The Ecologist


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There is another way: organic Borlotti beans from Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire. Photo: Sandy Lane Farm via Facebook.

Health and biodiversity restored? How farming can rediscover its long-lost roots

Dave Goulson

16th November 2015

As industrial agriculture continues to erode our wildlife, Dave Goulson challenges the methods and objectives of ever-increasing food production. We need to move towards sustainable, evidence-based farming systems that produce healthy food, rather than allowing the agrochemical industry to reshape our farming, countryside and nutrition to its quest for profit. more...
No shortage of biodiversity here - Rapture Reef sits within the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument. The monument encompasses more than 140,000 square miles of ocean and coral reef habitat. Photo: NOAA's National Ocean Service via Flick

Can we halt biodiversity loss in 15 years? Yes we can!

Richard Pearson, UCL

12th November 2015

Is the aspiration to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2030 - enshrined in the UN's new Sustainable Development Goals - a fairy tale? It's ambitious, writes Richard Pearson, but there are plenty of signs that the world is acting effectively to conserve its endangered habitats and species. With extraordinary effort, we can do it. more...
View across Lake Ohrid with small boats. Photo: Jaime Pérez via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Macedonia: EBRD's planned destruction of Lake Ohrid Biosphere Reserve

Elena Nikolovska & Daniel Scarry

27th October 2015

UNESCO's Lake Ohrid-Prespa Biosphere Reserve at Mount Galicica, Macedonia, is at risk from a raft of aggressive developments, write Elena Nikolovska & Daniel Scarry: tourism complexes, a new expressway and ski resort all threaten its tranquility and stunning diversity of wildlife, backed by loans from the EU's taxpayer-funded Bank, the EBRD. more...
Victims of the pine bark beetle: Lodgepole pines in Summit County, Colorado. They may not look pretty, but these dead trees are an ecological godsend. Photo: V Smoothe via Flickr (CC BY).

In defense of the Bark Beetle: a keystone species of Western forest ecosystems

Chad Hanson

28th October 2015

Bark beetles are invariably presented as terrible, forest killing pests, writes Chad Hanson. But in truth forest biodiversity depends on them to create the snags for insects to burrow in, woodpeckers to feed off, and countless birds and even pine martens to nest in. So when you hear politicians calling for bark beetle 'salvage' logging, send them off with a flea in the ear! more...
A beaver's services to landscape and wetland management are worth $120,000 a year, according to today's Earth Index.

How much is nature worth? More than you can imagine

Neil Nightingale

8th October 2015

However much you think nature is worth, it's a lot more, writes Neil Nightingale. According to the BBC's 'Earth Index', published today in the world's financial press, water alone is worth as much as the entire global economy, and a single beaver's landscape and wetland management clocks in at $120,000 a year. more...
Easter Island butterfly fish are one of at least 140 species endemic to the regions waters. Photo: Eduardo Sorenson, The Pew Charitable Trusts (CC BY-SA).

Easter Island is the perfect spot for a marine reserve

Callum Roberts

12th October 2015

Chile's announcement of a 630,000 marine protected area around Easter Island is altogether welcome, writes Callum Roberts. It forms part of a trend of very large marine reserve declarations that will play a vital role in preserving endangered fish stocks and vital oceanic biodiversity. more...
The market may value Brazil nuts, as do those who earn a living by gathering them. But that has done little to hold back the Amazon's deforestation. Brazil nut collector in Pando, Bolivia. Photo: Amy Duchelle / CIFOR.

Nature can't pay its way in capital markets. It's time for new solutions

Benjamin Neimark

24th September 2015

It's a seductive narrative, writes Benjamin Neimark: nature is valuable, so let's call it 'natural capital', create markets to monetise it, and so ensure its conservation. But sadly, it's not working. Maybe because capitalism itself is the problem. We need new approaches to saving the world's biodiversity. more...
A legally questionable logging corridor built by Asia Pulp and Paper inside the traditional home of the Orang Rimba, one of Indonesia's last nomadic cultures. Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Photo: Rainforest Action Network via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Act now, or tropical forests will be a sorry sight in 2100

Simon Lewis

24th August 2015

Based on current performance tropical forests, the world's most biodiverse ecosystems, are set to be reduced to species-impoverished fragments by the end of the century, writes Simon Lewis. But it's not inevitable. Decisive action by the world's governments in Paris in December could secure desperately needed change. more...
Saving our red squirrels is fine - but only if we reach beyond our shores to where the real biodiversity lies, and is under threat. Photo:  j_gldsck via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Beyond squirrels: biodiversity doesn't stop at Dover

