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Natural World: 25/50 of 865
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Wood lizard of the Ecuadorian cloud forest, Enyalioides rubrigularis. Photo: Santiago Ron via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Letter from Ecuador - where defending nature and community is a crime

Carlos Zorrilla

25th March 2015

Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, has personally attacked eco-defender Carlos Zorrilla in TV broadcasts for resisting a vast new copper mine in a precious area of pristine cloud forest, and opposing the advance of oil exploration into the Amazon. Fearful for his life, Zorilla is now seeking international support for his, and his community's, battle for land, water and the natural world. more...
Pitcairn, one of four islands in the Pitcairn Islands British Overseas Territory, is to be become the centre of a vast marine protected areas protecting 830,000 sq.km of ocean. Photo: doublecnz via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

World's greatest marine reserve around Pitcairn Islands

The Ecologist

19th March 2014

The UK is to create a fully protected marine in the South Pacific more than three times bigger than the UK itself, covering some 830,000 square kilometres. The move may herald further huge designations in the UK's 'overseas territories' which encompass over 6 million square kilometres of ocean. more...
The voice of the people? Protester on the People's Assembly March Against Austerity 2014. Photo: The Weekly Bull via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Will the badger cull cost the Tories the election? It certainly should!

Dominic Dyer

16th March 2015

David Cameron has called the badger cull is 'probably the most unpopular policy for which I am responsible', writes Dominic Dyer. But unable to break his pledge to landowners and the NFU, he has left Environment Secretary Liz Truss to fudge the issue until election time. Electorally fatal? So events may prove. more...
Cowslips (Primula veris). Photo: Donna JW via Flickr (CC BY).

The joys and sufferings of plants as sentient beings

Martin Spray

10th April 2015

Is it 'morally reprehensible' to arbitrarily decapitate roadside flowers? Yes it is, writes Martin Spray - at least in Switzerland. And now we know that plants have both senses and physiology, why not awareness and emotions too? Even legal standing to have their rights defended in court - at least if they are trees? more...
Real farming is all about sustaining healthy and abundant soil life - and applying compost is an important way to revitalise depleted soils. Photo: normanack via Flickr (CC BY).

The roots of life and health: Elaine Ingham's theory of the living soil

Lynda Brown / Sustainable Food Trust

31st March 2015

Modern agriculture - even among organic farmers - is often seen as a matter of soil chemistry, writes Lynda Brown. But an alternative view is gaining ground: that it's really about soil life. Nurture your soil-dwelling micro-organisms, and your crops look after themselves. more...
The Tetcott Hunt is now required to stay well clear of foxes and other wildlife. A future Labour government will keep it that way. Photo: Rob Franksdad via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Wildlife protection depends on enforcement

Angus Nurse

10th March 2015

The Labour Party has launched a new manifesto for wildlife protection, writes Angus Nurse - and a good thing too! But turning the tide for nature will take more than stricter laws and penalties. Ultimately it's about enforcement. And that means prioritising wildlife crime, committing expert officers, and providing resources. more...
Beaver dam above Lundy Lake, California. Photo: Fred Moore via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Beavers are saving California’s wild salmon

Miria Finn / onEarth

1st March 2015

With California's wild Coho salmon populations down to 1% of their former numbers, there's growing evidence that beavers - long reviled as a pest of the waterways - are essential to restore the species, writes Maria Finn. In the process, they raise water tables, recharge aquifers and improve water quality. What's not to love? more...
The Welsh government's plans for the M4 'bypass' around Newport across the Gwent Levels SSSIs represent a £1 billion orgy of destruction. Photo: FoE Cymru.

Legal challenge to SSSI wetland-bashing M4 bypass begins

The Ecologist

10th March 2015

A Friends of the Earth Cymru legal challenge to the Welsh Government's 'irrational' plan to drive a new branch of the M4 motorway across the highly protected Gwent Levels wetlands begins in the High Court today. more...
A Coral Cod (Cephalopholis miniata) at Lighthouse Bommie, Ribbon Reef #10, Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Richard Ling via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

US tax dollars must not finance $1bn Great Barrier Reef destruction!

