Asian Carp in the Great Lakes

There have been many invasions of foreign species into new territories. Asian carp may pose substantial environmental risk to the Great Lakes if they become established there, according to a bi-national Canadian and United States risk assessment released today. Bighead and silver carps -- two species of Asian carp -- pose an environmental risk to the Great Lakes within 20 years, with the risk increasing over time. Lakes Michigan, Huron and Erie face the highest risk relative to the other lakes. The new risk assessment report was led by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and included a team of scientists from Canada and the United States. Two U.S. Geological Survey scientists were among the co-authors of the report.

Despite moratorium, Indonesia failing to take action on illegal palm oil plantations

Indonesian authorities are failing to take action against a palm oil company that is operating illegally in Central Kalimantan, alleges a new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Telapak. The report, published Thursday, says that authorities have failed to conduct a criminal investigation into the illegal conversion of more than 23,000 hectares of peatland and peat forest by PT SCP, part of the BEST Group, despite being provided with "sufficient evidence" to do so. EIA and Telapak say the dossier detailed PT SCP's violations of laws governing "land allocation, access to resources and environmental management."

Long term temperature record reconstructed

Long term calculations prepared by Mainz scientists will influence the way current climate change is perceived. This important study is published in Nature Climate Change. An international team that includes scientists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) has published a reconstruction of the climate in northern Europe over the last 2,000 years based on the information provided by tree-rings. Professor Dr. Jan Esper's group at the Institute of Geography at JGU used tree-ring density measurements from sub-fossil pine trees originating from Finnish Lapland to produce a reconstruction reaching back to 138 BC. In so doing, the researchers have been able for the first time to precisely demonstrate that the long-term trend over the past two millennia has been towards climatic cooling. "We found that previous estimates of historical temperatures during the Roman era and the Middle Ages were too low," says Esper. "Such findings are also significant with regard to climate policy, as they will influence the way today's climate changes are seen in context of historical warm periods." The new study has been published in the journal "Nature Climate Change".

Poaching in the Serengeti linked to poverty, high legal hunting prices

In the effort to protect the Serengeti—arguably Africa's most famous ecosystem—one of the major problems is the bushmeat trade. Population growth, little available protein, poverty, and a long-standing history of hunting has led many communities to poach wildlife within Serengeti National Park. Interviewing over a thousand community members in the western Serengeti, scientists found that community members are largely aware that wildlife hunting is illegal and that conservation of wild species is important, but hunt animals anyway partly out of necessity.

Boreal Forest Conservation Spreads Throughout Ontario

Forest company and conservation group signatories to the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) welcome Ontario's support today of their approach and joint recommendations on an action plan for an area of the province’s boreal forest almost five times the size of Metro Toronto. The action plan recommendations aim to secure the future of the 3 million hectares of caribou range in the Abitibi River Forest to conserve Boreal woodland caribou and maintain hundreds of jobs in forestry. The proposed approach and recommendations are intended to produce over 800,000 hectares of critical habitat for Boreal woodland caribou that would be excluded from harvest. The remaining 2.2 million hectares would remain open to forestry, with high standards of sustainable forest practices in place to safeguard wildlife and ecosystems. "This proposed breakthrough plan for the Abitibi River Forest underscores that prosperity and conservation go hand-in-hand by recognizing that conservation is not at the expense of economic prosperity, but complementary to it. It is also a testament to the collective efforts of the environmental groups and companies that have been able to find common ground" said Janet Sumner, executive director of CPAWS-Wildlands League, one of Canada's leading conservation groups.

Feeling the Burn: The Biological Mechanism of the Sunburn

New findings have emerged in the field of sunburns, the painful yet protective immune response from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The skin turns reddish and becomes hot to the touch, making it very uncomfortable. UV radiation can also cause general fatigue, mild dizziness, and possible skin diseases. A new study from the University of California (UC) San Diego has found that the sunburn is actually a consequence of RNA damage to skin cells. This finding may possibly lead to new treatments for blocking the inflammatory process, plus a range of other medical conditions.

Canadian Forest Industry And Environmental Groups Sign World’s Largest Conservation Agreement

The 21 member companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), and nine leading environmental organizations, have endorsed an unprecedented agreement – the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement – that applies to 72 million hectares of public forests licensed to FPAC members. The Agreement, when fully implemented, will conserve significant areas of Canada's vast Boreal Forest, protect threatened woodland caribou and provide a competitive market edge for participating companies. Under the Agreement FPAC members, who manage two-thirds of all certified forest land in Canada, commit to the highest environmental standards of forest management within an area twice the size of Germany. Conservation groups commit to global recognition and support for FPAC member efforts. The Agreement calls for the suspension of new logging on nearly 29 million hectares of Boreal Forest to develop conservation plans for endangered caribou, while maintaining essential fiber supplies for uninterrupted mill operations. "Do Not Buy" campaigns by Canopy, ForestEthics and Greenpeace will be suspended while the Agreement is being implemented.

Copenhagen wins ‘European Green Capital”

The Danish city of Copenhagen has won the European Green Capital Award for 2014. Copenhagen was chosen for its achievements in "eco-innovation and sustainable mobility," for being a role model for the green economy in Europe and for engaging its citizens to feel they are part of the green solution.

Mad Cow Detection

Mad cow disease is a fatal disease in cattle that causes portions of the brain to turn sponge-like. This transmissible disease is caused by the propagation of a misfolded form of protein known as a prion, rather than by a bacterium or virus. The average time from infection to signs of illness is about 60 months. Little is known about the pathogenesis of BSE in the early incubation period. Previous research has reported that the autonomic nervous system (ANS) becomes affected by the disease only after the central nervous system (CNS) has been infected. In a new study published online in the August issue of The American journal of pathology, researchers found that the ANS can show signs of infection prior to involvement of the CNS.

Mars Panorama

From fresh rover tracks to an impact crater blasted billions of years ago, a newly completed view from the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the ruddy terrain around the outcrop where the long-lived explorer spent its most recent Martian winter. This scene recorded from the mast-mounted color camera includes the rover's own solar arrays and deck in the foreground, providing a sense of sitting on top of the rover and taking in the view. Its release this week coincides with two milestones: Opportunity completing its 3,000th (about 8 years)Martian day on July 2, and NASA continuing past 15 years of robotic presence at Mars. Mars Pathfinder landed July 4, 1997. NASA's Mars Global Surveyor orbiter reached the planet while Pathfinder was still active, and Global Surveyor overlapped the active missions of the Mars Odyssey orbiter and Opportunity, both still in service. It just shows that you can build something that is not planned for a quick change out.