The Ecologist

 

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Biology students from the National University of Kiev on a trash monitoring mission at the city's Lysa Hora nature park. Photo: Dimeter Kenarov.

Greening the revolution - Ukrainian youth joins fight for nature

Dimiter Kenarov

21st October 2014

With 300,000 hectares of forests, fields and steppes damaged by fire, the war in Ukraine has done huge damage to the country's environment, writes Dimiter Kenarov. But there has been an upside: a new green spirit is taking root, and young volunteers are stepping in to protect wild spaces. more...
The Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur) has declined by 88% since 1995, due to multiple causes: habitat loss in Africa; disease in its UK breeding grounds, and hunting between the two. Photo: Alan Shearman via Flickr.

African habitat loss driving migrating birds' decline

The Ecologist

16th October 2014

A new report reveals huge declines in the UK's migratory birds that winter deep in Africa's rainforests. Shorter distance migrants are performing much better, with some recording big population increases. more...
What’s for dinner? Crocodile and antelope. CIFOR, CC BY-NC-ND.

Take bushmeat off the menu before humans are served another ebola

Robert Young

14th October 2014

Ebola and many other diseases have their origin in wild animals, writes Robert Young. The biggest opportunities for infection arises when people hunt and eat diseased animals, exposing themselves to their viruses and bacteria. To keep 'other ebolas' at bay, we must put an end to the bushmeat trade. more...
A Raso Island shearwater chick looks out from its nest - a ball of grey fur, but mind the sharp beak! Photo: Simon Ager / Sea Shepherd.

Raso Island, Cape Verde - a jewel in the crown of Africa's wildlife

Simon Ager / Sea Shepherd

22nd October 2014

Shearwater chicks are cute grey furballs with beaks, writes Simon Ager, and they are all too ready to use them on pesky wildlife researchers. But Cape Verde offers abundant compensations to nature lovers - so many that its future surely lies in conserving, not exploiting its biological riches.
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Never mind the questions, never mind the answers, never mind the evidence. The badgers will be culled. Photo: b/flickr, CC BY-NC-SA.

Unlawful, ineffective, toxic: the badger cull must end - vaccination is the answer

Dominic Dyer

10th October 2014

The Badger Trust' is in the Court of Appeal today, making its case that the 2014 'trial' badger cull is unlawful, writes Dominic Dyer. But beyond that, the entire culling policy is driven by politics, not science, and is doomed to failure. It's time for Cameron to harness his 'big society' to apply a genuine solution: badger vaccination. more...
Skilful heather burning can enhance biodiversity, according to the Moorland Association. Recently burnt heather at Ramshaw Rocks, Staffordshire. Photo: Paul via Flickr.

England's 'upland Amazon' destroyed for grouse shooting

Paul Brown

9th October 2014

The repeated burning of England's upland moors - carried out so more grouse can be reared for lucrative shooting parties - is seriously damaging a unique and valuable ecosystem, writes Paul Brown - destroying ages-old peat, reducing its capacity to retain water, and releasing megatonnes of carbon to the atmosphere. more...
Daniel Raven-Ellison. Photo: Darren Moore.

'He is bonkers?' Daniel Raven-Ellison on a Greater London National Park

Lucy Anna Scott

7th October 2014

Daniel Raven-Ellison is a man with a big idea - making London the world's first 'National Park City' to safeguard, and promote the enjoyment of London's myriad natural treasures, writes Lucy Anna Scott. Is he bonkers? Probably. But with a growing band of backers getting behind his bold vision, who cares? more...
The North Saskatchewan River in the Kootenay Plains. Photo: Alan Ernst.

Fighting for the foothills: protect the headwaters of North Saskatchewan!

Carol Linnitt

13th October 2014

Much of Alberta, Canada has already been damaged by industrial clearfelling, or lost to the tar sands industry, writes Carol Linnitt. But now there's a chance to keep 'the most beautiful example of pristine eastern slopes Rockies out into the foothills' as wilderness, in the North Saskatchewan's unspoilt headwaters. more...
Buy baby buy! But remember - unsustainable human consumption is driving the destruction of the natural world. Photo: amy_buthod via Flickr.

