The Ecologist

 

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How planting bioenergy crops could help stop Britain's brown hare from becoming extinct

Laura Briggs

6th June, 2017


If you live or spend time in the UK countryside it may have been some time since you spotted the native brown hare - if you've ever seen one at all. That's because the hare relies on an increasingly disappearing biodiverse landscape for its food. LAURA BRIGGS talks to the scientists behind a new study investigating what type of planting - including bioenergy crops - will help stop hare populations from continuing to decline
more...
How it all began: Monsanto Tribunal Opening day, 14th October 2016. Photo: Monsanto Tribunal via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Tribunal judges: Monsanto isn't feeding the world - it's undermining food security

Claire Robinson / GMWatch

24th April 2017

Five international judges say Monsanto's activities have negatively affected individuals, communities and biodiversity, writes Claire Robinson. The Monsanto Tribunal's damning ruling denounces the company's harmful impacts on food sovereignty, agricultural production, access to nutrition, the natural environment, seed diversity, climate change, pollution and traditional cultural practices. more...

Ecologist Special Report: From fish to forests and conflicts to coffee...how humans are affected by climate-driven species shifts

Tero Mustonen & Hannibal Rhoades

20th April, 2017

Climate change has species on the move, with major consequences for biodiversity and human communities write TERO MUSTONEN and HANNIBAL RHOADES. Building resilience has never been more important and Indigenous Peoples are showing the way more...
Chinese-built road under construction through rainforest in Mouloundou Department, Ogooue-Lolo, Gabon. Photo: jbdodane via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

The dark legacy of China's drive for global resources

William Laurance

11th April 2017

As China pursues a startling array of energy, mining, logging, agricultural, transport and other infrastructure projects on virtually every continent, it is having an unprecedented impact on the planet, writes William Laurance. It's not that China is any worse than historic colonial powers - the difference is in the sheer scale and pace of environmental destruction, and the total lack of oversight under which Chinese mega-corporations operate. more...
The four eastern cooling towers at the Drax biomass and coal-fired power station in North Yorkshire. Photo: Jonathan Brennan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

No Drax! There's nothing 'sustainable' about big biomass

Frances Howe

10th April 2017

The Drax power station in Yorkshire is the UK's biggest CO2 emitter, burns more wood each year than the entire UK timber harvest, and is a major importer of coal from strife-stricken regions of Colombia, writes Frances Howe. This Thursday campaigners will target the company's AGM to highlight its impacts on forests, biodiversity, climate and communities, in the face of Drax's PR offensive to make biomass appear 'sustainable'. more...
Aerial view of Rio Tinto's QMM mine in Madagascar. Photo: via Andrew Lees Trust.

Tall tales and tailings - the truth about Rio Tinto's rare earth mine in Madagascar

Yvonne Orengo

3rd April 2017

Rio Tinto's QMM mine in Madagascar was meant to be an exemplar of 'corporate social responsibility' and environmental best practice. But the reality experienced by local communities is different, writes Yvonne Orengo, with uncompensated land seizures, food insecurity, deforestation and social deprivation. New concerns are emerging about the infringement of legal buffer zones and radiation exposure. Rio Tinto must be held responsible for its actions! more...
At risk: Canaima National Park in the Venezuelan Amazon headwaters. Photo: Antonio Jose Hitcher (@antoniohitcher).

Saving the Venezuelan Amazon: mega-nature reserve? Or mega-mining frontier?

Lucio Marcello

30th March 2017

Venezuela is set to hand over 12% of the nation's territory in the upper reaches of the Amazon rainforest to mining corporations, writes Lucio Marcello, with 150 companies from 35 countries poised to devastate the army-controlled 'special economic zone'. But resistance is growing, and a counter-proposal aims to protect the area's precious biodiversity, indigenous cultures and water resources in a new South Orinoco Mega Reserve. more...
Victoria water lilies in Pucate Creek (Quebrada Pucate) off Rio MaraƱon, Peru. Photo: Mike LaBarbera via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Scientists: protect vast Amazon peatland to avoid palm oil 'environmental disaster'

