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biodiversity: 1/25 of 120
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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 familiar and attractive flower of Himalayan balsam could be about to get a whole lot less common in the UK. Photo: CABI.

Parasitic fungus introduced to attack Himalayan balsam

Oliver Tickell

28th August 2014

Even if you love Himalayan balsam, it has surely become too much of a good thing as it takes over Britain's wetlands and riverbanks. But now it's facing a major setback - the deliberate introduction of a parasitic rust fungus from its native range in the mountains of Asia. more...
The Asian hornet is a voracious predator of bees - as if they were not suffering enough already! Photo:  Danel Solabarrieta, CC BY-SA.

Confronting the threat of invasive 'ecosystem engineers'

Jodey Peyton & Helen Roy

26th August 2014

Mussels, crabs, hornets and ... racoons? Future invasive species are not what you might expect, write Jodey Peyton & Helen Roy. In particular, we have to beware of 'ecosystem engineers' that can transform the environment they inhabit, creating ecological havoc for other species.
more...
Letting the seeds grow free on a vegetable garden in BC, Canada. Photo: Christopher Porter via Flickr.

Free the seeds to feed the world!

Jack Kloppenburg & Irwin Goldman

20th August 2014

Patented and 'indentured' seeds are fast taking over the world's food supply, write Jack Kloppenburg & Irwin Goldman, terminating farmers' and gardeners' ancient right to develop new varieties, and forcing them to buy seed anew for every crop. Enter the Open Source Seed Initiative ... more...
Walshaw Moor, near Hebden Bridge, after burning to improve grouse yields. Photo: energyroyd.org.uk/ .

Our uplands: a burning desire for action

Martin Harper

12th August 2014

Today, on the 'Glorious 12th', well-heeled folk take to the hills to shoot grouse. And to be sure there's lots of birds to kill, writes Martin Harper, England's moorlands are burnt with dire impacts on their biodiversity and ability to absorb rainfall. It's high time to end this barbaric practice! more...
Western pygmy possums use tree hollows that take decades to develop in mallee ecosystems. Photo: Lauren Brown.

Over-burning could be damaging Australia's wildlife for 100 years

Dale Nimmo, Andrew Bennett & Michael Clarke

29th August 2014

We know that Australia's dry bush has co-evolved with fire, so that means regular planned burning is a good thing? Up to a point ... some increasingly rare species depend on 'old growth' bush up to 100 years old, and over-frequent burning is putting them under long-term threat. more...
Changing climates ... the polar vortex played havoc with Niagara Falls (and much of the rest of North America too). Photo: Rick Warne / EPA.

The 'pre-Holocene' climate is returning - and it won't be fun

Peter Fisher

16th August 2014

A string of events earlier this year provided a sobering snapshot of a global climate system out of whack, writes Peter Fisher. Could it represent the end of a rare 10,000 year island of stability in global climate? If so, we had better get used to it. The Earth may never be so comfortable again ... more...
Does this seed library look to you like 'agri-terrorism'? Photo: via Sharable.net.

Agri-terrorists accuse seed bank of 'agri-terrorism'

Kevin Carson

13th August 2014

A Pennsylvania seed library stands accused of 'agri-terrorism' over alleged breaches of the Seed Act 2004, reports a bemused Kevin Carson. Have USDA and state agriculture departments become the enforcement branch of the agribusiness crime syndicate? more...
Colorful Heirloom Potatoes - 'Carola', 'All Red', 'All Blue', and 'Purple Viking' - collection  from Seed Savers. Photo: Susy Morris via Flickr.

Building an International Seed Savers Exchange

Andrew Kimbrell / Center for Food Safety

19th July 2014

Recent decades have seen a hardening global clampdown on the rights of farmers to use, save, develop, share, swap and distribute the seeds that produce the food we all eat, writes Andrew Kimbrell - and which constitute an essential common heritage of mankind. Here's his plan to fight back against the seed monopolists ... more...
Vandana Shiva leads a protest in India against Monsanto's GM seeds. Now she's on the warpath against Avaaz. Photo: Daniel Voglesong via Flickr.

Avaaz's global 'ebay of seeds' - how did they get it so wrong?

Julian Rose

16th July 2014

Already 56,000 people have pledged to support a global 'internet seed swap' initiative promoted by Avaaz, writes Julian Rose. Trouble is, the plans are deeply flawed, and have been developed without consultation with major seed saving groups worldwide. more...
If Europe's farms, like this one near Ludlow, England, provide benefits to wildlife, it's no thanks to the EU's agriculture policies. Photo: Robert Davies via Flickr.

The 'greening' of Europe's farms is a shameful failure

Lynn Dicks & Tim Benton

17th June 2014

The EU's farming policy is being touted as 'greener than ever' - but it's no such thing, write Lynn Dicks & Tim Benton. The 'green reforms' pay farmers for actions (and often inactions) that do not benefit wildlife, and contain no real or effective measures to help. more...
Back after going missing for more than a century: the New Guinea big-eared bat. Photo: Julie Broken-Brow.

