Conservation

Island of plastic debris in Pacific far bigger than previous estimates, study says

Plastic Toothbrush Debris. Marine Debris team members removed 705 toothbrushes and personal care items from the shorelines of Midway Atoll in 2016. Photo Credit: NOAA Coral Reef Ecosystem Program (CC BY 2.0)

A giant island of plastic floating in the Pacific Ocean holds as much as 16 times more debris than was previously thought, posing a significant threat to the food chain, scientists said on Thursday (22nd March 2018).

The so-called garbage patch in waters between California and Hawaii consists of fishing nets, plastic containers, packaging and ropes, said the Ocean Cleanup Foundation, which headed up a study published in Scientific Reports, an online journal. Read more »

Communicating why pollinators matter could help save them and ensure food security worldwide, researchers say

International researchers met in Leiden (Netherlands) in early March, to discuss the latest research on pollinators and stress the need to communicate their value more actively to citizens and policy advisors. Better science communication, backed by more research funding, could help ensure sustainable pollination worldwide. Read more »

Amazonian locals key to saving 'lungs of the planet' says study

An aerial view shows the Amazon rainforest at the Bom Futuro National Forest near Rio Pardo in Porto Velho, Rondonia State, Brazil, September 3, 2015. Nacho Doce
Peru has pledged to reach zero net new deforestation by 2021, but environmentalists say a push by illegal gold miners and palm oil producers could make that goal impossible

by Chris Arsenault | @chrisarsenaul | Thomson Reuters Foundation

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How much plastic have humans made?

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(Credit: UC Santa Barbara)

Humans have created more than 8 billion metric tons of plastic since the large-scale production of synthetic materials began in the early 1950s, a new study suggests.

The study provides the first global analysis of the production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made, including synthetic fibers. Read more »

How the search for mythical monsters can help conservation in the real world

aleks1949 / shutterstock

After fears the Loch Ness Monster had “disappeared” last winter, a new sighting in May 2017 was celebrated by its enthusiasts. The search for monsters and mythical creatures (or “cryptids”) such as Nessie, the Yeti or Bigfoot is known as “cryptozoology”.

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Plastics leave permanent indestructible legacy

Stomach contents of an albatross chick photographed in the Pacific in 2009. Image: By Chris Jordan (via US Fish & Wildlife Service HQ)

By Tim Radford, Climate News Network
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The engineer using old cell phones to stop illegal logging

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Topher White installs a cell phone listening device. Source: Rainforest Connection

By Jeremy Deaton

On a 2011 hike through the Indonesian rainforest, Topher White stumbled across a rogue logger cutting down a tree. The man was working just a short distance from the ranger station, but the din of chirping birds and buzzing insects obscured the sound of his chainsaw, keeping him hidden in plain sight.

This gave White an idea. The San Francisco-based engineer dreamt of a device that could listen for chainsaws and report their whereabouts to park authorities. Read more »

Brazil ranked world's most deadly nation for land activists as impunity reigns

A farmer evicted from this home in a land conflict with a powerful rancher poses for a photograph outside of Boca do Acre in Amazonas State, Brazil on May 26, 2017 (© Chris Arsenault, Thomson Reuters Foundation)

Standing beside broken floor boards and corrugated iron that once made-up his two-room house in the Amazon rainforest, Brazilian farmer Manoel Freitas da Conceicao is on the frontline of the world's most violent country for land activists.

Data released on 13th July 2017 by London-based campaign group Global Witness showed that 49 of 200 land rights activists killed last year were from South America's largest country, making Brazil the world's most dangerous nation for campaigners. Read more »

Aquaculture is main driver of mangrove losses

Mangroves provide coastal protection and habitat for several species. Shahnoor Habib Munmun | Wikimedia Commons

By Dyna Rochmyaningsih

Expanding aquaculture in South-East Asia over the last two decades has been the main driver of mangrove loss in the world, says a study published in PLOS One this month (June 2017).
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Bee groups embrace new EU partnership with trust the key

Beekeepers, scientists, policy-makers and other relevant parties are to set up a European bee partnership that could transform the way bee health is assessed in the EU.

The pledge was the main outcome of a major scientific meeting held in Brussels on Monday 26th June 2017 entitled “Towards a European Bee Partnership” that was attended by more than 120 delegates from scientific organisations, EU bodies, researchers, beekeeper and farmers’ groups, and NGOs.

Willingness to collaborate Read more »
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