Browsing Tag

Biodiversity

Wildlife

How Does Climate Change Affect Bird Migration?

May 15, 2020
climate change affect bird migration

Climate change affects every living organism on Earth. From polar bears to rabbits, each creature struggles to adapt to rising temperatures, longer and shorter seasons and limited resources. Among them are birds. Hundreds of species rely on subtle changes in temperature to find food, breed, nest and relocate. 

So how does climate change affect bird migration?

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Environment

How Environmental Reading Is Beneficial for All Ages

April 15, 2020
environmental reading

Everyone grows up understanding the importance of education. Whether you graduate from a public or private school or head to a university, everyone knows new knowledge changes who you are. It informs you and shows you the world so that you become a more well-rounded person.

Much of that change comes from reading, especially when kids start at a young age. Children may get books about making friends or sharing with their siblings, but they can grasp more essential topics as well. That’s why so many authors have published books for all ages that discuss the environment.

Check out how environmental reading is beneficial for all ages. It may make you more curious to pick up a book for yourself or bring some home to your family. 

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Wildlife

Have Australian Bushfires Led to Wildlife Extinction?

April 10, 2020
australian bushfire wildlife extinction

The Australian wildfires are unprecedented. More than 25 million acres burned — around the size of Indiana in the U.S. With such widespread destruction, it can be difficult to process just how much of an impact these fires had on the environment. The bushfires resulted in the loss of human life, thousands of homes, millions of acres of forest and more than 1 billion animals. 

Like the California disaster of 2019, the most devastating wildfire in the state’s history, the Australian bushfires have a significant effect on both humans and the environment. While it is too soon to state with certainty whether the wildfires have led to wildlife extinction, little-known species will likely feel the greatest impact.

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Wildlife

Scientists Search for Animals Spreading Coronavirus

March 30, 2020
animals spreading coronavirus

In early December, the city of Wuhan, China, became the epicenter of the novel coronavirus. Since then, the virus has spread across the globe, infecting more than 500,000 people and killing more than 20,000. As scientists race to find the culprit behind the infection, evidence points to animals — namely those sold at a specific market in Wuhan. 

While numerous species remain suspect in investigating the cause, including bats and pangolins, the mystery remains unsolved. Meanwhile, the virus continues to spread. 

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Oceans

What Does Ocean Habitat Destruction Mean for Our Planet?

March 27, 2020
ocean habitat destruction

Human activities have been affecting our oceans and the life within them for centuries. But, only recently has the world begun to notice these detrimental effects. From low oxygen levels to ocean oil slicks, entire marine ecosystems are rapidly taking a turn for the worse. In many areas, our actions have even created unlivable ocean conditions, endangering marine life and, therein affecting our own economy and food supply. If we hope to recover from these effects, we must work together to restore the marine ecosystems we’ve so carelessly destroyed. 

Polluted Seas

As humanity’s dependency on plastic continues to grow, so will its effect on ocean habitats. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, for instance, stretches 1.6 million square kilometers and largely consists of plastic objects and small microplastics. Marine animals mistake this floating debris for food, but these plastics are indigestible, filling their stomachs until they starve. Thes plastic particles also spread hazardous chemicals that can climb up the food chain and destroy entire ecosystems. Currently, ocean debris directly affects more than 800 marine species.

Humanity’s demand for oil has also resulted in a more polluted ocean. Oil spills contribute about 12% of all ocean oil, while shipping, drains, dumping and drilling produce the other 88%. New methods of hunting for oil also have a significant impact on marine life. Seismic blasts used to detect new drill sites have decreased the number of zooplankton, which are an essential food and oxygen source for many species like fish and whales. Therefore, increased drilling operations have the potential to affect every level of the aquatic food chain.

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Wildlife

Wildlife Habitat Destruction a Growing Issue Across the Globe

March 25, 2020
wildlife habitat destruction

The last year has been a rough one, with a high number of wildlife habitat destruction in the name of progress and the death of the last male white rhinoceros. Those who love animals and want to see diversity of species continue to worry about this issue and how human expansion impacts the world’s ecosystems. 

A recent United Nations report showed as many as 1 million species on the brink of extinction. The study points to human activities placing 25% of species at risk of extinction in the next few decades.

Even though the UN warns of pending doom to many creatures and we all understand the impact the loss of one species has on local habitat, humans seem incapable of curbing development.

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Green Technology

How Crop Genetics Will Shape the Future of Agriculture

March 13, 2020
crop genetics

People who study human genetics can explain why some pregnancies result in triplets or what determines someone’s hair color. Crop genetics deals with similar queries, except that field of study is specifically for plants. Experts in crop genetics study how to increase yields, make crops more resilient to adverse weather and more. Here’s a look at why crop genetics seems poised to impact agriculture significantly. 

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Wildlife

Have We Lost Two-Thirds of Our Endangered Species by 2020?

March 9, 2020
endangered species 2020

Our world changes every day in subtle and life-altering ways. Animal extinction manages to be both at once. It happens so gradually that it remains unknown to many people until a headline about another extinct species draws their attention. And though the process feels slow, each organism we lose has earth-shattering repercussions. The worst part is that we don’t always know the extent of these consequences until they’re upon us.

A World Wildlife Fund report from 2016 stated we’d lose two-thirds of our endangered species by 2020. They reported a 58% decrease in wildlife populations between 1970 and 2012, with a prediction of 67% by 2020. Though environmental groups and legislators are continuously making gradual moves to protect endangered animals, we’re increasingly closer to reaching the two-thirds prediction.

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Wildlife

Should We Move Toward Biological Pest Control Methods?

February 7, 2020
biological pest control

If humans lacked effective ways to keep pests at bay, gardens and lawns would be overrun with unwanted visitors that could eat plants and trigger other undesirable effects. One method of interest is biological pest control. It centers on introducing living organisms that display predatory behaviors toward the pests rather than relying on chemicals to do the job.

Research shows there are many downsides to using non-biological pest control measures. For example, the chemicals pose dangers to kids and pets, and there are issues with the chemicals not reaching their intended targets. Additionally, ongoing use can cause resistance, requiring people to use more of a product to get the same results once achievable with a smaller amount. 

When methods of getting rid of nature’s nuisances prove ineffective, agricultural professionals often waste money when, perhaps, they should have investigated different options sooner. A study from the Zoological Society of London recently found that the overuse of an herbicide to control a weed that harms winter-wheat fields takes a £400 million bite out of the United Kingdom’s economy every year. 

Since the conventional ways of pest management have these negatives and others, more people wonder if now is the time to embrace biological pest controls. 

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Wildlife

The Complicated Relationship Between Agriculture and Wildlife

January 13, 2020
agriculture and wildlife

How many wild animals are killed by farming practices? While scientists know there’s a problem, they’re unable to pinpoint a precise figure.

Some of the biggest drivers of biodiversity decline include overexploitation — harvesting animals from the wild at rates that can’t replenish — and agriculture, which consists of the production of food, livestock farming, aquaculture, tree cultivation and more. 

According to experts, agriculture and the overexploitation of resources is a more significant risk to biodiversity than climate change. In fact, nearly 75% of the world’s threatened species face overuse, compared to only 19% affected by climate change. 

The Sumatran rhinoceros, for example — which people illegally hunt for its meat and horn — is one of 4,049 species threatened by this problem. Other animals that poachers target include the Western gorilla and Chinese pangolin. 

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