ANU gives koalas a home and care after bushfires

Koalas displaced and injured by Australia’s bushfire crisis are being cared for and housed temporarily at The Australian National University (ANU). Three of the Snowy Mountain koalas have been named after the American aerial firefighters tragically killed in the air-tanker crash in southeast NSW last week – Ian McBeth, Paul Hudson and Rick DeMorgan Jr. The … Read more

Climate (not humans) shaped early forests of New England

A new study in the journal Nature Sustainability overturns long-held interpretations of the role humans played in shaping the American landscape before European colonization. The findings give new insight into the rationale and approaches for managing some of the most biodiverse landscapes in the eastern U.S. The study, led by archaeologists, ecologists, and paleoclimatologists at Harvard, Emerson … Read more

Climate change unlikely to drive sugar maples north

Climate is an important factor in determining a plant species’ growing zone. Some studies suggest that by the turn of the next century, climate change will have caused some species to spread several dozen kilometres north of their current distribution areas. Such changes could have major consequences on how land-based ecosystems function. But a northern … Read more

Wildlife needs fire-damaged and dead trees after fires

Rather than an untidy mess, fire-damaged trees and half burnt logs left behind by a fire are valuable habitat for recovering wildlife, according to a group of leading Australian environmental scientists. Professor David Lindenmayer from the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University has over 35 years of experience researching the … Read more

Poplars genetically modified not to harm air quality grow as well as non-modified trees

Field trials in the Northwest and Southwest show that poplar trees can be genetically modified to reduce negative impacts on air quality while leaving their growth potential virtually unchanged, says an Oregon State University researcher who collaborated on the study. The findings, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are important because … Read more

In ancient scottish rings, a cautionary tale on climate, politics and survival

Using old tree rings and archival documents, historians and climate scientists have detailed an extreme cold period in Scotland in the 1690s that caused immense suffering. It decimated agriculture, killed as much as 15 percent of the population and sparked a fatal attempt to establish a Scottish colony in southern Panama. The researchers say the episode—shown in their study … Read more

New online initiative offers holiday shoppers chance to give unique gift of forest conservation

This holiday season, Global Wildlife Conservation is offering the chance to give the gift of a healthy planet through a beta initiative with, where site visitors can permanently conserve an acre of cloud forest in the Guatemala highlands for $84. The novel project launches just in time for the holidays. Guatemala’s northern highlands are … Read more

Degraded soils mean tropical forests may never fully recover from logging

Continually logging and re-growing tropical forests to supply timber is reducing the levels of vital nutrients in the soil, which may limit future forest growth and recovery, a new study suggests. This raises concerns about the long-term sustainability of logging in the tropics. Trees of recovering tropical forests were found to have tougher leaves, with … Read more

Linked environmental problems amplify human impact on the Earth System

The bushfires raging across Australia are a distressing example of connections between global environmental problems that amplify human impacts on the Earth System, says ANU scientist Dr Steven Lade. He and other authors, including ANU Emeritus Professor Will Steffen, write about this concerning phenomenon in Nature Sustainability, using the ‘planetary boundaries’ framework to analyse these … Read more

Forest fragmentation hits wildlife hardest in the tropics

Animals that evolved in environments subject to large-scale habitat-altering events like fires and storms are better equipped to handle forest fragmentation caused by human development than species in low-disturbance environments, new research shows. Oregon State University scientists led an international collaboration whose work provides an important road map as conservation managers consider the effects of … Read more