This video shows how that happened.
See also here.
This video shows how that happened.
See also here.
This video from Ireland says about itself:
A video on the carnivorous plants that can be found at the IPCC headquarters, the Bog of Allen Nature Centre, Lullymore, Rathangan, Co. Kildare. Visit the centre to experience our greenhouse full of venus flytraps, pitcher plants, sundew, butterwort and cobra lillies.
Our uplands: a burning desire for action
7 March 2014 6:23 AM
I live and work in the flatlands of Eastern England but I love walking in the hills. I have walked large stretches of the long distance footpaths of England, and in recent years, I have been lucky to go and see some of the work that we do in the uplands – working with others such as United Utilities to restore fabulous places like Dove Stone in the Peak District and with our tenant farmer at Geltsdale in the North Pennines. For me, alongside the inspiration that comes from being in wild places, it has always been the wildlife associated with the spongy wonders of peat bogs that hold me in thrall. Getting up close and personal with Sphagnum mosses and carnivorous sundews should not be limited to those that visit botanic gardens.
The walkers amongst you will know that our peatlands are not in great condition. You can see for yourself the scale and extent of damage to peatlands from afforestation, drainage, overgrazing and burning. This was documented by the Adaptation Sub-Committee last year (see Figure 4.5 here). And, as I wrote in my first blog of the year (here), just 10.5% of the 162,000 ha of blanket bog designated as SSSI are in favourable condition in England.
In the late 1990s, the RSPB with many others successfully campaigned to end the extraction of peat from lowland raised bog SSSIs and to get trees off the internationally important bogs in the Flow Country. Today, we should be applying the same urgency to restore internationally important peatlands in the hills. This would not only help wildlife, but also fulfil our legal obligations to restore these sites whilst safeguarding nature’s free services that well-managed peatlands provide – such as locking up carbon, providing clear drinking water, and keeping water for longer on the hill to prevent downstream flooding.
But restoration will not happen if we keep burning our peatlands. In May 2013, Natural England completed its review of evidence of the impact of upland management practices including burning (see here). In short, they concluded that burning vegetation on deep peat soils is preventing the recovery of the habitat and the species our protected sites are intended to look after. For those communities, like those at Hebden Bridge, living in the foothills of intensively managed moors there are more pressing reasons why they cry “Ban the Burn“.
Today, we reveal the scale of burning on our internationally protected peatlands (see here). There are at least 127 separate historic agreements or consents allowing burning of blanket bog on sites internationally important for birds and deep peatland habitats. Defra has confirmed that all of these consents take place on grouse moors where burning is designed to provide optimum conditions for red grouse. We have compiled this information following our investigation into the management agreement that was struck between Natural England and Walshaw Moor Estate in 2012 (which I first aired here).
We have decided to put this information into the public domain for three reasons…
…first, we are encouraging Natural England to act on their evidence review and produce guidelines which bring an end to burning on our protected upland peatlands
…second, any public money that flows up the hill to support land management in the hills (especially finite agri-environment money) must be made to work harder for wildlife and protect nature’s free services. Future agri-environment agreements which allow burning on deep peat would be a waste of tax-payers’ money
…third, we want to invite all landowners to end burning on deep peat and contribute to a national campaign for peatland restoration
We have also, this week, contacted Natural England for an update on any restoration that has taken place at Walshaw since the management agreement was struck in 2012. I think it is in all our interests, especially those taxpayers that walk through Walshaw Moor on the Pennine Way, to find out what progress has been made to block drains and improve the habitat on this internationally protected site.
If you would like to find out more about the detail of the Walshaw case and the wider concerns about burning on peatlands, please do visit our dedicated web pages here.
And do let me know what you think about the continued burning on peatland protected sites.
It would be great to hear your views.
A comment on this blog post, by ‘redkite’, says:
Absolutely right Martin. For too long owners of big tracks of uplands, especially grouse moors have had things too much their way. It is high time our upland peatlands are no longer subjected to burning, plantation forestry and other detrimental management just for the sake of a few more grouse to shoot.The value to the general public, yes in money terms, because of the ability of these peatlands to absorb large amounts of rain water, to provide much better quality drinking water and to “lock up” vast amounts of carbon, all free of charge, must, far, far out weigh the value of a few extra grouse for the shooters.
When in good condition, peatlands are also, of course, marvellous havens for wildlife including hen harriers when they are not illegally shot out the sky. Sound and sensible economics now needs to be applied to our uplands on behalf of everyone, and not for a few parties with particular interests, and to let nature heal the damage done. The general public and nature has been taken for “a bit of a ride” for a long time now and this now needs to be stopped.
Burning heather on a rotation of 7-20 years is part of the industrialisation of the upland landscape of parts of the UK. The main reason for doing it is to produce totally unnaturally high densities of Red Grouse which can then be shot in autumn for sport. It’s a quaint, particularly British, tradition: here.
This video is called Wonders of Australia’s National Parks, 1 of 3: Riches of Deserts and Wetlands.
