Published on Dec 21, 2012
Published on Dec 21, 2012
Description : Boomstronken; foto door Fruggo, juni 2003.
The argument, put forward by a team from Oxford and Sheffield Universities in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, begins with temperature. Warmer climates mean more vigorous tree growth and more leaf litter, and more organic content in the soil. So the tree’s roots grow more vigorously, said Dr. Christopher Doughty of Oxford and colleagues.
They get into the bedrock, and break up the rock into its constituent minerals. Once that happens, the rock starts to weather, combining with carbon dioxide. This weathering draws carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, and in the process cools the planet down a little. So mountain ecosystems—mountain forests are usually wet and on conspicuous layers of rock—are in effect part of the global thermostat, preventing catastrophic overheating.
The tree is more than just a sink for carbon, it is an agency for chemical weathering that removes carbon from the air and locks it up in carbonate rock.
That mountain weathering and forest growth are part of the climate system has never been in much doubt: the questions have always been about how big a forest’s role might be, and how to calculate its contribution.
Keeping climate stable
U.S. scientists recently studied the rainy slopes of New Zealand’s Southern Alps to begin to put a value on mountain ecosystem processes. Dr. Doughty and his colleagues measured tree roots at varying altitudes in the tropical rain forests of Peru, from the Amazon lowlands to 3,000 meters of altitude in the higher Andes.
They measured the growth to 30 cm below the surface every three months and did so for a period of years. They recorded the thickness of the soil’s organic layer, and they matched their observations with local temperatures, and began to calculate the rate at which tree roots might turn Andean granite into soil.
Then they scaled up the process, and extended it through long periods of time. Their conclusion: that forests served to moderate temperatures in a much hotter world 65 million years ago.
According to an international group of scientists led by Dr Nate Stephenson of the US Geological Survey, most of tropical and temperate tree species grow more quickly and sequester more carbon as they grow older.
The report, published in the journal Nature, is based on repeated measurements of 673,046 individual trees belonging to 403 species, some going back more than 80 years.
“Rather than slowing down or ceasing growth and carbon uptake, as we previously assumed, most of the oldest trees in forests around the world actually grow faster, taking up more carbon. A large tree may put on weight equivalent to an entire small tree in a year,” said co-author Dr Richard Condit from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
“This report would not have been possible without long-term records of individual tree growth. It was remarkable how we were able to examine this question on a global level, thanks to the sustained efforts of many programs and individuals,” added co-author Dr Mark Harmon of Oregon State University.
“Extraordinary growth of some species, such as Australian mountain ash – also known as eucalyptus – (Eucalyptus regnans), and the coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) is not limited to a few species,” Dr Stephenson said.
“Rather, rapid growth in giant trees is the global norm and can exceed 600 kg per year in the largest individuals. In human terms, it is as if our growth just keeps accelerating after adolescence, instead of slowing down. By that measure, humans could weigh half a ton by middle age, and well over a ton at retirement.”
By Mark Shand
In all the 30 years I have been working in Asian elephant conservation, I thought I had seen it all – blatant corruption, the rape and total disregard of our beautiful planet and sickening wildlife atrocities, to name but a few. All due to the most dangerous animal of all: homo sapiens.
Not much shocks me any more, but something happened in recent weeks that shook me to the core when the charity Elephant Family and the Ecologist Film Unit set out to document the environmental genocide that is out of control on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia.
Sumatra is special to me because I spent a lot of time there on expeditions when I was younger. It was a paradise – vast pristine forests, intact coral reefs and abundant wildlife.
Raja is a male baby elephant found in north Aceh, villagers found him roaming community plantation and held him captive
All this has changed now and their elephants are the most endangered on the planet. In a single generation, the population has been cut in half, with countless other animals disappearing at breakneck speed.
During the filming, a helpless, emaciated baby male elephant called Raja, who was barely a year old, was found in a village, shackled with heavy chains to a tree. He had been taken hostage by the villagers, who were demanding compensation from the Sumatran government for the damage his family had done to their crops.
Can you believe that we are now living in a world where people are actually holding baby elephants to ransom? It is almost unthinkable. But just look at the photographs – look at Raja, as he strains against his chains, waving his little trunk for food and reassurance. He is bellowing in desperation for his mother.
Can you believe that we are now living in a world where people are actually holding baby elephants to ransom?
He strains against his chains, waving his little trunk for food and reassurance. He is bellowing in desperation for his mother
I have heard that sound of distressed calves many times in my life. It never fails to haunt me. But it is his eyes that haunt me more than anything – pleading for help – innocent, desperate and helpless.
