21 September 2021

Sea turtles: Can these great marine migrators navigate rising human threats?

Abstract: "Humanity is quickly crossing critical planetary boundaries that threaten sea turtle populations, their ecosystems and, ultimately, the “safe operating space” for human existence. Sea turtles have survived millions of years, but marathon migrations put them at increasing risk for the additive impacts of adverse anthropogenic activity on land and at sea, including impacts from biodiversity loss, climate change, ocean acidification, land-use change, pollution (especially plastics), and more. The synergistic effects of anthropogenic threats and the return on conservation interventions are largely unknown. But analysts understand that their efforts will need to focus on both nesting beaches and ocean migration routes, while acting on a host of adverse impacts across many of the nine known planetary boundaries. Avoiding extinction will require adaptation by turtles and people, and the evolution of new, innovative conservation practices. Key strategies: boosting populations to weather growing threats, rethinking how humanity fishes, studying turtle life cycles (especially at sea), safeguarding habitat, and deeply engaging local communities."

Read more: https://news.mongabay.com/2021/09/sea-turtles-can-these-great-marine-migrators-navigate-rising-human-threats/

Pollination advantage of rare plants unveiled

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Abstract: "Species diversification results from the balance between the formation of new species (speciation) and the loss of existing ones (extinction). The tremendous proliferation of different life forms on Earth can be attributed to both high rates of speciation and low rates of extinction. Flowering plants — a group called angiosperms — are one of the most diverse groups of non-mobile organism. There are approximately 352,000 plant species, nearly 90% of which depend, to various extents, on insects and other animals for pollination and seed production1. These animal pollinators have been key to the unstoppable diversification of the angiosperms, starting at least 120 million years ago, with pollinators promoting speciation by acting as potent selection agents for a plethora of flower traits2,3. Pollinators also aid species persistence by enabling pollen transfer between relatively distant individuals in sparse plant populations4. Writing in Nature, Wei et al.5 report that, for plant species that flower at the same time, pollinators mediate interactions that might facilitate species coexistence in diverse plant communities."

Read more: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02375-z

11 September 2021

Motion 101 passes at IUCN, calls for protecting 50% of Earth’s lands and seas

Abstract: "In the final session of the World Conservation Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on 10 September 2021, an overwhelming majority of delegates approved Motion 101, which calls for the protection of half of Earth’s lands and seas with a minimum of 30% by 2030, recognizing the important role of Indigenous peoples and local communities in preserving nature and the need for measures to respect and honor their rights and interests"

Read More: https://www.oneearth.org/motion-101-passes-at-iucn-calls-for-protecting-50-of-earths-lands-and-seas/

31 August 2021

Using the IUCN Red List to map threats to terrestrial vertebrates at global scale

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Abstract: "The Anthropocene is characterized by unparalleled human impact on other species, potentially ushering in the sixth mass extinction. Yet mitigation efforts remain hampered by limited information on the spatial patterns and intensity of the threats driving global biodiversity loss. Here we use expert-derived information from the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List on threats to 23,271 species, representing all terrestrial amphibians, birds and mammals, to generate global maps of the six major threats to these groups: agriculture, hunting and trapping, logging, pollution, invasive species, and climate change. Our results show that agriculture and logging are pervasive in the tropics and that hunting and trapping is the most geographically widespread threat to mammals and birds. Additionally, current representations of human pressure underestimate the overall pressure on biodiversity, due to the exclusion of threats such as hunting and climate change. Alarmingly, this is particularly the case in areas of the highest biodiversity importance."

Read More: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-021-01542-9

Best practice for protecting pollinators

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Abstract: "Public and scientific awareness of the connection between food security and pollination provided by both wild and managed insect species has heightened in recent decades1,2,3. Yet pollinator conservation has been difficult because it requires policies that intersect biodiversity, land use, agriculture and global trade4. Further, global analyses synthesizing information and making recommendations for pollinator conservation must account for diverse perspectives across varying scales, geographies, economies, systems and cultures. Writing in Nature Ecology & Evolution, Dicks and colleagues5 offer one approach to understanding how drivers and risks of pollinator decline vary in different parts of the world."

Read More: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-021-01531-y

27 August 2021

Grizzly bear DNA maps onto Indigenous language families

Abstract: "The bears and Indigenous humans of coastal British Columbia have more in common than meets the eye. The two have lived side by side for millennia in this densely forested region on the west coast of Canada. But it’s the DNA that really stands out: A new analysis has found that the grizzlies here form three distinct genetic groups, and these groups align closely with the region’s three Indigenous language families."

Read More: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/08/mind-blowing-grizzly-bear-dna-maps-indigenous-language-families

Climate change threatens to squeeze out Indonesia’s medicinal plants

Abstract: "More than half of medicinal plant species in Indonesia won’t be able to grow in most of their current range by 2050 due to climate change, a new study says. Researchers say medicinal plant species on the islands of New Guinea, Java and Sulawesi will see the largest reduction in distribution area, in part due to sea level rise in these regions. The economic value of medicinal plants in Indonesia, coupled with other threats and a lack of resources for their conservation, makes it urgent that active conservation programs be put in place, the researchers say. Medicinal plants are valuable species not only for personal health but also for their economic value as they are traded by local and Indigenous communities."

Read More: https://news.mongabay.com/2021/08/climate-change-threatens-to-squeeze-out-indonesias-medicinal-plants/