The Ecologist

 

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The familiar and attractive flower of Himalayan balsam could be about to get a whole lot less common in the UK. Photo: CABI.

Parasitic fungus introduced to attack Himalayan balsam

Oliver Tickell

28th August 2014

Even if you love Himalayan balsam, it has surely become too much of a good thing as it takes over Britain's wetlands and riverbanks. But now it's facing a major setback - the deliberate introduction of a parasitic rust fungus from its native range in the mountains of Asia. more...
The Asian hornet is a voracious predator of bees - as if they were not suffering enough already! Photo:  Danel Solabarrieta, CC BY-SA.

Confronting the threat of invasive 'ecosystem engineers'

Jodey Peyton & Helen Roy

26th August 2014

Mussels, crabs, hornets and ... racoons? Future invasive species are not what you might expect, write Jodey Peyton & Helen Roy. In particular, we have to beware of 'ecosystem engineers' that can transform the environment they inhabit, creating ecological havoc for other species.
more...
Letting the seeds grow free on a vegetable garden in BC, Canada. Photo: Christopher Porter via Flickr.

Free the seeds to feed the world!

Jack Kloppenburg & Irwin Goldman

20th August 2014

Patented and 'indentured' seeds are fast taking over the world's food supply, write Jack Kloppenburg & Irwin Goldman, terminating farmers' and gardeners' ancient right to develop new varieties, and forcing them to buy seed anew for every crop. Enter the Open Source Seed Initiative ... more...
Western pygmy possums use tree hollows that take decades to develop in mallee ecosystems. Photo: Lauren Brown.

Over-burning could be damaging Australia's wildlife for 100 years

Dale Nimmo, Andrew Bennett & Michael Clarke

29th August 2014

We know that Australia's dry bush has co-evolved with fire, so that means regular planned burning is a good thing? Up to a point ... some increasingly rare species depend on 'old growth' bush up to 100 years old, and over-frequent burning is putting them under long-term threat. more...
Changing climates ... the polar vortex played havoc with Niagara Falls (and much of the rest of North America too). Photo: Rick Warne / EPA.

The 'pre-Holocene' climate is returning - and it won't be fun

Peter Fisher

16th August 2014

A string of events earlier this year provided a sobering snapshot of a global climate system out of whack, writes Peter Fisher. Could it represent the end of a rare 10,000 year island of stability in global climate? If so, we had better get used to it. The Earth may never be so comfortable again ... more...
Does this seed library look to you like 'agri-terrorism'? Photo: via Sharable.net.

Agri-terrorists accuse seed bank of 'agri-terrorism'

Kevin Carson

13th August 2014

A Pennsylvania seed library stands accused of 'agri-terrorism' over alleged breaches of the Seed Act 2004, reports a bemused Kevin Carson. Have USDA and state agriculture departments become the enforcement branch of the agribusiness crime syndicate? more...
Colorful Heirloom Potatoes - 'Carola', 'All Red', 'All Blue', and 'Purple Viking' - collection  from Seed Savers. Photo: Susy Morris via Flickr.

Building an International Seed Savers Exchange

Andrew Kimbrell / Center for Food Safety

19th July 2014

Recent decades have seen a hardening global clampdown on the rights of farmers to use, save, develop, share, swap and distribute the seeds that produce the food we all eat, writes Andrew Kimbrell - and which constitute an essential common heritage of mankind. Here's his plan to fight back against the seed monopolists ... more...
Vandana Shiva leads a protest in India against Monsanto's GM seeds. Now she's on the warpath against Avaaz. Photo: Daniel Voglesong via Flickr.

Avaaz's global 'ebay of seeds' - how did they get it so wrong?

Julian Rose

16th July 2014

Already 56,000 people have pledged to support a global 'internet seed swap' initiative promoted by Avaaz, writes Julian Rose. Trouble is, the plans are deeply flawed, and have been developed without consultation with major seed saving groups worldwide. more...
If Europe's farms, like this one near Ludlow, England, provide benefits to wildlife, it's no thanks to the EU's agriculture policies. Photo: Robert Davies via Flickr.

The 'greening' of Europe's farms is a shameful failure

Lynn Dicks & Tim Benton

17th June 2014

The EU's farming policy is being touted as 'greener than ever' - but it's no such thing, write Lynn Dicks & Tim Benton. The 'green reforms' pay farmers for actions (and often inactions) that do not benefit wildlife, and contain no real or effective measures to help. more...
Back after going missing for more than a century: the New Guinea big-eared bat. Photo: Julie Broken-Brow.