Joe Sandler Clarke /Greenpeace Energydesk

23rd March 2017

A recently discovered peatland in northeast Peru contains two years worth of US carbon emissions, writes Joe Sandler Clarke, but it's under threat from the rapidly advancing 'palm oil frontier'. Now scientists are calling for the wetland's immediate protection - before it's too late to save it. more...
Eric Dooh from Goi, plaintiff in the Dutch court case against Shell for oil pollution in the Niger Delta, Nigeria, a biodiversity hotspot in which conflict has been raging for decades. Photo: Milieudefensie / Akintunde Akinleye via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

War, human rights and biodiversity: turning conflict into conservation

Alex Reid

23rd March 2017

Over 90% of major armed conflicts between 1950-2000 occurred in countries containing biodiversity hotspots,writes Alex Reid, and more than 80% of these took place in the hotspot areas themselves. This poses a major challenge to the conservation community: to work in combat zones to strengthen environmental protection before, during and after conflicts. Or better still, to defuse incipient conflicts and resolve those under way, to reduce their toll on people, and nature. more...

International Women's Day: Gender Justice is on the march in the Amazon

Joe Ware

8th March, 2017

It's not often that something comes along that tackles climate change, protects Amazonian biodiversity, saves money, benefits forest communities and empowers women. But in Bolivia, something as simple as a solar oven is doing just that. JOE WARE reports more...
Roadside banner opposing mining in Intag, Ecuador. Photo: dawn paley via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Ecuador's 'progressive' extractivism - mining, ecocide and the silencing of dissent

Carlos Zorrilla

6th March 2017

Ecuador's 'socialist' President Correa has unleashed a wave of repression at Andean communities seeking to protect their lands, forests and nature from open pit mining, writes Carlos Zorrilla. With most of biodiversity-rich Intag region conceded to international mining companies, the mood is one of rising fear and desperation in the countdown to next month's election. more...

Ecologist Special Report - Bhutan's stumbling block to becoming the greenest nation on the planet

Michael Buckley

1st March, 2017

Bhutan is well on its way to becoming the greenest nation on the planet. In his Special Report for the Ecologist, photojournalist MICHAEL BUCKLEY explores the reasons why the country's ecosystems and dazzling biodiversity remain intact - and highlights the one thing that threatens this admirable integrity... more...

biodiversity: 1/25 of 217
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Radical roots ... radishes in a Boston farmers' market. Photo: WBUR Boston's NPR News Station via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Brexit and the future of farming: threat or opportunity?

Molly Scott Cato MEP

21st February 2017

With most of our food exports going to the EU, and most of our food imports coming from the EU, Molly Scott Cato wondered what plans the government had for the sector after Brexit. The answer? None! Two reports published today map out a positive future of sustainable farming, local food, thriving rural economies and abundant biodiversity. But is the government on the same page? more...
Monarch butterfly sipping nectar from milkweed. Photo: Sherri VandenAkker via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Monarch butterflies down over a quarter in one year

The Ecologist

10th February 2017

It's been another disastrous year for North America's Monarch butterflies, with the insect's population down 27% in a single year. The sudden decline is blamed on severe winter storms in Mexico, and the impacts of GMO crops, herbicides and insecticides on US farms. more...

Ecologist Special Report: Ecological Conservation in Post-Conflict Colombia

Forest Ray

10th February, 2017

Colombia is now closer than ever to finding a peaceful resolution to generations of violence. With so much to gain in a post-conflict world - as much for the Colombian people as for their environment - the sudden prospect of losing it all will make for tense months ahead writes FOREST RAY more...
On Green Belt land in Sussex, near London - far too valuable to allow house-builders to let rip all over it! Photo: Jason Jones via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Green belt must not be sacrificed to unplanned housing

Alister Scott, Northumbria University

8th February 2017

The green belt is part of the critical green infrastructure that delivers multiple benefits for cities, writes Alister Scott. It provides space for recreation, biodiversity and farms supplying local food. It protects us from flooding and drought, improves air quality and mitigates the urban heat island effect. In short, it's far too valuable to allow developers to build all over it! more...
Could your household gas come from wildflower rich meadows, like this Culm Grassland at Knowstone Moor, Devon? Photo: Col Ford and Natasha de Vere via Flickr (CC BY).

