Corporate Greed, endangered species, forests, Green Movement, Mexico, Minnesota, monarch butterfly, Renewable Energy, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Wildlife

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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alice springs, Australia, christmas tree recycling, fairhope alabama, global warming, gulf coast, milkweed, monarch butterfly, sacred gum tree, smithsonian national museum of natural history, solar radiation, swainson's warbler, volcanic eruptions

New stories this week

Small volcanic eruptions could be slowing global warming—new ground-, air- and satellite measurements show that small volcanic eruptions that occurred between 2000 and 2013 have deflected almost double the amount of solar radiation previously estimated. By knocking incoming solar energy back out into space, sulfuric acid particles from these recent eruptions could be responsible for decreasing global temperatures.

http://laurajmerrilltreetalker.com

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Sacred Gum Tree Leaves Threaten Future of Australian Pro Tour Tennis in Alice Springs—A 2014 Tennis Australia report expressed concern about the number of leaves that fell on the court during the 2014 event, but organizers cannot trim or cut down the trees without approval from native title holders and the council, according to the tennis club’s tournament director Matt Roberts.

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Parks Canada Using Old Christmas Trees to Protect Sand Dunes—piles of old Christmas trees are stacked up along Brackley Beach of Prince Edward Island to fill in what are known as blow out areas where sand has drifted away.

How the Gulf Coast Can Save the Monarchs—a dramatic decline in monarchs has been linked to the loss of milkweeds, one of the most important monarch food sources in Eastern North America.
Longleaf pines of Gulf Coast may well determine whether the monarch and its great annual migration survives. More than 90 percent of all milkweed and climbing milkweed species found in eastern North America occur within the larger longleaf pine ecosystem and 15 or so of those species are found nowhere else but in longleaf forests.

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A New Home for a Secretive Songbird—researchers from Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History report that Swainson’s warbler has found a new safe haven: private pine plantations.

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