Rise in urban beekeeping a threat to bees
Well-meaning city types who put hives up in their gardens could actually be harming bees, according to a new study.
By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent
7:00AM BST 12 Aug 2013
The Unviersity of Sussex research said that more honey bees in the city just mean less nectar and flowers are available to the wild bee population.
The study, published by The Society of Biology, said people should be planting wild flowers instead.
In London alone, in the five years from 2008 to 2013 the number of hives doubled from 1,677 to more than 3,500.
But Professor Francis Ratnieks, from the Laboratory of Apiculture & Social Insects at Sussex, said the boom in urban beekeeping is not the answer to honeybee declines.
He said it could even be bad for honey bees and other flower-visiting insects as it risks overtaxing the available nectar and pollen supply, and potentially encourages the spread of diseases.
“Both honeybees and wild bees have been declining. Although the causes are complex the most important seems to be loss of flowers and habitat.
“If the problem is not enough flowers, increasing the number of hives risks making that problem worse. The honeybee is just one of many insect species which feed on nectar and pollen. Having a high density of honeybee hives is not only bad for honeybees, but may also affect bumblebees and other species feeding on the same flowers.
“If a game park was short of food for elephants, you wouldn’t introduce more, so why should we take this approach with bees?”
Dr Rebecca Nesbit, of the Society of Biology, said people who want to help bees should plant more wild flowers.
“We must remember that there are around 250 bee species native to the UK, along with many other insects which feed on flowers. By focusing our efforts on providing what these insects lack, we can help not only honeybees but all flower-visiting insects. Everyone can get involved, whether you have a garden, an allotment or a window box. Plant the right flowers and the bees will fly many miles to find them.”…
Delfine im Meer vor der japanischen Küste.
Alle Proteste helfen nichtJapan schlachtet Delfine ab
Alljährlich spielt sich in der japanischen Bucht von Taiji ein grausames Ritual ab. Dort werden dutzende Delfine abgeschlachtet, ein Teil der Tiere landet sogar im Handel. Tierschützer versuchen seit Jahren, das zu verhindern. Bislang ohne Erfolg.
Trotz weltweiter Proteste hat im japanischen Walfangdorf Taiji wieder das alljährliche Abschlachten von Delfinen begonnen. Zuerst wählen Tiertrainer dort die besten Exemplare für Delfinarien im In- und Ausland aus, dann werden die übrigen mit Speeren, Haken und Messern getötet.
Sechs Walfangboote verließen am frühen Morgen den Hafen von Taiji und orteten eine Gruppe von rund 20 Delfinen, wie die japanische Nachrichtenagentur Kyodo meldete. Durch Hämmern auf Metallstangen im Meer legen die Fischer den Orientierungssinn der Delfine lahm und treiben sie so in eine Lagune, die mit Netzen abgesperrt wird. Vor den Augen von Spaziergängern wählen Tiertrainer die besten Exemplare aus. Was der Besucher des Ortes jedoch nicht sehen darf, ist das Gemetzel an den übrigen Tieren, das sich in einer versteckt hinter Felsen gelegenen Nachbarlagune abspielt.
“Die Bucht” klärte auf
Tausende von Delfinen fallen auf diese Weise in Taiji, rund 700 Kilometer südlich von Tokio, sowie wenigen anderen Orten Japans der Treibjagd zum Opfer – mit Billigung der Regierung, die Fangquoten setzt. Die Jagd an der Küste unterliegt nicht der Kontrolle der Internationalen Walfangkommission. Ein Teil des laut Umweltschützern hochgradig mit Quecksilber verseuchten Fleisches der abgestochenen Kleinwale gelangt später in den Handel.
In seinem mit dem Oscar gekrönten Dokumentarfilm “Die Bucht” hat der US-amerikanische Taucher und Unterwasser-Fotograf Louie Psihoyos der Weltöffentlichkeit das Gemetzel mit Hilfe versteckter Kameras vor Augen geführt, das bis zum Frühjahr andauert.
Unterdessen überreichte der amerikanische Delfinschützer Richard O’Barry in Tokio der US- Botschaft eine Liste mit Unterschriften von 1,7 Millionen Menschen in aller Welt, die ein Ende der Delfinabschlachtung in Japan fordern.