It beats fracking - but can we believe Ecotricity's vision of 'green gas from grass'?

Almuth Ernsting

27th January 2017

Just imagine: gas for your cooking and heating made by composting home-grown British grass, writes Almuth Ernsting. What's not to like? Well, it would need almost all the UK's grassland to match our gas demand, leaving cows and sheep to starve or forcing them into sheds to eat foreign-grown feeds. And methane leakage could easily wipe out any climate benefit. more...
The roadless areas map developed by Roadfree.org and partners. The map referred to in this article is behind Science's paywall!

New map shows way to reducing roads' destruction of nature

Tim Radford

18th January 2017

Scientists are calling for the urgent protection of ecologically valuable roadless areas, writes Tim Radford, as a new global map shows that roads lead to loss of biodiversity and damage to ecosystems by fragmenting habitat and providing access to exploiters. more...

Real Farming Report - Whose seeds are they anyway?

Kathryn Hindess

6th January, 2016

The new People Need Nature report - published to coincide with this week's annual Oxford Real Farming Conference - warns that modern farming practices are not good for wildlife. But they're not good for humans either. And with predictions that we will need to produce 70 per cent more food to feed a third more mouths by 2050 the question of seed ownership and diversity cannot be ignored. KATHRYN HINDESS reports more...

"NATURAL CAPITAL" - A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

Victor Anderson

14th December, 2016

It is easy in a country like the UK to imagine that science and economics command the whole debate about nature's value. But step back and look at the bigger picture internationally, and it all looks rather different writes VICTOR ANDERSON more...
Gene drives could be used, for example, to attack fast-breeding pest species like aphids. But with what consequences on other species and wider ecosystems? Photo: Nigel Jones via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Biodiversity Convention call to block new 'genetic extinction' GMOs

GMWatch & The Ecologist

6th December 2016

160 global groups have called for a moratorium on new 'genetic extinction' technology at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Cancun, Mexico. Gene drive technology, they say, poses serious and irreversible threats to biodiversity, national sovereignty, peace and food security. more...
Scottish beaver seen in 2008. Photo: Paul Stevenson via Flickr (CC BY).

Scotland's wild beavers win legal protection

Oliver Tickell

24th November 2016

The Scottish government has announced that its wild beaver populations will be given the full protection of both UK and EU law. The decision has been welcomed by campaigners who point out all the benefits of beavers to biodiversity, water management and flood control. Now, they say, England and Wales should follow suit. more...
John Letts harvesting his biodiverse crop of heritage wheat on an organic farm in Buckinghamshire. Photo: Adrian Arbib for Resurgence & Ecologist Magazine.

Farming with the grain - John Letts and his evolutionary 'made for organic' heritage seeds

Oliver Tickell

10th November 2016

To feed the world we must abandon not just GMOs but all diversity-destroying selective crop breeding, organic farmer John Letts told Oliver Tickell. Only by using biodiverse local seed mixtures that evolve in the field can food production adapt to climate change without ever-increasing chemical inputs, and meet human needs for wholesome nourishment. more...
Longleaf Pine Regeneration in South Carolina. Photo: Justin Meissen via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

UK biomass power industry is a vital part of the renewable energy mix

Nina Skorupska / Renewable Energy Association

27th October 2016

Contrary to arguments advanced in a recent Ecologist article, the biomass industry supplying the Drax power station in North Yorkshire is a model of sustainability, writes Nina Skorupska, and delivers genuine, substantial emissions reductions compared to coal. more...
Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, at the 14th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues - 27 April 2015, New York. Photo: via rightsandresources.org.

Vicky Tauli-Corpuz: 'The better protected areas are those where indigenous peoples live!'

Joe Eisen / Conservation Watch

19th October 2016

Indigenous Peoples are often the victims of nature conservation, according to a new report by Vicky Tauli-Corpuz presented to the UN this week, as they are expelled from lands they have inhabited for millennia. One reason, she told Joe Eisen, is that indigenous territories are precisely the places where biodiversity is best preserved - thanks to the protective, nurturing presence of their traditional owners. more...

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