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First Published: September 24: 2015
The Humanion UK Online Daily


Ecology Arkive


Majestic Dolphins











Ecology is Not What is Out There, Irrelevant, Far Away, Remote, Outside and Beyond Us But Our Home: If We Let It Become Devastated Ruins We Let Ourselves Live and Suffer in This Devastation as Well as Ruining and Devastating the Entire Web of Life. We Cannot Live Well If We Do Not Seek to Ensure Everything Lives Well for These Dolphins Cannot Live Well If the Oceans are Poisoned. As an Individual Human Soul, a Human Cannot Exist Well If the Entire Society is Poisonous or the Earth is Poisoned with Polluted Air or Water. Therefore, Selfishness is Anti-Existence, Anti-Humanity, Anti-Nature, Anti-Life, Anti-Science and Anti-Reason. Commonness, Connections, Oneness and Unison in Goal, Work and Creation is What Humanity is About. If We Need Support for This View Just Bring in Mind the Human Physiology and See How It All Works in Oneness and Unison So to Ensure Existence is Not Only Sustainable But Also Being at Homeostasis, It is Ensured to Continue to Flow.....

The image at the centre is of Princess Charlotte Bay, Australia, Coral Reefs. NASA Image
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Exotic Invasions Can Drive Native Species to Extinction

|| June 24: 2018: University of Southampton News || ά. Latest research from the University of Southampton has shown the impact of exotic species upon native wildlife, which could, potentially, lead to native plant species extinctions within their natural habitats. The study, published in Nature Communications, underlined that, even, though, competing species have, typically, lived together following past migration periods, human introduction and assistance, may, turn today’s invaders into agents of native species extinction.

Dr Jane Catford, Principal Investigator of the study, titled, ‘Introduced specie, that overcome life history trade-offs can cause native extinctions’, said, “It is well established that introduced pests, parasites and predators can result in native species extinctions but whether the introduction of exotic plants can lead to native plant extinctions has been hotly debated. Our research shows that introduced exotic plants, that are free from their natural enemies or are widely planted in agriculture and gardens can competitively exclude natives.

To help avoid this problem, we can increase the diversity of species, that we use in our gardens and in agriculture and vary the species, that we plant in different areas and in different years, while a greater use of native species should also help.

In contrast to previous natural invasions, where species migrated to new regions themselves, humans, principally, introduce modern invaders, repeatedly and in large quantities and in ways that can help free them from their usual enemies and competitors.

Given that the replacement of native plants and animals by exotic species occurs incrementally over many generations and that the majority of species introductions have taken place in the last 200 years and at rapidly increasing rates, it is plausible that most invasion-induced extinctions are yet to occur.

The research, led by the University of Southampton, has indicated that humans can enhance the performance of some exotic species, giving them an unfair advantage over their competitors.

As such, modern invaders can have more offspring, live longer and become more competitive than their native counterparts, at zero cost to the exotic invaders themselves.

As a result, exotic species, that overcome life history trade-offs can increase in abundance, potentially outcompeting native species, triggering the future extinction of these species. :::ω.

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The New Zealand Kiwi Is Fast Heading to the Top of the To Be Extinct Soon List: Save the Kiwi-Bird: Soon is as Short as in 50 Years

|| June 15: 2018 || ά. Two hundred species go extinct every single day but one country is taking matters into its own hands in an ambitious attempt to save its national pride. Despite an evolutionary journey, that goes back over 50 million years, shortly after their cousins, the dinosaur, roamed the earth, New Zealand’s indigenous Kiwi could soon go the way of its prehistoric ancestor, if, action isn’t taken now. The population has declined by 99% over the past 50 years and could go extinct in the next 50.

The Kiwi’s best chance of survival now lies in the hands of the charity Kiwis for Kiwi, that is undertaking a remarkable feat, creating predator free islands. But they need support and New Zealand’s Old Mout Cider, is seeking to inspire the UK populace to help save this vulnerable bird. They’ve teamed up with wildlife-expert Ms Michaela Strachan to create a short documentary film, ‘The Forgotten World’, which shows Ms Strachan traveling to New Zealand’s Kapiti Island, an isolated sanctuary for the nation’s most endangered birds, which mirrors the prehistoric conditions of the time that the Kiwi’s ancestors, the dinosaur, roamed.

While in the remote and wild Forgotten World, Ms Strachan witnesses first-hand, the positive results of the predator-free island initiative, with a Kiwi population thriving in the absence of predators, which were once brought to the country by humans. As a result of these predator-free islands, the Kiwi survival rate has increased from one in 20, to 14 in 20 on these islands.

The thought-provoking three-minute documentary film follows Ms Strachan’s journey, both day and night and gives an exclusive behind the scenes look at an extraordinary project to restore the forest and freshwater ecosystem as closely as possible to their pre-human state.