A war is being waged across Asia. In the face of relentless deforestation, elephants are being forced out of their natural habitats and they have no choice but to share their living space with humans. As the elephants’ forest home is destroyed, stressed and starving herds flee from the chainsaws straight into villages.
They demolish everything in sight, trampling crops, flattening houses and often killing people. Frankly, you really cannot blame the villagers for taking such drastic steps in the sheer desperation to survive and feed their own families.
Capturing a baby elephant and holding it to ransom is grisly and depressing, but it is reality as humans and elephants fight for space.
People need to know why this is happening. They need to understand what is driving this madness.
World Heritage Centre has extended heritage listed boundary by more than 170,000 hectares
Almost 200,000 hectares of Tasmania’s old growth forest have been world heritage listed, bringing hope that a three-decade fight between environmentalists, politicians and loggers is over.
The World Heritage Committee has extended the heritage listed boundary of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area by more than 170,000 hectares after accepting a proposal from the Australian government which will give the areas the highest level of environmental protection in the world.
The old growth forest areas now added to the heritage listing are in the Upper Florentine as well as within the Styx, Huon, Picton and Counsel River Valley.
Logging will continue in the forest in areas Environment Minister Tony Burke described as “less contentious”.
The proposal the government put to the World Heritage Committee was the work of people within the forestry industry as well as environmentalists, including Miranda Gibson who famously spent 457 days living in a tree in the old growth forest in a campaign for extended environmental protection.
Speaking from Hobart where she had watched a livestream of the World Heritage Committee handing down the decision, Gibson said she was thrilled and had contemplated returning to the tree if she was unhappy with the decision.
“It’s good to know I don’t have to go back to the tree unless I want to visit,” she said.
“The hardest part [of living in the tree] was not knowing how long I would be up there or if the loggers would come and log around me.
“It was obviously also very isolating.”
Gibson started living at the top of the 60 metre eucalypt tree in December 2011 and was driven out by bushfires in March this year. By then the proposed extended areas for world heritage listing had been granted temporary protection.
She decided to campaign from the ground until the committee handed down their official decision.
Published on Jan 30, 2013
A song I wrote when I visited the site after 9/11; always thought a little heavy, but it is time to get it out there. All photos taken from the web, if there is any infringement, please contact me, I will include credits. Included on my CD “Renegade of the Light Brigade” during the remix and urging of the late, great Steve Burgh.
Originally posted on Socio-Economics History Blog:
View original 115 more words
A noble undertaking to be sure. Were it not for the simple fact that Science has not , for the most part, respected the right of creatures to exist in an environment that is suitable for their rightful existence. Science and mankind alike have, for the most part, considered only it’s pleasure and curiosity where animals are concerned. They have neither respected their lives nor their habitats. Always putting their selfish needs before anything else.
Which leads one to wonder as to the why of this undertaking? I would venture to say it is all for the greater glory of their Scientific careers. They nether care nor are concerned with the well being or happiness of any of these creatures. The proof is in the lack of impetus where pollution, experimental animal research and deforestation are concerned. Just look at the palm oil plantations flourishing at the expense of the Orangutang , the bees and pollinators dying off due to GMO’s. The Whale, porpoise and a long list of sea life. The endless list of animals that are endangered, being poached and savaged on a daily basis, and then there is always the commercialization of the creatures. Aquariums for profit, Zoos that confine these poor animals to cages or concrete pens in many cases in environments that are completely alien and detrimental to the species. Exotic animals captured and sold for the highest dollar to people who think they are pretty and since they have the money why not ? Of course if they can afford it they want what no one else has, regardless of the morality of such a desire. Avarice and social standing know no limits to satiating these desires
A lesser bird of paradise flaunts his flank plumes to entice females.
Who cares what these poor creatures had to endure to make it to that pet shop or dealer. The only thing that matters is they got what they wanted , the animal be damned. After all it is just an animal isn’t it ?
Let’s not forget the Circus, animals taken from their mothers at a young age that are savagely beaten and traumatized to conform for the amusement of those willing to pay for the entertainment and for the profit of those unethical beasts that mistreat and terrorize them on a daily basis. Their suffering is of no consequence and trivial to those who want to possess them.
In light of the cruelty and callousness with which humanity has treated the creatures of this planet, I would venture to say they are better off as a part of history than part of the next series of experiments for the glory of greedy and soulless enterprises.
On Friday at a National Geographic sponsored TEDx conference, scientists met in Washington, D.C. to discuss which animals we should bring back from extinction. They also discussed the how, why, and ethics of doing so.They called it “de-extinction.”