The Ecologist

20th February 2015

A powerful call has gone out the the US Export-Import Bank not to finance a massive coal mine, railway, port terminal and dredged 'canal' through Australia's Great Barrier Reef with $1 billion in loans and guarantees. more...
The motor of a USFWS boat encrusted with quagga mussels on Lake Mead, Nevada. Photo: USFWS via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Don't move a mussel - a tiny invader is threatening our water and wildlife

Yannic Rack

18th February 2015

The zebra and quagga mussels, exotic invaders from the Caspian, are already causing huge damage in North America by 'biofouling' and disrupting native ecosystems, writes Yannic Rack. And now Britain is having to gear up for an impending invasion that threatens a costly meltdown of our aquatic biodiversity. more...
A seal caught up in plastic pollution near Santa Monica, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Photo: Nels Israelson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Five to 12 million tonnes of plastic are going into the ocean each year

Britta Denise Hardesty & Chris Wilcox

4th April 2015

An unimaginably large volume of plastic debris is reaching the world's oceans every year, write Britta Denise Hardesty & Chris Wilcox - and it's set for a ten-fold increase over the next decade, adding to the already terrible toll on marine life from turtles to seals, sea birds and fish. The solution must be to give waste plastic value - if we can find a way. more...
A Basking shark in UK coastal waters. Photo: Andrew Pearson / The Wildlife Trusts.

We need safe havens for our ocean giants!

Dr Lissa Batey

2nd March 2015

'Ocean giants' in our coastal waters are increasingly rare, writes Dr Lissa Batey, thanks to a host of threats from pollution to entrapment in fishing gear. Marine Protected Areas in England and Wales could help restore our cetaceans to their former abundance - but so far, only one has been designated for these species in Wales, and none in England. more...

Natural World: 25/50 of 865
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'Fracking Tories' have now reserved for themselves the right to frack anywhere they want - if they win the election! Photo: Teacher Dude via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).

Government reneges on 'no fracking' promise

Oliver Tickell

5th February 2015

The latest version of the Infrastructure Bill released today has been amended to avoid defining the areas that will be protected from fracking, leaving that to 'regulations' to be pushed through after the general election. So if the Tories win, get ready for fracking everywhere! more...
Ancient grassland at Rampisham Down SSSI, West Dorset, that will soon be shaded over by solar panels unless the planning application is 'called in'. Photo: RSPB.

Pickles must protect Rampisham Down SSSI from solar farm

Martin Harper

5th February 2015

An ancient grassland SSSI at Rampisham could be saved following a government decision to put an 'hold' notice on the West Dorset Council's planning consent for a huge solar farm, writes Martin Harper. Now Eric Pickles must 'call in' the case to a public inquiry, or set a truly dreadful precedent for our most precious nature sites. more...
The poster for Suvival's 'Parks Need Peoples' campaign. Image: Survival International.

India's indigenous evictions - the dark side of the Jungle Book

Tom Linton

6th February 2015

While the world gears up for Jungle Book fever, something sinister is afoot in the forests of India, writes Tom Linton. No, not Shere Khan, but zealous officials illegally evicting indigenous communities from their ancestral forests in the name of 'conservation' - and to make way for tiger tourism. And it's happening across India putting millions of people under threat. more...
A beaver in the River Otter, Devon, feeds on an overhanging willow branch. Photo: David Land via Devon Wildlife Trust.

Devon's beavers will stay wild and free

Oliver Tickell

28th January 2015

Natural England announced today that the wild beavers living on Devon's River Otter will be allowed to remain free under a 're-introduction' licence granted to Devon Wildlife Trust. more...
Different types of UAVs work in various challenging situations. Photo: Thomas Snitch (CC BY-NC-ND).

