Archive for September 19th, 2011

The Great Bee Count

The Great Bee Count

Long-horned Bee or Sunflower Bee - Svastra obliqua by Lynette S. flickriver.com (Photo not part of the original article, retrieved from the Web by Only Ed)

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Posted 18 September 2011, by Ben Gelber, NBC4i, nbc41.com

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Please visit the original site to view the News Video associated with this article, or click the following link:

http://vp.mgnetwork.net/viewer.swf?u=738a81fe33bf102faba2001ec92a4a0d&z=CMH&embed_player=1

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OSU Scientists Abuzz About Bee Population, In the wake of the loss of a quarter of Ohio’s bee population, OSU experts are looking at ways to maintain diversity among the population of bee survivors—-who are critical to successful crops.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio —

The loss of about a quarter of Ohio’s honeybees, due to a mysterious illness and parasites in the past several years, has forced researchers to take a hard look at the diversity of Ohio’s 500 native bee populations to ensure their environment is protected.

Ohio State researchers in the Environment Ecology and Organismal  Biology Department, such as Dr. Karen Goodell, are studying bees in the Wilds in Muskingum County, an area once mined for coal that has been restored as prairie land.

The Great  Bee Count on July 16 and August 20 brought attention to USA bee populations by enlisting tens of thousand of volunteers around the country to count bees on Sunflowers and other target plant species during a 25-minute period.

This project will provide “a foundation for asking more detailed questions about the status of bees,” said Dr. Goodell.

While not identifying specific bee populations that may be at risk, the volunteer information nonetheless is “complementary to that collected by ecologists.”

For additional information, stay with NBC4 and refresh nbc4i.com.

View More: Biology Department, Environment, Goodell, Karen, Muskingum County, Ohio, United States

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http://www2.nbc4i.com/news/2011/sep/18/great-bee-count-ar-745916/

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Climate change hits coffee industry

Climate change hits coffee industry

A farmer inspects her coffee plants. Photo/FILE

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Posted 18 September 2011, by Staff, Business Daily (Nation Media Group), businessdailyafrica.com

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Global warming has increased the spread of pests in key farming regions with coffee exports facing the strain from the berry disease.

Scientists at the Nairobi based International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) predict increased incidences of coffee berry borer in coffee zones over the next 40 years due to changing climatic patterns.

The incidence of coffee berry borer, a small beetle recognised globally as the most destructive of coffee pests, will be higher in central and eastern regions of the country, the key producers of the country’s export coffee, states ICIPE.

Even small increases in temperature will lead to serious consequences on the number of generations, as well as the latitudinal and altitudinal range of the borer, adversely affecting coffee production in East Africa and parts of South America.” ICIPE said in a statement released last week.

This report comes as a shock to government that has been mulling plans to revive an industry that once served as the country’s foreign exchange earner.

Fluctuating temperatures and rainfall, the hallmarks of climate change, have already led to the spread of thrips (tiny insects known to destroy coffee beans by puncturing and sucking up their contents) in the coffee growing districts, lowering farmer’s output.

“There is serious thrips outbreak in most coffee regions which is likely to worsen after the end of the cold (July, August) season,” Dr Joseph Kimemia, managing director of the Coffee Research Foundation, said in an industry alert issued in July.

In spite of the good international prices government statistics indicate that coffee production dropped by 22.2 per cent in 2010 to 42,000 tonnes, leading to forex earning of Sh16 billion compared to peers like tea (Sh97 billion) and horticulture (Sh78 billion).

While the coffee prices have remained higher in the international market in the first half of this year, production decline has persisted in Kenya with deliveries to the marketing board declining in the first quarter of 2011 by 28 per cent to 11,300 tonnes.

Of late, farmers have alarmingly been abandoning coffee and turning their plantations to real estates, citing corruption and mismanagement that has undermined confidence in the industry.

The National Economic and Social Council, the country’s top policy organ wants the government to fight corruption and mismanagement in the industry to prevent farmers from abandoning coffee for other ventures .

“The council noted that coffee production has continued to decline while global prices are favourable and recommends that Kenya’s comparative advantage be leveraged to provide farmers with more incentives,” NESC said in a press release issued after the full Council meeting held on September 10.

The government may however have to rethink the proposed incentives as the ICIPE study encourages investment in climate adaptation measures to cushion the industry from further losses.

The first ever global map of future distribution of the coffee berry borer drawn by ICIPE scientists and colleagues from the UK, US and Germany indicate that most of today’s coffee growing zones will not sustain the crop in coming years.

The study says Africa’s arable land will shrink by 60 to 90 million hectares by 2050 as the impact of climate change sets in.

“Moreover, soil conditions at higher altitudes might not be suitable for Arabica coffee under the anticipated high temperatures,” the scientists said, adding that shade trees should be introduced in coffee plantations to improve microclimate that favours the growth of coffee.

omondi@ke.nationmedia.com

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http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Climate+change+hits+coffee+industry++/-/539546/1238694/-/mfjyb9/-/

Sunken barge with 900 gallons of fuel leaks into Moses Lake

Sunken barge with 900 gallons of fuel leaks into Moses Lake

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Posted17 September 2011, by Staff, Yakima Herald-Republic, yakima-herald.com

 

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MOSES LAKE — Firefighters and state Ecology staff are working to contain up to 900 gallons of diesel and oil on board a dredge barge that sank in Moses Lake on Saturday.

