endangered species, Environment, global warming, Green Movement, habitat restoration, methane from livestock industry, Nature, Uncategorized

News from The Treetalker

Courtesy WhatWhenHow

Courtesy WhatWhenHow.com

Why large forest fires may not be a big threat to some endangered animals, January 29, 2019, ScienceDaily. Source: Oxford University Press USA

Spurred by climate change, megafires in western North America are becoming more frequent, causing speculation that endangered species will have an even more difficult surviving.

The Great Gray Owl, endangered in California, is a resident of Yosemite National Park and Stanislaus National Forest, which are areas that were badly burnt in the 2013 Rim Fire, experiencing a 104,000 acre burn.

In surveys covering a 3-year period following the fire, it was found that, rather than decreasing in number, the Grey Owls have adjusted to the terrain well, using large trees that were killed for nesting, and finding plentiful food in the rodent populations that have increased, due to more meadow area. Read the rest of the article here.

Neil Palmer:CIAT

Cattle urine’s planet-warming power can be curtailed with land restoration, January 29, 2019, Science News. Source: International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)

The exceptional climate-altering capabilities of cattle are mainly due to methane, which they blast into the atmosphere during their daily digestive routine. Cattle urine is a lesser-known climate offender. It produces nitrous oxide (N2O), which has warming power far greater than that of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main driver of global warming. A new study shows that these N2O emissions can be significantly curbed by healthy cattle pastures.

In the majority of test sites, degraded pastures emitted significantly more N2O — sometimes up to three times as much, than restored pasture.

Degraded livestock land is generally characterized by overgrazing, soil compaction, loss of organic material and low levels of nutrients and soil carbon. Large-scale land restoration with improved forage grasses, rotational grazing and the addition of shrubs and trees, could significantly mitigate the negative climate effects wrought by degradation. In addition to reducing N2O emissions, restored landscapes generally contain more carbon, have healthier soils and more robust and productive livestock. Find the rest of this article here.

Odd Andersen:Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Teenagers Emerge as a Force in Climate Protests Across Europe, By Milan Schreuer, Elian Peltier and Christopher F. Schuetze, for the NYTimes, Jan. 31, 2019

Tens of thousand of children skipped school in Belgium on Thursday to join demonstrations for action against climate change, part of a broader environmental protest movement across Europe that has gathered force over the past several weeks.

In Germany, France, Sweden, Switzerland and elsewhere, activists have come together on social media to gather in large numbers and without much apparent preparation, the protests taking a different shape in each country.

In Germany, students have protested on Fridays, communicating mainly through the messaging app WhatsApp; in Belgium, they organize on Facebook and have skipped school by the thousands on four consecutive Thursdays.

Last Sunday, climate protests in Brussels swelled to an estimated 100,000 people of all ages. That same day, an estimated 80,000 took part in cities across France — more than turned out for the “Yellow Vest” protests the day before.

The climate movement has no obvious leaders or structure, but young people feel that most older people do not feel the urgency that the young do about global warming, and want their governments to take action while there is still time. For the rest of this article, click here.

Johnny Milano for The New York Times

Global Warming Concerns Rise Among Americans in New Poll, by John Schwartz, for the NYTimes, Jan. 22, 2019

Some 73 percent of Americans polled online late last year by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, said that global warming was happening, the report found, a jump of 10 percentage points from 2015 and three points since last March. This suggests that climate change has moved out of the realm of the hypothetical for a wide majority of Americans.

Americans’ growing understanding of global warming is part of a long-term trend, which is attributed to the recent increase of extreme weather events with plausible connections to a warming planet, and to the publicity that surrounded two major scientific reports on climate change last year. For more on this, click here.

Wensum Alliance

Norfolk study shows new ditches could help improve rivers, by Maggie Dolan and Nic Rigby for the  BBC.

The amount of harmful sludge entering rivers from farmers’ fields can be more than halved with special ditches, a new study by The Rivers Trust found. Its research showed only 14% of UK rivers are currently in a healthy state.

That health can be damaged by sediment containing fertilizer chemicals which can harm water quality and fish.

The study by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Wensum Alliance used traps (pictured) near the Blackwater – a tributary which flows into the River Wensum at Lenwade, which in turn flows through Norwich. They then tested the water downriver and found a 58% reduction in sediment year on year.

Traps were also placed near roads, which can also add pollution to waterways. For more on this, click here.

Getty Images/ Kean Collection

And, lastly, I saw this article in this morning’s Washington Post’s daily newsletter, “Today’s WorldView.”  Really fascinating.

The salient points to me were, “Scientists from University College London, U.K. estimate that 60 million people were living across the Americas at the end of the 15th Century, and that this was reduced to just five or six million within a hundred years, eliminated by introduced disease (smallpox, measles, etc), warfare, slavery and societal collapse. Vast swaths of agricultural land was then reclaimed by fast-growing trees and other vegetation. This pulled down enough carbon dioxide (CO₂) from the atmosphere to eventually chill the planet.”