James Borrell

8th August 2015

Should we really be spending £1.2 million a year to conserve red squirrels? Yes we should, writes James Borrell. But with Africa's rhinos facing extinction, and vital conservation in UK's overseas 'biodiversity jewels' sadly underfunded, there are much better investments we should be making too. more...
A beetle on a male corn flower. Photo: Flávio Jota de Paula via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Biodiversity is the best defence against corn pests

Jonathan Lundgren & Scott Fausti

14th August 2015

Farmers' first line of defence against pests is the ecosystem in and around their fields, write Jonathan Lundgren & Scott Fausti. With widespread or indiscriminate use of pesticides essential biodiversity is lost - and the result is more frequent and serious infestations, and a decline in food security. more...
Bison are roaming free in Germany - so why not Scotland? Photo: Felix Kaestle.

Rewilding isn't about nostalgia - exciting new worlds are possible

Paul Jepson

22nd July 2015

Rewilding is now firmly on the agenda, writes Paul Jepson, and that brings a huge opportunity to re-invigorate conservation. But we must look to creating new functional ecosystems for the future, rather than trying to recreate a lost and perhaps imagined past. more...
Fierce flames creep across moorland near Heriot, Scotland. Photo: Snipps Whispers (CC BY-NC-ND).

Britain's 'protected' moorlands go up in flames

The Ecologist

21st July 2015

A new study led by RSPB shows that more than half of Britain's most precious upland moors are suffering from burning - widely used to increase the numbers of red grouse available for recreational shooting. more...

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The Augustow Primeval Forest in Poland - saved from a motorway project by the EU's nature laws. Is the problem that they work too well? Photo: Erik de Haan via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

European Commission's deregulation drive threatens EU nature laws

Leonardo Mazza

11th July 2015

The EU's nature directives provide effective protection for endangered species and habitats, writes Leonardo Mazza. So why the Commission's decision to 'review' and 'modernise' the laws? With its commitment to business-friendly deregulation and uninterest in the environment, the aim is surely to gut them - something only EU-wide citizens' mobilisation can prevent. more...
Solitary Leaf-cutter bee (Megachile centuncularis) nectaring on Small Scabious in Jo's wild flower meadow, Photo: © 2015 Jo Cartmell.

Sowing wildflower meadows, and leaving Nature in charge

Jo Cartmell

10th July 2015

When Oxeye daises looked like taking over her mini-meadow, Jo Cartmell was tempted to intervene. But instead, she held back and let nature take its course. Now, a few seasons later, the floral diversity has only increased, taking in some unexpected but welcome arrivals - along with their insect companions, all making their home on what used to be an unloved patch of lawn. more...
A handful of seeds, Porto-Novo, Oueme, Benin. Photo: Adam Cohn via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Seed Freedom! A last chance to thwart the great African seed grab

Ali-Masmadi Jehu-Appiah

29th June 2015

Nineteen African nations meet today in Arusha, Tanzania, to finalise a 'plant protection' protocol that would open up the continent's seeds to corporate interests, taking away farmers' rights to grow, improve, sell and exchange their traditional seeds, while allowing commercial breeders to make free use of the biodiversity they embody, to sell them back to farmers in 'improved' form. more...
Ex-congressman Eduardo Veliz (white hair) leads a protest at San Cristobál airport, Galapagos, against excessive development, prior to his arrest. Photo: El Colono (Galapagos newspaper).

Galápagos rebellion against foreign investment in hotels, golf courses, luxury tourism

Jane Shaw

25th June 2015

Residents of Ecuador's Galápagos islands are mounting angry protests against government plans to open the World Heritage Site to foreign investment in luxury tourism and hotels, writes Jane Shaw. They fear for the fragile ecology of the islands, for water shortages caused by golf courses and swimming pools, and for their livelihoods which depend on current 'low intensity' tourism. more...
A bleak outlook for Britain's environment: Cairn Toul from the Pools of Dee, Lairig Ghru, Cairngorms. The sub-Arctic biodiversity of the mountains is at risk from warming climate. Photo: Ted and Jen via Flickr (CC BY).