Der US-Amerikaner war in den 60er Jahren Trainer der Delfine für die TV-Serie “Flipper”, seit 1970 kämpft er weltweit aktiv für den Schutz der Meeressäuger. Die Jagd auf die Delfine sei grausam und könne nicht als Teil der japanischen Kultur verklärt werden, sagte er zu Journalisten. O’Barry, der auch im Internet die Kampagne “Save Japan Dolphins” betreibt, hält sich in Japan mit rund 60 Unterstützern auf, um gegen die Delfinabschlachtung zu protestieren. Die Delfinariums-Industrie biete erst den finanziellen Anreiz, um die Treibjagd in Taiji in Gang zu halten, hatte O’Barry anlässlich einer früheren Jagdsaison gesagt.Trotz weltweiter Proteste haben im japanischen Walfangdorf Taiji wieder das alljährliche Abschlachten von Delfinen begonnen. Zuerst wählen Tiertrainer dort die besten Exemplare für Delfinarien im In- und Ausland aus, dann werden die übrigen mit Speeren, Haken und Messern getötet.
- Dolphins and Whales: The Cove and the Grind (ecofriendsmne.wordpress.com)
- There’s something about Bubi: Japan can’t get enough of water bottles that collapse to a third of their size (stufffound.wordpress.com)
- Business › Business leaders propose health policies to promote economic growth in Japan (japantoday.com)
- Taiji Cove: The Horror Behind the Curtain (conservationjournaljoannevere.wordpress.com)
- Stop the Slaughter of Dolphins in Japan (forcechange.com)
Posted: 25 May 2013 09:17 AM PDT
Here are a couple reposts from Bikocity. The first documents the rise of bike commuting in the US, especially in “Bicycle Friendly Communities” and 10 key cities. The second repost is about how Bicycle Friendly Communities are evaluated. Check them out:
Where Bike Commuting Grows Fastest (Infographics)
The League of American Bicyclists recently created some cool infographics about bicycle commuter growth across the country.
In general, bike commuting has skyrocketed, doubling from 1.7 billion in 2001 to 4 billion in 2009. However, the growth has occurred to a much greater degree in cities and towns that have been designated as Bicycle-Friendly Communities by the League.
“From 2000 to 2011, the bicycle commuting rate has risen 80% in the largest Bicycle Friendly Communities — far above the average growth of 47% nationwide and more than double the rate of 32% in the cities not designated as bicycle-friendly,” Carolyn Szczepanski the League writes.
Several cities have even seen growth of 100% to 450% [PDF]!
Want more data? Carolyn’s rounded some up for you:
How Bicycle Friendly Communities Are Evaluated (Infographic)
Several years ago, I was the director of an organization in the Charlottesville, Virginia region that got Charlottesville designated as a Bicycle Friendly Community (BFA). There were great guiding documents that the League of American Bicyclists supplied as part of the application process, but it certainly would have been nice to have this infographic* below that the League just created to delineate the differences between Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum awardees. Check it out. You can also download a PDF version here.
To make it clear that this isn’t a strict tool for measuring which category a community falls into, the League’s Carolyn Szczepanski adds:
“Now, the beauty of the BFA program is the fact that it’s not one-size-fits-all. We’re able to take into account the unique characteristics of each community — so it’s not a rigid rubric. But we love the way this distills some of the key benchmarks and metrics in an interesting and engaging way.”
*Note: the infographic was developed in coordination with the Language Dept for the League of American Bicyclists.
Bike Commuting Skyrocketing, Especially In “Bike Friendly Communities” was originally posted on: PlanetSave. To read more from Planetsave, join thousands of others and subscribe to our free RSS feed, follow us on Facebook (also free), follow us on Twitter, or just visit our homepage.
Posted: 25 May 2013 08:55 AM PDT
Holland — one of my favorite places in the world. More info in this Bikocity repost below.
Below is a fun (& funny) video about Holland. Of course, biking is highlighted a bit. Biking makes life so much cooler, easier, more relaxed and carefree. It is used in (non-car) advertisements of all kinds simply to stick a cooler and more positive image on the product being sold. With bicycling at the center of one’s transportation system, the quality of life rises tremendously.
At one point in the video, the narrator jokes, “They still drive cars. Haha.”
I actually lived in the Netherlands (Groningen) for 5 months. I’ve never been to a country or city with a higher quality of life. It’s a full level above anyplace I’ve been in the US. (Notably, I’ve lived in several “best cities” in the US — Charlottesville (VA), Chapel Hill (NC), Sarasota (FL), Sunnyvale (CA), Ithaca (NY).)