She joins a Kiwis for Kiwi ranger as they trek through the exotic terrain, seeking out wild Kiwi in burrows and discovering positive signs of a recently hatched kiwi egg.

Ms Michaela Strachan said, "It's staggering to think that a bird, that has been around for 50 million years could go extinct in the next 50. We need to do everything we can to save as many species as possible. In New Zealand, conservationists are working tirelessly to protect the Kiwi from predators, that have seen its population plummet. We are a small world and must take threats to species extremely seriously before it’s too late.

I hope this documentary film helps people understand just how precious the Kiwi’s history is and, more importantly, how its future is hanging in the balance. Let’s not be the generation, that says goodbye to species but be the generation, who rallies together to look after our environment. So, join Old Mout’s mission and together, we can save the Kiwi.”

Old Mout’s Ms Emma Sherwood-Smith said, “As New Zealanders, our epic landscapes and great wildlife inspire our adventurous spirit. If, we are to enjoy it in the long run we desperately need to look after it. Yet, the Kiwi, the symbol of our country, is in great peril.

The work to create predator-free islands has become a beacon of hope for the people of New Zealand and we want to spread the word to help save this vulnerable bird from the brink of extinction. Our Kiwi roots mean this little bird is close to our hearts, which is why we’re making the plight of the Kiwi famous to people in Britain, a nation of animal lovers.

We hope people will fall in love with these captivating, clever and charming little birds. No one wants to see a species go extinct and we hope our documentary film will have a halo effect to get everyone, who enjoys our cider in Britain to think a little more about the impact they have on their own environment while supporting our mission.”

Caption: This image of a Kiwi has been in the public domain by its author, Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust. :::ω.

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Micro-Plastics Is Big Everywhere: Even in the Antarctic

|| June 12: 2018: University of Exeter News || ά. Antarctica’s most remote and pristine habitats are contaminated with micro-plastic waste and persistent hazardous chemicals, new research shows. Earlier this year, a Greenpeace expedition took a range of samples from the sea and the snow to see how pollution was affecting Antarctica.

Analysis carried out by the Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter showed that micro-plastics was widespread in the area investigated. “Using infrared methods, we found micro-plastics in seven of eight samples of surface seawater collected near the Antarctic Peninsula in February this year.” said Dr David Santillo, who led the analysis. 

“Most of those micro-plastics were fibres, including, polyester, polypropylene and nylon, among other materials. Whether they come mainly from local sources, such as shipping, or have been transported on currents from much further afield, remains to be seen.

What is clear is that our plastic ‘footprint’ extends, even, to the ends of the Earth, to areas we may hope and expect to be pristine.”

Samples of snow collected during the same expedition were analysed by an independent laboratory for the presence of perfluorinated chemicals, widely used as water-proofing and grease-proofing chemicals in outdoor clothing and food packaging.

Some can be carried over vast distances on air currents and deposited in rain or snowfall, far from their sources.

“The chemicals, that we detected in snow samples, also, show how pervasive humanity’s impact can be.” said Ms Louisa Casson, of Greenpeace.

“These chemicals are widely used in many industrial processes and consumer products, and have been linked to reproductive and developmental issues in wildlife.

The snow samples gathered included freshly-fallen snow, suggesting the hazardous chemicals were deposited from the atmosphere.” ::: ω.

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New Research Shows the Latest Impact of Carbon Dioxide Dissolving Into Ocean Water

|| May 30: 2018: University of Southampton News || ά. A new study, led by the University of Southampton, has shown that the transfer of gases across the sea surface affects the accumulation of greenhouse emissions in the atmosphere. The transfer is typically viewed as a simple stirring process but it becomes complicated, when waves break on the sea surface in strong winds. The role of the ocean in contributing to climate control and change has been recognised for many years.

The research found new measurements in the open ocean, including, the first demonstration that substantial numbers of fairly large bubbles are injected by breaking waves to depths of at least one metre. Published in Scientific Reports, the findings are crucial since these bubbles tend to partially dissolve, forcing additional carbon dioxide into the oceans. The inclusion of this effect increases current global estimates of the oceanic sink of carbon dioxide and rates of ocean acidification. 

The study was published as part of a collaboration between Professor Tim Leighton, his PhD student Dr David Coles and Professor Paul White at the University of Southampton’s Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, Professor Meric Srokosz from the National Oceanography Centre and Dr David Woolf from Heriot-Watt University.

Professor Tim Leighton, Principal Investigator for the study, said, “If, the amount of carbon dioxide dissolving into the seas from the atmosphere exactly balanced the amount leaving the seas and entering the atmosphere we would have a steady state situation.

