial economic growth of these countries has been fueled by harvesting and selling of timber. This area holds about 60% of the world’s population, and as people’s lifestyle improves, forested land disappears in favor of agriculture, animal husbandry and mining. This results in poor air quality because of carbon emissions.

The organizations attending the Summit are working to advance ideas about ways to help the population’s economic growth continue to expand without cutting down all the trees.

Read this article here.

Xavier Cortada

T Agitprop—12 Artists on Climate Change, by Zoe Lescaze of the New York Times, August 22, 2018

A strongly visual article about the work of 12 contemporary artists who focus on several different aspects of climate change, such as rising sea levels, or connections to other living species and our affect on them, the destruction of beautiful natural landscapes, the extraction of resources from the land, the impact of more powerful storms on society and critically endangered species and the issue of extinction.

Visit the article for a look at some of their works and their stories.

Xavier Leoty:AFP

From Angelique Chrisafis, in France, for The Guardian, August 24, 2018
Choose a Side: the Battle to Keep French Isle McDonald’s-Free

The Mayor of Ile d’Oleron, the second-biggest island off mainland france after Corsica, is a major tourist destination is leading the fight, saying the island is “not about mass consumption.” Others say, “Oleron is a beautiful place, it’s important to protect it. We don’t need McDonald’s in a place that is pioneering local organic food, sustainable development, zero waste and alternative ways of living that aren’t about mass consumption.”

The battle has been going on for 4 years. Recently, a court in Poitiers ruled that the town had no legal basis to stop McDonald’s and must let them come in or pay fines on a daily basis. The verdict on the appeal is due next month.

Read the article here.

Dmitry Kostyukov:NYT

Also from the New York Times:
Paris Bees at Work From Notre-Dame to the Luxembourg Gardens
Paris has seen a marked rise in urban beekeeping, with more than 1,000 hives atop landmark buildings as well as in community gardens across the city.
By Alissa J. Rubin, August 24, 2018

Hives have been on the roof of the Opera Garnier for over 30 years; there are hives on top of Notre-Dame Cathedral, and Luxembourg Gardens have been home to honeybees for over 150 years. They also give apiculture classes, with perhaps 200 people graduating every year.

Paris officials want to ensure that there will be enough bees to service the trees and flowers of the many local parks, gardens and cemeteries. “Perhaps one reason people now want to keep bees is that it’s a way of participating in the protection of the environment.”

Paris has all but ensured the relative purity of its honey by eliminating the use of pesticides in city parks and gardens, and forbidding pesticides on plantings on home terraces and roofs, as well as cemeteries.

Read the article here.

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Remember, Secret Voices from the Forest—Volume Three: The East is now available, $32.95 on Amazon.

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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

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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:

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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:
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“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. . .

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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.

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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

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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!

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** 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.

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*** 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.

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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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Positive news about Trees and the Environment

Wolverines making comeback in Washington – the state transportation department is spending millions on crossing structures, both over and underneath busy I-90, which will allow the animals to expand their range, which will give them greater mating options and genetic diversity. The crossings would likely also restore connectivity for the Cascades’ northern and southern black bear populations, which haven’t been able to mingle or mate easily for decades.

Read the full text of these stories at my website. http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com

factzoo.com
Scientists Seeking to Save World Find Best Technology Is Trees – Oxford University scientists, who considered methods ranging from capturing emissions from factories and power stations to extracting carbon dioxide directly from the air, and adding lime to oceans to increase their absorption of the gas, released a study which determined the best technology to suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and try to reverse global warming is trees. (Duh.)

Suzanna Gonzales:Bloomberg
Community Energy: Power from the People – Community energy initiatives based on local renewable resources are now emerging across the country. While these projects take a variety of forms, such as wind, solar, hydropower and biogas, one common element is local ownership.

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The “Wind Tree,” an extremely quiet, 3-meter-tall generator designed for urban environments, created by French company NewWind, makes the most of smaller air currents. The “leaves” are mini turbines and together could power 15 streetlights. (posted previously, but worth mentioning again.)

Paris accueille L'Arbre à Vent2

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Positive news about trees and the environment (for a change!)

Great wall of trees keeps China’s deserts at bay, called “The Great Green Wall” – a massive belt of trees being planted across China’s arid north -“ has reportedly improved vegetation and dust storms have decreased significantly in the region, compared with other areas. Read the full text of this and other stories at my website, listed below.

Landov:Xinhua:Press Association Images)

http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com
Steam to run one of Procter & Gamble’s largest paper manufacturing plants will soon be created by using peanut and pecan shells, treetops and mill waste such as sawdust. A $200 million biomass cogeneration plant, which is now under construction in Georgia, will significantly increase the Cincinnati-based company’s use of renewable energy.

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Chiefs’ Joint Restoration Projects to have Meaningful Impact on Family-Owned Forests in Oregon’s Elkhorn Mountains and Wisconsin’s Lake Superior watershed, where family forest owners are being engaged to help reduce the risk of wildfire, improve the habitats of threatened fish and animals, ensure clean water, and other critical outcomes.

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U.S. Wildlife Managers Mark Population Rise for Rare Mexican Grey Wolf, which were believed to be all but extinct in the United States in 1998 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began reintroducing the animal to its native range. The number climbed to 109 in 2014, marking the fourth consecutive year that the population has risen by at least 10 percent.

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EU Introduces New Rules to Make Cooking Greener. The sale of energy wasting ovens and cooking hobs will be banned across the European Union, beginning Friday. The cumulative savings from the rules across the bloc would run into billions.