Kathy Davis, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Ecology in Olympia, said the barge belonging to the Moses Lake Irrigation & Rehabilitation District contained 600 gallons of diesel and 300 gallons of synthetic oil.

She said firefighters and Ecology staff deployed absorbent boom and pillows around the 40-foot dredge and were working to refloat the vessel.

“From what I understand, there is some leakage. They don’t know how much. It doesn’t sound like much,” Davis said.

Further details about the sinking itself, such as cause and depth, were not immediately available.

Moses Lake, along with the city of the same name, is located along Interstate 90 about halfway between Seattle and Spokane.

It is a natural lake that grew to about 6,200 acres as a result of irrigation damming in the early 20th century

 

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http://www.yakima-herald.com/stories/2011/09/17/sunken-barge-with-900-gallons-of-fuel-leaks-into-moses-lake

 

 

 

Road Ecology: An Often Overlooked Field Of Conservation Research


Road Ecology: An Often Overlooked Field Of Conservation Research

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Posted 19 September 2011, by Caitlin Kight, Science 2.0 (ION Publications LLC), science20.com

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Earlier this year, the open access journal Ecology and Society had a special feature called The Effects of Roads and Traffic on Wildlife Populations and Landscape Function. The issue featured 17 papers plus a guest editorial all devoted to discussing the ecological impacts of roads, the efficacy of road-related mitigation techniques, and the future of road ecology research.

One of the themes highlighted in the introductory editorial is the need for greater public awareness about the effects of roads, as well as a greater emphasis on collaboration between managers, politicians, and road ecology experts. There are an estimated 750 million vehicles utilizing approximately 50 million kilometers of road worldwide, with increases in both road network and traffic volumes continuing to occur globally–especially in developing areas such as eastern Europe, China, India, and Latin America. The known effects of roads include loss and fragmentation of habitat, injury and/or death of wildlife after collision with vehicles, changes in microhabitat (e.g., light, moisture, wind) due to increased exposure, pollution, and facilitation of invasion by non-native species.

Roads can have negative impacts on humans, as well–by reducing the aesthetic qualities and the recreational value of habitats. Perhaps more immediately important is the massive amount of injury and property damage associated with animal-vehicle collisions; in North America alone, 1-2 million collisions are thought to occur each year, causing several hundred human fatalities and over a billion US dollars in damage.

Despite the clear drawbacks of roads, they are often not considered in the same light as other human-induced habitat changes; ask the average person what anthropogenic disturbances are most destructive, and he/she is more likely to focus on factors such as pollution, urban sprawl, and climate change. Although roads are often associated with these things, they are generally not pinpointed as a dangerous habitat feature unto themselves, perhaps because they lie flat to the ground and do not have the same obvious physical presence of, say, skyscrapers or strip malls.

Pretty much since the first road ecology study was conducted  in 1925, it has been clear that animal abundance is negatively impacted by the presence of roads. The extent of the effect varies for different species and at different distances from road. Among frogs studied in Utah, for instance, the “road-effect zone” included land up to 1000 m from the roadside, and reduced abundances of 4 of 7 frog species examined; among small mammals evaluated in a desert environment, however, 11 of 13 species could be captured under vegetation right next to the road. Roads may also affect behaviors. Traffic noise, for instance, causes some bird and frog species to alter their vocalizations, thus potentially impacting their ability to communicate effectively. Roads can also disturb migration patterns, slowing down progress or forcing migrating individuals to take more circuitous routes, as observed in northern leopard frogs (Rana pipiens).

Encouragingly, some relatively simple mitigation techniques are effective at reducing the negative impacts of roads on wildlife. For instance, moving salt pools farther from roadsides can reduce moose (Alces alces)-vehicle collisions by 50%, saving lives of both moose and drivers. The installation of both over- and underpasses can allow safe passage of wildlife, not only preventing accidents on the road, but also preserving or even improving current rates of gene flow. Preliminary cost-benefits analyses have already suggested that, in many areas, the efficacy of some management methods exceed the costs required to employ them, indicating that increased implementation of a few simple techniques could save money and animals.

Because roads keep humans connected, they are an integral part not only of our daily lives, but also of our social structure. In other words, they are not going anywhere soon. Although the major goal among road ecologists is developing mitigation techniques that keep wildlife safe for generations to come, there is still a dearth of the very data that are necessary to make logical management plans. For instance, we still know relatively little about how roads affect long-term viability of populations, what effects they have on the landscape, and whether/how they alter ecosystem function. The authors of the guest editorial encourage road ecologists to center their future work around these questions. Furthermore, they encourage research that is applied in nature and can have direct, obvious value for road agencies, conservationists, wildlife, and motorists alike. One important goal–shared by biologists in a number of fields–is education of the public, including those individuals that make policy decisions. Hopefully, greater awareness will lead to smarter, safer use of roadways, and choices that bode well for the future of wildlife that live in heavily-trafficked areas.

van der Ree, R., Jaeger, J.A.G., van der Grift, E.A., and Clevenger, A.P. 2011. Effects of roads and traffic on wildlife populations and landscape function: road ecology is moving toward larger scales. Ecology and Society 16(1): 48 [online].

