Global warming could unravel UK’s peatland ecosystems

Vast areas of peatlands in the UK are at risk from climate change. Photo via the IUCN.

Vast areas of peatlands in the UK are at risk from climate change. Photo via the IUCN.

More research showing the cascading ecosystem impacts of climate change

Staff Report

FRISCO — Plovers, grouse and other bird species will suffer as global warming changes the hydrology of the UK’s far-reaching blanket bogs, scientists warned after developing a model that shows how climate change will play out in those wetland ecosystems.

The University of York researchers also warmed that the changes could also put drinking water supplies at risk. Warmer temperatures will lead to peat decomposition and altered rainfall patterns, including summer droughts, which could drastically affecting the blanket bog hydrology.

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Climate: Warmer temps, more rain will up disease threat to endangered Hawaiian birds

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After more than 30 years of careful management, the Hawaiian stilt is thriving at Pearl Harbor and James Campbell National Wildlife Refuges on Oahu. Credit: Mike Silbernagle/USFWS.

Mosquito-free havens will start to disappear by mid-century, study warns

Staff Report

FRISCO — Island birds, including endangered species in the Hawai‘i archipelago, are facing a serious threat, as diseases carried by mosquitoes are due to expand into higher elevation safe zones.

With warming temperatures, mosquitoes will move farther upslope and increase in number, and mosquito-friendly temperatures are expected by mid-century, according to a new study by researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Future increases in rainfall will likely benefit the mosquitoes as well.

“We knew that temperature had significant effects on mosquitoes and malaria, but we were surprised that rainfall also played an important role,” said USGS Wisconsin scientist Michael Samuel. “Additional rainfall will favor mosquitoes as much as the temperature change.” Continue reading

Honduran hummingbird to get endangered species status

Habitat loss puts brilliant bird at risk of extinction

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing endangered species status for the Honduras emerald hummingbird. Photo via Wikipedia and the Creative Commons.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Although it doesn’t live in the United States, the Honduran emerald hummingbird may get protection under the Endangered Species Act, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers listing the small bird as endangered. The emerald hummingbird is the only bird species endemic to Honduras, living in a few isolated patches of dry thorn forests and scrub habitat.

As a practical matter, the listing would restrict the importation of either the animal or its parts. Listing can also generate conservation benefits, such as increasing awareness of the species, prompting research efforts to address their conservation needs, or funding conservation in range countries. Continue reading

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