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ecology news archives 6

New translation, the Magna Carta
article archives at abelard's news and comment zoneecology archives
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
III-2004: 17 18 19 22 30

ecology 6

diesel particulate health damage

“[...] as many as 13,600 Canadians will develop cancer over their lifetimes because of exposure to diesel particulate matter (DPM).”

“ The report found exposure to DPM causes an estimated 800 non-cancer premature deaths, tens of thousands of asthma attacks, and hundreds of bronchitis hospital admissions each year in Canada.”

Population of Canada: approximately 32 million.

This item is useful background reading.

the web address for this article is









interview on atmospheric changes

“Paul Crutzen won a Nobel Prize for helping to explain the ozone hole, was the first to recognise that the burning of tropical forests was a factor in climate change, and warned about the horrors of nuclear winter. Before all that, he ran the world's first computerised weather forecasts. Fred Pearce asks him how he came from a non-academic background to virtually invent our modern view of the atmosphere, and why he doesn't care when others get the credit for his ideas”


Also, a light, but interesting, item on increased variability of weather.
[Link to original article source.]

the web address for this article is


runoff compensated by ‘pollution’ balancing fishery

“After the closure of the Aswan high dam in 1965, the flow of nutrients from the Nile into Mediterranean coastal waters was reduced by more than 90 percent, and the once productive fishery collapsed. In the 1980s the fishery began a dramatic recovery, coincident with increasing fertilizer use, expanded agricultural drainage, increasing human population, and dramatic extensions of urban water supplies and sewage collection systems.”

the web address for this article is


impact of the human urban environment on prior diversity

“The Adelaide area was once home to 395 native animal species, of which 43 have been lost, including 30 mammals. These include the numbat, quoll, platypus, wombat and western pygmy possum.

“Of the 31 introduced animal species, nine are mammals, including the red fox and rabbit. Not all introduced species are from outside the Australian continent, with the koala being an example of an native animal introduced to the Adelaide area.”

Interesting, worth reading.

the web address for this article is


get rich and get more birds

“The resulting data is intended to provide a comprehensive picture of ecological characteristics of the Phoenix metro area and surrounding agricultural and desert lands, at a single point in time. However, the sites will be resurveyed every five years to monitor how these variables are changing with continued development, according to scientist Diane Hope, director of the field study. "Another use of the data is to compare features such as plant diversity and soil nutrient status in the city, and in the outlying desert," said Hope. "For example, preliminary analyses show that total plant diversity in the desert becomes greater as the elevation of the site increases, but in the city resource abundance (wealth) is the key factor." ”

Oh, I nearly forgot ...

“In a separate study focusing on parks located in neighborhoods of differing socioeconomic status, bird diversity was also found to be greater in the higher income residential areas.”

the web address for this article is


stuffing CO2 down holes!

“ "And it costs more fuel to capture CO2," he said. "Rather than use one unit of coal you use 1.3 units for the same power. Everything gets worse." ”

Seems far fetched to me because ... , see
1 replacing fossil fuels: the scale of the problem

“U.S. officials estimate that up to 250 billion tonnes of carbon could be captured from the atmosphere and stored underground or captured in the soil in the United States. The United States generates about 5.8 billion tonnes of CO2 a year.”

The ever inventive monkey!

the web address for this article is


worms and enviromental change

“Görres said that while earthworms do an excellent job of recycling nutrients, "when they eat away the duff layer, all the plant seeds that germinate there, like trillium and mayflowers and wood anemone, may disappear or may not have any place to germinate. Other creatures that live in the duff and forest litter like salamanders and ground-nesting birds may be affected as well. Within a decade or two, the worms can essentially change the soil profile into something like the black mineral-rich soils that are found in many European forests." ”

related material
birds protecting the forest canopy

the web address for this article is


related material
birds protecting the forest canopy

i could hardly leave out good news about yaks!

"According to Schaller’s surveys, populations of chiru have risen from an estimated 3,900 in 1991 to 5,890, while wild asses or kiang had jumped from 1,224 to 2,241. Tibetan gazelles grew from 352 to 487, and numbers of wild yak jumped from 13 to an estimated 187-plus. Also participating in the surveys were scientists with the Tibet Forestry Department, Peking University and Shanghai’s East China Normal University."

the web address for this article is


northern european fisheries dying—so what? say politicians

“Their warning is the strongest warning yet - if fishing does not stop, and stay stopped for up to 12 years, the fishery will be destroyed.”

What do we care? say European politicians.

