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ecology news archives 5

New translation, the Magna Carta
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ecology 5

the destruction of of the mesopotamian wetlands by madsam
Another example of environmental destruction be a centralised state, and the hope of restoration under freedom.

Advised reading

“More specifically, the late, great Mesopotamian marshes -- a decade ago, the largest wetland by far in the Middle East, and a site considered by many religious scholars as the inspiration for the Garden of Eden in the Bible and Koran.”

“ But Hussein considered the swamps a haven for Shiite opponents of his regime. So in the mid-1990s, he drained the marshes, broadcast pesticides to kill the fish and wildlife, and attacked the villages of the ma'dan. Today, the once verdant network of reed beds and waterways is mostly a sere and lifeless plain.”

And another similar item here with small map and picture.

This is an excellent test case for the seriousness of both the liberators and the local communities.

Wars are a large danger to the environment. Here is a poor article on the issue, for want of something better.

the web address for this article is









effects of light pollution on animals

“Light pollution, the luminous orange glow that haloes cities and suburbs, threatens wildlife by disrupting biological rhythms and otherwise interfering with the behavior of nocturnal animals”

and several more details.

Light pollution is also a problem in astronomy, or even merely taking a look at the starry skies during an evening stroll.
Of course, with increasing lighting efficiency, human behaviour is now much less dependent upon sunlight, leading to changing living and work patterns.

the web address for this article is


coral bleaching vector?

Coral bleaching may be linked to bacteria responsive to increased temperatures.

“He suspects much of the world's coral bleaching is caused by similar pathogens, and some of them may have different vectors. This year, he showed that another new bacterial species, Vibrio coralliilyticus, causes
bleaching in a Red Sea reef coral. Pathogenic strains of Vibrio have also been isolated from reefs off the coasts of England and Brazil.”

the web address for this article is


parrots colonising western cities

For instance—

  • here is the site of a PhD student studying the spread of introduced rose-collared parakeets in the UK and elsewhere
  • and here is a site from someone who has parakeets arriving in his suburban London garden and neighbourhood.
Image credit:

As well as sites showing thousands of bird stamps from all round the world, such as and, there are many sites with photographs of parrots, parakeets and other birds.

Some examples are

the web address for this article is


and still the pressure grows—population, desertification, water, oil

population, desertification

“The pressure of the world's 6.2 billion people is slowly turning
productive land into desert on every continent. Cultivation of marginal
land has eroded soils, while some 3 billion cattle, sheep, and goats have
pushed pastures beyond their sustainable limits. All told, desertification
plagues up to one third of the earth's land area, affecting more than 1
billion people in 110 countries.”

population water, oil, population

“Aquifers are being depleted in scores of countries, including China, India, and the United States, which collectively account for half of the world grain harvest. Under the North China Plain, which produces more than half of China's wheat and a third of its corn, the annual drop in the water table has increased from an average of 1.5 meters a decade ago to up to 3 meters today. Overpumping has largely depleted the shallow aquifer, so the amount of water that can be pumped from it each year is restricted to the annual recharge from precipitation. This is forcing well drillers to go down to the region's deep aquifer, which, unfortunately, is not replenishable.”

“In China, a combination of aquifer depletion, the diversion of irrigation water to cities, and lower grain support prices are shrinking the grain harvest. After peaking at 392 million tons in 1998, the harvest dropped to 346 million tons in 2002. China's food bubble may be about to burst. It has covered its grain shortfall for three years by drawing down its stocks, but it will soon have to turn to the world market to fill this deficit. When it does, it could destabilize world grain markets.”

“And they [harvest cutbacks] will be occurring at a time when world population is growing by more than 70 million a year.”

“Nearly all the 3 billion people to be added by 2050 [will be] born in
developing countries”

And what will happen when the diesel, that fuels the pumps, that provides the water, that waters the crops, that fertilises the crops and fuels the agricultural machinery, that feeds the billions of people, runs out?

related material
replacing fossil fuels: the scale of the problem

the web address for this article is


related material
replacing fossil fuels: the scale of the problem


less power, less land, more paper pulp

“The expensive, energy-intensive process of turning wood into paper costs the pulp and paper industries more than $6 billion a year. Much of that expense involves separating wood’s cellulose from lignin, the glue that binds a tree’s fibers, by using an alkali solution and high temperatures and pressures. Although the lignin so removed is reused as fuel, wood with less lignin and more cellulose would save the industry millions of dollars a year in processing and chemical costs. Research at North Carolina State University shows promise of achieving that goal.

“By genetically modifying aspen trees, Dr. Vincent L. Chiang, professor of forest biotechnology, and his colleagues have reduced the trees’ lignin content by 45 to 50 percent - and accomplished the first successful dual-gene alteration in forestry science.”

the web address for this article is


Image courtsey of MIT Newsfeedback process in describing saharan weather system


“Vegetation is such an important component of the climate system that in this model, including the vegetation was the only way to explain what happened in the past”

related material
feedback and crowding


the web address for this article is


related material
feedback and crowding


fellow travellers—rats

“Like the great armies of history, the Alberta rat hunters are aided in
their policing efforts by features of the natural landscape: boreal
forests in the north, the Rocky Mountains in the west, and vast prairie
to the south (whose low human populations do not allow human-dependent rats to survive).”

Now that suggests a way to get rid of them!

the web address for this article is


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