PNG: 'Lost' bat species rediscovered after 120 years in the wilderness

Luke Leung, Julie Broken-Brow & Catherine Hughes

15th June 2014

A 'microbat' that has remained unrecorded since 1890 has been discovered in Papua New Guinea. But with the country's forests under growing pressure from logging and for conversion to plantations, this and thousands of other biological treasures are at risk. more...
Bramley Frith wood in Hampshire will never be same again. In 1965 the National Grid build a substation there serving Basingstoke.

Ancient woodland cannot be 'offset'

Austin Brady

11th January 2014

Owen Paterson has done it again - offering up ancient woodland for development via 'biodiversity offsetting' - planting new trees elsewhere. Trouble is, says Austin Brady, ancient woods are centuries in the making. more...
M3 at Twyford Down

Biodiversity offsetting - an end to environmental protection?

Hannah Mowat

4th November 2013

The UK Government plans to allow biodiversity destroyed by development to be recreated elsewhere. Hannah Mowat of FERN believes the idea is both wrong and dangerous. The official consultation ends on 7th November 2013. more...

diversity: 1/25 of 125
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Threatened biodiversity of Yasuni

The Ecologist

10th September 2013

Yasuní National Park in the Ecuadorian Amazon is home to a record number of species. Now that the Yasuni-ITT Initiative has failed the future of those species hangs in the balance..... more...

A license to trash? Why Biodiversity Offsetting (BO) will be a disaster for the environment

Lorna Howarth

September 9th, 2013

As the UK government gives the go ahead for the country's first Biodiversity Offsetting (BO) scheme, Lorna Howarth explains why it will be a disaster for the nation's already declining wildlife more...

The hidden conservation costs of renewable energy

March 27th, 2013

by Luke Dale-Harris

Ecologist writer Luke Dale-Harris questions the ability of Natura 2000 to work as an effective environmental regulator
more...

Why we all need to worry about the decline in native butterflies

Faye Dobson

2nd August, 2012

Butterfly populations are an important gauge of the health of local habitats and wider climate change. Faye Dobson explains what population changes mean, and how you can get involved in helping monitor them. more...
population

Get a grip! Population growth impacts biodiversity

Jonathon Porritt

17th September, 2012

Tackling the population explosion is critical to avoiding environmental disaster
more...
State of the Union: the British perfume that’s boosting biodiversity

Union: the British perfume that’s boosting biodiversity

Ruth Styles

1st June, 2012

Making the most of the UK’s bountiful flora, Union’s four fragrances are an olfactory celebration of the British countryside, says Ruth Styles more...
Chelsea Flower Show

Greener gardening at Chelsea 2012

Rebecca Campbell

From boosting biodiversity to gardens that are helping to tackle climate change, Chelsea Flower Show 2012 will be green in more ways than one. Rebecca Campbell went behind the scenes more...
wildflowers

Why bees & biodiversity benefit from indigenous wildflowers

Hazel Sillver

20th March, 2012

Filling your garden with wildflowers helps honeybees and butterflies, and creates a relaxed mood. And, from the Easton Walled Garden to Sissinghurst, there's plenty of inspiration more...
dancing in the moonlight

Can biodiversity be accommodated in today's urban environment?

Austin Brown

10th January, 2012

A bold new initiative is designed to raise public awareness of the issue of biodiversity and the need to incorporate native species back within London more...
skiing

Has the ski industry got its head in the snow about climate change?

Ben Hudson

29th November, 2011

With mountainous regions under threat from global warming, is the winter sports business doing enough to protect the delicate eco-system in its care? more...
robin

PHOTO GALLERY: The British Wildlife Photography Awards

Ruth Styles

20th October, 2011

From robins to red deer; the British Wildlife Photography Awards showcases the best of Britain’s biodiversity
more...
Grasslands Trust

Can the common agricultural policy save England's green and pleasant land?

Matilda Lee

11th October, 2011

As reform of the EU's agriculture policy gets underway, Miles King of the Grassland Trust tells Matilda Lee how intensive farming has all but destroyed England's 'rainforests' and why it's time we started asking for more from our farmers more...

Europe's prawn obsession 'devastating' local communities in Bangladesh

Tom Levitt

30th September, 2011

Campaign group calls for a consumer boycott of tropical prawns to stop environmental pollution and human rights abuse in Bangladesh more...

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