The greenest government ever? By no stretch of the imagination

Jonathon Porritt

22nd June 2015

The previous government came in on a bold promise to be the 'greenest ever', writes Jonathon Porritt. But what we got was a shameful record of ideologically driven policies that promoted fossil fuels, undermined action on climate, obsessed over nuclear power, did nothing to arrest the decline in the nation's wildlife and biodiversity - and suggest even worse to come. more...
Dwarfed by a human hand. Photo: Marcio Pie (CC BY-NC-SA).

Seven new species of tiny frog found in Brazil's cloud forest

Miranda Dyson, The Open University

9th June 2015

The Atlantic rainforest of Brazil is a biodiversity treasure, writes Miranda Dyson - as exemplified by the discovery of seven minute and beautiful frogs. But with the forest already reduced to under a tenth of its original extent, and going fast, they and countless other species may not survive much longer. more...
Slieve Gallion in the Sperrin Mountains of County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, at risk from a proposed gold mine. Photo: SHANLISS_SNAPPER via Flickr (CC BY).

EU nature laws are essential to fight off wildlife attacks in Northern Ireland

Andy Atkins

26th June 2015

Northern Ireland shows just how much we need the EU's laws protecting nature, writes Andy Atkins - and for the Government to enforce them. The province's wonderful natural heritage is at risk from aggressive and often unlawful developments. And the EU nature laws are essential for us to fight off a host of threats - among them sand dredging, gold mining, road-building and over-fishing. more...
From the front cover of 'The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy' by Michael McCarthy.

The Moth Snowstorm: nature, joy, and the great thinning

Chris Rose

30th June 2015

In his new book environmental journalist Michael McCarthy bears witness to the astonishing decline in the once common wildlife of our countryside of the last few decades. But as Chris Rose writes, he does far more than bemoan the losses as he shares with us the joy that he still discovers in nature. more...
Without a cooperative, trans-boundary approach to wildlife conservation, Africa will struggle to conserve its biodiversity - like these elephants in the Masai Mara, Tanzania. Photo:  R∂lf Κλενγελ via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Only co-operative, trans-boundary conservation can save Africa's environment

Willem Daniel Lubbe

29th May 2015

Africa's poor environmental record has its roots in colonialism, which cut artificial boundaries through peoples and ecosystems, and left a rigid 'fortress conservation' ethic, writes Willem Daniel Lubbe. It's time for countries to adopt a new pan-African environmentalism, and transcend their colonial past. more...
Young fishers with their catch on the opening day after a temporary fisheries closure. Small-scale fisheries support the livelihoods of at least 500 million people worldwide - Andavadoaka, Madagascar. Photo: Garth Cripps / Blue Ventures.

Sustainable abundance - rebuilding fisheries to support coastal communities in Madagascar

Alasdair Harris

12th May 2015

Marine conservation is usually expressed in austere and negative terms, writes Alasdair Harris, with strict quotas and exclusion zones. But the truth is the exact opposite: it's about working with natural ecosystems to unlock their productive potential, creating sustainable wealth and abundance for fishing communities while enhancing marine biodiversity. more...
Allanblackia trees and a woman participating in the Novella project which aims to increase the incomes of hundreds of thousands of African farmers. Photo: Charlie Pye-Smith / World Agroforestry Centre via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Forest foods - the tasty, resilient, sustainable answer to world hunger

Bhaskar Vira

1st June 2015

Forest foods are a vital source of nutrition for millions of people, writes Bhaskar Vira, and we need to make them an even bigger part of our diets for the sake of health, biodiversity, local economies, and to increase food global security in a warming world. more...
This small cultivator of fresh vegetables in China is probably practising agroecology already! Photo: Jing via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Can agroecology save us from 'scorched-earth' agriculture?

Professor Henrietta Moore

6th May 2015

Industrial agriculture has become a prime driver of many of the world's most serious problems, writes Henrietta Moore: the loss of wild and farmed biodiversity, huge climate-changing emissions, and the entrapment of small farmers in ever-deepening cycles of poverty. But there is a solution: the widespread adoption of agroecological farming. more...
A truck pulls into the Enviva Ahoskie wood pellet plant that supplies Drax power station, loaded with whole trees. Photo: Dogwood Alliance.

End support for Drax: stop subsidies for biomass power and phase out coal!

The Undersigned

22nd April 2015

Hundreds of millions of pounds meant to be spent on green energy will soon be lavished on Britain's biggest coal fired power station to reward it for burning 7 million tonnes of wood pellets a year - meant to be 'renewable' but actually driving biodiversity loss and even worse for climate change than coal. DECC must stop this madness! more...


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