Frankly, the video really does nail the exceptional “original cool” of Holland (which, to be specific, is only a region of the Netherlands).
One note: the narrator highlights the country’s green energy. Sadly, the Netherlands is no longer a leader in green energy. Hopefully that will change sometime soon.
- Wyoming ranks No. 33 in bicycle friendly states (wyofile.com)
- Blog Post: Getting to TI on two wheels (e2e.ti.com)
- Santa Monica Ranked 5th Most Bikeable City In U.S. (smmirror.com)
- Group Designates Virginia Tech as Bicycle Friendly (newsplex.com)
- Bike Louisville – New Bike Lanes Old Louisville (beechmontky.wordpress.com)
- Iowa City’s ‘Bicycle Friendly’ status upgraded (thegazette.com)
- The Bike Boom Is Happening in Cities Making a Push to Improve Cycling (streetsblog.net)
- Infographic: Number of Bicycle Commuters Skyrockets (gas2.org)
- Bike Commuting Skyrocketing, Especially In “Bike Friendly Communities” (planetsave.com)
- May is National Bike Month! (ptny.wordpress.com)
Posted: 25 May 2013 02:29 PM PDT
Two important amphibian news items to report here…the first regards the spread of the lethal Chytrid fungus into Caecilians (a third major grouping of the Amphibia); the second item: a report on the recent USGS survey of US amphibian populations.
Rare Amphibian Group Now at Risk from Frog-killing Fungus
Frogs (and toads), salamanders, and Caecilians — a lesser known amphibian looking somewhere between a large worm or a smallish snake — represent the three major groups of amphibians.
For the past two decades at least, a lethal fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatista) — generally known as Chytrid fungus or Bd — has spread through frog and salamander populations around the world, decimating local populations, causing extinctions (almost 300 world wide), and threatening to wipe out an estimated one third of the world’s frog and salamander species in the coming years.
The caecilian (pronounced like “Sicilian”) amphibian group is fairly rare and rarely studied. There are about 190 known caecilian species with the largest reaching a length of almost 2 meters. It was once believed that the legless caecilians were not at risk for the chytrid infection — possibly due to their secretive life cycles in deep soils.
No more. In a global survey of caecilians conducted by the Natural History Museum and the Zoological Society of London, England, scientists captured more than 200 caecilian specimens comprising 29 species. Examination of the skin of the live specimens revealed 58 individuals infected with the Bd fungus many of which subsequently died from the infections.
The fungal disease — called chytridiomycosis — primarily infects the skin of amphibians, blocking the absorption of oxygen (which is how most Amphibia get their oxygen) and water and probably interfering with other critical, cellular functions. There is no known cure for the disease and the origins of the fungus are likewise unknown (but may be more than 40,000 years old). Its spread is believed to have been enabled by the global, commercial frog trade (note: frogs are sold for pets, food, dissection kits, and even for pregnancy tests) which emerged in the latter half of the 20th Century. The fungus can also travel on the legs of migrating birds and can survive in water for lengthy periods.
In a press release, museum zoologist and lead researcher David Gower stated:
“The fungus was known to infect and potentially kill both the other major groups of amphibians, but we did not know if it definitively could infect caecilians in the wild, and whether it could potentially also kill them. We now know both of these are the case, and so this potentially major threat needs to be taken into consideration in caecilian conservation biology.”
The results of the survey are detailed in the May 2013 issue of EcoHealth.
Source material for this post cam from the SciAm article: ‘Frog-Killing Chytrid Fungus Hits Rarely Seen, Wormlike Amphibians’ by John R. Platt
US Geological Survey of US Amphibians Finds Troubling Trend
US frog, toad and salamander populations are declining at a rate of 3.7 percent per year, according to the recent completed USGS Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative. At that rate, nearly one half of these amphibians will have disappeared from their native habitats 20 years out.
The “alarming” news holds true even for species thought to be “safe” — with a decline rate of 2.7 percent per year.
Dicamptodon tenebrosus a species of Pacific giant salamanders (Dicamptodontidae) is a coastal giant salamander ranging from California to Washington. It has croaking vocalizations the can resemble a dogs bark (image credit: Marjef07)
Amphibians have been facing a “quadruple threat” for many years now — a combination of chytrid infections, climate change, pollution and habitat destruction. This survey represents the first time that US amphibian declines have actually been measured.
