Plant, Insect, Bird & Animal Populations

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Plant, Insect, Bird & Animal Populations

#1

Post by Addie » Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:31 pm

The Atlantic
American Trees Are Moving West, and No One Knows Why

Climate change explains only 20 percent of the movement.


As the consequences of climate change strike across the United States, ecologists have a guiding principle about how they think plants will respond. Cold-adapted plants will survive if they move “up”—that is, as they move further north (away from the tropics) and higher in elevation (away from the warm ground).

A new survey of how tree populations have shifted over the past three decades finds that this effect is already in action. But there’s a twist: Even more than moving poleward, trees are moving west.

About three-quarters of tree species common to eastern American forests—including white oaks, sugar maples, and American hollies—have shifted their population center west since 1980. More than half of the species studied also moved northward during the same period.

These results, among the first to use empirical data to look at how climate change is shaping eastern forests, were published in Science Advances on Wednesday.

Trees, of course, don’t move themselves. But their populations can shift over time, and saplings can expand into a new region while older growth dies in another. The research team compared a tree population to a line of people stretching from Atlanta to Indianapolis: Even if everyone in the line stood still, if you added new people to the end of the line in Indiana and asked others in Georgia to leave, then the center of the line would move nonetheless.

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Re: Plant & Insect Populations

#2

Post by Addie » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:56 am

DW
Worst invasion of locusts in 60 years hits Sardinia

The plague has been described as the worst of its kind in six decades. Vegetation has been severely hit and the industry fears it may be too late to save this year's crop.



Millions of locusts have invaded the Italian island of Sardinia, seriously affecting farmers' livestock and crop production.

Italian agricultural organization Coldiretti has pleaded for government assistance in fighting the plague.

"We are walking on locust carpets," Coldiretti said in a statement.

The locusts have destroyed 2,500 hectares (6,200 acres) of agricultural land in the province of Nuoro, between the towns of Ottana and Orani.

Coldiretti fears it may be too late for this year's crop, but preventative measures should be put in place for next year.

"We had droughts in 2017 and a lot of rain in 2018, the ideal climate for locusts to emerge from fallow land and then move to cultivated fields to eat," Michele Arbau from the lobby group said. "There is nothing we can do about it this year."

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Re: Plant & Insect Populations

#3

Post by Addie » Mon Jul 01, 2019 10:25 am

New York Times
Super Nests Of Yellow Jackets Now More Common In Southern States, Thanks To Warmer Winters



When James Barron went into his smokehouse in southern Alabama to grab an ax, he was alarmed to see a giant wasp nest about seven feet wide extending along the wall. It had been two months since he had last stepped foot inside. “You don’t think about looking at the roof,” Mr. Barron said. “It’s just now really showed up, and it’s gigantic.” Mr. Barron immediately retreated, and later sprayed hornet killer on the nest with his son. He said that just angered the yellow jackets, the highly aggressive wasps that live in such colonies. Mr. Barron was stung 11 times.

Charles Ray, an entomologist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, drove to Mr. Barron’s home and confirmed the colony was a “super nest” — one that survives into a second year. He told Mr. Barron there were probably 15,000 to 18,000 wasps in the smokehouse. That super nest was one of four in Alabama that Mr. Ray has confirmed this year. There are usually only one or two super nests spotted each year, in June and July, Mr. Ray said. In 2006, however, he recorded 90.

“I expect to approach that number this year,” Mr. Ray said. Mr. Ray said he had been surprised when the first report of a yellow jacket super nest had surfaced in May. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System issued a news release to tell residents to expect a proliferation of them this year. “We wanted to warn the public not to disturb them themselves, but get a professional,” Mr. Ray said. “We had three people who were seriously injured in 2006.”

Warmer winters contribute to these nests, Mr. Ray said. Most yellow jackets don’t survive the cold months because they freeze to death or have trouble finding food. They need a fair amount of sugar and carbohydrates, he said. “The queens are the only ones who have an antifreeze compound in their blood,” Mr. Ray said. “So normally, a surviving queen will have to start a colony from scratch in the spring. With our climate becoming warmer, there might be multiple surviving queens producing more than 20,000 eggs each.”