“Even on the basis of 2002's higher estimates, ICES recommended in October that cod fishing in these waters should stop completely. But fearing protests from fishermen, the EC proposed only a 65 per cent cut for North Sea cod. And in a stormy session in December, EU fisheries ministers reduced this cut to 45 per cent.”

the web address for this article is


high pollutor japan wants to kill more whales

“In a sharp shift for the 57-year-old Commission, members voted 25 to 20 on Monday to create a conservation committee -- a move Japan, and other pro-whalers, say will irrevocably alter the nature of the IWC, originally set up to manage whaling.”

related material
whales, japan and pollution
japanese devastion— modern corrupt corporate states

the web address for this article is


related material

whales, japan and pollution

japanese devastion— modern corrupt corporate states

climate and diversity experiments

“The Carnegie and Stanford scientists conducted their three-year study in the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve - a typical California grassland where the 43 plant species are a mixture of grasses and wildflowers. "We simulated a series of possible future environments for California, with four global change factors: elevated CO2, warming, nitrogen pollution, and added precipitation, alone and in combinations. Different combinations with altered levels of two, three, and four of these variables are likely to reflect future conditions in different parts of the globe," said Chris Field, director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology and coordinator of the Jasper Ridge study.

“At the end of three years, we found that treatments with three of the four experimental treatments changed total plant diversity. Elevated CO2 reduced diversity as did adding nitrogen. More water increased plant diversity and, warming alone had no effect," Zavaleta explained. The four treatment combinations that represent likely possible futures all resulted in decreased wildflower diversity; but total diversity was not affected because there was an increase in the grasses. The largest loss of wildflower diversity came with elevated CO2 plus warming and nitrogen pollution, and all four of the factors combined. "Given the importance of the wildflower species for wildlife, nutrient cycling, and natural beauty, the losses under realistic global changes are a cause for concern," said Zavaleta. ”

This item quotes astudy on this subject in the June 16-20, 2003, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online Early Edition.

the web address for this article is


hydrogen as a fuel—possible ecological difficulties
(they seem to have their molecules confused with their atoms. These people need a science editor, and one who can count.)

“But in producing and transporting hydrogen needed to fuel the aspiring technology, roughly 10 percent to 20 percent of the gas can be expected to leak into the atmosphere, the report in the journal Science said.”

Be aware there is widespread scepticism concerning the viability of hydrogen as a transport fuel.

“Computer models used by study author Tracey Tromp suggested stratospheric temperatures could cool by 0.5 degrees Celsius, slowing the arrival of spring in the North and South polar regions and expanding the size, depth and longevity of the ozone holes.”

“ More hydrogen in the air would likely also have a direct impact on the Earth's teeming surface, as it is a nutrient for microbes, it said.”

the web address for this article is


increasing population pressure on plant production partially offset by global warming

“[...] a 36 percent increase in global population, from 4.45 billion in 1980 to 6.08 billion in 2000, overshadows the increases in plant growth.

“Nemani and colleagues constructed a global map of the Net Primary Production (NPP) of plants from climate and satellite data of vegetation greenness and solar radiation absorption. NPP is the difference between the CO2 absorbed by plants during photosynthesis, and CO2 lost by plants during respiration. NPP is the foundation for food, fiber and fuel derived from plants, without which life on Earth could not exist. Humans appropriate approximately 50 percent of global NPP.”

With illustrations, some animated (captions show when mouse hovered over image).

the web address for this article is



“[...] the Model T got 25 miles to the gallon nearly a century ago.

“The average vehicle now made by Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford gets 22.6 miles per gallon, [...]”

the web address for this article is


aerosols and smoke may be disguising much higher global warming risks

"That suggests global warming well above the IPCC maximum forecast of 5.8
°C. Back-of-the-envelope calculations now suggest a "worst case" warming
of 7 to 10 °C." (by late this century)

[IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change]

land use changes and ‘global’ warming

“Our estimates are that land use changes in the United States since the 1960s resulted in a rise of over 0.2 degrees F in the mean surface temperature, an estimate twice as high as those of previous studies," said Kalnay, a professor of meteorology. "We expect to extend our study to obtain global results later this year, but these findings for the United States already suggest that land use changes may account for between 1/3 and 1/2 of the observed surface global warming.”

feedback in global warming model

“ [...] the rise in carbon dioxide simulated by ALL more closely matches the observed carbon dioxide rise than did previous models. The researchers say that this indicates that mechanisms other than direct carbon dioxide emissions caused by human activity also contribute to the observed trend. Jones and his colleagues were also able to replicate estimates of the amount of carbon currently stored in the oceans and on land worldwide.”

