Biodiversity & Conservation

Taking nature's best ideas to solve human problems

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The IBERS living walls on Gogerddan campus

A newly established Plants & Architecture Network has been set up between Aberystwyth, Bangor and Cardiff Universities with funding via Welsh Government’s Sêr Cymru National Research Network for Low Carbon, Energy and the Environment (NRN-LCEE). Read more »

Non-hooked birds: how to avoid seabird bycatch in the Mediterranean?

Seabirds are the most endangered bird species in the world due to fishing practices, predation and the loss of breeding habitat (image: Vero Cortés, UB-IRBio)

Night setting; bird scaring lines; weighted branchlines that sink rapidly; fish offal and bait covered on board so it doesn’t attract seabirds to the boats; deck lights kept at the minimum level, and discards not thrown back into the sea. Read more »

Germany’s “energywende” threatens migratory bats

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Soprano pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus): A small European bat species, which is presumably migrating over long distances. Photo: C.C.Voigt

Numerous bats are killed by German wind turbines. The number of such turbines, already very high, is planned to be increased further. More than two-thirds of bats being killed by wind turbines on German ground are migrants on their way between summer and winter habitats. Due to its geographical location in Europe, Germany has consequently a central responsibility for the conservation of migratory bats. Read more »

You can hear the coral reefs dying

Lionfish in an Indonesian coral reef

You can hear the sound of former bustling coral reefs dying due to the impact of human activity, according to new research from the Universities of Essex and Exeter. Coral reefs are amongst the noisiest environments on our planet and healthy reefs can be heard by using underwater microphones from kilometres away. However, scientists have found that coral reefs impacted by human activity, such as overfishing, are much quieter than protected reefs, which can have a big impact on the fish and invertebrates which rely on the reefs for survival. Read more »

Primates are indispensable for the regeneration of tropical forests

Moustached tamarins (Saguinus mystax) contribute crucially to the seed dispersal of the neotropical tree Parkia panurensis (Photo: Julia Diegmann)

Primates can influence seed dispersal and spatial genetic kinship structure of plants that serve as their food source. This is the result of a cooperation project of behavioral ecologist Eckhard W. Heymann from the German Primate Center (DPZ) with plant geneticists Birgit Ziegenhagen and Ronald Bialozyt from the Philipps-University Marburg. Read more »

Surfers Against Sewage call for innovative new measures to rid the UK coastline of marine litter

Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) has launched a crucial new environmental report calling for a 50% reduction in UK beach litter by 2020. The Marine Litter Report sounds the alarm for the UK’s trashed tidelines, highlighting the environmental impacts on marine ecosystems and wildlife, and the unaffordable costs to industries including fisheries and tourism. Read more »

Taxing ammunition pushes cost-sensitive bushmeat hunters to conserve wildlife

After the cost of ammunition increased, Amazonian hunters hunted much less small animals, like these toucans, than before. (Photo © Eriberto Gualinga)

Hunting of bushmeat is one major cause of biodiversity loss in tropical countries. Research has shown that consumers of wildlife are price sensitive and that the quantity of meat purchased is influenced by the cost of bushmeat and its substitutes. Now also the behavior of the hunters has been studied. Read more »

Due to landscape fragmentation, Brazil's rainforests are releasing more carbon dioxide than previously thought

Shown are fragments of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest in the North-East of Brazil, surround by sugar cane plantations. Credit: Mateus de Dantas de Paula

Because of the deforestation of tropical rainforests in Brazil, significantly more carbon has been lost than was previously assumed. As scientists of the Hemholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) write in the scientific journal Nature Communications, the effect of the degradation has been underestimated in fragmented forest areas, since it was hitherto not possible to calculate the loss of the biomass at the forest edges and the higher emission of carbon dioxide. The UFZ scientists have now closed this knowledge gap. Read more »

New research identifies the areas of the Earth that are high priorities for conservation in the face of climate change

Europe is particularly vulnerable, as it has the lowest fraction of its land area, only four per cent, of any continent in ‘refugia’ – areas of biological diversity that support many species where natural environmental conditions remain relatively constant during times of great environmental change. The refugia that do exist in Europe are mostly in Scandinavia and Scotland.

The biggest refugia are in the Amazon, the Congo basin, the boreal forests of Russia, the Artic and the Australian outback. Read more »

Safeguarding the genetic diversity of the world's forests: first global study of forest genetic resources is published

The FAO has urged countries to improve data gathering and research to promote the conservation and sustainable management of the world's forest genetic resources, which are coming under increasing pressure.

According to the first-ever edition of The State of the World's Forest Genetic Resources report, half of the forest species reported as regularly utilized by countries are threatened by the conversion of forests to pastures and farmland, overexploitation, and the impacts of climate change. Read more »

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