There are a few guidelines for which ancient species are considered, and sadly, dinosaurs are so long dead they aren’t in the picture. Their DNA has long ago degraded, so researchers are fairly sure that Jurassic Park will never happen.
But there are plenty of other animals on the table. The list of candidates is actually pretty long, considering.
Tasmania Tigers were hunted by humans to extinction
Stuffed passenger pigeon on display at the Royal Ontario Museum.
Na Son Nguyen/AP
The intimate animal portraits, which feature everything from a featherless chicken to a pair of affectionate chimpanzees, are meant to illuminate the similarities between animal poses, gestures, and gazes, and our own.
Photographing animals on a set, as opposed to in their natural habitat comes with a unique set of challenges.
“You can never predict an animal’s mood,” Flach says on his website. “So you have to plan beforehand to get what you want.” To make the animals feel as comfortable as possible, Flach may adjust the temperature of the studio or play music.
The number of Monarch butterflies making it to their winter refuge in Mexico dropped 59 per cent this year, falling to the lowest level since comparable record-keeping began 20 years ago, scientists reported Wednesday.
It was the third straight year of declines for the orange-and-black butterflies that migrate from the United States and Canada to spend the winter sheltering in mountaintop fir forests in central Mexico. Six of the last seven years have shown drops, and there are now only one-fifteenth as many butterflies as there were in 1997.
In the Hamilton region, Monarchs have been faced with a loss of habitat for many years said Jen Baker, Head-of-the-Lake Land Trust Program co-ordinator for the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club. Milkweed, the Monarchs’ main food source as well as where they lay their eggs, has been decreasing in the region.
“Milkweed can’t necessarily grow in fields that are sprayed for weeds. It might be good for crops, but it’s bad for milkweed,” she said, adding that invasive species also pose a risk.
“Dog Strangling Vine is an invasive plant that is a cousin of the milkweed. We’ve found some females will lay their eggs on the vine and the babies die because that’s not their food.”
Both planting milkweed and trying to control the Dog Strangling Vine population are both efforts the Naturalists’ Club encourages, Baker added.
The decline in the Monarch population now marks a statistical long-term trend and can no longer be seen as a combination of yearly or seasonal events, the experts said.
But they differed on the possible causes.
There are issues facing Monarchs south of the border, too, according to experts. Illegal logging in the reserve established in the Monarch wintering grounds was long thought to contribute, but such logging has been vastly reduced by increased protection, enforcement and alternative development programs in Mexico.
The World Wildlife Fund, one of the groups that sponsored the butterfly census, blamed climate conditions and agricultural practices, especially the use of pesticides that kill off the Monarchs’ main food source, milkweed. The butterflies breed and live in the north in the summer, and migrate to Mexico in the winter.
“The decrease of Monarch butterflies … probably is due to the negative effects of reduction in milkweed and extreme variation in the United States and Canada,” the fund and its partner organizations said in a statement.
Monarchs ‘a shared responsibility’ Omar Vidal, the World Wildlife Fund director in Mexico, said: “The conservation of the Monarch butterfly is a shared responsibility between Mexico, the United States and Canada. By protecting the reserves and having practically eliminated large-scale illegal logging, Mexico has done its part.”
“It is now necessary for the United States and Canada to do their part and protect the butterflies’ habitat in their territories,” Vidal said.
Sample Photos of Monarch Caterpillars, Butterflied and different varieties of Milkweed to assist in identifying for a butterfly garden
by Staff Writers
Moffett Field CA (SPX) Mar 04, 2013
Trends in forest canopy green cover over the eastern United States from 2000 to 2010 derived from NASA MODIS satellite sensor data. Green shades indicate a positive trend of increasing growing season green cover, whereas brown shades indicate a negative trend of decreasing growing season green cover. Four forest sub-regions of interest are outlined in red, north to south as: Great Lakes, Southern Appalachian, Mid-Atlantic, and southeastern Coastal Plain. Image credit: NASA. For a larger version of this image please go here.
NASA scientists report that warmer temperatures and changes in precipitation locally and regionally have altered the growth of large forest areas in the eastern United States over the past 10 years.
Using NASA’s Terra satellite, scientists examined the relationship between natural plant growth trends, as monitored by NASA satellite images, and variations in climate over the eastern United States from 2000 to 2010.
Monthly satellite images from the MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) showed declining density of the green forest cover during summer in four sub-regions, the Upper Great Lakes, southern Appalachian, mid-Atlantic, and southeastern Coastal Plain.
More than 20 percent of the non-agricultural area in the four sub-regions that showed decline during the growing season, were covered by forests. Nearly 40 percent of the forested area within the mid-Atlantic sub-region alone showed a significant decline in forest canopy cover.