“However, our data suggests that in stormy seas the bubble-induced asymmetry in atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolving into the oceans, as compared to previously dissolved carbon dioxide being released back into the atmosphere, is many times greater than scientists currently estimate.

The excess CO2, which gas dissolves into stormy seas through bubbles, will increase as the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere increases.’’

The results of the study, ‘Asymmetric transfer of CO2 across a broken sea surface’, indicate a much larger imbalance of carbon dioxide than previously suggested, contradicting an assumption inherent in most existing estimates of ocean atmosphere gas transfer. Moreover, the geochemical and climate implications include increased levels of carbon dioxide into stormy, temperate and polar seas.

Dr David Woolf from Heriot-Watt University applied his expertise in modelling the processes of air-sea gas exchange within the project. He said, “The role of bubbles in the air-sea exchange of gases has been of interest for decades but firm conclusions have been prevented by a lack of adequate data. Participation in this project has been very rewarding, since measurements are finally giving us the information we need.”

“This was a tremendous study stretching right from theory to the design of new sensors and sea-going platforms to hold them, with years of careful calibration in the lab to ensure the measurements were accurate and the development of a comprehensive model of bubble clouds under breaking waves in the upper regions of the ocean and how they affect the flux of gases between atmosphere and ocean.’’ Professor Leighton said.

“We achieved this thanks to funding from the Natural Environment Research Council. After a couple of years of preparation, we went to sea in 2007 in very rough conditions, and since then have been carefully analysing the data and writing this report, before determining these conclusive findings."

The research team have passed on all of their methods, equipment, computer codes, and findings to other groups around the UK for further investigation. ::: ω.

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Rising Sea Level as Much as 80-90 Centimetres Increases the Risk of Flooding Along Finland's Southern Coastline



|| May 05: 2018 || ά. According to updated estimates, the sea level in the Gulf of Finland could rise by as much as 80-90 cm during this century. The rising sea level will, clearly, increase the likelihood of coastal flooding, especially, along Finland's southern coastline. Flood risks around the Bay of Bothnia, in contrast, will not significantly increase during the coming century.

In recent research by the Finnish Meteorological Institute, estimates for the rising sea level and flood risks have been updated for the Finnish coastline for the period up to 2100. The research draws on the newest international research results for global rising sea levels and, also, takes into account regional variations. Flood risks will increase, particularly, along the southern coastline.

The research combined predictions for the rise in the sea level over the long term and observation-based assessments of short-term water level variations. In this way, it was possible to estimate the likelihood of floods in the future. Flood risks are expected to increase significantly along the southern coastline.

For example, the flood experienced in January 2005, which raised the sea level to a record high along the Gulf of Finland, could, by the end of this century, be something, that takes place on average every other year. In the Bay of Bothnia, however, where the land uplift is stronger and the sea level rise is weaker, no large changes in flooding risks are expected during the coming century.

Along the coastline of the Sea of Bothnia, on the other hand, flooding risks will, probably, increase to some extent. A number of preparations have been made in Finland for the rising sea level, includin,  the issuing of recommendations for minimum construction elevations, which were last set in 2014.

The research now carried out does not, significantly, change the estimates on which these construction elevation recommendations are based. 

Contact for information: Researcher Havu Pellikka, tel. +358 50 499 1131: email: havu.pellikka at fmi.fi 
Researcher Ulpu Leijala, tel. +358 50 380 2828: email: ulpu.leijala at fmi.fi ::: ω.

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Switch From Leaded Petrol Has Reduced Lead Ocean Pollution


|| April 26: 2018: University of Southampton News || ά. New research has shown the first observed reduction in lead concentrations in the surface waters of the seas around Europe since the phasing out of leaded petrol. Lead has no biological function and is toxic to humans and marine organisms. The study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, is based on samples of the Celtic Sea, taken during a series of research expeditions on board the Royal Research Ship:RRS Discovery.

The results show that there has been a four-fold reduction in the concentration of lead in the surface waters of European shelf seas compared to measurements undertaken two to three decades ago, following the phase out of leaded petrol in Europe over the same time period. This finding is the result of an international collaboration by researchers from the University of Southampton, the National Oceanography Centre:NOC, GEOMAR, Germany, the University of Edinburgh and Plymouth University, UK, Bretagne Occidentale, France, NIOZ, Netherlands and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA. 

 Stricter environmental regulations have reduced lead emissions into the environment,and leaded petrol has now been, almost, entirely, phased out in the UK. Yet, prior to this change, enhanced lead emissions from human activity occurred for more than 150 years,and resulted in oceanic lead concentrations up to 100 times higher than natural background levels.  Lead deposited in the ocean is later transferred to sea-floor sediments.

