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…”
Research: Pollinator habitats could be saved by solar power plants
Researchers at the U.S Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are studying solar energy facilities with pollinator habitats on site. Through this effort they hope to rehabilitate declining pollinator populations that play an important role in the agricultural industries. The loss of such species could result in devastating crop production, costs, and nutrition on a global scale.
Currently, pollinators are responsible for pollinating nearly 75% of all crops used for food. However, because of the increase in man-made environmental stressors, their population continues to steeply decline.
The research team has been working on examining the potential benefits of establishing species’ habitat at utility-scale solar energy facilities to resolve the problem.
They have found that the area around solar panels could provide an ideal location for the plants that attract pollinators…
Spring is coming earlier to wildlife refuges, and bird migrations need to catch up
Climate change is bringing spring earlier to three-quarters of the United States’ federal wildlife refuges and nearly all North American flyways used by migratory birds. This is a shift that threatens to leave migrating birds hungry and in a weakened condition as they are preparing to breed, new research shows…
It’s an Ecological Trap: Global warming can turn Monarch Butterflies’ favorite food into poison
“LSU researchers have discovered a new relationship between climate change, monarch butterflies and milkweed plants. It turns out that warming temperatures don’t just affect the monarch, Danaus plexippus, directly, but also affect this butterfly by potentially turning its favorite plant food into a poison.
Bret Elderd, associate professor in the LSU Department of Biological Sciences, and Mattnew Faldyn, a Ph.D. student in Elderd’s lab from Katy, Texas, published their findings today with coauthor Mark Hunter of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. This study is published in Ecology, a leading journal in this field…”
Climate change is becoming a top threat to biodiversity
Warming rivals habitat loss and land degradation as a threat to global wildlife. Climate change will be the fastest-growing cause of species loss in the Americas by midcentury, according to a new set of reports from the leading global organization on ecosystems and biodiversity.
Five reasons farmers love wind & solar
If we are going to reduce coal, oil, and natural gas — to save thousands of species from extinction and avoid significant agricultural damage and loss due to extreme weather – plus find ways to make family farms viable in a changing climate, we are going to have to rethink how solar and wind are compatible with our conservation and community goals.
Check out five reasons why farmers often embrace wind and solar. Land trusts can help communities understand that the alternative to gearing towards renewables is often going out of business, selling for development, and family economic stress.
Making photography tell the stories: If we lose the ice, we lose the entire ecosystem’
You, like Paul, a former marine biologist, can inspire change and help people connect the dots in compelling ways as we face 30 years to slow down climate change in a way that will save the species we love, and the communities as we know them. Why? Because, as Paul notes…
Can ground mounted solar farms be wildlife havens?
“Research suggests that the negative impacts of solar installation and operation relative to traditional power generation are extremely low. In fact, over 80% of the impacts were found to be positive or neutral. Yet, it is clear that if it involves the removal of woodland to make space for solar power this can cause a significant contribution to CO2 emissions, but still far lower than coal-based electricity.”
Solar farms can enhance wildlife habitat (and can be compatible with grazing)…
Beavers—once nearly extinct—could help fight climate change
Many conservationists have been trained to think that dams are bad-news for wildlife. With climate change, droughts, and increasingly extreme weather, we are rethinking that.
For example, on the Puget Sound, beavers are being reintroduced to enhance salmon stocks. Small dams might be something we need to consider, and this article gives some ideas of where to start…