Snow buntings on video

This is a video about snow buntings from the Netherlands.

Little tern video

This is a little tern video from the Netherlands.

‘Anti-fracking is terrorism’, British police says

This video from the USA says about itself:

6 May 2013

Fracking endangers national parks.

Apparently companies mining for energy don’t have to be within the boundaries of a National Park to cause harm to it.

Fracking — the practice of hydraulic shale fracturing to extract natural gas — has become popular around several parks and its effects upon them are being increasingly noticed.

According to a report put together by the National Parks Conservation Association, a watchdog group, North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park is particularly vulnerable.

Known for its stargazing opportunities, the night sky has been compromised by both the light coming from surrounding fracking sites and an increase in noise pollution. It’s suspected that water pollution will soon follow.

The opening of multitudes of natural gas extraction sites has also created job opportunities, causing the area to experience a population boom. Due to a shortage in permanent housing, many new residents have been forced to live in the park’s campgrounds.

Another National Parks matter of great concern to environmentalists is a Glacier National Park concessions bid put in by Xanterra Parks and Resorts.

The company is a subsidiary of Anschutz Exploration Corporation, an energy company currently drilling on an Indian reservation just outside of Glacier National Park’s boundaries.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain:

Anti-fracking protesters branded ‘terrorists’

Tuesday 6th December 2016

Campaigners added to list of terror groups along with Isis

COPPERS in Yorkshire have added anti-fracking campaigns to a list of terror groups alongside Isis that require “monitoring and intervention,” a York local radio station revealed yesterday.

Anti-fracking campaigners reacted with shock at the move which is part of the government’s controversial “anti-terror” Prevent programme.

The environmental campaigners — who have staged a number of peaceful protests in the area — have been included in the City of York’s “Prevent Story Board” which identifies potential terrorist threats based on information from the police.

“I am shocked to hear that York’s peaceful and creative opposition to the government’s energy and climate agenda is now classed as terrorism,” said York Green councillor Lars Kramm.

“Anti-fracking protesters in Yorkshire and across the country deserve praise for their actions, not legal proceedings and stigmatisation as terrorists.”

The board also suggests that York faces risks from activity relating to Syria, anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian activities, hunt saboteurs, animal rights and extreme right-wing groups.

Frack Free York’s Leigh Coghill said: “People opposed to fracking are just ordinary peaceful residents who come from all walks of life and share concerns about the environmental and economic downsides of fracking.

“They have opposed specific planning applications and government policy through completely peaceful demonstrations in very close liaison with the police, with whom we have an excellent relationship.”

Music teacher and father of three Ian Conlan of Frack Free Ryedale argued that the Prevent strategy should focus on preventing terrorism and not “peaceful expressions of legitimate opinions and campaigning, which includes the right to protest.”

Anti-fracking groups and activities are widespread across North Yorkshire, which has been targeted by the government and fracking companies as ripe for exploitation by the controversial oil extraction process.

European Ice Age hunter-gatherers destroyed forests

This video says about itself:

1 March 2011

Join a small group of ancient Europeans as they teeter on the brink of annihilation, struggling with the most extreme living conditions anyone has ever faced, from encroaching sheets of ice that swallowed every bit of fertile land to a climate that was, on average, 70 degrees colder than it is today.

For these humans, survival meant more than simply keeping warm; it meant abandoning their hunting and gathering lifestyle and finding a whole new way of living – a way of living that endures to this day. Go back in time 24,000 years to the last Ice Age and watch in awe as Ice World brings this amazing stuggle to life. Through computer graphics and reconstructions, you’ll see how the earth’s climate shifted over time, eventually covering much of North America and Europe with two-mile-thick ice sheets.

From Leiden University in the Netherlands:

Ice Age hunters destroyed forests throughout Europe

28 November 2016

Large-scale forest fires started by prehistoric hunter-gatherers are probably the reason why Europe is not more densely forested. This is the finding of an international team, including climate researcher Professor Jed Kaplan of the University of Lausanne and archaeologist Professor Jan Kolen of Leiden University. Publication on 30 November in PLOS ONE.

Deliberate or negligent

This research has generated new insights on the role of hunters in the formation of the landscape. It may be that during the coldest phase of the last Ice Age, some 20,000 years ago, hunter-gatherers deliberately lit forest fires in an attempt to create grasslands and park-like forests. They probably did this to attract wild animals and to make it easier to gather vegetable food and raw materials; it also facilitated movement. Another possibility is that the large-scale forests and steppe fires may have been the result of the hunters’ negligent use of fire in these semi-open landscapes.

Large-scale impact of humans on landscape

The researchers combined analyses of Ice Age accumulations of silt and computer simulations with new interpretations of archaeological data. They show that hunters throughout Europe, from Spain to Russia, were capable of altering the landscape. This first large-scale impact of humans on landscape and vegetation would have taken place more than 20,000 years before the industrial revolution. The Ice Age is often presented as an era of extreme cold and snow that was ruled by mammoths, bison and giant bears. But the researchers show that humans were also capable of having a significant impact on the landscape.