The results of this study show that ‘legacy lead’ is now being released by sediments, forming a new lead source to the environment. Historical lead signals are, also, evident in deep Mediterranean waters around 1000 metres deep, transported from the surrounding countries of Italy, Spain and Greece, where leaded petrol was only phased out in 2003.  Professor Eric Achterberg from the University of Southampton, said, “our results show that sediments have become a source of lead to overlying waters.

The lead in sediments represents the legacy of lead supplied to the sea over the last 150 years. This was not expected, as lead is assumed to bind very strongly with particles in the seas and, thus, remain permanently trapped in the sediment. Our thinking on this needs to be re-assessed and lead concentrations will likely take much longer to return to natural background levels in coastal waters than previously anticipated.” Professor Douglas Connelly from the NOC, said, “The behaviour of trace elements in the oceans is far more complex than previously expected and emphasises the need to better observe the oceans.” 

Southampton Research Fellow Dr Martha Gledhill from GEOMAR, said, “The sampling and analysis for lead in seawater is challenging and has, only, been possible since the 1980’s. The challenges are related to the relatively low concentrations of lead in seawater. The sampling has to be conducted using metal-free specialised equipment, in order to exclude contamination from sampling equipment. Sampling is a challenge because lead is found, almost, everywhere on ships, even, on new plastic surfaces. Analysis has to be conducted in specialized clean-rooms, similar to the ones that computer chips are manufactured in”. 

This research was conducted as part of the UK Shelf Sea Biogeochemistry Programme and the International GEOTRACES Programme. At numerous sites in the Celtic Sea, Ms Dagmara Rusiecka, a PhD student from the NOC, who is working on this project, took water samples for measurements of lead, which were then taken to specialist laboratories at GEOMAR for analysis.

Professor Eric Achterberg said, “The lead data from this study are an important contribution to the GEOTRACES Programme, a large international effort to map metal concentrations in the global ocean. The data will allow us to make larger scale predictions about contaminant transport in shelf seas. Ultimately, combining such information with worldwide contaminant metal measurements and improvements in ocean models will enable us to make robust predictions about pollutant behavior and effects on ecosystems at a global scale." 

This work was funded by the UK's Natural Environment Research Council and GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel. Anthropogenic signatures of lead in the Northeast Atlantic is published in Geophysical Research Letters. ::: ω.

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Finnish-Swedish Forest Conference 2018 in Hanaholmen in Espoo April 17-18

|| April 17: 2018 || ά. Finland's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is organising a Finnish-Swedish Forest Conference, taking place in Hanaholmen, Espoo, that has opened today for two days: April 17-18 April. The purpose of the conference is to thank Sweden for the gift in honour of Finland’s 100 years of independence and to further enhance Finnish-Swedish co-operation in research and innovation and in forest policy. To honour the centenary of Finland’s independence, Sweden donated 12 two-year post-doctoral positions for forest research and research on new forest-industry processes and products.

A good number of applications have been submitted to the programme, Tandem Forest Values and these are now being evaluated. Because of the gift, forest co-operation between the countries will become, even, closer. At the Forest Friends Forever Conference co-operation projects, already, under way will be presented. In addition, new initiatives will be discussed by which Finland and Sweden could, through joint action, further improve the efficiency of innovation activities relating to the bio-economy and create markets for new forest bio-economy products.

The organisation,  that will take part include the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and its sister organisation RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, which aim to make, even, better joint use of the mutually complementary expertise and infrastructures. There is close co-operation between the Natural Resources Institute Finland and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences as well.

Mr Jari Leppä, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland and Mr Sven-Erik Bucht, Minister for Rural Affairs of Sweden, will, also, be speaking at the conference. The event is expected be attended by a hundred Finnish and Swedish experts, policy-makers and financers dealing with the forest sector.

Sweden and Finland are Europe’s largest and most significant forest countries, which is why friendship and collaboration between the countries in forest issues is most beneficial. Both countries are, also, moving towards a carbon-neutral society, where products based on fossil raw materials are being replaced by products derived from renewable natural resources. Research and development obviously have a key role in this kind of systemic change, that aims for a sustainable economic growth and mitigating climate change.

Inquiries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry:Liisa Saarenmaa, Deputy Director-General, tel. +358 295 162 429: email: liisa.saarenmaa at mmm.fi ::: ω.

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Worsening Worldwide Land Degradation is Now Critical Which Is Undermining the Well-Being of 03.2 Billion People













|| April 09: 2018: University of Jyväskylä News || ά. Worsening land degradation, caused by human activities is undermining the well-being of two fifths of humanity, driving species extinctions and intensifying climate change. It is, also, a major contributor to mass human migration and increased conflict, according to the world’s first comprehensive evidence-based assessment of land degradation and restoration. The dangers of land degradation, which cost the equivalent of about 10% of the world’s annual gross product in 2010 through the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, are detailed for policymakers, together with a catalogue of corrective options, in the three-year assessment report by more than 100 leading experts from 45 countries, launched last week.