PNG: 'Lost' bat species rediscovered after 120 years in the wilderness

Luke Leung, Julie Broken-Brow & Catherine Hughes

15th June 2014

A 'microbat' that has remained unrecorded since 1890 has been discovered in Papua New Guinea. But with the country's forests under growing pressure from logging and for conversion to plantations, this and thousands of other biological treasures are at risk. more...

biodiversity: 1/25 of 120
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Cabo Pulmo, in its current, concrete-free incarnation. Alan Harper, CC BY-NC.

Mexico: 22,000 room mega-hotel threatens 'biodiversity hotspot'

Sula Vanderplank & Benjamin Wilder

28th May 2014

The Baja California peninsula is rich in history and natural beauty, with thousands of unique plants and animals making up its globally unique ecosystems, write Sula Vanderplank & Benjamin Wilder. Just the place for a new giant hotel resort? more...
Trucks carrying logs in Gunung Lumut, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo: Jan van der Ploeg for Center for International Forestry Research (www.cifor.org / blog.cifor.org) via Flickr.com.

After the chainsaws - tropical forests are still worth saving

Bill Laurance & David Edwards

11th April 2014

Tropical forests are valuable for their biodiversity, carbon and water functions even after logging. But they are also highly vulnerable to fire and conversion to other uses. A new focus is needed on saving tropical forests after the bulldozers have left. more...
Trees and hedgerows mean less run-off and erosion, reducing flooding and siltation downstream. Photo: Coed Cymru - coedcymru.org.uk/ .

Woods and trees are functioning parts of a living landscape

Mike Townsend

6th March 2014

Trees, woodlands and hedgerows do much more than enhance the appearance of Britain's rural landscapes, writes Mike Townsend. They diminish flooding, reduce erosion, assist water infiltration, enhance biodiversity - and we need more of them! more...
Construction waste from the Sochi Winter Olympics construction is dumped in the Mzympta River. Photo: SochiWatch.

Sochi - an Olympiad of environmental destruction

Igor Chestin

17th February 2014

The winter Olympics at Sochi have trashed the National Park that contains Russia's richest biodiversity, writes Igor Chestin. Worse, the gutting of key environmental laws means that it can happen all over again, and again. more...
Planting out onion seedlings at Sandy Lane Farm, and organic farm in Oxfordshire, UK. Photo: Sandy lane Farm.

Organic farming benefits biodiversity

Lindsay Turnbull

19th February 2014

Organic farming really is wildlife friendly, new research from Oxford University has found, with far higher species diversity on organic farms than conventional ones. Lindsay Turnbull reports on her findings ... more...
Bramley Frith wood in Hampshire will never be same again. In 1965 the National Grid build a substation there serving Basingstoke.

Ancient woodland cannot be 'offset'

Austin Brady

11th January 2014

Owen Paterson has done it again - offering up ancient woodland for development via 'biodiversity offsetting' - planting new trees elsewhere. Trouble is, says Austin Brady, ancient woods are centuries in the making. more...
Charles Windsor observes the consequences of eating GM foodstuffs. Photo: princeofwales.gov.uk

We must put a price on Nature

Charles Windsor

12th December 2013

If the world is to feed a growing population against a backdrop of climate change and biodiversity loss, argues Charles Windsor, we must put a cost on the damage we are causing to soils, water, climate and ecosystems. more...
Fashion can be forest friendly. Image: Canopy Style.

Forest-friendly fashion

Nicole Rycroft

3rd December 2013

Could your fashion style be destroying forests and driving orang-utans towards extinction? Nicole Rycroft shows how cellulose fibres used in textiles are a major cause of biodiversity loss worldwide. But your choices can make all the difference ... more...
M3 at Twyford Down

Biodiversity offsetting - an end to environmental protection?

Hannah Mowat

4th November 2013

The UK Government plans to allow biodiversity destroyed by development to be recreated elsewhere. Hannah Mowat of FERN believes the idea is both wrong and dangerous. The official consultation ends on 7th November 2013. more...

Wildlife comeback in Europe

Anna Taylor

24th October 2013

Although the total biodiversity in Europe
is still decreasing, a recently published report brings the welcome news that many of the larger wildlife and bird species are making a strong recovery. Anna Taylor reports.....
more...

Threatened biodiversity of Yasuni

The Ecologist

10th September 2013

Yasuní National Park in the Ecuadorian Amazon is home to a record number of species. Now that the Yasuni-ITT Initiative has failed the future of those species hangs in the balance..... more...

A license to trash? Why Biodiversity Offsetting (BO) will be a disaster for the environment

Lorna Howarth

September 9th, 2013

As the UK government gives the go ahead for the country's first Biodiversity Offsetting (BO) scheme, Lorna Howarth explains why it will be a disaster for the nation's already declining wildlife more...

Eat it or Lose it: promoting and preserving real British food

by Cat Gazzoli

As Slow Food Week gets underway Slow Food UK tells the Ecologist why they are attempting to protect Britains edible Biodiversity and the artisan producers behind it..... more...

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