Tag Archives: research

Southern California Mega-development Next to Biodiversity Hotspot is Defeated

23 May

by the Center for Biological Diversity

The San Jacinto Valley is a globally recognized biodiversity hotspot that is host to more than 300 resident and migratory birds, including the California gnatcatcher shown above.

RIVERSIDE, Calif.— The Riverside County Superior Court has issued a final decision rejecting the “Villages of Lakeview” development next to the San Jacinto Wildlife Area in rural Riverside County. The massive development of 11,350 residential units and 500,000 square feet of commercial space would have congested roads, worsened the region’s air quality and generated more than 175,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

“The county should never have approved a new city next to one of California’s most important birding areas,” said Jonathan Evans, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Luring tens of thousands of residents to the edge of the environmentally sensitive San Jacinto Wildlife Area was a reckless idea that was properly thrown out by the court.”

The project posed a grave threat to imperiled wildlife on the project site and in the adjacent San Jacinto Wildlife Area. The San Jacinto Valley is a globally recognized biodiversity hotspot that is host to more than 300 resident and migratory birds, including burrowing owls, California gnatcatchers and yellow-billed cuckoos.

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Lawsuit Challenges Old-growth Logging Near Grand Canyon

9 May

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit in federal court today challenging a 25,000-acre timber sale on the Kaibab National Forest near Grand Canyon’s north rim.

Approved in January, this is the U.S. Forest Service’s fifth attempt to sell old-growth trees and forests in the Jacob Ryan project since 2003. Center appeals blocked two earlier attempts; the Forest Service voluntarily withdrew two others.

“The Forest Service consistently rejects good-faith restoration proposals and pushes logging big, old trees, contrary to its own science,” said Jay Lininger, an ecologist with the Center. “The Jacob Ryan timber sale is the opposite of forest restoration and it shows a need for reform within the agency.”

Today’s lawsuit asserts that the planned sale will remove forest habitat supporting northern goshawks and shirks rules designed to protect this rare and declining woodland raptor. According to a Forest Service report, goshawks are “vulnerable to extirpation or extinction in Arizona.” A source population of goshawks lives on the Kaibab Plateau, where Jacob Ryan is located.

In its last failed attempt to sell old-growth trees at Jacob Ryan, in 2009, the Forest Service admitted violating its rules for logging in goshawk habitat after an appeal from the Center.

Center staff also documented that old-growth trees were marked for cutting in the timber sale, despite agency statements in official planning documents that “yellow-bark” ponderosa pines older than 180 years would be left alone.

“There’s no change in the timber sale,” Lininger said. “Now the Forest Service just admits to wanting to cut down thousands of old-growth trees.”

To download a copy of today’s lawsuit, click here.

Photos of the Jacob Ryan timber sale, including old-growth trees marked for logging by the Forest Service, can be seen and downloaded here.

Loss of Biodiversity Rivals Climate Change, Pollution

3 May

ScienceDaily (May 2, 2012) — Loss of biodiversity appears to impact ecosystems as much as climate change, pollution and other major forms of environmental stress, according to a new study from an international research team.

The study is the first comprehensive effort to directly compare the impacts of biological diversity loss to the anticipated effects of a host of other human-caused environmental changes.

The results highlight the need for stronger local, national and international efforts to protect biodiversity and the benefits it provides, according to the researchers, who are based at nine institutions in the United States, Canada and Sweden.

“Loss of biological diversity due to species extinctions is going to have major impacts on our planet, and we better prepare ourselves to deal with them,” said University of Michigan ecologist Bradley Cardinale, one of the authors. The study is scheduled for online publication in the journal Nature on May 2.

“These extinctions may well rank as one of the top five drivers of global change,” said Cardinale, an assistant professor at the U-M School of Natural Resources and Environment and an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Studies over the last two decades have demonstrated that more biologically diverse ecosystems are more productive. As a result, there has been growing concern that the very high rates of modern extinctions — due to habitat loss, overharvesting and other human-caused environmental changes — could reduce nature’s ability to provide goods and services like food, clean water and a stable climate.

But until now, it’s been unclear how biodiversity losses stack up against other human-caused environmental changes that affect ecosystem health and productivity.

“Some people have assumed that biodiversity effects are relatively minor compared to other environmental stressors,” said biologist David Hooper of Western Washington University, the lead author of the Nature paper. “Our new results show that future loss of species has the potential to reduce plant production just as much as global warming and pollution.”

In their study, Hooper and his colleagues used combined data from a large number of published studies to compare how various global environmental stressors affect two processes important in all ecosystems: plant growth and the decomposition of dead plants by bacteria and fungi. The new study involved the construction of a data base drawn from 192 peer-reviewed publications about experiments that manipulated species richness and examined the impact on ecosystem processes.

The global synthesis by Hooper and his colleagues found that in areas where local species loss this century falls within the lower range of projections (loss of 1 to 20 percent of plant species), negligible impacts on ecosystem plant growth will result, and changes in species richness will rank low relative to the impacts projected for other environmental changes.

