Tag Archives: central america

Drug Trafficking Leads to Deforestation in Central America

‘Drug policy is conservation policy,’ researchers say

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Add yet another threat to the list of problems facing the rapidly disappearing rainforests of Central America: drug trafficking.

In an article in the journal Science, seven researchers who have done work in Central America point to growing evidence that drug trafficking threatens forests in remote areas of Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and nearby countries. (more…)

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Carbon hotspots: Rivers and streams leak more CO2 than thought

The amount of carbon dioxide escaping from rivers and streams into the atmosphere is much larger than previously thought, according to a new study that maps for the first time the flux of CO2 from inland waters worldwide. Published in the journal Nature, the research reveals the major role these waterways play in the global carbon cycle, the authors said.

“This study solidifies the significance of inland waters as conduits of exchange and provides a framework for inclusion of this exchange in regional and global studies,” said lead author Peter A. Raymond, a professor of ecosystem ecology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). “Understanding how ecosystems exchange carbon is important, as they currently offset a significant percentage of emissions caused by human activity.” (more…)

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Mutual benefits: Stressed-out trees boost sugary rewards to ant defenders

ANN ARBOR — When water is scarce, Ecuador laurel trees ramp up their investment in a syrupy treat that sends resident ant defenders into overdrive, protecting the trees from defoliation by leaf-munching pests.

The water-stressed tropical forest trees support the production of more honeydew, a sugary excretion imbibed by the Azteca ants that nest in the laurels’ stem cavities. In return, ant colonies boost their numbers and more vigorously defend the life-sustaining foliage. (more…)

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Protecting 17 Percent of Earth’s Land May Preserve 67 Percent of Its Plant Species

Protecting key regions that comprise just 17 percent of Earth’s land may help preserve more than two-thirds of its plant species, according to a new study by an international team of scientists, including a biologist from North Carolina State University.

The researchers from Duke University, NC State and Microsoft Research used computer algorithms to identify the smallest set of regions worldwide that could contain the largest numbers of plant species. They published their findings in the journal Science. (more…)

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In last great age of warmth, CO2 at work — but hardly alone

Warming patterns during Earth’s last period of prolonged global warmth differed dramatically from modern temperature patterns, according to new research by a Yale University scientist and colleagues. Cloud feedbacks, ocean mixing, or other dynamic factors must have played a greater role in Pliocene warming than commonly recognized, the scientists argue, and these must be accounted for in order to make meaningful predictions about Earth’s future climate.

In a paper published April 4 in the journal Nature, Yale climate scientist Alexey Fedorov and colleagues compile records of sea surface temperatures going back five million years, to the early Pliocene. These records reveal a world with fairly uniform warm temperatures in the whole of the Tropics prior to 4 million years ago — a significant scenario that typical climate model simulations fail to show. (more…)

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African Chickens

UD’s Schmidt studies heat stress, disease resistance in African chickens

Last fall, the University of Delaware’s Carl Schmidt took a trip to Uganda with a team of researchers from Iowa State University and North Carolina State University to get genetic samples from African chickens. The goal was to compare and contrast their genes to one another, and also to American broiler chickens, to gauge how the two species’ genetic makeup helps them cope with heat stress, as well as susceptibility and resistance to different diseases.

The trip was part of a five-year, $4.7 million National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) climate change grant for a project titled “Adapting Chicken Production to Climate Change Through Breeding.” (more…)

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Degraded Military Lands To Get Ecological Boost From CU-led Effort

Some arid lands in the American West degraded by military exercises that date back to General George Patton’s Word War II maneuvers in the Mojave Desert should get a boost from an innovative research project led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

Headed up by CU-Boulder Assistant Professor Nichole Barger, the research team is focused on developing methods to restore biological soil crusts — microbial communities primarily concentrated on soil surfaces critical to decreasing erosion and increasing water retention and soil fertility.  Such biological soil crusts, known as “biocrusts,” can cover up to 70 percent of the ground in some arid ecosystems and are dominated by cyanobacteria, lichens, mosses, fungi and bacteria, she said. (more…)

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Where Have All the Hummingbirds Gone?

Glacier lilies and broad-tailed hummingbirds out of sync

The glacier lily as it’s called, is a tall, willowy plant that graces mountain meadows throughout western North America. It flowers early in spring, when the first bumblebees and hummingbirds appear.

Or did.

The lily, a plant that grows best on subalpine slopes, is fast becoming a hothouse flower. In Earth’s warming temperatures, its first blooms appear some 17 days earlier than they did in the 1970s, scientists David Inouye and Amy McKinney of the University of Maryland and colleagues have found. (more…)

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