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Re: Plant, Insect & Animal Populations

#4

Post by Addie » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:54 am

WaPo
Iguanas spread in Florida as climate warms: ‘They’re a menace’



... But soon Lugari found his carefully cultivated ornamental plants defoliated. He started finding messy brown piles of iguana droppings on his pool deck. He saw several lizards, fattened from months of feasting on his flowers, hanging out around his house and yard.

“They aren’t cute anymore,” Lugari said this month of the animals, which are not native to Florida. “They’re a menace.”

The state of Florida agrees. After a warm winter and now with record-breaking summer heat — the kind of weather iguanas thrive in — the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has declared open season on the exotic reptile.

“The FWC encourages homeowners to kill green iguanas on their own property whenever possible,” the commission recently wrote on its website. “Iguanas can also be killed year-round and without a permit on 22 public lands in south Florida.”

Agency biologists say they don’t know how many iguanas are in Florida, but they know the kinds of problems they’re causing. These include “erosion, degradation of infrastructure such as water control structures, canal banks, sea walls and building foundations,” state biologist Dan Quinn said in an email.

Along with doing damage by digging, iguanas destroy landscaping and ornamental plants, including some that are endangered. They can also carry salmonella.

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Re: Plant, Insect & Animal Populations

#5

Post by Addie » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:40 am

The Guardian: Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

Research shows a trillion trees could be planted to capture huge amount of carbon dioxide

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Re: Plant, Insect & Animal Populations

#6

Post by Addie » Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:19 am

CNN
Ethiopia plants more than 350 million trees in 12 hours

(CNN) Ethiopia planted more than 353 million trees in 12 hours on Monday, which officials believe is a world record.

The burst of tree planting was part of a wider reforestation campaign named "Green Legacy," spearheaded by the country's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Millions of Ethiopians across the country were invited to take part in the challenge and within the first six hours, Ahmed tweeted that around 150 million trees had been planted.

"We're halfway to our goal," he said and encouraged Ethiopians to "build on the momentum in the remaining hours." After the 12-hour period ended, the Prime Minister took to Twitter again to announce that Ethiopia not only met its "collective #GreenLegacy goal," but exceeded it.

A total of 353,633,660 tree seedlings had been planted, the country's minster for innovation and technology, Getahun Mekuria, tweeted.

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Re: Plant, Insect & Animal Populations

#7

Post by RTH10260 » Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:32 am

Now let it rain in measured amounts to keep the stuff growing, not swept away. And let them grow long, not to be used as easy found firewood.
► Show Spoiler

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Re: Plant, Insect & Animal Populations

#8

Post by Addie » Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:36 am

Still an amazing achievement, Eurobot. Good for the Ethiopians. :clap: :clap:

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Re: Plant, Insect & Animal Populations

#9

Post by Addie » Tue Jul 30, 2019 12:04 pm

The Guardian: Starvation deaths of 200 reindeer in Arctic caused by climate crisis, say researchers

Comparable death toll has been recorded only once before, says Norwegian Polar Institute

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Re: Plant, Insect & Animal Populations

#10

Post by Volkonski » Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:02 am

Two percent of the world's right whales have recently died — pushing the species closer to extinction

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/two-percen ... xtinction/
At least eight North Atlantic right whales have died this summer — about 2% of the endangered marine mammal's total population. All of the animals have been found in Canadian waters, and alarmed scientists are working to confirm the causes of the deaths.

While eight deaths have been confirmed, three more whales are currently entangled in fishing gear, so the number could increase, according to Sean Brilliant, a senior conservation biologist of marine programs at the Canadian Wildlife Federation

There are only about 411 right whales on Earth. All eight deaths have occurred in the last two months, a disastrous number reminiscent of the alarming amount of right whale deaths in 2017.