Thanks to the following websites for providing the images used in this post:

http://www.rural-roads.co.uk/

http://inhabitat.com/piezoelectric-energy-generating-roads-proposed-for-…

http://illusion.scene360.com/photography/1207/every-road-leads-to-somewh…

http://www.science20.com/anthrophysis/road_ecology_often_overlooked_field_conservation_research-82715

 

The Personal Mega-Sized Eye of Horus: Naomi Campbell’s Eco-Mansion

 

 

The Personal Mega-Sized Eye of Horus: Naomi Campbell’s Eco-Mansion

The Personal Mega-Sized Eye of Horus: Naomi Campbell’s Eco-Mansion

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Posted 19 September 2011, by Vrushti Mawani, Industry Leaders Magazine, industryleadersmagazine.com

 

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An ancient Egyptian symbol of protection, royal power and good health, the Eye of Horus has been reproduced in its most physically monumental form on the Isla Playa de Cleopatra in Turkey in the form of Naomi Campbell’s eco-palace.

The 25-bedroom home, designed by Spanish architect Luis de Garrido, reported as being the architect’s gift to Campbell, has been designed to function in a largely self-sufficient manner.

With features that enhance the ability of the building to be self-sufficient in terms of its energy and water needs, Campbell’s new island mansion functions as an off-grid home complete with photovoltaic panels, a sophisticated geothermal system and an interior landscaped terrace.

Eye-ball Home Details

Naomi Campbell’s palatial eco-home, with its over two dozen bedrooms and five lounges, is one of the latest to join the rapidly growing list of eco-friendly celebrity island abodes, like Johnny Depp’s solar hydrogen fuel powered home in the Bahamas.

The large steel-and-glass dome, the eyeball of the Eye of Horus, is light and transparent, letting in natural light and warmth all year round. The intensity of how much light and warmth filter in is controlled by horizontal louvers, landscaping, and glazed windows.

Campbell’s personal Eye of Horus in Turkey has been designed by devising an ingenious system of structuring photovoltaic panels which helps generate a large share of the energy required to run the building. The rest of the energy requirement is met by a highly sophisticated geothermal system and passive design.

The design of this eco-mansion also includes a detailed rainwater harvesting system, while wastewater from the home is treated on site with the use of a biological treatment system, further increasing this home’s overall energy efficiency.

The architect has also tried to ensure that the house is well-ventilated, to address any concerns about the greenhouse effect creating an uncomfortable humidity level. The indoor landscaped terrace on the top floor of this eco-palace further contributes to the home’s superior microclimate.

Architect Luis de Garrido

Architect Luis de Garrido has, over the last few years, been in the spotlight for his signature style of creating designs based on the theme of “artificial nature”.

Luis De Garrido’s bold, yet respectful, design philosophy states “The architect can even surpass Nature, but to do so, they must understand it, take it in, and love it with all their souls.”

De Garrido’s expertise where new-age sustainable architectural technologies are concerned is demonstrated perfectly in projects like GREEN BOX, which is the first modular Garden-House that is prefabricated, can be built in just 15 days, is reusable, transportable, has an infinite life cycle, is bioclimatic, has zero energy consumption, and does not generate waste.

Intermodal Steel Building Units (ISBU) awarded Luis de Garrido the 2008 Architect of the Year Award for his sustainable Bio-climatic architecture, educational symposiums and the innovative award winning architectural designs.

 

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http://www.industryleadersmagazine.com/the-personal-mega-sized-eye-of-horus-naomi-campbell%E2%80%99s-eco-mansion/

NJ Article on BCPs and Biocultural Rights

NJ Article on BCPs and Biocultural Rights

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Posted 18 September 2011, by Staff, Natural Justice, natural-justice.blogspot.com

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Mikey Salter and Johanna von Braun (Natural Justice) recently wrote an article entitled “Biocultural Community Protocols: Bridging the Gap Between Customary, National and International Law” for the latest issue of the Effectius Newsletter. It begins by saying, “Over the last two decades as a result of the Indigenous peoples’ rights movement, a new cluster of rights has emerged that falls under the broad category of group or collective rights, but makes a specific link to conservation and the sustainable use of biological diversity. These are referred to as biocultural rights, and they acknowledge the relationship between communities, resources and culture in areas where communities have historically been stewards of common lands because of their reliance on the ecosystem that surrounds them…”

Effectius is a non-profit organization based in Belgium that is dedicated to identifying and promoting effective justice solutions worldwide.

Download the article in .pdf format here.


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http://natural-justice.blogspot.com/2011/09/nj-article-on-bcps-and-biocultural.html