An indigenous tribe in Washington is strategically placing beavers around to help salmon
The sentiment that Castor canadensis is little more than a tree-felling, water-stealing, property-flooding pest is a common one. In 2017, trappers in Washington State killed 1,700 “nuisance” beavers, nearly 20 times more than were relocated alive. In neighboring Oregon, the herbivorous rodents are classified as predators, logic and biology notwithstanding. California considers them a “detrimental species.” Last year alone, the U.S. Department of Agriculture eliminated more than 23,000 conflict-causing beavers nationwide.
Running countercurrent to this carnage is another trend: the rise of the Beaver Believer. Across North America, many scientists and land managers are discovering that, far from being forces of destruction, beavers can serve as agents of water conservation, habitat creation, and stream restoration…
To save the monarch butterfly, Mexican scientists are moving a forest 1,000 feet up a mountain
The world is losing monarch butterflies at a startling rate, as logging, herbicides, and other human activities destroy natural habitats. But the biggest threat yet has only recently come into focus. Climate change, with its extreme storms, prolonged droughts, and warming temperatures, is poised to eradicate the forest that serves as the butterfly’s winter refuge.
To help his beloved butterflies, Ramirez has partnered with scientists on a monumental experiment: They are trying to move an entire forest 1,000 feet up a mountain…
Climate change is leading to unpredictable ecosystem disruption for migratory birds
“Climates have natural variation and we’re moving rapidly into territory where the magnitude of climate change will consistently exceed this variation,” says lead author and Cornell Lab researcher Frank La Sorte.
“There will be no historic precedent for these new climates, and migratory bird populations will increasingly encounter ‘novel’ climatic conditions. The most likely outcome will be a period of ecological disruption as migratory birds and other species try to respond or adapt to these new conditions…”
Planting milkweed won’t be enough
There’s been some good news about Monarch’s recently, yet even so, scientists have stated that climate change if left unchecked will cause irreparable harm.
It will be important to teach your community that planting milkweed may help in the very near term but the end game involves reducing pesticides and slowing down climate change.
It’s not too late to save them, but it’s a question of whether we will make the effort, scientists say…
How one heatwave killed ‘a third’ of a bat species in Australia
We often hear concerns about windmills killing lots of birds and bats. And they will, and do, kill some. You’ll hear people talking about hundreds, or even a few thousand, getting killed. That said, technology is advancing so the impact is smaller.
And climate change? It’s accelerating and wiping out bats, as well as birds, in vast numbers…and we are only just beginning to see the destruction. unless we slow it down.
Flying foxes (bats) are no more sensitive to extreme heat than some other species, experts say. Researchers from Western Sydney University finalized their conclusion that about 23,000 bats died in two days: on the 26th and 27th of November, 2018.
But, because these bats often gather in urban areas in large numbers, their deaths can be more conspicuous, and easily documented. “It raises concerns as to the fate of other creatures who have more secretive, secluded lifestyles,” Dr. Welbergen says…
Not all environmentalists eat tofu; hunters fighting climate change
If conservation groups want to be inclusive, and impactful, finding shared values no matter the party affiliation will be important. That means talking about climate change in ways that resonate and finding partnerships to create change.
“I’m one of those rare Republicans that believe that if you don’t take care of your environment, your environment can’t take care of you,” says Charlie Phillips, owner of Sapelo Sea Farms in Georgia. Phillips makes his living growing clams, so water quality is crucial to him, which is why he serves on boards and tries to help scientists and fishermen find common ground…
Solar farms shine a ray of hope on bees and butterflies
The tidy rows of gleaming solar panels at Pine Gate Renewables facility in southwestern Oregon originally sat amidst the squat grasses of a former cattle pasture. But in 2017 the company started sowing the 41-acre site with a colorful riot of native wildflowers.
The shift was not merely aesthetic; similar projects at a growing number of solar farms around the country aim to help reverse the worrying declines in bees, butterflies, and other key pollinating species observed in recent years…
It’s a great year for monarch butterflies. Climate change means it won’t last.
What if your local land trust took 1/3 of the time it spent on land restoration (like planting milkweed) and applied that to partnerships and growing awareness to slow climate change down?
Many land trusts focus on land restoration as part of their pledge to conserve land for generations to come. With climate change – and the closing window for making a difference to the species you care about – your land trust may want to consider taking some of that time and moving it to community education and/or climate policy work.
Why? Butterflies are a good example of what is to come. “We may never see a [Monarch] population this big ever again,” Chip Taylor, professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas, said. “The fate of this butterfly does not look bright…”
Pollinators, solar, and your land trust
There’s a major opportunity to help slow down climate change and ramp up pollinator gardens with community and large-scale solar.
The timing is critical given new research is documenting that climate change is decimating pollinators of all kinds. As one article notes, “it’s a great year for monarch butterflies [but] climate change means that won’t last.”
Limiting global warming to 1.5°C (and thus saving countless species) would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.
The good news is that solar pollinator farms can make a big difference. That’s also good news to landowners and farmers who could benefit from the regular income that solar payments provide. For many, that might make the difference between selling out or staying on the land…
Fish species at risk from Lake Michigan warming
Warmer and wetter climate in the midwest could lead to the displacement of some cold water fish species in southern Lake Michigan and trigger die-offs in smaller inland lakes, according to a new report.
The research published last week by Purdue University found that the Great Lakes are warming along with the atmosphere due to the proliferation of greenhouse gases, the Chicago Tribune reported…
“They can’t really migrate much but up and down in the water column,” said Tomas Hook, a professor of fisheries and aquatic sciences at Purdue and director of the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant.
“I would expect to see more die-offs in those types of systems. A lot of aquatic species don’t have the flexibility to migrate into new systems like terrestrial organisms do…”