Some Amazon Trees species are more than 8 million years old!?!

December 26th, 2012

If you think your grandparents are old wait until you hear about this. Scientist have just found tree species in the amazon that are older than eight million years! That’s even more astonishing judging from the facts that humanity is a little under a million years old!

Estimated genetic ages of trees in the study. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

  • The amazon is the earth largest rainforest with two thirds lying within Brazil. This is important as Brazil has made a great commitment towards “cutting down” its deforestation rates.
  • A group of scientist from a series of colleges recently did a large amount of testing on a wide array of Amazonian trees, the results they found were completely amazing.
  • Nine of the species were 2.6 million years old, seven were 5.6 million years old, and three were more than 8 million years old!
  • This new information has a giant affect on the conservation of the Amazonian forests because it shows that these species have survived through drastic climate changes before, similar to the one we’re facing now.
  • These periods match the temperature scenario for the highest possible carbon emission estimate.
  • This means that the best possible way we can save these forests now is to make sure that nobody chops them down.

Canopy tree in Peru. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

 

Want to learn more? Read the full story at: Some Amazon trees more than 8 million years old

Lemur Meat? No thank you, I’ll have insects

December 26th, 2012

In a new Lion King-fashioned twist the people of Madagascar may begin replacing lemur meat with insects.  This could be a cost effective and nutritious step into a more environmental future for Madagascar.

  • The people of Madagascar may soon begin eating silkworm pupae.
  • This is a cost effective because silkworm pupae are a large byproduct of the silk production within Madagascar.
  • This new innovation is designed to help solve problems like helping the poor, helping to save the environment, and helping to make sure the Lemurs of Madagascar are safe!
  • “The concept is simple: generate sustainable livelihoods from silk production using native silkworms”-
  • After that the pupae can then be sold and are a great source of protein for the people!
  • Whats the result of this? Less forest is being cleared every day because its not needed for farmlands and the lemurs will be less likely to be hunted for meat.
  • Farmers can now make more money while making sure their children are well fed.

Moth larvae munching on a host plant. Photo by: Tom Corcoran.

 

Want to learn more? Read the full story: Replacing lemur meat with insect protein in Madagascar

Temperatures Rise, Seals Suffer

December 9th, 2012

Ringed seal (Phoca hispida). Photo by: NOAA.

Arctic seals are recognized on a worldwide basis for their cuteness and character. These beautiful animals however, are in danger due to the earths rising temperature. Arctic seals require very specific amounts of snow to have children.  They’re very picky, and if the amount of snow keeps going down then so will the amount of seals.

  • Sea ice, which is disappearing at an alarming rate, provides an important base for the deep snow seals need to have babies.
  • These arctic seals require very particular amounts of snow and ice to make their birthing caves so they can have their children in a safe and comfortable environment.
  • Areas with only twenty centimeters of snow might even lose up to 70% of their snow by April! This would be catastrophic for the seals.
  • No ice caves also mean that baby seals can be eaten by predators or run the risk of freezing to death.
  • Rainfall is also supposed to double by the end of the 21st century, causing these ice caves to collapse if the heat doesn’t do that first.
  • The loss of these seals would also affect other animals such as the polar bear and killer whales, as well as native humans who are dependent on these seals for food.
  • Scientist are currently proposing that both the ringed and bearded seal should be listed as ‘threatened’.

 

Want to read more? Read the full story at: Reduction in snow threatens Arctic seals

Half the World’s Wetlands are Gone, Help is Needed

December 9th, 2012

A cow stands in Brazil’s Pantanal, the world’s largest wetland which is threatened by cattle ranching and agriculture. In 2006 it was announced that 17 percent of the Pantanal had been lost to deforestation. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.

A report published by the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity brings bad tidings to the world. In this report many disheartening facts were made public like the fact that our planet has lost over half of its wetlands! Wetlands play an important role in human life as well as help the environment in a multitude of ways, the fact that they are in danger is something to be worried about.

  • Wetlands play an important part in the water cycle, trapping water so that it can become rain. They also help to protect your homes from flooding and storms by trapping water.
  • They also help land form and keep the coasts stable.
  • Wetlands have the fourth largest amount of Biological weight on the planet.
  • In the last 100 years half of the worlds wetlands have been destroyed.
  • In 1900 25 million square kilometers of wetland exited, now we barely have 12.8 million square kilometers.
  • “Carrying on ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option”- Nick Davidson, Ramsar Convention’s Deputy Secretary General

Want to read more? Read the full story here at: World has lost half its wetlands