ScienceDaily: Top Environment News: Local communities produce high-quality forest monitoring data, rivals that of professional foresters

Jay Owen Earth Systems Science


Local communities produce high-quality forest monitoring data, rivals that of professional foresters

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 05:54 PM PDT

A recent study by researchers at the Nairobi-based World Agroforestry Centre and European and Southeast Asian institutions finds that local communities — using simple tools like ropes and sticks — can produce forest carbon data on par with results by professional foresters using high-tech devices.

Melting Arctic sea ice could increase summer rainfall in northwest Europe suggests new study

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 05:54 PM PDT

A new study offers an explanation for the extraordinary run of wet summers experienced by Britain and northwest Europe between 2007 and 2012. The study found that loss of Arctic sea ice shifts the jet stream further south than normal resulting in increased rain during the summer in northwest Europe.

Study challenges soil testing for potassium and the fertilizer value of potassium chloride

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 03:48 PM PDT

In the chemical age of agriculture that began in the 1960s, potassium chloride (KCl), the common salt often referred to as potash, is widely used as a major fertilizer in the Corn Belt without regard to the huge soil reserves that were once recognized for their fundamental importance to soil fertility. Soil scientists have serious concerns with the current approach to potassium management that has been in place for the past five decades because their research has revealed that soil K testing is of no value for predicting soil K availability and that KCl fertilization seldom pays.

Toxic ocean conditions during major extinction 93.9 million years ago quantified: Doesn’t take much sulfide to impact ocean life

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 01:30 PM PDT

Biogeochemists report that oxygen-free and hydrogen sulfide-rich waters extended across roughly five percent of the ocean 93.9 million years ago — far more than the modern ocean’s 0.1 percent but much less than previous estimates for this event. Across this event, a major biological extinction in the marine realm took place. The new work shows that only portions of the ocean need to contain sulfide to greatly impact biota.

Mercury: Enduring contaminant legacy of the California Gold Rush transported by floods

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 01:30 PM PDT

An unintended legacy of California’s gold rush, which began in 1848, endures today in the form of mercury-laden sediment. New research shows that sediment-absorbed mercury is being transported by major floods from the Sierra Nevada mountains to Central Valley lowlands.

Neutrons, electrons and theory reveal secrets of natural gas reserves

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 01:29 PM PDT

Gas and oil deposits in shale have no place to hide. A new technique provides an inside look at pores and reveals structural information potentially vital to today’s energy needs.

Researchers turn to technology to discover a novel way of mapping landscapes

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 01:29 PM PDT

Using computer technology to map patterns of land cover reveals types of landscapes and holds applications for numerous fields in research and planning.

Gold mining ravages Peru

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 01:28 PM PDT

For the first time, researchers have been able to map the true extent of gold mining in the biologically diverse region of Madre De Dios in the Peruvian Amazon. The team combined field surveys with airborne mapping and high-resolution satellite monitoring to show that the geographic extent of mining has increased 400% from 1999 to 2012 and that the average annual rate of forest loss has tripled since the Great Recession of 2008.

Climate change has silver lining for grizzy bears

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 10:50 AM PDT

Global warming and forest disturbances may have a silver lining for threatened species of grizzly bears in Alberta, Canada.

Study of Brazilian Amazon shows 50,000 km of road was built in just three years

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 10:48 AM PDT

Nearly 17,000 kilometers of road were built in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest every year between 2004 and 2007. Although road-building is a major contributor to deforestation and habitat loss, the way in which road networks develop is still poorly understood. A new study is among the first to measure the number of roads built in a rainforest ecosystem over an extended period of time.

El Niño is becoming more active

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 07:11 AM PDT

A new approach to analyzing geological and biological clues from the past to reconstruct El Niño activity during the past 600 years resolves disagreements and reveals that El Niño has become more active in recent decades. The work may also help yield more accurate El Niño projections 

Super-efficient rooftop units for heating and cooling

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 07:08 AM PDT

Putting new super-efficient rooftop HVAC units in broad use would be about equal to taking 700,000 cars off the road each year in terms of saved energy and reduced pollution, according to a new study.

Irukandji threat to southern waters

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 06:08 AM PDT

Researchers have conducted a series of climate change simulation experiments to investigate whether the dangerous tropical jellyfish, the Irukandji, is likely to establish breeding populations in the South East. It was found that while higher sea temperatures could provide an opportunity for adult Irukandji to expand their range south, increasing ocean acidification may inhibit the development of juveniles.

Tell-tale toes point to oldest-known fossil bird tracks from Australia

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 06:08 AM PDT

Two fossilized footprints found at Dinosaur Cove in Victoria, Australia, were likely made by birds during the Early Cretaceous, making them the oldest known bird tracks in Australia. These tracks are evidence that we had sizeable, flying birds living alongside other kinds of dinosaurs on these polar, river floodplains, about 105 million years ago.

New protein fold with a transport tunnel discovered

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 06:04 AM PDT

The protein LIMP-2 is vital for both humans and animals. If it is absent – due, for example, to a hereditary disease – substances of an unknown nature, probably lipids, accumulate in the organism. Up to now, scientists were unsure what the protein looks like and how exactly it functions.

Yields of new varieties of agricultural crops continue to increase

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 06:04 AM PDT

Research into varieties of winter wheat, spring barley, potatoes grown for starch and sugar beet that have been introduced in the Netherlands by plant breeding companies between 1980-2010 shows that new varieties continue to yield more than their predecessors. Despite recent concerns that important crops in high-yielding regions have reached their production maximum, the rise in yield potential of new cultivars has not yet leveled off, demonstrating that plant breeding can still lead to increases in production.

Urban underground holds sustainable energy

Posted: 28 Oct 2013 06:04 AM PDT

Vast energy sources are slumbering below big cities. Sustainable energies for heating in winter and cooling in summer may be extracted from heated groundwater aquifers. Researchers developed an analytical heat flux model and found that increasing heat in the underground is mainly caused by an increase in surface temperatures and heat