:snippity:

"At the mortality rates we are seeing, this population could become functionally extinct within the next 20 years," Pettis said. "With that said, this is a resilient species and researchers have no doubt that the species can recover if we stop killing them at unsustainable rates."
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Re: Plant, Insect & Animal Populations

#11

Post by Addie » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:27 am

The Hill
Trump administration reauthorizes use of 'cyanide bombs' to kill wild animals

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reauthorized the use of "cyanide bombs" to kill wild animals such as coyotes, foxes and wild dogs in an effort to protect livestock.

EPA officials made the change in a recent interim decision, authorizing the use of M-44 chemical trap devices by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services department as well as state agencies in Texas, New Mexico, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.

Wildlife Services kills wild animals every year in an effort to protect farmers and livestock including cattle, sheep and goats.

Environmentalists and critics, however, argue the method is inhumane and has led to people being injured in the past.

“Cyanide traps can’t be used safely by anyone, anywhere,” Collette Adkins, the director of carnivore conservation at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement on Wednesday. “While the EPA added some restrictions, these deadly devices have caused too much harm to remain in use. We need a permanent nationwide ban to protect people, pets and imperiled wildlife from this poison.”

In a previous study, the group also noted that more than 99 percent of comments made during the public comment period on the EPA's decision whether or not to reauthorize the use of the so-called cyanide bombs opposed the move.

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Re: Plant, Insect & Animal Populations

#12

Post by Addie » Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:33 am

The Guardian
Giant river animals on verge of extinction, report warns

Populations of the great beasts that once dominated the world’s rivers and lakes have crashed in the last 50 years, according to the first comprehensive study.

Some freshwater megafauna have already been declared extinct, such as the Yangtze dolphin, and many more are now on the brink, from the Mekong giant catfish and stingray to India’s gharial crocodiles to the European sturgeon. Just three Chinese giant softshell turtles are known to survive and all are male. Across Europe, North Africa and Asia, populations have plunged by 97% since 1970.

The killing of the animals for meat, skins and eggs is the cause of the decline, along with humanity’s ever growing thirst for freshwater for crops, its many dams, as well as widespread pollution. The scientists assessed 126 species, covering 72 countries, and found numbers had plunged by an average of 88%.

Many of the creatures are keystone species in their ecosystems, such as beavers, and the researchers said their loss will have knock on effects on all fauna and flora and on the many millions of people that depend on the waterways for their livelihoods.

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Re: Plant, Insect & Animal Populations

#13

Post by Addie » Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:35 am

WaPo
Same-sex penguin couples keep adopting eggs, and the Berlin Zoo is celebrating

BERLIN — To the untrained eye, Skipper and Ping look like a typical king penguin couple.

Standing side by side at the Berlin Zoo with their flippers touching, they take turns carefully nestling an egg between their feet in the hope that it will eventually hatch the chick they have both long sought.

Except these two 10-year-olds are both male — and the latest in a long succession of same-sex penguins that have coupled up to adopt an egg.

At zoos in London, Australia and New York, male and female penguins have for years entered same-sex relationships to incubate eggs into chicks, delighting zookeepers and some visitors while stirring anger and revulsion in others.

Berlin has become the latest city to host a pair of “gay” penguins after Skipper and Ping showed an attraction to each other and a desire to become parents. Both unsuccessfully tried to hatch a stone for some time. Then zookeepers allowed them to adopt an abandoned egg.

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Re: Plant, Insect, Bird & Animal Populations

#14

Post by RTH10260 » Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:58 am

That must signify the end of America :lol:

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Re: Plant, Insect, Bird & Animal Populations

#15

Post by Addie » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:57 am

You're starting to have too much fun, for a Swiss person. :P
RTH10260 wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:58 am
That must signify the end of America :lol:

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Re: Plant, Insect, Bird & Animal Populations

#16

Post by Foggy » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:51 pm

Part Swiss, part Thai, iirc. I imagine he has a really interesting diet. :P
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Re: Plant, Insect, Bird & Animal Populations

#17

Post by Addie » Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:12 pm

Bernie always said that the Swiss had no sense of humor and were proud of it. Of course, that was when Hitler wanted to invade and the Swiss were willing to blow up the Alps to seal the entry passes and to manipulate the lake moraines so as to flood their entire country and drown the German Army in a bowl. No sense of humor.
Foggy wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:51 pm
Part Swiss, part Thai, iirc. I imagine he has a really interesting diet. :P

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Re: Plant, Insect, Bird & Animal Populations

#18

Post by Addie » Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:48 am

WaPo
Scientists decry 'ignorance’ of rolling back species protections in the midst of a mass extinction

At least 277 plant and animal species have gone extinct in North America since the 1700s, data show ...


