Small Pests, Big Problems: The Global Spread of Bark Beetles

Read the full story at e360.

Warming temperatures are fueling the expansion of pine and spruce beetle outbreaks across North America, Europe, and Siberia, ravaging tens of thousands of square miles of woodlands. Scientists warn that some forest ecosystems may never recover.

240-year-old nautical maps show coral loss is much worse than we knew

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Between 1773 and 1775, George Gauld, a surveyor with the British Admiralty, immortalized the coast of the Florida Keys in ink. Though his most pressing goal was to record the depth of the sea — to prevent future shipwrecks — Gauld embraced his naturalist side, too. He sprinkled his maps with miscellany that later charts would omit: where sea turtles made their nests, or the colors and consistency of sand.

Gauld also took note of the corals he saw. And in doing so he created the oldest known records of Florida reefs.

“With the early charts you can actually see the reef itself being drawn,” said Loren McClenachan, a marine ecologist at Colby College in Maine. “It matches almost exactly with the satellite data.” In a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, McClenachan and her colleagues compared those 240-year-old observations with present-day satellite images.

Atop a Manhattan Convention Center, a Harvest of Honey

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Let us begin not with the who, which was several thousand bees and a bunch of people in anti-sting gear that looked like spacesuits, or the what, which was harvesting honey. Let us go directly to the where.

It was not a bosky setting that would bring to mind the Robert Frost poemabout good fences and good neighbors, but the south roof of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Manhattan’s Far West Side. Here the neighbors are the unfinished towers of the Hudson Yards development. They ring what has become an urban meadow — the south roof, mostly covered by 6.75 acres of kaleidoscopic sedum. It is yellowish green. It will turn red in time for Christmas.

The bees have been in residence since spring. The first 12,000 came from California, transplanted in a three-pound container that looked like a shoe box with screens on both sides. They were placed in wooden hives, which look like stackable drawers. There were 60,000 to 80,000 by midsummer.

The State of the Birds 2017: Farm Bill Special Report

Download the document.

The Farm Bill provides a crucial safety net for America’s farmers and ranchers… and America’s birds.

For birds, the Farm Bill secures important habitat for more than 100 bird species and is America’s largest source of funding for habitat conservation on private lands.

For landowners, Farm Bill conservation programs are part of the safety net for farmers, ranchers, and forest owners. It provides financial support for vital ecological services, such as clean water, and keeps working lands working.

Dots on the graph indicate start dates for key Farm Bill conservation programs, showing the change in populations of wetland, forest, and grassland birds after these programs were implemented.

Hurricane Irma: Impacts on Florida Wildlife & Habitat

Read the full post from the National Wildlife Federation.

As every Gulf Coast resident knows, hurricanes are natural events. In Florida, we joke that there really are only two seasons – tourist season and hurricane season. Native wildlife species are adapted to survive and recover from these storms. The problem now is that humans have not only altered the natural landscape – putting both people and wildlife at greater risk from these storms – but have also altered the climate in ways that make these storms more severe.

Hurricane Irma was the strongest Atlantic hurricane on record and maintained winds of 185 mph for longer than any tropical cyclone in the world. This extreme storm ripped across the Caribbean and struck the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane, eventually affecting nearly the entire state. As my hometown of Naples, and the rest of Florida begins to recover, the fate of many of the state’s unique wildlife species and native habitats remain unknown.

 

A Few Bad Scientists Are Threatening to Topple Taxonomy

Read the full story in Scientific American.

Naming species forms the foundation of biology—but these rogue researchers are exposing the flaws in the system.

In Africa’s Oldest Park, Seeking Solutions to a Destructive Charcoal Trade

Read the full story in e360.

Virunga National Park, home to the world’s largest population of mountain gorillas, is plagued by deforestation linked to the production of charcoal for cooking fuel. But local and international groups are working on several fronts to find sustainable alternatives.