Are some pesticides safe for bees?

A widely used class of pesticides is probably responsible for a massive honeybee die-off.

 Study finds most neonicotinoids toxic to bees. @bberwyn photo.

New study offers more clues on neonicotinoids and bees

Staff Report

When it comes to bees, not all pesticides are equally toxic, federal scientists said after studying 42 common pesticides in a field trial.

With honeybee populations declining at an alarming rate, the new findings may give farmers and regulators some tools to guide pesticide applications. Continue reading

Study shows nuances in Coloradans beliefs about wildfires and climate change

Focusing on local threats, not climate change, may be the best way to spur wildfire mitigation actions

Wallow-fire-USFS-Ap-sit-NF-inferno-5812328293_6d2fe9b6cc_b_0 (1)

Colorado residents believe that climate change affects the risk of wildfires, but those beliefs don’t necessarily affect their actions when it comes to wildfire mitigation. Photo via U.S. Forest Service.


Wildfires are getting bigger in Colorado.

Staff Report

Whether or not people are convinced that human activities are changing the climate doesn’t play a big role in their decisions about trying to reduce wildfire risks around their property, Colorado-based researchers wrote in a new paper that focused on the Colorado Front Range.

The researchers tried to take a close look at social factors that might motivate people to try and lessen wildfire threats. They found that a “belief” in human-caused climate change is not as significant as previously thought. Continue reading

Morning photo: Snaps

Die Waldschänke …

After a few days of good old Central European gray and drizzly skies, the sun burst forth on Monday morning, so we headed up the hill to a local Waldschänke — a mountainside eatery that’s favored by hikers seeking a view over the broad Danube Valley around Linz. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t the type of place that requires hours of strenuous slogging — more like a short walk up a country lane through farmyards and orchards, just enough exercise to work up a bit of an appetite for some country cooking.

Mexico to step up vaquita conservation efforts


Mexican agencies say they will try to cut illegal fishing and work more closely with conservation groups to prevent the vaquita from going extinct. Photo courtesy NOAA.

Focusing on illegal trade could help protect world’s most endangered marine mammal

By Bob Berwyn

In a hopeful sign for the critically endangered vaquita, Mexican environmental and law enforcement officials have indicated they’ll work more closely with conservation groups to track illegal fishing in the upper Gulf of California, and try to stop the trade of illegal fish in the region.

The vaquita is the world’s most endangered marine mammal. The small dolphins live only in a few thousand square miles of ocean in the northern Gulf of California. Biologists estimate the total population at fewer than 100 individuals. Continue reading

How does ecotourism affect ecosystems?

Researchers urge caution as visitation to wildlife areas booms

A seal is far outnumbered by tourists on the shores of Paulet Island, along the Antarctic Peninsula. @bberwyn photo.

A seal is far outnumbered by tourists on the shores of Paulet Island, along the Antarctic Peninsula. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Ecotourism has been hailed as a sustainable economic driver and a force for environmental conservation, but a new report says we also need to account for the possible adverse effects of visitation to relatively wild spaces.

In a new report published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, researchers said all of those interactions between wild animals and friendly ecotourists eager to snap their pictures may inadvertently put some animals at greater risk of being eaten. Continue reading

Wolf advocates push for more releases in Gila Wilderness

Photo by John and Karen Hollingsworth/USFWS

More releases of wolves are needed to genetically bolster the population in the wild. Photo by John and Karen Hollingsworth/USFWS.

Letter to feds points out dangers of ‘genetic bottleneck’

Staff Report

Political resistance at the state level shouldn’t deter federal biologists from releasing more Mexican gray wolves into the wild, according to conservation activists, who say that such releases are needed to prevent the wild population from becoming genetically crippled.

In a letter to federal officials, biologists and wildlife advocates urged Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to release at least five more packs of wolves into  the Gila National Forest in New Mexico through the end of this year and into 2016.

The “perilously low” number of breeding pairs makes the wolf population vulnerable to inbreeding depression that could send the population into a downward spiral, more than 40 biologists and conservation groups warned in the Oct. 8 letter. Continue reading

September 2015 the second-warmest on record

Nine states report record warmth


Nine states were record-warm in September.

Staff Report

September 2015 delivered above average temperatures across most of the contiguous 48 states, with nine states — including Colorado — reporting record warmth for the month, according to the latest State of the Climate update from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

After tallying up the numbers, the federal climate experts said it was the second-warmest September on record, lagging behind only 1998. The average temperature across the lower 48 states was 68.5 degrees Fahrenheit, which 3.7 degrees above the 20th century average. Continue reading


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