The changes have drawn widespread condemnation from the scientific community, including complaints the administration is weakening protections for vulnerable species just as scientific consensus is converging on the idea that Earth is now in the midst of its sixth mass extinction event, a man-made disaster with radically destabilizing consequences.

In North America alone, at least 277 plant and animal species have gone extinct since Europeans first arrived on the continent, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, regarded by scientists as the gold standard for data on threatened and endangered species.

The list of the fallen includes some relatively familiar creatures, such as the passenger pigeon and the Steller’s sea cow. But it’s composed primarily of mollusks, insects and other more obscure organisms. Most importantly, it’s egregiously incomplete: Biologists estimate that only about 10 percent of the world’s plant and animal species has been identified and categorized, meaning that many are being killed off before humans are even aware of their existence.

“We’re obliterating landscapes before we’ve even had a chance to catalogue the species that lived there,” said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. The true number of species that we’ve wiped out, she says, is “completely unknown.”

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Re: Plant, Insect, Bird & Animal Populations

#19

Post by Volkonski » Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:48 am

More than half a billion bees dropped dead in Brazil within 3 months

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/more-than- ... e-worried/
More than half a billion bees dropped dead in Brazil within just three months, according to Bloomberg. Researchers say the main cause of death is pesticides, which could end up effecting more than the bees.

As some of the most integral pollinators in nature, bees contribute to the reproduction of various plants. About 75% of the world's crops depend on pollination by bees, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports.

FAO has warned about the importance of protecting bees to ensure food security. With 500 million dead in Brazil, the future of food has come into question.

:snippity:

In just three years, 193 weedkillers and pesticides containing chemicals banned in the European Union were registered in Brazil, the Unearthed investigation revealed. Brazil has become the biggest buyer of pesticides in the world.
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Re: Plant, Insect, Bird & Animal Populations

#20

Post by Addie » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:07 am

Boing Boing - Seamus Bellamy: Now the prairie dogs are out to get us



I think it's fair to say at this point that the earth is rising up in self defense and will soon devour every last one of us. If a longer than usual storm season, unprecedented global temperatures and melting glaciers aren't enough to convince you, how's about this: plague infected prairie dogs and fleas are now out to get us.

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Re: Plant, Insect, Bird & Animal Populations

#21

Post by Estiveo » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:53 am

Meh, prairie dogs have always been a plague vector. This is not a new thing.
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Re: Plant, Insect, Bird & Animal Populations

#22

Post by Addie » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:30 am

National Geographic
Red Abalone Numbers Collapsing In Northern California Seas As Kelp Forests Disappear

Many people have never eaten—or even heard of—red abalone, a species of sea snail that lives suctioned onto boulders and feeds on the lush kelp forests of Northern California. Abalone is a much-sought-after delicacy with a sweet, delicate flavor similar to a sea scallop, say those who’ve tried it.

“For people who think they don’t like fish…it’s amazing to see their eyes just sparkle when they take a bite and go ‘this is absolutely incredible,’” says Joe Cresalia, a recreational diver who lives just north of San Francisco. “And you know before they took the bite, they were almost afraid to take a bite.” But as marine heat waves, ocean acidification, habitat loss, and overfishing shrink the red abalone fishery, the sweet delicacy is at risk of permanently losing its food source: the kelp forests. “There’s a hole in our lives the size of a really good-sized abalone. We miss that,” says Cresalia.

The abalone was first harvested by the Native Americans, and later popularized when the first abalone fishery was established in the early 20th century. The fishery reached peak popularity during the 1950s and 1960s. Commercial fishers as well as divers from around the world traveled to the California coast to dive into lush kelp forests and pry snails off their rocks. ...