However, while the Japanese Abe administration recently at least proclaimed one new national park, Abbott looks like he wants to out-Abe Abe in a race ever more to the extreme right.
From Wildlife Extra:
Australian PM outrages with anti national parks stance
March 2014: The Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has declared he will not support the creation of any new national parks in Australia and that the country has quite enough, despite the fact that they cover just four per cent of Australia.
“We have quite enough national parks. We have quite enough locked up forests already. Why should we lock up as some sort of World Heritage sanctuary, country that has been logged, degraded or planted for timber?”
Abbott also reaffirmed his commitment to removing part of Tasmania‘s forest from World Heritage listing, made under the forest peace deal. This is the first time a government has ever sought to delist a World Heritage area when its heritage values are still intact. The forest is home to areas, like the Weld, Styx and Upper Florentine Valleys, and the World Heritage Committee has already rigorously assessed these places as being of Outstanding Universal Value to all of us who inhabit the planet.
“Getting that 74,000 hectares out of World Heritage Listing, it’s still going to leave half of Tasmania protected forever,” said Abbott. “But that will be an important sign to you, to Tasmanians, to the world, that we support the timber industry.”
His attack has not surprisingly provoked anger among conservationists.
“Tony Abbott has blown it with that call,” said William Laurance, a professor at James Cook University and director of ALERT, the Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers and Thinkers. “Australia has some of the world’s most desperately endangered ecosystems and species, which direly need better protection.“
As an example, the scientists cite the mountain ash forests of Victoria, which have been devastated by over-logging and fires, with just 1.2 per cent of the old-growth forest remaining. “The Leadbeater’s possum relies entirely on these old-growth forests and is critically endangered,” said Corey Bradshaw, a professor at the University of Adelaide. “There’s a dire need to create a new national park for this iconic species and ecosystem.”
The scientists say the Prime Minister’s actions will hurt Australia’s reputation. “Australia is hosting the World Park Congress this year,” said Laurance. “If a relatively wealthy country like Australia won’t protect its environment, what kind of message does that send globally?”
From Wildlife Extra:
World’s highest hummingbird feeding place bought
March 2014: At 5,704 metres the purchase of Hacienda Antisanilla on the west slope of the Antisana Volcano in Ecuador is a crucial step in the restoration of high altitude habitats in the Andes and maintaining a valuable food source for the Chimborazo Hillstar (Oreotrochilus chimborazo), the highest living of all hummingbirds.
Also known as the Ecuadorian hillstar, its diet includes the orange flowered chuquiragua, which thrives at high altitudes and is found growing on under-grazed land at the newly purchased site, Antisanilla.
Antisanilla was acquired by Fundación Jocotoco (FJ), one of World Land Trust’s (WLT) four conservation partners in Ecuador, and together with the adjacent Hacienda Sunfuhuaico, which was purchased by FJ in 2011, the two properties cover nearly 12,500 acres (5,000 hectares) of high Andean páramo.
This area has been heavily grazed by cattle for a very long time, and much of the land is now entirely dominated by stipa grass. However, some patches of stony ground that have been less grazed by cattle retain a much richer flora. With a variety of small trees, shrubs and flowers, these areas are likely to resemble the region’s original vegetation.
“Antisanilla, and the adjacent Sunfuhuaico will be an exciting challenge for restoration of the páramo to its original diversity of grasses, flowers, and shrubs,” said Nigel Simpson, Trustee of both FJ and WLT. “Some 5 to 10 per cent of the property is high diversity habitat, which will provide the raw material for a long term restoration programme in conjunction with a change of grazing practices, including eventually the reintroduction of previously native camelids.”
This video is about male and female brown hairstreak butterflies.
Pro-butterfly activists complained about this to local authorities. As a result of this, blackthorn bushes, on which the butterflies depend, were planted all over Steenwijk. This enables brown hairstreaks to live at many spots now; making them no longer dependent on one vulnerable area.
This winter, over 1,850 brown hairstreak eggs were found in Steenwijk. A record number.
From Wildlife Extra:
Young turtles seek warmer climes
March 2014: New study shows where young loggerhead sea turtles disappear to during their ‘lost years’.
Once baby turtles have successfully hatched and made the risky journey to the sea they are rarely seen until they have grown till 40cm, between seven and 12 years later. Yet what happens to them during this period scientists call the ‘lost years’ has remained a mystery until now.
To solve the mystery a team of scientists, led by Katherine Mansfield of the University of Central Florida, attached solar-powered transmitters to 17 turtles collected from nests along the south-east coast of Florida. The team reared the turtles in the laboratory until they were 11-18cm long before releasing them in the Gulf Stream off the Floridian coast.
They were then tracked for between 27 and 220 days as they travelled distances from 200 to more than 4300km. The scientists found that they all headed north and remained within or close to the Gulf Stream and tended to travel in clockwise direction around the circular North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre currents.
Some turtles however did move out of these Gyre currents into the centre; an area called the Sargrasso sea. The team suggest that this could be linked to the seasonal drift of Sargassum, a type of macro-algae that floats in large mats and to take advantage of the habitat they offer, in particular the warmth the mats trap at the water surface close to them.