Layers of ash

Searching for evidence of this human impact explains why there are conflicting reconstructions for this period. Reconstructions of the vegetation based on pollen and plant remains from lakes and marshland suggest that Europe had an open steppe vegetation. But computer simulations based on eight possible climate scenarios show that under natural conditions the landscape in large areas of Europe would have been far more densely forested. The researchers conclude that humans must have been responsible for the difference. Further evidence has been found in the traces of the use of fire in hunting settlements from this period and in the layers of ash in the soil.

Previous Leiden research already suggested human intervention

The team from Lausanne was made up of climate researchers and ecologists Jed Kaplan, Mirjam Pfeiffer and Basil Davis. Archaeologists Jan Kolen and Alexander Verpoorte from Leiden University also worked on the research. An earlier publication by Leiden’s Human Origins research group, that was published in Current Anthropology, had already suggested that hunter-gatherers from the Stone Age may well have modified the natural environment considerably through their use of fire. The new publication in PLOS ONE confirms this hypothesis and may be one of the earliest examples of large-scale human impact on the landscape throughout the whole of Europe.

Restoring peatland in Belarus

This 2013 video is called BELARUS — NEW PEAT BOGS.

From BirdLife:

Belarus to restore over 1000 hectares of peatland

By APB BirdLife Belarus, 5 Dec 2016

A huge restoration project led by APB BirdLife Belarus (BirdLife Partner), the National Park authorities and the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) is taking place in Białowieża Forest National Park, to recover invaluable habitat for raptors, owls and woodpeckers.

Between the border of Poland and Belarus lies the impressive Białowieża Forest, one of Europe’s last primeval forests and one of the few remnants of the vast woods that once covered most of the continent. This exceptional habitat is a Natura 2000 site, an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, inhabited by a total of 250 bird species including Great Snipe Gallinago media, Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga and the Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola.

Sixty years ago, a large open fen covering an area of over 7000 ha at the eastern edge of Białowieża Forest (known as Biełaviežskaja Pušča in Belarusian) was drained as a result of a large scale wetland reclamation campaign in the Soviet Union. A new conservation project started last week to seek to restore an area of 1163 hectares of National Park. One of the largest fen rehabilitation projects in Europe, the project aims to construct 112 natural dams by the end of December.

While the peatland restoration project is taking part in the central part of the Białowieża Forest, its positive impact will even cross borders. The so-called Dziki Nikar mire is the source of the Narevka River, one of the main water arteries feeding the Polish part of Białowieża Forest. The dams will make the water level rise to the surface for the benefit of wildlife in both countries.

Why are peatlands so important?

Peatlands are a type of wetland with a thick organic soil layer made up of decaying plant material. While peatland is a more general term, APB BirdLife Belarus is here restoring a particular, wet kind of peatland called fen: a flat mire that collects water from rainfall and surface water.

Peatlands are unique ecosystems, essential to mitigate climate change because of their ability to store carbon. In fact, they store twice as much carbon as forests in a tenth of the area. They also store such large quantities of water that they help in flood protection and clean water supply.

Belarus is currently taking the lead in peatland restoration in Europe. APB BirdLife Belarus is playing a key role in the process, being a partner or implementing organisation in many such projects.

Over the last decade, up to 50,000 hectares of degraded peatlands have been rewetted in Belarus. Most of them are depleted through peat extraction, which makes restoration of the original mire a complicated and lengthy process. But this project is unique: after Dziki Nikar was drained for agriculture it was used for a relatively short time, thereby enhancing prospects for successful restoration of the original vegetation.

“Water – a key element for all the ecosystems of Belarus. Most of our rare species are associated with water but have become rare due to water shortages. If we restore the peatland, we will bring back these species. We will wait for the return of the Great Snipe, Greater Spotted Eagle and the Aquatic Warbler”, said Alexander Vintchevski, Director of APB BirdLife Belarus.

First results should be visible in the next two or three years. However, it will take at least another 30 years for the ecosystem to be completely restored.

Badger, red fox on camera trap

This camera trap video shows a badger with nesting material and a red fox in the Veluwe region in the Netherlands, 2-3 December 2016.

Blue and gray jays in Canada

This video from Canada says about itself:

5 December 2016

Gray Jays visit the Ontario FeederWatch Cam. One seems particularly interested in the goods inside the lady bug feeder.

Thanks to Perky-Pet for helping to make the Ontario FeederWatch Cam possible!

The FeederWatch cam is located in a residential neighborhood in Manitouwadge, Ontario.

This video from Canada says about itself:

Blue and Gray Jays Swap Time at the Feeders – Dec. 5, 2016

These two species of corvids take their turns swapping time at the Ontario FeederWatch feeders.

Thanks to Perky-Pet for helping to make the Ontario FeederWatch Cam possible!

The FeederWatch cam is located in a residential neighborhood in Manitouwadge, Ontario.