Tag: Biodiversity

Bolivia Is Burning. Who Will Stop Its Fires?

Fires have been ravaging the Bolivian lowlands for over a month. Nearly ten million acres have already burned, an area larger than Connecticut and New Jersey combined. Almost half the destruction lies in protected areas known for high biodiversity. It is a tragedy. The Chiquitanía, a dry forest ecosystem between Amazonia and Gran Chaco in […]

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New Electric Eel Is Most Shocking Yet

The average shock from an electric eel lasts about two-thousandths of a second. The pain isn’t searing — unlike, say, sticking your finger in a wall socket — but isn’t pleasant: a brief muscle contraction, then numbness. For scientists who study the animal, the pain comes with the professional territory. “I remember the first time […]

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Amazon Fires Prompt Alarm in Europe, and Anger at Brazil’s Government

LONDON — European leaders have reacted with growing fear and anger to the fires ravaging Brazil’s rain forest, calling it a worldwide crisis that is accelerating global warming — and one that Brazil’s leader appears unwilling to combat. President Emmanuel Macron of France went so far, on Friday, as to accuse President Jair Bolsonaro of […]

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She Studies Sea Snakes by the Seafloor

Six to eight million years ago, a snake related to swamp snakes or tiger snakes slithered into the sea. Over evolutionary time, descendants of that snake developed flattened paddle tails, an ability to breathe through the skin and a valve to stop water from entering the lungs. Today these creatures live their entire lives in […]

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The Thick Gray Line: Forest Elephants Defend Against Climate Change

Poaching destabilizes nations, disrupts ecosystems and threatens biodiversity. A recent study suggests still another consequence: Some types of poaching may also accelerate climate change. Forest elephants — the smaller, endangered relatives of African savanna elephants — promote the growth of large trees that excel at storing carbon, according to research published in the journal Nature […]

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The Species Act, Endangered: ‘Like a Plan From a Cartoon Villain’

In early May, a United Nations panel on biodiversity released a deeply troubling 1,500-page report warning that as many as one million plant and animal species were at risk of extinction worldwide. It strongly urged nations everywhere to accelerate efforts to save the marine and terrestrial life that remain — the mammals, the birds, the […]

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Facing Opposition, E.P.A. Backtracks on Use of ‘Cyanide Bombs’ to Kill Wild Animals

The federal Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday withdrew its support for the continued use of so-called cyanide bombs to protect livestock from predators, reversing course amid strong opposition to the practice. The E.P.A. administrator, Andrew R. Wheeler, said he was withdrawing an interim reauthorization for the use of M-44 devices, which are used to kill […]

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This Creature Eats Stone. Sand Comes Out the Other End.

Lithoredo abatanica is an organism with an unusual appetite: This creature eats stone. And when it excretes, what comes out is sand, the leftovers of a still-mysterious digestion process. The mollusk, unearthed from the bottom of a river in the Philippines, was introduced this week by an international group of scientists in Proceedings of the […]

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Meet Australia’s New Sex-Changing Tomato: Solanum Plastisexum

MELBOURNE, Australia — In the monsoon tropics of northern Australia, a little plant with prickles, gray-green leaves and purple flowers sprouted. It did not have a name, and it confounded scientists: Every time they encountered the plant, the sex of its flowers had changed. It is not unusual for plants to be hermaphrodites — that […]

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