Wetlands and methane emissions

Scientists think the amount of methane emitted to the atmosphere from freshwater ecosystems will increase as the climate warms, reports Tim Radford. And that will trigger further warming. This highlights another mechanism by which the global carbon cycle may serve to accelerate rather than mitigate future climate change. British scientists have identified yet another twist to the threat of global warming. Any further rises in temperature are likely to accelerate the release of methane from rivers, lakes, deltas, bogs, swamps, marshlands and rice paddy fields.

The omni-benefits of regenerative pasture

Managing grasslands in a way that mimics natural grazing by wild animals improves water infiltration, reduces erosion, conserves nutrients, reduces costs, raises production and increases profits, writes Natasha Giddings. Why isn't everyone doing it?

Plankton make scents for seabirds and a cooler planet

The top predators of the Southern Ocean, far-ranging seabirds, are tied both to the health of the ocean ecosystem and to global climate regulation through a mutual relationship with phytoplankton, according to newly published work from the University of California, Davis.

Are Your Shaving Razors Inspired by Frog and Cricket Legs?

Despite the fact that no animals (except for humans!) shave, it turns out the animal kingdom can teach us a thing or two about shaving. Researchers at the Technion have found that by mimicking the texture of the legs of creatures who live in wet environments – they can create better razors.

Floods in Britain: a sign of things to come?

A new investigation of long-term weather records suggests that the recent flooding in the south of England could signal the onset of climate change. The research, from UWE Bristol, Loughborough University and the University of East Anglia has produced a new index of flooding trends called the Fluvial Flood Indices. This enables widespread flooding and weather patterns to be viewed in the context of the last 150 years, revealing that four of the six most severe flood episodes since 1871 have occurred in the last 30 years.

Fix-a-Leak Week

According to WaterSense, an Environmental Protection Agency Partnership Program, household leaks waste more than a trillion gallons of water annually. Our urgency to conserve often depends upon what part of the country we live. But officials predict that at least 36 states that will experience some sort of water shortage.

Forest Peoples at risk from ‘carbon grab’

A new 'carbon grab' is under way as governments and corporations seize valuable rights to the carbon stored in standing forests, with UN and World Bank support. But there's no benefit for forest communities - who even risk expulsion to make way for 'carbon plantations'. As the United Nations and the World Bank prepare to develop world carbon markets as a tool to halt deforestation under so-called REDD+,new research warns of a new 'carbon grab' in the making.

Leftover trees enhance the biodiversity of new forests

Trees left standing after deforestation have a discernible impact on the composition of local biodiversity in secondary growth forests, according to a new study published in PLOS ONE. Researchers working on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica discovered that remnant trees could affect species composition of regenerated forests up to 20 years after being logged.

Amazon inhales more carbon than it emits

A new study led by NASA and the University of Leeds has confirmed that natural forests in the Amazon remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit. This finding resolves a long-standing debate about a key component of the overall carbon balance of the Amazon basin.

An insulation trifecta

A savvy do-it-yourselfer can come up with a dozen unconventional uses for insulation (spray foam as packing material, anyone?), which makes it tricky to find basic information online when you're just dipping your toes in to the DIY pool. Here is an introduction to the three basic types of insulation and their most common uses: blown-in, spray foam and batt/blanket insulation.