Conservation

'From Potato to Planet' - Soil Association reveals new film to celebrate World Soil Day

Saturday December 5th is World Soil Day and as part of its Soil Campaign the Soil Association is launching a new film made to spread the word about why soil is so important far and wide. And of course what we can all do to make a difference.

The film has been made with Aardman Animations (the people behind Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep) and as well as helping to understand the importance of soil to the planet, it also shines a spotlight on the role organic farming and shopping can play in protecting our soils. Read more »

New research shows that honey bee queens are highly vulnerable to two neonicotinoid insecticides

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A marked honey bee queen used during the study. She is shown on a wax comb with adult workers, capped cells containing maturing workers, and open cells containing eggs that will develop into workers. (Photo: Geoffrey Williams, University of Bern)

Throughout the northern hemisphere beekeepers have struggled to maintain adequate numbers of honey bee colonies for crop pollination and honey production due to dramatic increases in colony deaths each year. Recent surveys of beekeepers suggest that poor queen health is an important reason for these losses, but why queen health is now being affected is not understood. Read more »

Crisis in global oceans as populations of marine species halve in size since 1970

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White tip reef shark, Triaenodon obesus, close-up. Phoenix Islands, Kiribati. (© Cat Holloway / WWF)

WWF’s Living Blue Planet report, an updated study of marine mammals, birds, reptiles and fish, shows a decline of 49 per cent in the size of marine populations between 1970 and 2012. As well as being disastrous for ecosystems, these findings spell trouble for all nations, especially people in the developing world who depend heavily on the ocean’s resources. Read more »

Rapid decline in bumblebee species caused by climate change, study finds

Bumblebee (UFZ)

In the most comprehensive analysis of climate change impacts on critical pollinators, researchers have found that rapid declines in bumblebee species across North America and Europe have a strong link to climate change. The study was published in Science. It was conducted by scientists from University of Ottawa and other North American institutions. Scientists from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), as one of the major partners from Europe, were responsible for coordinating basic data collection. Read more »

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 »

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 »

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 »

New report from Survival International reveals abuses suffered by the Kalahari Bushmen in Botswana

A new report from Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, has revealed hundreds of cases of beatings, arrests and abuses suffered by the Kalahari Bushmen in Botswana at the hands of wildlife officers and police. Read more »

Gold for Grow Mayow Community Garden

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Grow Mayow Community Garden has been awarded the highest level of achievement from the Royal Horticultural Society and London in Bloom in this year’s RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood initiative.

Iris Borgers and Erika Sager were presented with the Level 5: Outstanding award at the RHS London In Bloom ceremony at the Surrey County Cricket Club on Monday, 8 September. 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 »

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