From 2014 to 2016, a marine heat wave now referred to as the blob formed off the coast of British Columbia and spread as far south as Northern California. (Read more about the blob that cooked the Pacific.) By 2016, the kelp forests were nearly gone. “No wind means no mixing, and that fall [of 2013] had an incredible period of fair weather. They had no storms,” says Nate Mantua, a research scientist at NOAA. “The ocean did not give back any of the heat that it usually gives back to the atmosphere.”

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Re: Plant, Insect, Bird & Animal Populations

#23

Post by Addie » Wed Aug 21, 2019 2:09 pm

Oh noes :eek2:

Wired
A Fungus Could Wipe Out the Banana Forever

The banana—or at least the fruit as we know it—is facing an existential crisis. A deadly fungus that has decimated banana plantations in southeast Asia for 30 years has finally done what scientists have long been fearing, and made its way to Latin America—the heart of the global banana export market.

On August 8 the Colombian Agricultural Institute announced that it had confirmed that the fungus—a strain of Fusarium oxysporum called Tropical Race 4 (TR4)—had been found in plantations in the north of the country. The country declared a national state of emergency, destroying crops and quarantining plantations in an attempt to avert the spread of the fungus.

But Latin America has been in this situation before. Until the 1950s, the most commonly exported banana variety was the Gros Michel, which was almost totally wiped out by a different strain of the Fusarium fungus. The modern export banana—the Cavendish—took Gros Michel’s place because it was resistant to that early Fusarium strain. Now 99 percent of all exported bananas are Cavendish—with almost all of them grown in Latin America.

“What we’re having is an almost apocalyptic scenario where we’ll probably lose Cavendish as well,” says Sarah Gurr, Exeter University’s chair in food security. Initially discovered in Taiwan in 1989, TR4 is rife throughout southeast Asia and has since been found in Lebanon, Israel, India, and Australia. But until now, Latin America had avoided the pathogen altogether.

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Re: Plant, Insect, Bird & Animal Populations

#24

Post by Addie » Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:45 am

Cross-posting

Vox - Sigal Samuel
Julián Castro released an animal welfare plan. It’s good policy — and smart politics.

“This groundbreaking plan will undo Donald Trump’s damage,” the Democratic candidate said.


Julián Castro is the first 2020 presidential candidate to roll out a comprehensive plan for animal welfare, an issue that’s increasingly attracting American voters’ concern.

The Democrat’s Protecting Animals and Wildlife (PAW) plan, released on Monday, includes an array of bold proposals, including making animal cruelty a federal crime.

Castro frames his plan as a way of sticking it to President Donald Trump and as the solution to Trumpian problems. The PAW plan would strengthen the Endangered Species Act, which Trump has weakened. And it would stop Americans from importing animal trophies that result from big-game hunting — something Donald Trump Jr. is known to love.

“The president does not care about animals and his cruel actions prove it. He has put corporate profits over living creatures and individual fortunes over our future,” Castro said. “This groundbreaking plan will improve the treatment of animals around the country and the world, and undo Donald Trump’s damage.”

Castro also seeks to reform factory farming by creating minimum standards for animal welfare and opposing state “ag gag” laws that hide animal cruelty from the public; to end the euthanasia of healthy cats and dogs in shelters; to prohibit the testing of cosmetics on animals; and to protect at least 30 percent of US lands and oceans by 2030.

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Re: Plant, Insect, Bird & Animal Populations

#25

Post by Addie » Sat Aug 24, 2019 1:04 pm

Associated Press
Alaska salmon deaths blamed on record warm temperatures

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Add salmon to the list of species affected by Alaska’s blistering summer temperatures, including the hottest July on record.

Dead salmon have shown up in river systems throughout Alaska, and the mortalities are probably connected to warm water or low river water levels, said Sam Rabung, director of commercial fisheries for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The department has not quantified past heat-related fish deaths because they tended to be sporadic and inconsistent, Rabung said. But department scientists this year will analyze fish deaths, summarize observation and record effects.

“If we have a few years in a row like this, then I think we have a bigger issue,” he said.

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