“Leave it to Beavers” on NATURE tells the story of beavers in North America — their history, their near extinction, and their current comeback as modern day eco-heroes. The full amazing episode is available for online streaming at pbs.org/nature.
Ever wonder about the value of the Chesapeake Bay and its streams and wetlands? An analysis recently released by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) finds that the economic benefits provided by nature in the Chesapeake Bay watershed will total $130 billion annually when the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint is fully implemented.
The peer-reviewed report, produced by economist Spencer Phillips and CBF Senior Scientist Dr. Beth McGee, compares the value of those benefits in 2009, the year before the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint began being implemented, to the benefits that can be expected as a result of fully implementing the Blueprint. >Read the Full Report via Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Carl Zimmer writes recently in the New York Times that levees are not the only things that protect coasts from storm damage. “Nature offers protection, too” he says. “Coastal marshes absorb wind energy and waves of storms, weakening their impact farther inland.” These coastal ecosystems and their services provide significant value he notes, shielding us from storms, reducing soil erosion, soaking up greenhouse gases and more. In 1997 these ecosystems services were valued by a team of scientists at twice the gross national product of every country on Earth or in today’s dollars approximately $49 trillion. Since 1997 the release of hundreds of new studies, and the increased damage to these ecosystems across the world, have caused the team to reevaluate their estimate of these services, concluding that their earlier number was far too low. >Read more via http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/05/science/earth/putting-a-price-tag-on-natures-defenses.html?hp
Following major floods in January 2014 Marina Pacheco, the chief executive of the UK Mammal Society, recommended that the UK Government promote beaver reintroductions as a means of reducing flood risk in the future.
“Restoring the beaver to Britain’s rivers would bring huge benefits in terms of flood alleviation. These unpaid river engineers would quickly re-establish more natural systems that retain water behind multiple small dams across tributaries and side-streams. As a consequence the severity of flooding further downstream would be greatly reduced, at no cost to the taxpayer,” wrote Pacheco.
This regulation in river flow may also help reduce flooding and bankside erosion downstream according to the biofresh blog http://biofreshblog.com/2014/04/18/beavers-ecological-stress-and-river-restoration/
A program intended to insure that American Children have the opportunity to experience the great outdoors, builds on a Forest Service tradition of conservation and education. “The challenges associated with climate change and water will not be resolved in a few years. It will take generations. Kids must understand why forests are so valuable so they will grow into citizens who support conservation,” according to USFS.
Educators, parents—and resource managers—are increasingly concerned with the growing disconnect between children and nature, and the kind of future we are creating for our children. The Forest Service has a tremendous number of ongoing activities to help connect children with nature. >Learn More via http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/conservationeducation/about/?cid=fsmrs_100571
Conservation Magazine recently reported that a new study has confirmed what you’ve probably suspected for awhile: Spending time in nature without computers, phones, and other electronic devices makes people more creative.
The study published in PLoS ONE and called, “Creativity in the wild: Improving creative reasoning through immersion in natural settings” followed 56 people as they completed 4- to 6-day hikes in Alaska, Colorado, Maine, or Washington. Participants were not allowed to bring any electronic gadgets with them. Twenty-four of the hikers took a test that measured their creativity and problem-solving skills before the trip began, while the other 32 people took the test on the fourth day of hiking.
Many of you who have been following this series on my work with Siberian taimen (Hucho taimen) in Mongolia may not be aware that this species is actually one of five taimen species that exist in the world. A recent International Union for Conservation of Nature report titled, “Largest Salmon in the World Edges Toward Extinction,” does a good job of explaining how precarious these populations are.
Two species of taimen the Danube taimen (Hucho hucho) and the Sakhalin taimen (Parahucho perryi) have already been classified as endangered and critically endangered respectively by the IUCN Red List of threatened species. Unfortunately the remaining three species have just recently joined that list. The Siberian taimen (Hucho taimen) was recently listed as vulnerable. In Mongolia alone there has been a 19.1% decrease in habitat and over the last three generations there has been a 50% loss of abundance. Sadly, Mongolia is seen as one of the last strongholds. In parts of China and Russia Siberian taimen numbers have been depleted by more than 90%. The remaining two species of taimen Sichuan taimen (Hucho bleekeri) and Korean taimen (Hucho ishikawae) have been listed as critically endangered and data deficient.
These listings are nothing new for people who have been working with taimen; it has been very clear to all of us that this species is under great threat for possible extinction in certain areas. This is a sad day for taimen lovers worldwide. Please take a moment to read the entire IUCN report, as it is very informative.
This series follows University of Montana graduate student Dan Bailey as he travels the wilds of Mongolia to survey and tag Taimen, the world’s largest trout. Dan is posting to the Club EcoBlu blog as he assists with the Taimen Conservation Project. Taimen are highly endangered, have been known to grow to 6-ft long and more than 200 lbs. The information gathered will aid in drafting a conservation plan to protect this megafish. Trout Headwaters, Inc. is a sponsor of the project.
There’s a new term for nature’s ecological services: Green Infrastructure. These green systems are beginning to replace “gray” systems in cities like Seattle. Green infrastructure can be restored wetlands, rooftop gardens, or permeable pavement that trap and filter pollutants before water flows into streams and rivers and is carried to bays and estuaries. A recent article by journalist Jim Robbins posted on Environment360 profiles Seattle as an early adopter of green infrastructure as the city works to clean up its air and water using lower cost, natural methods. At THI we advocate for Restoring Nature’s Water Filter in our work to preserve and restore freshwater resources. Read more: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/with_funding_tight_cities_are_turning_to_green_infrastructure/2564/