Remain aware this is a model, but it is a model that is closer to observed data and apparently gives a better match to historic data.

The model does predict higher warming than recent models :

“the increase in carbon dioxide and decrease of sulphates will cause a substantially higher global warming of 5.5 degrees Celsius [9.9 degrees Fahrenheit] compared with 4 degrees Celsius [7 degrees Fahrenheit] when these interactions are neglected.”

the web address for this article is


life returning to the garden of eden

“Over the past few weeks, positive signs of environmental recovery have been emerging from the parched Mesopotamian marshlands. These changes are visible in new satellite images taken in May 2003 and which have been examined by UNEP’s DEWA/GRID-Geneva. They dramatically reveal streams and waterways which have ebbed and run aground over the past decade, surge back to life and drainage canals swollen by an exceptional increase in water flows. Formerly dry areas have been inundated as floodgates are opened, embankments and dykes breached and dams emptied upstream. Heavy rains have also contributed to the rising water levels.”
[Information from UNEP/DEWA/GRID-Geneva]

With satellite images and descriptions.

related material
the destruction of of the mesopotamian wetlands by madsam

the web address for this article is


related material
the destruction of of the mesopotamian wetlands by madsam

do not live near the crematorium

In Britain, higher birth defect rates are reported near incinerators.

“We found an increased risk of spina bifida and heart defects in relation to proximity to incinerators and an increased risk of stillbirth, anencephalus (a brain abnormality) and other congenital anomalies in relation to proximity to crematoriums [...]”

Incineration is a known hazard.

are standards being applied? [ab]

the web address for this article is


hunting and conservation in the uk

“Dead foxes and pheasants are the main aim of the exercise, but farmers who manage their land for hunting and shooting also help to conserve many wild animals.”

Recommended reading.

Those outside the UK may find it amazing, but the British, being mostly a highly urbanised population, have spawned an ignorant minority that opposes hunting while knowing nothing of the countryside.
These people have no awareness that much conservation occurs thanks to hunting areas and hunting people who naturally tend to preserve wild life, while the wholly profit-oriented agri-industrial combines do not.

the web address for this article is


whales, japan and pollution

“[...] found that every single slice of toothed whale red meat - Japan's most popular whale product - exceeded that country's provisional limit on mercury, with some samples containing almost 200 times the maximum value.”

"The levels of mercury measured by the scientists are similar to or higher than the levels in fish eaten by people in the Minamata Bay area of Japan, Endo says. The region is well known for its previous problems with mercury. In the 1950s and early 1960s, hundreds of children were born with birth defects caused by their mothers' repeated consumption of contaminated fish.

“ Mercury enters the environment naturally and through industrial pollution. Nearly all fish contain trace amounts of mercury, but longer-lived predators - like odontocetes, tuna and sharks - are the final repositories for many pollutants because of their position at the top of the food chain.”

the web address for this article is


even you can make a difference—if you do not live in an attic, or a beehive

“The National Trust and the government's wildlife advisors English Nature said some bee species are on the verge of extinction and the overall population has declined by 60 percent since 1970.

“With over 15 million gardens across the country, gardeners collectively
can make a huge difference”

the web address for this article is


the hidden collapse of the world’s fish stocks

“The world's fisheries are in a far worse state than anyone thought. Great predatory fish such as shark, marlin, swordfish and tuna that once filled the seas are much scarcer than they once were, according to a new assessment. And worse, stocks that appear to be flourishing may already have been stripped bare without anyone noticing.”

It is not true (as the item suggests) that this is recent understanding. Concerned people have been warning of this for decades, while the crass and ill-informed keep right on claiming there is no problem.

By the time it is finally forced to public consciousness, let alone that governments gain the guts to act, it is routinely approaching midnight and the vested interests have long gone with the spoils. Now there’s a surprise.

The reality is that political parties are funded by unions and business who demand jobs and profits in return for the funding. The political parties mostly dare not do what is right for fear of offending their paymasters.

Their paymasters feed their ‘stories’ and advertising funds to the media, who will not confront the interests upon which, in turn, the media rely.

Meanwhile, the despoliation continues unchecked. It is only ‘checked’, by and large, when no more profits are available and no more jobs can be sustained. At which point, a few pius words are said and an ‘agreement’ is announced.

But, of course, the resource is gone.

Here is another aqueous example,
the canary in the mine is poorly :

“Turtles are increasingly threatened by human exploitation and development-related pressures. Of particular concern is the unrelenting demand from the Asian food and traditional medicine market with more than half of the continent's 90 species endangered or critically endangered. Tons of live turtles are imported each day to southern China from the Southeast Asia region, with more than 10 million individuals traded per year.

