Category archive: Biodiversity

Why whale poo matters – George Monbiot – the Guardian

Why whale poo matters – George Monbiot – the Guardian

I can hear you muttering already: he’s completely lost it this time. He’s written a 2,000-word article on whale poo. I admit that at first it might be hard to see the relevance to your life. But I hope that by the time you have finished this article you will have become as obsessed with marine faecal plumes as I am. What greater incentive could there be to read on?

In truth it’s not just about whale poo, though that’s an important component. It’s about the remarkable connectivity, on this small and spherical planet, of living processes. Nothing human beings do, and nothing that takes place in the natural world, occurs in isolation.

When I was a student, back in the days when mammoths roamed the earth, ecologists tended to believe that the character of living systems was largely determined by abiotic factors. This means influences such as local climate, geology or the availability of nutrients. But it now seems that this belief arose from the study of depleted ecosystems. The rules they derived now appear to have described not the world in its natural state, but the world of our creation. We now know that living systems which retain their large carnivores and large herbivores often behave in radically different ways from those which have lost them.

Sea turtles, sharks and seagrass carbon

Sea turtles feed in seagrass meadows, an important coastal carbon sink

The loss of sharks could contribute to the destruction of one of the planet’s most under-appreciated sources of carbon storage — seagrasses, according to FIU researchers. Not that sharks eat the seagrass, they don’t, but they do eat the turtles which feed in the seagrass meadows. Add this to the problems of pollution, mooring and…

Report outlines the importance of assessing the value of wetlands

Report outlines the importance of assessing the value of wetlands

A recent report produced for the eleventh meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP11) calls for the valuation of ecosystem services which are provided by wetlands. These services include the mitigation of coastal erosion, carbon sequestration, coastline storm protection and the provision of food security via fisheries. The…

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