Produced by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services:IPBES, the report was approved at the 6th session of the IPBES Plenary in Medellín, Colombia. IPBES has 129 State Members. Providing the best-available evidence for policymakers to make better-informed decisions, the report draws on more than 3,000 scientific, Government, indigenous and local knowledge sources. Extensively peer-reviewed, it was improved by more than 7,300 comments, received from over 200 external reviewers. Rapid expansion and unsustainable management of croplands and grazing lands is the most extensive global direct driver of land degradation, causing significant loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, food security, water purification, the provision of energy and other  contributions of nature essential to people.

According to the report, this has reached ‘critical’ levels in many parts of the world. “With negative impacts on the well-being of, at least, 03.2 billion people, the degradation of the Earth’s land surface through human activities is pushing the planet towards a sixth mass species extinction.” said Professor Robert Scholes, South Africa, Co-chair of the assessment with Dr. Luca Montanarella, Italy. “Avoiding, reducing and reversing this problem and restoring degraded land, is an urgent priority to protect the biodiversity and ecosystem services vital to all life on Earth and to ensure human well-being.”

“Wetlands have been particularly hard hit.” said Dr. Montanarella. “We have seen losses of 87% in wetland areas since the start of the modern era, with 54% lost since 1900.” According to the authors, land degradation manifests in many ways: land abandonment, declining populations of wild species, loss of soil and soil health, rangelands and fresh water, as well as, deforestation.

The report suggests that the underlying drivers of land degradation are the high-consumption lifestyles in the most developed economies, combined with rising consumption in developing and emerging economies. High and rising per capita consumption, amplified by continued population growth in many parts of the world, can drive unsustainable levels of agricultural expansion, natural resource and mineral extraction and urbanisation, typically, leading to greater levels of land degradation.

By 2014, more than 01.5 billion hectares of natural ecosystems had been converted to croplands. Less than 25% of the Earth’s land surface has escaped substantial impacts of human activity and by 2050, the IPBES experts estimate, this will have fallen to less than 10%. Crop and grazing lands now cover more than one third of the Earth´s land surface, with recent clearance of native habitats, including, forests, grasslands and wetlands, being concentrated in some of the most species-rich ecosystems on the planet. The report says that increasing demand for food and bio-fuels will likely lead to continued increase in nutrient and chemical inputs and a shift towards industrialised livestock production systems, with pesticide and fertilizer use expected to double by 2050.

Avoidance of further agricultural expansion into native habitats can be achieved through yield increases on the existing farmlands, shifts towards less land degrading diets, such as, those with more plant-based foods and less animal protein from unsustainable sources, and reductions in food loss and waste. “Through this report, the global community of experts has delivered a frank and urgent warning, with clear options to address dire environmental damage.” said Sir Robert Watson, Chair of IPBES.

“Land degradation, biodiversity loss and climate change are three different faces of the same central challenge: the increasingly dangerous impact of our choices on the health of our natural environment. We can not afford to tackle any one of these three threats in isolation; they each deserve the highest policy priority and must be addressed together.” The IPBES report finds that land degradation is a major contributor to climate change, with deforestation alone contributing about 10% of all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. Another major driver of the changing climate has been the release of carbon previously stored in the soil, with land degradation between 2000 and 2009 responsible for annual global emissions of up to 04.4 billion tonnes of CO2.

Given the importance of soil’s carbon absorption and storage functions, the avoidance, reduction and reversal of land degradation could provide more than a third of the most cost-effective greenhouse gas mitigation activities needed by 2030 to keep global warming under the 02°C threshold targeted in the Paris Agreement on climate change, increase food and water security and contribute to the avoidance of conflict and migration.

“In just over three decades from now, an estimated four billion people will live in drylands.” said Professor Scholes. “By then it is likely that land degradation, together with the closely related problems of climate change, will have forced 50-700 million people to migrate. Decreasing land productivity, also, makes societies more vulnerable to social instability, particularly, in dryland areas, where years with extremely low rainfall have been associated with an increase of up to 45% in violent conflict.”

Dr. Montanarella said, “By 2050, the combination of land degradation and climate change is predicted to reduce global crop yields by an average of 10%, and by up to 50% in some regions. In the future, most degradation will occur in Central and South America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia , the areas with the most land still remaining, that is suitable for agriculture.”

The report underlines the challenges, that land degradation poses and the importance of restoration, for key international development objectives, including, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. “The greatest value of the assessment is the evidence that it provides to decision makers in Government, business, academia and, even, at the level of local communities.” said Dr. Anne Larigauderie, Executive 
Secretary of IPBES. “With better information, backed by the consensus of the world’s leading experts, we can all make better choices for more effective action.”

