Could trees replace tundra in Canada’s Arctic? Perhaps, according to a new report to be released by 35 of the world’s top forestry scientists. (see press release) While warmer temperatures from global warming will spell destruction for forests in places like the Western US, southern Europe and Australia, Canada’s treeline may expand northward. From the Globe and Mail: Warmer temperatures will be a boon to woodlands in northern countries, as will the presence of increased carbon dioxide in the air, which will act as a type of natural fertilizer for tree growth in the Arctic. Besides Baffin Island, forests will be able to spread to most of the Hudson Bay coastline; Southampton Island, perched at the top of Hudson Bay;… read more →
A pest to a farmer; a meal to an owl. Read about how birds of prey can help reduce the use of pesticides and threats to crops, water quality and wildlife!
The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is a not-for-profit organisation that holds the largest database of corporate climate change information in the world. If you are so inclined, you can read analyst reports, published annually, that provide detailed analyses of how the largest companies around the globe are responding to climate change. Combining the well-known sentiment from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis that sunlight is the best disinfectant, with the biz school dictum that what gets measured gets managed, the CBD believes that making information about a company’s climate change strategy available to policy makers, investors and the general public will encourage companies to reduce emissions and climate change impacts. Last month execs at the 200 largest companies (by market… read more →
Check out these images of a robin catching his meal — gulp! The pictures come from Jim Dubois, who has his own Web site, theineleganteagle.com. Jim’s title for this image series is better than anything I’d write: Eat your greens…and your browns. Look closely, you can catch one last glimpse of the grub… On to the next course… Thanks for sharing Jim.
In our latest highly unscientific (but fun!) Quick Poll we asked our online community members how they like to spend their winters. Do they grab the wax and head for the slopes, or cosy up to the fire and stay toasty indoors? Do they start building the outdoor hockey rink or start packing their bags for Florida? Turns out many of you see the winter months as a good time to wildlife watch. According to our Quick Poll results, 41% of voters chose wildlife watching as their favourite winter activity. While the next largest group – 24% – preferred staying indoors, a review of the posted comments reveal many people actually do their wildlife watching from the comfort of their… read more →
North American scientists have demonstrated that more diverse bird populations can help to buffer people against infection from West Nile virus, according to recent research highlighted in BirdLife International’s News section today. The article (available in full from PLoS ONE, here) demonstrates a link between high bird diversity and low incidence of West Nile virus in humans in eastern North America. According to the authors, these results “illustrate an important ecosystem service provided by biodiversity, further supporting the growing view that protecting biodiversity should be considered in public health and safety plans.” The study contributes to our growing understanding of the importance of preserving bird diversity – the many benefits include maintaining important ecosystem services (like buffering humans from infectious… read more →
An important new analysis on the effects of climate change on birds was released this week by our BirdLife partner in the United States, the National Audubon Society. The analysis of four decades of Christmas Bird Count observations reveals that North American birds are moving northward and inland towards cooler temperatures in response to a changing climate. Specifically, 58% of the 305 widespread species that winter on the continent have shifted significantly north since 1968, some by hundreds of kilometres. The ongoing trend of movement of these species is closely correlated to long-term winter temperature increases. The evidence is striking for some species: Purple Finch, Pine Siskin and Boreal Chickadee have dramatically shifted their home ranges by hundreds of kilometres… read more →
This weekend, the New Jersey Star-Ledger published an interesting article highlighting the plight of two species of shorebirds, Red Knots and Semipalmated Sandpipers, that refuel in Delaware Bay before continuing on their migrations: Tiny and easily overlooked among the hordes of more spectacular shorebirds streaming up and down the Atlantic Coast, the semipalmated sandpiper is suddenly standing out in the fragile ecological ballet that unfolds annually at the Delaware Bay. The little brown bird, named because of its partially webbed feet, is providing new insight into the link scientists have drawn between the plummeting population of the more celebrated red knot sandpiper and dwindling number of horseshoe crab eggs on the New Jersey and Delaware shores. A team of five… read more →
Nature Canada, like many other groups (such as the Boreal Songbird Initiative), fight for the birds of the Canadian boreal forest. While birds are just one part of this ecosystem, it is one of national importance because most are protected under the Migratory Bird Convention Act. This Act is our federal government’s law that states that it is illegal to harm, capture or have in your possession any of the species of birds listed in the Act, which includes most of the birds in Canada and over 90 percent of those in the boreal forest of north-eastern Alberta. According to the law, it is also illegal to damage eggs or an active nest. This is the law that gave Environment… read more →
In my stocking this Christmas I received a pocket-sized book called 1,001 Ways to Save the Earth — a guidebook, really, for incorporating a conservation ethic into your life. There’s a Choose Your Own Adventure vibe to this little compendium. There isn’t any particular order to the 1,001 actions author Joanna Yarrow has pulled together; just open up to any page and start anywhere. Some suggestions are straightforward, easy and on everyone’s list: 129 No energy to spare. Don’t waste energy heating or cooling rooms you rarely use. Minimize air flow to registers in spare rooms and keep doors to unused rooms closed. But there are plenty of ideas you may not have thought of. Here are a couple that… read more →