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Preview: Sustainable Ecosystems and Community News - ENN

Sustainable Ecosystems and Community News - ENN


Reforesting Kilimanjaro could ease East Africa's severe water shortages

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 16:09:00 EST

There is a need to reforest Africa’s highest mountain to help protect vital water supplies that are under threat across large parts of East Africa, a UN Environment report urged today.The loss of Mount Kilimanjaro’s forests could trigger water crisis as rivers begin to dry up, notes the report, entitled Sustainable Mountain Development in East Africa in a Changing Climate, which was launched at the World Mountain Forum in Uganda today.(image)

Researchers use 'robomussels' to monitor climate change

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 07:07:00 EST

Tiny robots have been helping researchers study how cli­mate change affects bio­di­ver­sity. Devel­oped by North­eastern Uni­ver­sity sci­en­tist Brian Hel­muth, the “robo­mus­sels” have the shape, size, and color of actual mus­sels, with minia­ture built-in sen­sors that track tem­per­a­tures inside the mussel beds.(image)

Modeling Floods That Formed Canyons on Earth and Mars

Mon, 17 Oct 2016 07:05:00 EST

Geomorphologists who study Earth’s surface features and the processes that formed them have long been interested in how floods, in particular catastrophic outbursts that occur when a glacial lake ice dam bursts, for example, can change a planet’s surface, not only on Earth but on Mars. Now geoscience researchers Isaac Larsen at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Michael Lamb at the California Institute of Technology have proposed and tested a new model of canyon-forming floods which suggests that deep canyons can be formed in bedrock by significantly less water than previously thought.(image)

Salty snow could affect air pollution in the Arctic

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 20:03:00 EST

In pictures, the Arctic appears pristine and timeless with its barren lands and icy landscape. In reality, the area is rapidly changing.  Scientists are working to understand the chemistry behind these changes to better predict what could happen to the region in the future. One team reports in ACS’ Journal of Physical Chemistry A that sea salt could play a larger role in the formation of local atmospheric pollutants than previously thought.(image)

Stanford researchers capture Central Asia's 'de-greening' over millions of years into a modern-day desert

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 11:43:00 EST

A new study chronicles how central Asia dried out over the last 23 million years into one of the most arid regions on the planet. The findings illustrate the dramatic climatic shifts wrought by the ponderous rise of new mountain ranges over geologic time.Researchers have long cited the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayan Mountains around 50 million years ago for blocking rain clouds’ entry into central Asia from the south, killing off much of the region’s plant life.(image)

Climate Change Has Doubled Western U.S. Forest Fires

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 06:38:00 EST

A new study says that human-induced climate change has doubled the area affected by forest fires in the U.S. West over the last 30 years. According to the study, since 1984 heightened temperatures and resulting aridity have caused fires to spread across an additional 16,000 square miles than they otherwise would have—an area larger than the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined. The authors warn that further warming will increase fire exponentially in coming decades. (image)

To Help Bees, Skip Herbicides and Pesticides, Keep Lawns Naturally Diverse

Fri, 07 Oct 2016 16:23:00 EST

Declining populations of pollinators is a major concern to ecologists because bees, butterflies and other insects play a critical role in supporting healthy ecosystems. Now a new study from urban ecologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggests that when urban and suburban lawns are left untreated with herbicides, they provide a diversity of “spontaneous” flowers such as dandelions and clover that offer nectar and pollen to bees and other pollinators. (image)