Satellites, mathematics and drones take down Africa's poachers

Thomas Snitch

3rd February 2015

Using new technologies to take on poaching in Africa is reaping big dividends, writes Thomas Snitch. Where drones are deployed as part of an integrated package of measures, poachers quickly give up. The trouble is, they move to other unprotected locations. So we must extend the program to all of Africa's most at-risk areas. more...
The helmeted hornbill, before and after. Photo: Environmental Investigation Agency.

Red alert! Hornbills at risk from wildlife trade

The Ecologist

2nd February 2015

We all know about the risk to elephants and rhinos from the illegal wildlife trade, but now the helmeted hornbills of Borneo and Sumatra are at risk as online traders find ready buyers for their carved beaks in China. more...
If only badgers could read. Photo: jayneandd (CC BY 4.0).

Fail - 2014 badger cull didn't kill enough badgers to be effective

Rosie Woodroffe

20th January 2015

Sneaked out just before Christmas, Defra's assessment of the 2014 badger cull inspired NFU leaders to claim 'success', writes Rosie Woodroffe. But the figures indicate the precise reverse: that too few badgers were killed to be effective against bovine TB, indeed the cull may even help to spread the disease. more...
Coal mine, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. Photo: Stephen Codrington via Wikimedia Commons.

Legal challenge puts coal mining's climate blame on trial

Samantha Hepburn

21st January 2015

A legal challenge has been launched against what would be Australia's biggest coal mine, writes Samantha Hepburn. If it succeeds, all future coal mine assessments will have to include the impacts of the resulting CO2 emissions on Australia's most important nature sites, such as the Great Barrier Reef. more...
4WDs and tourists in, tribal people out - Kanha Tiger Reserve, India, where the events of Kipling's  'Jungle Book' take place. Photo: © Survival.

India: 'Jungle Book' tribes illegally evicted from tiger reserve

The Ecologist

14th January 2015

Indigenous forest dwellers in India's iconic Kanha Tiger Reserve have suffered another round of illegal forced evictions at the hands of the country's Tiger Conservation Authority - a move that is threatening the future of the tigers themselves. more...
One of the single-engine Cessnas used by the Wildlife Air Service for their marine patrols with The Black Fish. Photo: Marine Air Service.

Wildlife Air Service spreads its wings

Elizabeth Claire Alberts

6th February 2015

Aerial surveillance is a proven and effective technique in tackling wildlife crime, writes Elizabeth Claire Alberts - so the arrival on the scene of a new wildlife organization dedicated to providing air reconnaissance services to frontline environmental defenders couldn't come too soon. more...
A peatland fire smoulders in the peat of a former swamp forest cleared for commercial agriculture in Indonesia. Photo: Ryan Woo / Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Burnable: peat bogs' 850bn tonnes of carbon

Tim Radford

12th January 2015

Human exploitation of peatlands has led to some of the biggest fires on Earth, including one in Indonesia that released 2.5 Gt of carbon, writes Tim Radford. A new study calculates that the world's peatlands contain almost a trillion tonnes of carbon at growing risk of burning. more...
Old Bighorn ram on the banks of the North Fork of the Shoshone River after eating some of the first green grass of spring. Photo: Yellowstone Gate via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Who are the real 'eco-terrorists' on America's public lands?

George Wuerthner

27th January 2015

Ranchers can deliberately abuse public land and the wildlife that lives on it at will, writes George Wuerthner, confident that any breaches of the law are likely to be overlooked. But it's another thing altogether if you're trying to protect that land from destructive exploitation. Why the double standard? more...
Monarch Butterfly, Danaus plexippus, in Glendale, CA. Photo:  David Levinson via Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Monarchs may win 'endangered species' protection

The Ecologist

6th January 2015

With Monarch butterfly numbers down by 90% in 20 years - largely as a result of GMO crops in key feeding areas - the US Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing the insect's status with a view to granting it legal protection under the Endangered Species Act. more...

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