The Ecologist

 

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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...
Arctic aurora at Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. Photo: Kyle Marquardt via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Our year of opportunity for a green, just and sustainable future

The Earth League

22nd April 2015

We are alive in a pivotal year, writes the Earth League. 2015 offers the opportunity to build a sustainable and prosperous future for people and planet. But if we fail to act on climate change, safeguard crucial ecosystems and biodiversity, and secure a just and equitable world order for all, grave and irreversible perils await Earth and all who dwell on her. more...

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Recovering marine life within the Lamlash Bay 'no take zone'. Photo: Howard Wood / COAST.

Strong marine protection works for fisheries and wildlife!

Bryce Stewart & Leigh Howarth

20th April 2015

The strongly protected marine reserve in Lamlash Bay, Arran, has been a huge success, write Bryce Stewart & Leigh Howarth, with abandant life returning to the once denuded waters. The government's refusal to expand such protections represents a huge wasted opportunity for both fishing and the marine environment. more...
Howard Wood and colleagues in COAST, with the Lamlash Bay 'no take zone' in the background. Photo: COAST.

Saving Lamlash Bay - and over-exploited seas everywhere

Howard Wood

20th April 2015

A coveted award has put the campaign to protect and recover marine life in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland, into the international limelight. Goldman Prize winner Howard Wood explains how Arran Islanders' efforts to keep scallop dredgers out of Lamlash Bay has brought life, and fish, back to the sea. more...
Indian children on Brazil's BR 319 road through the increasingly fragmented Amazon rainforest. Photo: Ben Sutherland via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

To forestall a mass extinction, fight forest fragmention

David Edwards

24th March 2015

Large areas of forest remain around the world, writes David Edwards, but many of them are - in biological terms - dying on their feet as their species diversity erodes due to fragmentation. To conserve the full richness of our forests, we must keep them entire and unbroken, and rebuild the continuity of forest islands. more...
Indigenous rangers like Yugul Mangi senior women (from left to right) Edna Nelson, Cherry Daniels and Julie Roy, are crucial guardians of the outback environment. Photo: Emilie Ens, Author provided.

Remote Indigenous communities are vital for our fragile ecosystems

Craig Moritz, Emilie-Jane Ens & Jon Altman

23rd March 2015

Australia's aboriginal communities inhabit remote Outback regions of enormous importance for wildlife conservation, write Craig Moritz, Emilie-Jane Ens & Jon Altman - and they, and the land management services they provide, are essential to maintain both biodiversity and ancient indigenous knowledge. So why is Prime Minister Tony Abbott putting all that at risk? more...
Residents of Prek Smach commune, Kiri Sakor district at a road block they have constructed out of trees and rocks. Botum Sakor national park, Koh Kon Province, Cambodia. Photo: Rod Harbinson.

Cambodia: local people risk everything to defend national park sold off to highest bidders

Rod Harbinson

24th March 2015

Botum Sakor national park is one of Cambodia's biodiversity hotspots, where indigenous tribes have long lived in harmony with the forest and its wildlife, writes Rod Harbinson. But now they are being violently evicted as the park is being sold off piecemeal to developers for logging, plantations, casinos and hotels. Now local communities are defending themselves and their land. 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 clear-cut in Norrbotten Country, northern Sweden © Frédéric Forsmark.

Swedish wildlife extinction threat as loggers clear-cut 'old growth' forests

Alec Forss

11th February 2015

Sweden's biodiverse ancient forests will be largely wiped out within two decades, writes Alec Forss - and along with it will go thousands of species that depend on mature forest ecosystems. But with powerful logging companies riding roughshod over the law, regulators, politicians and certifiers, who is to stop the destruction before it's too late? more...
A rosier future for the high seas beckons. Photo: Moyan Brenn via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

UN talks begin on a new law to save our oceans

The Ecologist

30th January 2015

Countries at the UN have agreed to start formal negotiations on a new 'legally binding instrument' to conserve the biological riches of the high seas that cover 45% of planet Earth, and ensure their sustainable use for the benefit of all mankind. 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...
Pipetting winegrape DNA samples in the lab during marker-assisted selection. Photo: Dan Ng (CC BY-SA).

GMO-free molecular genetics launch golden age of disease-resistant grapes

Andrew Walker

22nd February 2015

Advanced molecular genetic techniques are allowing scientists to breed disease resistance from wild grape varieties into susceptible domestic cultivars used for making wine, writes Andrew Walker. And it's all being done by conventional plant breeding accelerated by the use of DNA markers - with not a GMO in sight! more...
A dead Irrawaddy dolphin floats on the Harintana-Tembulbunia channel of the Sela River on 6th January 2015. Photo: Syed Zakir Hossain for the Dhaka Tribune.

As rivers re-open to shipping, oil threat to Bangladesh's Sundarbans forest continues

ASMG Kibria

9th January 2015

Bangladesh's Sundarbans forest, home of incredibly rich biodiversity, is under unprecedented threat, writes ASMG Kibria. The recent oil tanker capsize on the Shela river puts the forest at risk of widespread biodiversity loss, but just this week, the authorities re-opened the Shela river to shipping with no restrictions on hazardous cargoes. more...
A reminder to conservation scientists: not only can one little nuclear bomb ruin your whole day, it can also wipe out a whole lot of biodiversity.

Nuclear power and biodiversity - don't forget WMD proliferation!

Dr Jim Green

18th December 2014

Nuclear energy is essential to preserve the world's biodiversity, according to 69 conservation scientists. But there's a mysterious omission in their analysis, writes Jim Green: nuclear weapons proliferation. And after a major exchange of nuclear bombs, and the 'nuclear winter' that would follow, exactly how much biodiversity would survive? more...
For tomatoes, apples and oats, there is no 'organic yield gap'. 'Heirloom' organic tomatoes on sale in San Francisco. Photo: Zacklur via Flickr CC-BY.

Organic farming can close the gap on conventional yields

Lauren C. Ponisio

28th December 2014

The apparently lower productivity of organic farming systems is caused by research bias, writes Lauren C. Ponisio, and the far greater research spending on 'conventional' agriculture. Funds should be redirected to agro-ecological methods that are highly productive, sustainable and maintain biodiversity. more...

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