“These are really ancient species that have been surviving a long time on earth through all kinds of changes. It’s just a concern to see,” said USGS ecologist Michael J. Adams, “They just disappear. Populations are going away.”
Worldwide, the news is worse. According to the “red list” compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the rate of decline amongst amphibian species, globally, is an astounding 11.6 per year, which means that in 6 years or so, half of known amphibian sites will be “unoccupied”. Currently, one third of all members of the Amphibia class are on the IUCN red list.
The survey initiative transpired over a nine year period and included 34 study areas (comprised of hundreds of ponds, streams, and other sites). Scientists returned to each site every two or three years to conduct inventories of amphibian species. Most of the sites were on public lands and under some form of state or federal protection — making the observed declines even more of a concern.
The USGS survey did not investigate the causes of the declines (which can involve many interacting factors operating over wide regions), only their trends during the study period. But efforts are underway to conserve many species and remove or mitigate some of the more local causes (while climate change impacts will be nearly impossible to stop).
Amphibians provide an important ecosystem service by feeding on many types of insects and helping to maintain rich soils; they are important links in their respective ecosystems; their declines — the loss of biodiversity — bode poorly for ecosystem stability in the long term.
USGS Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative was published Wednesday in the online journal PLOS One.
Some source material (and quote) for this post came from the AP/Yahoo news article: ‘Study: Amphibians disappearing at alarming rate‘ by Jeff Barnard
To learn more about what you can do to help survey and save amphibians wherever you live — check out this important Planetsave post and consider becoming a ‘citizen scientist’ and joining the Amphibian Blitz Project!
- Amphibian Populations Could Disappear From Half Of Their Habitats Over The Next 20 Years (hngn.com)
- Study: Number of frogs, toads declining at alarming rate (denverpost.com)
- America’s frogs and toads disappearing fast (worldbulletin.net)
- Amphibians declining in the US, report says – Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)
- U.S. Researchers Find Frogs Are Dropping Like Flies (latinospost.com)
- Frogs Disappearing Faster Than Thought (newser.com)
- Will U.S. amphibians become endangered species? (salon.com)
- Amphibians in U.S. Declining at ‘Alarming and Rapid Rate’ (blogs.scientificamerican.com)
- Frog-Killing Chytrid Fungus Hits Rarely Seen, Wormlike Amphibians (blogs.scientificamerican.com)
- Amphibian News: Killer Fungus Found In Third Major Amphibian Group, USGS Amphibian Survey Findings ‘Alarming’ (planetsave.com)
STOP any kind of Safari in Africa http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkWSRRmLeSU&feature=youtu.be
Don’t forget to sign the petition http://www.causes.com/actions/1742571-stop-any-kind-of-safari-hunting-in-south-africa
On May 20, 2013, a supercell thunderstorm in central Oklahoma spawned a destructive tornado that passed just south of Oklahoma City. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired this image of the storm at 2:40 p.m. local time (19:40 UTC). The red line depicts the tornado’s track. The twister touched down west of Newcastle at 2:56 p.m. and moved northeast toward Moore, where it caused dozens of deaths and widespread destruction. The tornado had dissipated by 3:36 p.m., after traveling approximately 20 miles (32 kilometers). Credit: NASA/Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA Goddard; caption by Adam Voiland. For a larger version of this image please go here.
On May 20, 2013, NASA and NOAA satellites observed the system that generated severe weather in the south central United States and spawned the Moore, Okla., tornado.
The tornado that struck Moore on the afternoon of Monday, May 20, was an F-4 tornado on the enhanced Fujita scale, according to the National Weather Service. F-4 tornadoes have sustained winds from 166 to 200 mph. This tornado was about twice as wide as the tornado that struck Moore on May 3, 1999. Moore is located 10 miles south of Oklahoma City.
Before, during and after the tornado, satellites provided imagery and data to forecasters. The first tornado warning was issued around 2:40 p.m. CDT (local time). By 3:01 p.m. CDT a tornado emergency was issued for Moore, and 35 minutes later at 3:36 p.m. CDT, the tornado spun down and dissipated.
NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a visible-light image that provided a detailed look at the supercell thunderstorm. NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite provided continuously updated satellite imagery depicting the storm’s movement. After the tornado, the NASA-NOAA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite’s lightning observations showed that the thunderstorm complex was still active after nightfall.
NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite provided forecasters with images of the storm system every 15 minutes. One GOES-13 satellite image was captured at 19:55 UTC (2:55 p.m. CDT) as the tornado began its deadly swath. The tornado was generated near the bottom of a line of clouds resembling an exclamation mark. The GOES-13 satellite imagery from the entire day was assembled into an animation by the NASA GOES Project at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
Four minutes after the tornado dissipated (19:40 UTC / 3:40 p.m. EDT), the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a visible image of the supercell thunderstorm that spawned the Moore tornado. That image was created by the NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team and Adam Voiland, NASA Earth Observatory.
Later as the storm system continued through the region, another satellite captured an image of the storm at night that showed it was still powerful. The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite aboard Suomi NPP observed lightning in a nighttime image on May 21 at 07:27 UTC (3:27 a.m. EDT). Lightning appeared as rectangular shapes in the image. The VIIRS imagery showed the city lights in the Oklahoma City area, but there was reduced light output in Moore as a result of tornado damage.
The Suomi NPP satellite carries an instrument so sensitive to low light levels that it can detect lightning in the middle of the night. The Day/Night band on Suomi NPP produces nighttime visible imagery using illumination from natural (the moon, forest fires) and man-made sources (city lights). The data were captured by the direct broadcast antenna at University of Wisconsin.
» La población de aves disminuye en Bolivia a causa de los chaqueos
» El mundo celebra el Día Internacional de la Diversidad Biológica
22 de Mayo de 2013 | 19:18
El Jucumari es una de las especies afectadas. Foto: EL DEBER
Un estudio realizado por la Liga de Defensa del Medio Ambiente (Lidema) señala que en Bolivia un total de 68 especies de animales están en estado crítico y en peligro de extinción a causa de varios factores.
Este miércoles se conmemora la Jornada Nacional de Especies en Peligro de Extinción y a nivel internacional se recuerda el Día Internacional de la Diversidad Biológica instituido por la Organización de las Naciones Unidas ONU “Un total de 68 especies de animales están en estado crítico y en peligro de extinción, de 314 especies amenazadas debido a la caza ilegal, la deforestación, la contaminación ambiental y la falta de leyes de conservación”, señala un estudio realizado por Lidema.
Ante este panorama la Red Nacional de Voluntarios Ambientalistas (RedNava) junto a las Coordinaciones Departamentales de la Liga de Defensa del Medio Ambiente (Lidema), desarrollarán ferias públicas en las ciudades de La Paz y El Alto, con el propósito de concientizar a la ciudadanía sobre la importancia de la conservación de la biodiversidad y de los ecosistemas.
El análisis “Estado Ambiental de Bolivia” realizado por Lidema revela que los espacios que más sufren mayores consecuencias del “modelo de desarrollo extractivista”, son las 22 aéreas protegidas del país que representan el 18% del territorio nacional y que albergan alrededor del 70% de las especies de fauna y de flora del país.
Algunos ejemplos de especies críticas, en peligro y vulnerables en Bolivia son: Mamíferos: El titi o gato andino, el guanaco, el quirquincho, la londra o nutria gigante, el quilimero o chancho del Chaco, la Taruca o ciervo de montaña. Entre las vulnerables está el tatu gigante o pejichi, el mono araña, el bufeo o delfín rosado, el jaguar el jucumari u oso andino.
Entre las aves en peligro figuran la paraba barba azul, la paraba frente roja de los valles secos, entre las vulnerables, el condor, el águila harpya, la paraba Jacinta del pantana, la choka gigante. Entre los reptiles en peligro figura el lagarto o yacaré y la tataruga, y como vulnerable el caimán negro
ublished on Monday, February 11, 2013 by Common Dreams Whole article there….
Docs Reveal World’s Most Biodiverse National Park Targeted by Gas Company
Previously undisclosed documents obtained by The Guardian newspaper reveal that gas giant Pluspetrol maintains both a desire and a strategy for extraction operations inside Peru’s Manú National Park, which conservationists say is one of the most biodiverse areas on the entire planet.
Pluspetrol already runs a gas drilling operation near the park, in an area called Lot 88, but the new revelations show that a consulting firm hired by the gas company has put forward a strategy to lobby the Peruvian government for expanded access that would encroach the park’s boundary and move into the protected area itself. …read more, please