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Climate Change and Moose: Moose are like canaries in the coal mine

It's time to help people understand that wind and solar can impact wildlife and agriculture depending on the design and siting, but climate change will have a much greater effect if we don't slow it down a lot, in the next 10–15 years.

While capturing 179 moose calves and attaching radio collars to them, researchers counted an average of 47,371 ticks on each animal, with a high count of more than 96,000.

Since each adult female tick can suck up to three milliliters of blood from its host, Pekins said the high number of ticks could drain the blood of a moose calf in two to three weeks. As a result, in four out of the five years of the study, at least half of all moose calves that researchers were following died; in New Hampshire and western Maine, the mortality rate was 70 percent…

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Beaver Trapped And Set Free

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…

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Cuauhtemoc Saenz Romero Forest Geneticist Trying To Move An Entire Forest
Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

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…

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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…”

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Monarchs By Natgeo

Planting milkweed won’t be enough

We’re losing monarchs fast—here’s why.

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…

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Dead Bats In Wheelbarrow
David White

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…

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Hunter Illustration
Eiko Ojala

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…

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NREL Scientist Jordan Macknick And Jake Janski By Solar Panels
Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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…

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Daily Beast Butterfly On Melting World
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast

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…”

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Solar Panels Sunflowers
Engie Distributed Solar

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…

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