Read the article at this link.

See you next time, whenever that might be! 

Advertisements
Standard
books, endangered species, Environment, forests, fruit trees, global warming, green living, habitat restoration, Indonesia, plants, protecting rain forests, trees, Trees in the News, Uncategorized, Wildlife

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.

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

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

cover proof #1

Standard
endangered species, energy efficiency, Environment, environmental agencies, Excerpts, green building materials, Green Movement, habitat restoration, invasive species, Nature, plants, Renewable Energy, Solar energy, solar power, Uncategorized, Wildlife

News from The Treetalker

July 20, 2018 – In her blog for Scientific American, Jennifer M. Archambault wrote about Using Herbicides to Save Endangered Snails.

The habitat of the rare, tiny Panhandle pebbles snail, which consumes algae and other microorganisms and is integral to maintaining the ecological balance in river systems, is threatened by an invasive aquatic plant called hydrilla. Introduced through the aquarium trade in the 1950s into the ponds and canals of Florida, it has worked its way into many southern states and is on the Federal Noxious Weeds list. Humans aid in its spread, as it can easily propigate from small fragments on boat motors or fishing equipment. After much field study and testing, it was found in a pilot study in the Eno River in North Carolina that, with applications of a herbicide, the hydrilla is dramatically thinning, and the snails’ population is growing. A great deal of work is left to do to control the hydrilla in the greater Southern water system, but the data gives hope. Read Jennifer’s blog post here.

From ScienceDaily, July 5, 2018. Bacteria-powered solar cell converts light to energy, even under overcast skies!

U of BC researchers have found a cheap, sustainable way to build a solar cell using bacteria that convert light to energy. Their cell generated a current stronger than any previously recorded from such a device, and worked as efficiently in dim light as in bright light. This innovation could be a step toward wider adoption of solar power in places like British Columbia and parts of northern Europe where overcast skies are common. This is great news, particularly since it’s from Canada, where the government hopefully cares about its environment more than the current administration in the U.S.

“We recorded the highest current density for a biogenic solar cell. These hybrid materials that we are developing can be manufactured economically and sustainably, and, with sufficient optimization, could perform at comparable efficiencies as conventional solar cells.” Read the article here.

Another article from ScienceDaily, June 18, 2018

Cementless fly ash binder makes concrete ‘green’
Engineers use byproduct from coal-fired power plants to replace Portland cement. It is made primarily of fly ash, a byproduct of coal-fired power plants. If you noticed an article in the NY Times this week that reported the EPA is easing standards on the disposal of toxic coal ash, this development could provide some way of cleaning up some of the messes created by these plants. Read more about this new composite, environmentally friendly material here.

Another, related article about this sustainable alternative to traditional concrete using coal fly ash is here. This article mentions that the production method doesn’t require heating, which is one of the other polluting aspects of concrete manufacture. The cement less binder also aids groundwater and mitigates flooding, because water can pass through it, unlike cement. Read this article here.

Also, Focus On the Anhinga.

This bird quickly spears a fish with its sharp bill, then flips it into the air and swallows it head first. Sometimes the Anhinga spears the fish so hard it has to return to shore to get the fish off its bill by banging the fish against a rock.
Also known as snakebird, the Anhinga sometimes swims slowly underwater stalking fish around submerged vegetation, but when hunting at the surface, it stretches its head and neck flat out on the surface of the water, above its submerged body. With head and neck stretched out, it has the appearance of a snake is gliding through the water.
The Anhinga’s feathers are not waterproofed with oils, and can get waterlogged, but this helps it stay submerged for long periods of time. Afterwards, it will perch for long periods with its wings spread to dry them. If it tries to fly with wet wings, it has difficultly getting airborne, so it has to take off by flapping energetically and running on the surface of the water.
Once in the air, it is a graceful flier and can go long distances without flapping its wings, using thermals for soaring, and can achieve altitudes of several thousand feet.

 

 

 

Standard
books, endangered species, Environment, environmental agencies, Frog, Green Frog, Grizzly Bear, Crow, Crow hunt, Wolf, Wolf rider, tariffs on solar panels, habitat restoration, Solar energy, solar power, trees, Uncategorized, Wildlife

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

Standard
biomass, endangered species, energy efficiency, Environment, forests, green living, habitat restoration, Renewable Energy, trees

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.

6a00d834519bc269e20133eccaf23c970b-580wi
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.

Elkhorn_Mountains_(Union_County,_Oregon_scenic_images)_(uniDA0022a)
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.

desert.usa.com

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.

Gas_cooker_gas_hob_stove

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.

Standard