In ecosystems where species losses fall within intermediate projections (21 to 40 percent of species), however, species loss is expected to reduce plant growth by 5 to 10 percent, an effect that is comparable in magnitude to the expected impacts of climate warming and increased ultraviolet radiation due to stratospheric ozone loss.

At higher levels of extinction (41 to 60 percent of species), the impacts of species loss ranked with those of many other major drivers of environmental change, such as ozone pollution, acid deposition on forests, and nutrient pollution.

“Within the range of expected species losses, we saw average declines in plant growth that were as large as changes seen in experiments simulating several other major environmental changes caused by humans,” Hooper said. “I think several of us working on this study were surprised by the comparative strength of those effects.”

The strength of the observed biodiversity effects suggests that policymakers searching for solutions to other pressing environmental problems should be aware of potential adverse effects on biodiversity, as well, the researchers said.

Still to be determined is how diversity loss and other large-scale environmental changes will interact to alter ecosystems. “The biggest challenge looking forward is to predict the combined impacts of these environmental challenges to natural ecosystems and to society,” said J. Emmett Duffy of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, a co-author of the paper.

Authors of the Nature paper, in addition to Hooper, Cardinale and Duffy, are: E. Carol Adair of the University of Vermont and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis; Jarrett E.K. Byrnes of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis; Bruce Hungate of Northern Arizona University; Kristen Matulich of University of California Irvine; Andrew Gonzalez of McGill University; Lars Gamfeldt of the University of Gothenburg; and Mary O’Connor of the University of British Columbia and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.

Funding for the study included grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.

“This analysis establishes that reduced biodiversity affects ecosystems at levels comparable to those of global warming or air pollution,” said Henry Gholz, program director in the National Science Foundation’s Division of Environmental Biology, which funded the research.

Eco activists detained at industrial wind energy test site

26 Jul

By Jakob Vesterager

cross-posted from here

COPENHAGEN, July 26 (Reuters) – Police in Denmark detained six environmental activists on Tuesday protesting the felling of trees in a forest to make room for a research centre for wind turbines.

Protesters said they were not opposed to the centre, but to the location.

The test centre is meant to further Denmark’s position as world leader in wind power, commonly seen as environmentally friendly renewable energy as it consumes no fossil fuels and produces no emissions.

The protest began 10 days ago at Thy in windy northwestern Jutland where Denmark’s wind industry aims to test giant turbines up to 250 metres high (820 feet).

“We are not against the centre, we are not against the wind industry — on the contrary,” Kent Klemmesen, chairman of the campaign against the project, told Reuters. “We are against the location, because we feel there are far better alternatives.”

Protesters argue that the effects of the huge windmills on human and animal life have not been studied adequately and the 1,200 hectares (2,965 acres) of forest should be preserved.

Though tree felling has begun, Amos Stenner, an activist who spent five hours up in a tree on Tuesday, said he was not giving up. “It is very possible, that I will go up a new tree tomorrow,” he told Reuters.

The test centre project is run by the Danish Technical University DTU, with support from industry, including wind turbine manufacturers Vestas and Siemens and state-owned DONG Energy.

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Rough Start for Primate Vivisection Conference in South Florida

8 May

According to Primate Products, a 4-day workshop entitled “Primadaptation” begins today at their remote vivisection lab and and primate breeding facility, which is called the Panther Tracks Learning Center (on account that its perimeter borders the Panther National Wildlife Refuge) located in Hendry County.

According to an anonymous communique received this morning, with the accompanying photos, its off to a rough start already:

“May, 8, 2011

A message was sent this morning to Primate Products and Scripps Biotech at a remote primate testing and breeding facility in Hendry County…

A road blockade appeared earlier this morning, obstructing potential participants in an animal testing conference scheduled this week in a remote location near the rural town of Immokalee. The blockade consisted of large debris, including tires, tree stumps, concrete block and pallets, interwoven with chain and cable, cover in tar which obstructed the entrance way to the laboratory facilities owned by Primate Products. A message left on a banner, read “Stop Primate Torture” and a sign was painted “Go Vivisect in Hell.”

According to the program for the primate research conference, this week’s activities include trainings on “behavior modification” for primates, to make them into “willing workers” in scientific studies where they are tortured through animal testing practices including forcing diseases and drug overdoses, sensory deprivation and unnecessary biomedical procedures. The event also boasts classes on how to convince facilities to “buy in” on animal research. The PDF with details on the conference can be viewed on Primate Products website, http://www.primateproducts.com.

Several participants in this conference have been the target of animal rights advocates around the world, due to their records of profit-driven abuse and mistreatment of animals, including non-human primates, the closest known genetic relatives to human beings.

A messages was also left for Scripps Biotech, based in Palm Beach Gardens. If Scripps Biotech moves forward with plans to expand their laboratory facilities, using $579 million in public money, for vivisection and genetic engineering in Palm Beach County, they will become one of the largest animal testing facilities in the southern United States.”

For those thinking they’d like to attend, The cost for the workshop is $1095…

If you have any further questions, the invite suggests contacting:

Stefanie L. Nelsen
PPI Behaviorist
(239)867-2042 (Office)
(239)821-9006 (Cell)
stefanienelsen@primateproducts.com

See this video on Primate Products from earlier last year:

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