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Epercent percent.WildlifeService began reintroducing the animal to its native range. The number climbed to 109 in 2014, marking the fourth consecutive year that the population has risen by at least 10 percent.
EU Introduces New Rules to Make Cooking Greener. The sale of energy wasting ovens and cooking hobs will be banned across the European Union, beginning Friday. The cumulative savings from the rules across the bloc would run into billions.

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Some positive tree and environmental stories

SOME GOOD NEWS FOR MONARCH BUTTERFLY LOVERS: The number of Monarch butterflies that reached wintering grounds in Mexico has rebounded 69 percent from last year’s lowest-on-record levels, but their numbers remain very low, according to a formal census by Mexican environmental authorities and scientists released Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015.

Rebecca Blackwell, AP

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced plans Monday to spend $2 million this fiscal year on conservation projects to save the declining monarch butterfly species.
The agency is teaming up with the National Wildlife Federation and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to restore and enhance 200,000 acres of monarch butterfly habitat on private and public land. The population of the North American pollinator has declined by 90 percent since the 1990s, largely due to the destruction of milkweed — the primary food source of monarch caterpillars. Complete stories and links for all these stories can be found at my website – link below.

http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com

On a really positive note, Burlington, Vermont, the state’s largest city, recently became the first in the country to use 100 percent renewable energy for its residents’ electricity needs. In a state known for socially conscious policies, the feat represents a milestone in the growing green energy movement.

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Diver finds 10,000-year-old FOREST hidden under the North Sea. It is believed the forest, which originally stretched as far as Europe, was drowned when the ice caps melted and the sea level rose 120 meters, and may have become exposed following the stormy weather last winter. The fallen trees are now lying on the ground where they have formed a natural reef, which is teaming with colorful fish, plants and wildlife.

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Minnesota officials on Thursday put the brakes on the rapid conversion of pine forests to potato fields in the northwestern part of the state while they conduct an environmental review to get a better understanding of the potential threats to groundwater, fish and wildlife.
This is a story worth following, for as we know, big business usually gets it’s way – these guys – R.D. Offutt, the nation’s largest potato grower, supplying the fast food industry and potato chip manufacturers with potatoes commonly drowned in pesticides – has obtained permits for 32 irrigation wells in 4 counties since 2010, with applications pending to drill 35 more. The forests they intend to clear are in an area whose sandy soils are highly permeable to agricultural fertilizers. That raises the risks of nitrate contamination of waters that feed into the Mississippi River, which supplies drinking water to Minneapolis and other downstream communities.

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Good News About Trees and the Environment

Stories this week:

$10 million forest restoration project in tri-state Great Lakes area will help preserve several at-risk species, including Golden-winged Warbler, American Woodcock, Ruffed Grouse, Black-billed Cuckoo, Moose, Canada lynx, and Northern long-eared bat.

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New study reveals that Western dry forests are affected 7 times more by insect outbreaks and droughts than they are by wildfires. Forests have historically contained up to 92% small trees, so reversing the modern restoration treatment of removing small trees will increase the resilience of the dry (tall pine) forests, as the smaller trees are attacked by insects less than larger ones.

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According to experts from the U of Copenhagen, crops are able to do their own weed control, if we would plant in tight grid patterns, rather than in rows. The employment of new seed-sowing techniques would allow farmers to use little or no pesticides on crops, to obvious advantage to the environment in general, not to mention our own health.

South Africa said on Thursday that it had moved around 100 rhinos to unspecified neighboring states as part of efforts to stem the illicit slaughter of the animals for their horns. Home to around 80 percent of the global rhino population, South Africa is at the epicenter of a poaching crisis. Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa told a news briefing that for security reasons, the precise countries where the rhinos had been moved would not be named.

A rhino is kept in an enclosure at the Kruger national park

India’s tiger population has increased by nearly a third to 2,226, a recent government survey showed, boosting conservation efforts in the country with more than half the world’s population of the endangered big cats. Conservation experts credit the increase to better management and policing of tiger habitats across the country.

Raja Royal Bengal Tiger rests inside tiger rescue centre at Jaldapara

For the details of these stories, please go to http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com

 

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endangered species, forests, rhinos, tigers, trees

Good News About Trees and the Environment

Stories this week:

$10 million forest restoration project in tri-state Great Lakes area will help preserve several at-risk species, including Golden-winged Warbler, American Woodcock, Ruffed Grouse, Black-billed Cuckoo, Moose, Canada lynx, and Northern long-eared bat.

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New study reveals that Western dry forests are affected 7 times more by insect outbreaks and droughts than they are by wildfires. Forests have historically contained up to 92% small trees, so reversing the modern restoration treatment of removing small trees will increase the resilience of the dry (tall pine) forests, as the smaller trees are attacked by insects less than larger ones.

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According to experts from the U of Copenhagen, crops are able to do their own weed control, if we would plant in tight grid patterns, rather than in rows. The employment of new seed-sowing techniques would allow farmers to use little or no pesticides on crops, to obvious advantage to the environment in general, not to mention our own health.

South Africa said on Thursday that it had moved around 100 rhinos to unspecified neighboring states as part of efforts to stem the illicit slaughter of the animals for their horns. Home to around 80 percent of the global rhino population, South Africa is at the epicenter of a poaching crisis. Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa told a news briefing that for security reasons, the precise countries where the rhinos had been moved would not be named.

A rhino is kept in an enclosure at the Kruger national park

India’s tiger population has increased by nearly a third to 2,226, a recent government survey showed, boosting conservation efforts in the country with more than half the world’s population of the endangered big cats. Conservation experts credit the increase to better management and policing of tiger habitats across the country.

Raja Royal Bengal Tiger rests inside tiger rescue centre at Jaldapara

For the details of these stories, please go to http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com

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