Human consumption driving wildlife loss

Alex Kirby

1st October 2014

The plight of much of the world's wildlife seems 'worse than ever', writes Alex Kirby. To blame is unsustainable human consumption, which is driving habitat loss, climate change and the illegal wildlife trade. more...
Rewilding - how far do we want to go? A Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos ssp.) mother with two two-year old cubs in Denali National Park. Photo: Gregory 'Greg' Smith via Flickr.

Five ways to stop the world's wildlife vanishing

Paul Jepson

1st October 2014

Faced with a worldwide 52% decline in wildlife numbers over 40 years, Paul Jepson calls for action, not despondency. A new, inclusive vision of how to conserve and rebuild biodiversity is needed - that embraces diverse solutions, engages new technologies, inspires a new generation of leaders, and echoes the call of the wild. more...
Loveable? Who could doubt it. But hedgehog number in the UK are down 37% in ten years. Photo: Last Human Gateway via Flickr.

To save the world's wildlife, first we must love it

Hugh Warwick

1st October 2014

The number of wild vertebrate animals has more than halved over the last 40 years, writes Hugh Warwick - a truly catastrophic rate of decline. Yet the BBC did not consider it important enough to ask the Prime Minister about yesterday morning. Step one to saving our wonderful wildlife - rekindle our love for the natural world. more...
Park rangers working in  Priazovskii National Park. Photo: Dimiter Kenarov.

Ukraine - now the war is to rescue threatened nature

Dimiter Kenarov

1st October 2014

Ukraine's Priazovskii National Park epitomises the problems faced by the world's natural areas, writes Dimiter Kenarov, as it contends with inadequate funding, rising sea levels, dried-out rivers, industrial pollution and illegal hunting. And that's not to mention the war. But the staff battle on: 'If we don't do this, then who will?' more...

Natural: 1/25 of 872
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Gray Wolf. Photo: Digimist via Flickr.

Wyoming's Gray Wolves win back federal protection - for now

The Ecologist

29th September 2014

In a rare 'summary judgment' a federal court has ruled that the devolution of gray wolf protection to the state of Wyoming was unlawful because it was based on non-binding assurances. Federal protection is restored - for now. But an even bigger battle lies ahead. more...
Storks are a protected species under the EU's Birds Directive. But that affords them little protection against hunters in Malta, which lies on a key migration route across the Mediterranean. Photo: Tambako The Jaguar via Flickr.

We must defend the Birds Directive against Malta's hunting lobby

Steve Micklewright, Birdlife Malta

2nd October 2014

Shocking events have taken place in Malta as hunters - angered by a temporary closure of the bird-shooting season - attacked bird watchers, writes Steve Micklewright. But with a Maltese politician taking on the role of Environment Commissioner, the real battle lies ahead: the survival of the Birds Directive. more...
Japanese knotweed makes short work of concrete and tarmac. In its native habitat, it has learnt to crack up volcanic rock. Photo: Rob Tanner.

Japanese knotweed - could a tiny insect tame the monster?

Kate Constantine

17th October 2014

Since Japanese knotweed won a gold medal in 1847 as 'interesting new ornamental of the year', it has become far too much of a good thing, writes Kate Constantine. But could the oriental triffid be tamed following the UK introduction of a specialist pest from Japan's volcanic uplands? more...
A beaver in Scotland, where they are being re-introduced. Photo: Paul Stevenson via Flickr.com.

Save the free beavers of England!

Alasdair Cameron / Friends of the Earth

25th September 2014

Deep in rural Devon, the word is that the Government intends to trap the wild-living beaver family on the River Otter next month, and consign them to captivity. But as Alasdair Cameron writes, this is not only unnecessary and unpopular, but probably illegal as well. more...
Agroecology in action: common bean, maize, and sunflower in UBC Milpa. Photo: J Hart via Flickr.

