biodiversity


A Failure of US Biosecurity: How Federal Regulators Helped a Japanese Beetle Cross the Border

Christy Leppanen, Ph.D., , UCS

With a partial government shutdown now in its 3rd week, many Americans are learning the hard way about the wide range of functions their federal government normally serves. One of those little-known functions is preventing the spread of invasive plants, insects, and other species that threaten native ecosystems and valuable natural resources, costing the United States an estimated $120 billion every year. Just last week, the shutdown forced conference organizers at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to cancel an annual meeting of 300 scientists working to coordinate research and find solutions. Even before the shutdown, however, USDA regulators had failed to fully live up to their obligations—designated by law—to protect US resources from invasive species.

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The prairie pothole region is home to 50% of North America's waterfowl, but a climate threshold exists where they might not survive a 2°C warming. Photo: USFWS

Half a Degree of Warming Could be the Difference Between Survival and Extinction for Many Species

, Deputy director, Climate & Energy

As a conservationist who has been ringing the alarm bells on climate change threats to biodiversity for more than 25 years, I hardly know where to start in responding to the findings of the newest, and most alarming, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on the impacts of a 1.5°Celsius global warming.  I’m not surprised that the IPPC delivers more bad news after reviewing more than 6,000 recent scientific reports, but I am surprised by just how bad the news is.

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Credit: USFWS
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Ivette Perfecto and John Vandermeer in a shaded coffee farm in Chiapas, Mexico. They use diverse shaded coffee as a model system to study ecological complexity and its implications for farm management and biodiversity conservation.

Agroecology to the Rescue: 7 Ways Ecologists are Working Toward Healthier Food Systems

, senior scientist

A lot has been written about agroecology, and a new special issue of the journal Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems takes it to the next level. Read more >

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Where in the World Is Palm Oil Deforestation?

Varsha Vijay, , UCS

Tropical forests have always held great allure for me. Growing up in Iowa, my most memorable experiences of the tropics happened at home, where I poured over every issue of National Geographic, read books by explorers and dreamed of going to the same places myself. Read more >

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Technology Makes Lighter Work of a Tough Job—SMART Ranger Patrolling

Antony J. Lynam, Ph.D.
, , UCS

As the temperature soars over 100 degrees, our ranger patrol in Cambodia’s Preah Vihear Protected Forest is in full swing. A whining sound alerts us to a chainsaw operating in the distance. The team goes into action. AK-47s cocked and ready, the three rangers move forward circling a spot on a dry riverbank where timber is being illegally sawn. Read more >

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