“The non-sustainable harvest has decimated natural populations near the consumer source in China and has reached deep into the surrounding Southeast Asian regions and is now even beginning to impact turtles in North America, Africa, Europe and elsewhere.”

“ With nine of the world's turtle species and subspecies having already become extinct at the hands of modern man, and fully two-thirds of the remaining species under great threat, we have a crisis that needs to be addressed immediately, [...]”

Both Western careless profligacy and ignorant primitivism threaten us all.

“The belief that soup and jelly made from the attractive Chinese three-striped box turtle has cancer-curing properties has reduced populations of this species to a few remnant colonies in Northern Vietnam and China.”

related material
Replacing fossil fuels, the scale of the problem
destructive relationships between money and irresponsible corrupt government

the web address for this article is


the conservation of energy—modern domestic buildings

“So-called "green building" is a growing trend, according to the National Association of Home Builders. More than 13,000 homes meeting the association's green building standards were constructed in 2002, compared to fewer than 19,000 in all the years between 1990 and 2001.

“The Department of Energy hopes to create a zero-energy house by 2010.”

A recommended scan Two GoldenYak (tm) award

related material
replacemants for fossil fuels. what can be done about it?
particularly, conservation standards in the usa

the web address for this article is


related material

replacemants for fossil fuels. what can be done about it?

particularly, conservation standards in the usa

ecological effects of strife—afghanistan, israel

“A recent report by the United Nations Environment Program warns that Afghanistan faces a future without forests, clean water, wildlife or unpolluted air if current trends continue. The report says Afghanistan's environmental damage is a "major stumbling block" to reconstruction and development.”

This may also interest :

“The U.N. report says even good news, such as the return of more than one million refugees to Afghanistan last year has hurt the environment, choking major cities with exhaust fumes and overloading traditional waste disposal systems.”

Meanwhile, Israel is behaving irresponsibly with water supplies

"Pollution in coastal seawater might get into freshwater aquifers more easily than scientists had suspected1. This could worsen the shortage of fresh water in the Middle East - a major cause of Arab-Israeli tension.

“Israel's scant water resources are in a parlous state. It has just two small main aquifers, from which water is being drawn faster than it can be renewed, thanks to irrigation, non-indigenous crops and the country's burgeoning number of swimming pools, gardens and golf courses. Add to these stresses lax pollution regulations,....”

related material
the destruction of of the mesopotamian wetlands by madsam

the web address for this article is


related material
the destruction of of the mesopotamian wetlands by madsam

chemical scrubbers—saving energy and reducing pollutants

Conservation of energy is a matter of the thousand small cuts.

Here is an excellent example from Science Daily. Four and a half GoldenYak (tm) Award

“If one assumes that 25 to 40 percent of the chemical scrubbers worldwide could be converted to biotrickling filters," said Deshusses, "it would represent a total market of $1-3 billion and would result in net energy and chemical savings of approximately $0.25-2 billion per year.”

the web address for this article is


china finally finds a reason to stop the endangered species trade

“China's official Xinhua news agency reported that 170,000 forestry police took part, raiding 14,900 animal fairs and 67,800 hotels and restaurants across the country. Officials confiscated 838,500 endangered animals and arrested 1,428 suspects.”

Sure doesn’t look like they do things by halves!

“This link is not proven, but southern China's towns and farms, where humans live cheek by jowl with their own stock, and pack markets with endangered species in cruel and unhygienic conditions, have historically been the place where some of the world's most deadly plagues have begun.”

The Chinese eat anything that walks, crawls, creeps or flies.
And what was that about the French?

So, some good news for the rare critters—every cloud has a silver lining.

the web address for this article is


traffic pollution and human fertility

“After studying 85 attendants at tollgates on Italian motorways, researchers at the University of Naples in southern Italy discovered the men had poorer quality sperm than other young and middle-aged Italian workers in the same area.”

A poor quality report, but maybe it is interesting.

the web address for this article is


billions killed—the extinction of the passenger pigeon
A defining ecological destruction.

image credit:  Encyclopedia Smithsonian “Early explorers and settlers frequently mentioned passenger pigeons in their writings. Samuel de Champlain in 1605 reported "countless numbers," Gabriel Sagard-Theodat wrote of "infinite multitudes," and Cotton Mather described a flight as being about a mile in width and taking several hours to pass overhead. Yet by the early 1900s no wild passenger pigeons could be found.”

Very much more of interest accessible here.

the web address for this article is


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