UN: only small farmers and agroecology can feed the world

Nafeez Ahmed

23rd September 2014

Governments must shift subsidies and research funding from agro-industrial monoculture to small farmers using 'agroecological' methods, according to the UN's Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. And as Nafeez Ahmed notes, her call coincides with a new agroecology initiative within the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation. more...
The secret of healthy food is healthy soil - as with these organic potatoes bursting from the ground in early June this year at Sandy lane Farm, Oxfordshire. Photo: Sandy Lane Farm.

For healthy food we need living, organic soils

Hannah Bewsey & Katherine Paul / OCA

9th October 2014

Soils are naturally alive with complex 'food webs' of micro-organisms that sustain plants with moisture and nutrients, making them good to eat. But once the biota have been blitzed with agro-chemicals under industrial farming regimes, it's our health that suffers. One more reason to grow, and eat, organic! more...
Coarse fishing on Filby Broad, Norfolk, UK. Photo: Colin via Flickr.

In defence of 'In Defence of Life'

Lesley Docksey

21st September 2014

Can you be a committed nature and animal lover, and enjoy shooting and angling? Only after extraordinary mental contortions, writes Lesley Docksey - who is only mildly surprised to find out that a Facebook critic is a PR man for 'country sports and associated technologies'. more...
A good day in the countyside? Seven brace of pheasant. Photo: Mark Seton via Flickr.

In Defence of Life - standing up against the lust for culling wildlife

Lesley Docksey

14th Septmber 2014

British officialdom and those they serve are obsessed with the killing of wildlife, writes Lesley Docksey. It seems that whatever the 'problem', from bovine TB to the serendipitous arrival of beavers in Devon, the reflex is the same - to kill wild animals. But increasingly, the British people aren't having it. And our fightback is making waves .... more...
Never mind the questions, never mind the answers, never mind the evidence. The badgers will be culled. Photo: b/flickr, CC BY-NC-SA.

Badger cull fail - government throws science on the scrapheap

Rosie Woodroffe

9th September 2014

England's 2014 trial badger cull starts today - with no independent oversight, and no gathering of essential scientific data. The government's 'science-led' policy consists of asking scientists for help, writes Rosie Woodroffe - then completely ignore everything they said, and order them off the premises. more...
Could this ancient woodland be 'offset'? Or better still, transformed into a new asset class for speculative investment? Ashridge Forest, Hertfordshire, England in the late autumn. Photo: ukgardenphotos via Flickr.

Nature as an 'asset class' - the free market's final frontier?

Alex Scrivener

14th September 2014

Plans to create a market in nature itself are fraught with danger, writes Alex Scrivener. Biodiversity offsetting could allow the fate of our forests, rivers, meadows and wildlife species, and the people who depend on them, to be determined by the whims of multinational corporations and speculative investors. more...
The view down the borehole through half a mile of the Antarctic ice to Lake Whillans. Photo: Reed Scherer / Northern Illinois University.

Abounding life! 4,000 microbes thrive in Antarctic lake beneath the ice

Helen Thompson

15th September 2014

Beneath half a mile of ice scientists have uncovered the first hard evidence of a life in a subglacial lake, writes Helen Thompson. And not just life, but a complex ecosystem comprising thousands of microbial species. Could Jupiter's frozen moon Europa be hiding lakes like this? more...
Badger seen at the British Wildlife Centre, Newchapel, Surrey. Photo: Peter Trimming via Flickr.

Labour will tackle bovine TB - without the mass killing of badgers

Huw Irranca-Davies

18th September 2014

Speaking in Stroud this week, Huw Irrancas-Davies MP delivered a withering attack on the Government's badger cull policy - and firmly committed a future Labour government to ending the badger cull, using measures to control bovine TB that are safe, effective, and humane. more...
Nightingale singing in a hawthorn tree. Photo: John Bridges / rspb-images.com.

Housing against nightingales - no way!

Martin Harper / RSPB

8th September 2014

A 5,000-house development has just won planning permission on a SSSI nature area in Kent which is home to over 1% of the UK's nightingales. It violates government planning policies, and ministers have the power to stop it. But will they? Yes they will, writes Martin Harper - provided enough people show they care! more...

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