The report notes that successful examples of land restoration are found in every ecosystem and that many well-tested practices and techniques, both traditional and modern, can avoid or reverse degradation. In croplands, for instance, some of these include reducing soil loss and improving soil health, the use of salt tolerant crops, conservation agriculture and integrated crop, livestock and forestry systems.

In rangelands with traditional grazing, maintenance of appropriate fire regimes, and the reinstatement or development of local livestock management practices and institutions have proven effective. Successful responses in wetlands have included control over pollution sources, managing the wetlands as part of the landscape and reflooding wetlands damaged by draining.  In urban areas, urban spatial planning, replanting with native species, the development of ‘green infrastructure’, such as, parks and riverways, remediation of contaminated and sealed soils, e.g, under asphalt, wastewater treatment and river channel restoration are identified as  key options for action. 

Opportunities to accelerate action identified in the report include: i: Improving monitoring, verification systems and baseline data; ii: Co-ordinating policy between different ministries to simultaneously encourage more ; iii: sustainable production and consumption practices of land-based commodities; iv: eliminating ‘perverse incentives’ that promote land degradation and promoting positive; v: incentives that reward sustainable land management and vi: integrating the agricultural, forestry, energy, water, infrastructure and service agendas.

Making the point that existing multilateral environmental agreements provide a good platform for action to avoid, reduce and reverse land degradation and promote restoration, the authors observe, however, that greater commitment and more effective cooperation is needed at the national and local levels to achieve the goals of zero net land degradation, no loss of biodiversity and improved human well-being.

Among the areas identified by the report as opportunities for further research are: i: the consequences of land degradation on freshwater and coastal ecosystems, physical and mental health and spiritual well-being, and infectious disease prevalence and transmission; ii: the potential for land degradation to exacerbate climate change, and land restoration to help both mitigation and adaptation; iii: the linkages between land degradation and restoration and social, economic and political processes in far-off places and iv: interactions among land degradation, poverty, climate change, and the risk of conflict and of involuntary migration.

The report found that higher employment and other benefits of land restoration often exceed by far the costs involved. On average, the benefits of restoration are 10 times higher than the costs, rstimated across nine different biomes and, for regions like Asia and Africa, the cost of inaction in the face of land degradation is at least three times higher than the cost of action. 

“Fully deploying the toolbox of proven ways to stop and reverse land degradation is not only vital to ensure food security, reduce climate change and protect biodiversity.” said Dr. Montanarella, “It’s, also, economically prudent and increasingly urgent.” Echoing this message, Sir Robert Watson, said:, ''Of the many valuable messages in the report, this ranks among the most important: implementing the right actions to combat land degradation can transform the lives of millions of people across the planet, but this will become more difficult and more costly the longer we take to act.”

More information: Janne Kotiaho: Professor of Ecology: tel: + 358 50 5946881: email: janne.kotiaho at jyu.fi
 ::: ω.

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Regine Humanics Foundation Begins Its Journey Today: The Humanion Is Now A Regine Humanics Foundation Publication


|| April 06: 2018 || ά. The Humanion was first published on September 24, 2015 and has been run, since that day, on a complete voluntary basis without any 'formal' or 'constituted' manner or form and, it was run on as a Human Enterprise, which is an idea of Humanics, in which, ownership is replaced by belongingship and, thus, in a Humanical Society, no one owns anything but everyone belongs to the whole as the whole belongs to everyone lawfully and equally and, it neither believes in nor makes money but human utilities, needs, aspirations, creativity, imagination and dreams are served without money, where everyone works and creates for all others as all others create and work for all others, thus, bringing in meaning and purpose to life along with it come natural justice, equality and liberty, that establish a true civilisation within the Rule of Law. And in one word, this system of human affairs management is called, Humanics and a society that runs itself in humanics is called a humanical society. Today, we have begun the process of 'constituting' this Human Enterprise, which does not exist in the current system, but the next closest thing to it, that exists in the UK Law is Social Enterprise. Therefore, today, Friday, April 06, 2018, we are beginning Regine Humanics Foundation, that is the 'Agency', that will lead, run, manage and develop everything, that The Humanion has been trying to do.

Regine Humanics Foundation is established by the Thinker, Author, Poet, Novelist, Playwright, Editor of The Humanion, Festival Director of London Poetry Festival and a Humanicsxian: hu: maa: neek: tian: One, that believes in, lives and exists by Humanics, Mr Munayem Mayenin, of London, England, United Kingdom. Mr Mayenin says, ''Humanics is a vision; people, may, call it, utopia, we, call it our Humanicsovicsopia; Humanics. Humanics is our philosophy, our faith, our conviction, our resolution, our way of existing, thinking, being and doing: to seek and try to do so in the determination that all we must do and be is to exist to advance the human condition. People, readers and agencies and organisations, from all across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the whole of the United Kingdom and Australasia, Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, from all walks and strata of life, have supported our endeavours, supported The Humanion and The Humanion Team, who volunteered their time to run things, since the beginning of The Humanion and long before that, when other things, that are now part of The Foundation, were developing. Nothing has changed in terms of the nature and value of what we have been seeking to do.''

