Smaller-brained birds shrink in response to climate change, WashU study finds
“We were really struck by how some species seem to be decreasing a lot more than others,” said study co-author, Justin Baldwin, a Ph.D. candidate with the Botero Lab at Washington University.
And the reason, researchers believe, is rising temperatures. Baldwin said further research could shed light on how exactly climate change has catalyzed the differences in size. Right now, he sees two possible explanations…
Earth’s coldest forests are shifting northward with climate change
New research from Northern Arizona University shows rising temperatures are causing Earth’s coldest forests to shift northward, raising concerns about biodiversity, an increased risk of wildfires, and mounting impacts of climate change on northern communities…
Regenerative ranching is better for the environment, but can it be profitable?
Ellis tells me that she did the math, and the amount of beef she produces on her ranch in a year is about the same quantity that McDonald’s uses globally in 45 minutes. “I’m this tiny blip on the radar,” she says. “But if I could get all ranchers across the nation doing the job sustainably, then we’d have a lot of clout.”
She says most consumers have no idea if their beef comes from a ranch with environmental goals. “I want to give them that choice”…
Trait-based filtering mediates the effects of realistic biodiversity losses on ecosystem functioning
We present multiyear results from a realistic biodiversity loss experiment, examining how two key ecosystem functions (productivity and invasion resistance) responded to randomized and realistic (drought-driven) species losses across years with high yearly climatic variation. We show that realistic low-diversity communities do not always have high functioning under the conditions that drove species loss, indicating a disconnect between functional response and effect traits.
Study on climate change impacts on plants could lead to better conservation strategies
The loss of plant species that are especially vulnerable to climate change might lead to bigger problems than previous studies have suggested, according to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. If confirmed, the findings can help inform conservation strategies and lead to more accurate predictions about what ecosystems will look like in the future.
Researchers are now working on a follow-up study to see whether the same results apply to other ecosystems.
“I think studies like this can help set conservation priorities and help us predict where things are headed,” Wolf said. “Species have important impacts within an ecosystem, and they have effects that we can quantify — and if some species are gone, ecosystems will change in a quantifiable way. Some of these changes might not be noticeable to most people, but many of these changes are likely to be consequential for humans.”
Farms under threat: the state of the States
American Farmland Trust’s new report used spatial mapping analyses of agricultural land conversion to provide unprecedented insights into the status and fate of American farmland. Our findings and maps of agricultural land at the state, county, and even sub-county levels show that between 2001 and 2016, 11 million acres of farmland and ranchland were converted to urban and highly developed land use (4.1 million acres) or low-density residential land use (nearly 7 million acres).
Growing plants — and providing solar energy
Access to fresh food is already a problem in many countries, and will likely get worse with more mouths to feed. This is where the concept of agrivoltaics could create a massive change. This farming setup mixes water, energy, and plant growth all in one space. Solar panels collect energy from the sun’s rays; underneath those panels is where the plants grow. The setup takes less water than the traditional way of farming, all-in-all creating a more sustainable way to grow food and create energy.
Joining Ira to talk about the promise of agrivoltaics is Dr. Chad Higgins, associate professor of biological and ecological engineering at Oregon State University, in Corvallis, Oregon.
Federal agrivoltaics research and programs
In this webinar Zachary Eldredge with the US Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) discussed the government’s agrivoltaics programs and recent developments in agrivoltaics engineering.
You can listen to the webinar and download the slides. You might want to join American Solar Grazing Association ($75/year) to stay abreast of research and practices related to dual-use, grazing/crop solar.
The latest IPCC report: What is it and why does it matter?
The IPCC has released a new climate report, building on the findings of a previous report released in February. But what exactly is the IPCC? What do these reports mean, and how are they different from previous reports? Is our situation as grim as some of the news headlines make it sound?
We’ve prepared this guide to help you understand what these latest climate reports are, what their findings mean for our world and what we can do about them.
Climate change: a threat to human wellbeing and health of the planet
Human-induced climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature and affecting the lives of billions of people around the world, despite efforts to reduce the risks. People and ecosystems least able to cope are being hardest hit, said scientists in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, released today.
“This report is a dire warning about the consequences of inaction,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC. “It shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our wellbeing and a healthy planet. Our actions today will shape how people adapt and nature responds to increasing climate risks.”