Tag Archives: degradation

Penguins at risk world over, scientists urge new strategies

With many of the world’s 18 species of penguins experiencing substantial declines during the past two decades, international scientists writing in the current issue of Conservation Biology are calling for marine protected areas and partially protected areas to help penguins cope with food scarcity, oil pollution, climate change and being caught in fishing nets. (more…)

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Cambodian villagers best placed to prevent illegal logging

A study into deforestation in Cambodia has found that forests are better protected when villagers are given the responsibility to manage them locally.

Cambodia has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, losing 1.2 per cent each year from 2005-2010. The loss of forests due to illegal logging and other factors can have a devastating impact on local communities, as well as contributing to global climate change.

Research by the Universities of Exeter and Oxford looked at how effective community forestry is in reducing deforestation and supporting livelihoods in the Prey Long forest area of Cambodia. (more…)

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Self-Healing Solar Cells ‘Channel’ Natural Processes

To understand how solar cells heal themselves, look no further than the nearest tree leaf or the back of your hand.

The “branching” vascular channels that circulate life-sustaining nutrients throughout leaves and hands serve as the inspiration for solar cells that can restore themselves efficiently and inexpensively.

In a new paper, North Carolina State University researchers Orlin Velev and Hyung-Jun Koo show that creating solar cell devices with channels that mimic organic vascular systems can effectively reinvigorate solar cells whose performance deteriorates due to degradation by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Solar cells that are based on organic systems hold the potential to be less expensive and more environmentally friendly than silicon-based solar cells, the current industry standard. (more…)

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India case study: Corporate social responsibility doesn’t always work

ANN ARBOR — The idea of corporate social responsibility to manage common-pool resources such as water, forests and pastures is flawed, says a University of Michigan researcher.

Aneel Karnani, associate professor of strategy at the U-M Stephen M. Ross School of Business, says that when a common-pool resource is left without any enforced property rights, it results in degradation and destruction of the resource. (more…)

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Study Finds Severe Climate Jeopardizing Amazon Forest

PASADENA, Calif. – An area of the Amazon rainforest twice the size of California continues to suffer from the effects of a megadrought that began in 2005, finds a new NASA-led study. These results, together with observed recurrences of droughts every few years and associated damage to the forests in southern and western Amazonia in the past decade, suggest these rainforests may be showing the first signs of potential large-scale degradation due to climate change.

An international research team led by Sassan Saatchi of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., analyzed more than a decade of satellite microwave radar data collected between 2000 and 2009 over Amazonia. The observations included measurements of rainfall from NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission and measurements of the moisture content and structure of the forest canopy (top layer) from the Seawinds scatterometer on NASA’s QuikScat spacecraft. (more…)

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Mining Waste Byproduct Capable of Helping Clean Water

LEETOWN, W.Va. – A byproduct resulting from the treatment of acid mine drainage may have a second life in helping clean waters coming from agricultural and wastewater discharges, according to a recent study by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey Leetown Science Center.

The report, published in the Journal Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, shows that dried acid mine drainage sludge, or residuals, that result from treating acid mine drainage discharges can be used as a low-cost adsorbent elsewhere to efficiently remove phosphorus from agricultural and municipal wastewaters. The phosphorus that has been adsorbed by the mine drainage residuals can later be stripped from the residuals and recycled into fertilizer. The mine drainage residuals can be regenerated and reused for a number of additional treatment cycles. Application of this novel, patented technology has the potential to simultaneously help to decrease acid mine drainage treatment costs, prevent degradation of aquatic ecosystems, and recycle valuable nutrients. (more…)

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Protein Strongest Just Before Death

Researchers at Michigan State University have discovered a protein that does its best work with one foot in the grave.

The study, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, focuses on the nontraditional lifestyle of Retinoblastoma tumor suppressor proteins, which could lead to new ways to treat cancer.

“Retinoblastoma proteins are unique in that they use controlled destruction to do their jobs in a timely but restrained fashion,” said Liang Zhang, a lead author and MSU cell and molecular biology graduate student. “This is an unusual way for proteins to act.” (more…)

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