For young turtles, staying warm is of upmost importance. Warmer temperatures help their skeletons grow quicker, making them increasingly less vulnerable.
Therefore the team suggest that where these young turtles headed could have been closely linked to where they could find warmer habitats to boost their growth so that once they are large enough they can return to the coast much less vulnerable than when they left as hatchlings.
This is a photo of a crocus flower from today, when we went to the cemetery.
The crocus flowers attracted small insects, like flies (the one on the photo was not much bigger than a fruit fly).
Many birds singing. A short-toed treecreeper climbing up a small tree, just outside the cemetery grounds.
Just inside the cemetery grounds, a nuthatch on a branch.
Wood pigeons. A magpie. Blue tits. Jays.
This video says about itself:
26 November 2011
From Wildlife Extra:
Ancient marine graveyard mystery solved
The marine graveyard was discovered in 2011 when builders working to extend the Pan-American Highway discovered a 250 metre wide quarry site filled with the skeletons of more than 40 marine mammals including 31 large baleen whales, seals, a walrus-like toothed whale, an aquatic sloth and an extinct species of sperm whale, suggesting that they died from the same cause.
The wide array of animals buried at the site over four levels indicated that the cause of death didn’t differentiate between the young and old or between species, and occurred repeatedly over thousands of years. This suggests that harmful algae blooms, which cause organ failure, could be the most common cause of mass strandings.
Other causes, like tsunamis, were ruled out by the team of Chilean and Smithsonian paleontologists because they would have produced a range of skeletons including much smaller species, rather than the primarily large mammals found at Cerro Ballena. A mass stranding while alive was ruled out as a cause of death due to the way all the marine mammals were were found at right angles to the direction that the current would have flowed.
This video says about itself:
1 Oct 2012
On Rusinga Island in Kenya‘s Lake Victoria, paleontologist Will Harcourt-Smith is leading an effort to recreate the environments inhabited by primitive primates—apes of the genus Proconsul. Studying the adaptive changes of our ancient ancestors helps scientists trace the origins of adaptability in modern humans.
Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History.
From Science, Space & Robots:
Fossil Forest Discovery Sheds Light on Environment Inhabited by Early Apes
A fossil forest discovery by researchers from Baylor University and an international team of scientists has shed light on the environment inhabited by early apes on Rusinga Island, Kenya. Researchers found fossils of tree stumps, calcified roots and fossil leaves. Researchers say the fossil find indicates that Proconsul and its primate relative, Dendropithecus, lived in a dense, closed canopy tropical seasonal forest about 18 to 20 million years ago. The research was published here in Nature Communications.
Daniel Peppe, Ph.D., assistant professor of geology in Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences and co-author of the study, says in a Baylor release, “Our research findings provide direct evidence and confirm where the early ape lived about 18 to 20 million years ago. We now know that Proconsul lived in a closed-canopy, tropical seasonal forest set in a warm and relatively wet local climate.”
Fossils of a single Proconsul were also found among the geological fossil forest deposits.
Lauren Michel, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in the geology department at Baylor, says, “The varying diameters of the tree stumps coupled with their density within the fossil soil, implies that the forest would have been comprised of trees with interlocking or overlapping branches, thus creating a canopy.”
Posted on February 27, 2014
Well-known Dutch conservationist Eli Heimans lived 1861-1914.
A primary school teacher, he advocated that during biology lessons, children should experience living animals and plants, in their environments and in classrooms.
Together with his colleague and friend Jac. P. Thijsse, Heimans wrote many pioneering popular books on animals and plants in the Netherlands. Including the first ever Dutch flora book, accessible for non-professionals. Heimans and Thijsse co-founded the Dutch Natural History Society.
Then, Heimans and Thijsse started an organisation aiming at buying the Naardermeer to make it a nature reserve. Their conservation organisation Natuurmonumenten still owns the Naardermeer reserve today. Heimans was not elected to the executive of the new organisation Natuurmonumenten. He suspected that this, and that he did not get a job at a teacher training college, was because of an undercurrent of anti-Semitic opposition to his Jewish ancestry.
Heimans was not only interested in botany and zoology. He also wrote about geology, especially of the Dutch province Limburg. In July 1914, just before World War I started, he went to the Eiffel region in Germany, not far from Limburg. During this geological trip, Eli Heimans suddenly became ill and died.
This year, the centenary of Heimans’ death is commemorated in the Netherlands.
There is a new book about Heimans.
There is a smartphone app, guiding for a nature walk in Limburg where Heimans walked.
In the aquarium of Artis zoo in Amsterdam, the Heimans Diorama was built in 1926. This gives visitors an idea of the dunes of Texel island and the birds living there. Today, it still exists. After Panorama Mesdag in the Hague, it is the second biggest panoramic painting surviving in the Netherlands.
BirdLife’s UK Partner, the RSPB, is launching a new initiative, the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science – which includes an online science hub – dedicated to discovering solutions to 21st century conservation problems, reinforcing the BirdLife Partnership as a world leader in conservation: here.