''But the founding of The Foundation brings it all in a solid foundation so that we can keep on building this 'vision' so that it keeps on going regardless of who come to take the vision-mission of The Foundation forward. The Foundation runs along with time and along with the flowing humanity. This is the dream, this is the vision, this the hope in founding this Foundation. And, in this, we hope and invite all our readers, supporters, well wishers and all agencies and organisations to support our endeavours to build something, a Human Enterprise, which we are in the process of registering as a Social Enterprise, as a Community Interest Company, working for the common good of the one and common humanity. No one makes or takes profit out of The Foundation, which now runs The Humanion and everything else, that is part of it. The Foundation, once registered, will have an Asset Lock, which means that in any event, should The Foundation dissolve itself, all its existing assets shall go to a similar Social Enterprise. Therefore, we invite everyone to support The Foundation, support The Humanion in whatever way they can. And, there are endless number of ways people and organisations can support The Foundation and The Humanion.'' ::: ω.

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Draining Peatlands Gives Global Rise to Greenhouse Laughing-Gas Emissions

|| April 06: 2018: University of Birmingham News || ά. A new study shows that drained, fertile peatlands around the globe are hotspots for the atmospheric emission of a powerful greenhouse gas,nitrous oxide, otherwise known as, laughing-gas, which is, partly, responsible for global warming and destruction of the ozone layer. Research into natural peatlands, such as, fens, swamps and bogs, as well as, drained peatlands, found that either draining wet soils or irrigating well drained soils boosts the emission of nitrous oxide significantly.

Led by researchers at the University of Birmingham and the University of Tartu, Estonia, the study took in 58 peatland sites around the world. These included locations in the United States, Australia, Brazil, South America, Australia, New Zealand, East Africa, Southeast Asia, Siberia and Europe. The authors of the study, published in Nature Communications, are calling for increased conservation of fens and swamps to help reduce the impact of climate change and protect the ozone layer.

Professor Ülo Mander, Senior Lecturer in Biogeochemistry, at the University of Tartu, who conceived this research with a global network of 36 scientists, said, “Nitrous oxide is no laughing matter; it is a significant contributor to global climate change and depletion of the ozone layer, which protects our planet from cosmic radiation.

Organic soils, such as, fens, swamps, bogs and drained peatlands, make up more than one-tenth of the world’s soil nitrogen pool and are a significant global source of laughing gas. They are significant sources of nitrous oxide, when drained for cultivation.”

Dr Sami Ullah, Senior Lecturer in Biogeochemistry at the University of Birmingham said that this potential problem was further exacerbated, when drained cultivated organic soils are irrigated, particularly, in warm:tropical regions, which, significantly, increases nitrous oxide emission. The report’s lead author Dr. Jaan Pärn is a joint exchange postdoctoral fellow at the University of Birmingham working under with Dr. Ullah and Professor Mander’s supervision. 

“Our findings show that artificial drainage will be the primary driver of future changes in laughing gas emission from organic soils.” Dr Ulah said “This effect will be more pronounced in tropical regions leading to more nitrous oxide emitted to the atmosphere. Therefore, conservation and restoration of tropical fens and swamp forests should be made a priority to avoid and reduce emissions of this grim laughing gas.”

Dr. Jaan Pärn said that predicting soil response to changes in climate or land use was central to understanding and managing nitrous oxide emission. Previous studies have suggested multiple factors of nitrous oxide emission without a clear global pattern for the prediction of nitrous oxide emission from organic soils. A work group of 37 experts from 24 research institutions conducted a global field survey of nitrous oxide emissions and potential driving factors across a wide range of organic soils in 58 sites around the world.

The survey found that changes in nitrous oxide levels flux emission can be predicted by models incorporating soil nitrate concentration, water content and temperature. Nitrous oxide emissions increase with nitrate and follow a bell-shaped distribution peaking at intermediate soil moisture content around 50%. Both nitrate and soil moisture together explains 72% of laughing gas emission from the global organic soils.

The Paper: Nitrogen-rich organic soils under warm well-drained conditions are global nitrous oxide emission hotspots

Caption: Sampling greenhouse gases in an oil-palm plantation on a drained peat in Klias, State of Sabah: Image: Dr. Taavi Pae 
::: ω.
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 Leaf Uptake of Mercury Lowers Global Air Pollution
|| April 03: 2018 ||  ά. Finnish Meteorological Institute has participated in a new study, that shows that the atmospheric pollutant mercury shows similar seasonality as the greenhouse gas CO2. The study, led by researchers from the CNRS, the University Grenoble Alpes, found out that atmospheric CO2 levels fluctuate seasonally as vegetation takes up the gas through leaves to produce biomass. Consequently, CO2 levels are lower during summer compared to winter. By comparing mercury observations at 50 forested, marine and urban monitoring stations, the, study published in Nature Geoscience, March 26, finds that vegetation uptake of mercury is important at the global scale.
The researchers estimate that the biological mercury pump annually sequesters half of all global anthropogenic mercury emissions. Each year industrial activities emit between two and three thousand metric tons of mercury into the atmosphere. With a long atmospheric lifetime of about six months, mercury emissions spread across the globe. What goes up must, ultimately, come down and this applies to mercury as well. It has long been thought that atmospheric mercury deposition takes place, predominantly, by rainfall and snowfall and monitoring networks measure mercury wet deposition worldwide. A slowly increasing number of experimental, field and modelling studies has suggested that plant leaves can, also, directly, take up  gaseous elemental mercury from the atmosphere.
In fall, leaf mercury is, then, transferred to the underlying soil system by leaf senescence. Yet, the importance of this alternative deposition pathway, at the global scale, has never been fully appreciated. To understand, if, leaf uptake of atmospheric mercury is important on the global scale, Mr Martin Jiskra and Mr Jeroen Sonke, from the Géosciences Environment Toulouse laboratory, teamed up with scientists, who monitor atmospheric mercury and CO2 levels across our planet.
CO2 has a well-known seasonality with concentration minimum in late summer, at the end of the vegetation and leaf growth season and higher levels during winter. "To their surprise, the researchers found that mercury and CO2 show similar seasonal variations at five forested monitoring stations in the Northern hemisphere, including, Pallas." says Researcher Ms Katriina Kyllönen from FMI. 

Observations of mercury and CO2 made at Amsterdam Island by Ms Aurélien Dommergue and Mr Olivier Magand from the Institut des Géosciences de l'Environnement and by Mr Michel Ramonet and Mr Marc Delmotte from the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement turned out to be key in identifying the role of vegetation. At the Amsterdam Island station, operated by the French polar institute's Mr Paul Emile Victor and surrounded by 3,000km of Ocean in all directions, both mercury and CO2 show near-zero seasonal variations.

Next, the researchers turned to atmospheric monitoring databases from EMEP, AMNet and CAMnet, examining seasonal mercury observations for another 43 sites globally but for which CO2 observations were lacking. They found that the amplitude of seasonal atmospheric mercury variations is largest at inland monitoring sites away from the coast. At all of the terrestrial sites they found strong inverse correlations between satellite observed photosynthetic activity and mercury concentrations.
At urban monitoring stations the correlations were absent and mercury seasonality controlled by local anthropogenic mercury emissions. The researchers conclude that vegetation acts as a biological pump for atmospheric mercury and plays a dominant role in the observed atmospheric mercury seasonality. By comparing the 20% amplitude of seasonal mercury variations to the known amount of mercury in the atmosphere, ~5000 metric tons, they estimate that each year about 1,000 tons of mercury is sequestrated in vegetation via leaf uptake.
This amount is equal to half the annual global anthropogenic mercury emissions. The researchers further suggest that the documented 30% increase in global primary productivity over the 20th century has, likely, enhanced uptake of atmospheric mercury, thereby, practically, offsetting increasing mercury emissions. Although, leaf uptake removes mercury from air, autumn litterfall transfers the sequestered mercury to soils. Soil mercury, ultimately, runs off into aquatic ecosystems, including, lakes and Oceans, where the mercury bio-accumulates to toxic levels in fish.
The Pallas research infrastructure has been extensively instrumented for modern and versatile monitoring of the environment since the start of continuous monitoring of atmospheric sulphur dioxide:SO2 and ozone:O3 concentrations at Sammaltunturi in September 1991 and with the setup of the Global Atmosphere Watc:GAW station in 1994. The measurement sites have contributed to numerous European and global research programmes and research infrastructures.
In 2009, the Academy of Finland recognized Pallas, together with the FMI Arctic Research Centre at Sodankylä, as one of the most significant national research infrastructures in Finland. Mercury measurements have been conducted since 1996 in co-operation with Swedish Environmental Research Institute IVL. 

The research was funded by Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant.
More information: FMI, Researcher Katriina Kyllönen: tel. +358 50 352 6722: email: etunimi.sukunimi at fmi.fi
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For Stories Published in Ecology in || April || May || June  || Ecology Arkive 2018 Q-Alpha

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