Posts filed under ‘Biodiversity’

How to fight Insectageddon with a garden of native plants

People across North America love to garden, yet the vast majority of garden plants are non-native species.

Day-lilies, peonies, roses, chrysanthemums and butterfly bushes, just to name a few, are all non-natives. They evolved in far-away places such as Europe and Asia and people transported them to North America.

With Insectageddon — the great insect die-off — upon us, it’s time to rethink our gardens.

Birds (and other larger animals) depend on bugs. “Nearly all terrestrial birds rear their young on insects, not seeds or berries,” writes Doug Tallamy in his book Bringing Nature Home.

A simple way to think of it is this: Native plants maintain natural ecosystem food webs, whereas non-native plants don’t. Native plants will attract and support healthy insect populations in your garden, which will provide essential food for birds and other animals.

Read How to fight Insectageddon with a garden of native plants by Nina N. Zitani at The Conversation.

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March 26, 2018 at 10:51 am Leave a comment

Total ban on bee-harming pesticides likely after major new EU analysis

Analysis from EU’s scientific risk assessors finds neonicotinoids pose a serious danger to all bees, making total field ban highly likely.

The world’s most widely used insecticides pose a serious danger to both honeybees and wild bees, according to a major new assessment from the European Union’s scientific risk assessors.

The conclusion, based on analysis of more than 1,500 studies, makes it highly likely that the neonicotinoid pesticides will be banned from all fields across the EU when nations vote on the issue next month.

Read Total ban on bee-harming pesticides likely after major new EU analysis by Damian Carrington at The Guardian.

March 7, 2018 at 11:49 am Leave a comment

A eureka moment for the planet: we’re finally planting trees again

Illustration by Mitch Blunt

After centuries of bad stewardship, communities are at last starting to see the benefits of forests. China plans to plant forests the size of Ireland. Latin American countries have pledged to restore 20m hectares of degraded forest and African countries more than 100m hectares. India is to plant 13m hectares, and on a single day last year 1.5 million people planted 66m trees in Madhya Pradesh alone.

This enthusiasm for a greener world, expressed in trees, is inspiring and overdue. For 200 years forested countries barely knew what to do with their trees. They were treated as expendable and a waste of space. But in a great cultural shift, they have changed from being dark and fearsome places to semi-sacred and untouchable.

And why not? In this new ecological age, we have learned that trees have far more value than providing timber: they keep soils moist, prevent floods and provide shelter, store carbon, beautify landscapes, protect water sources, increase biodiversity, improve conservation and induce human wellbeing.

Read A eureka moment for the planet: we’re finally planting trees again by John Vidal at The Guardian.

February 14, 2018 at 11:02 am Leave a comment

The ABCD’s of Agroecology: What Is It All About?

Agroecological farmers use many practices you’ll find on organic farms, but what tends to set them apart is that they also design their fields, year after year, with a mix of crops, animals, and non-crop plants that lead to more resilient and lower-risk operations with less chemicals, irrigation, energy, and waste. And research (here, for example) is showing that these efforts pay off – in production, environmental metrics, and dollars.

Read The ABCD’s of Agroecology: What Is It All About? by Marcia DeLonge at The Union of Concerned Scientists

January 24, 2018 at 12:10 pm Leave a comment

Urban Forestry Toolkit

Urban forests play a vital role in helping communities adapt to and mitigate climate change, reduce air pollution, sequester carbon and save energy through natural heating and cooling. But urban forests are facing increasingly difficult growing conditions. Exotic pests, more frequent and severe storms, and the loss of soils in urban developments all contribute to stressed urban forests. In order to contribute to healthy, resilient communities, these valuable assets need to be managed proactively and supported consistently across the province.

Green Infrastructure Ontario’s urban forestry toolkit is a set of documents that support those working to improve urban forest management across the province. This toolkit builds upon our 2015 report Ontario’s Urban Forests: Call to Action and was developed with input from professionals around the province.

The first piece of the toolkit can help build the case for the value that urban forests provide as a municipal asset – with the goal of integrating urban forest management into municipal asset management plans. Read the bulletin on communicating the benefits of the urban forest in a municipal context HERE>>.

The second document in our toolkit helps urban forest managers understand how urban forest assets fit into the municipal asset management planning process. Read the urban forest asset managment primer HERE>>.

Read the full article HERE>>

January 10, 2018 at 8:28 am Leave a comment

Post-Capitalist Entrepreneurship: B Corps and Beyond

Labor productivity has never been greater but the rewards from this are not being evenly distributed. In fact, artificial intelligence, robotics, and smart devices are wreaking havoc on labor markets and generating growing calls for basic income to help avert even worse income inequality in the coming years. Aside from rampant inequalities, we seem to be stuck in making real progress on climate change and losses of biodiversity. In short, many of us have begun to question whether market-based capitalism as we know it is capable of improving conditions for planet and people.

What I have come to realize is that there is a new wave of entrepreneurial organizing around the world, oriented toward making things better for the 99 percent. Yet much of this organizing does not fit the mold of traditional, capitalist approaches to startups, venture finance, growth and exit.

Read Post-Capitalist Entrepreneurship: B Corps and Beyond by Boyd Cohen at P2P.

January 1, 2018 at 11:48 am Leave a comment

How to make a safe, successful home for our feathered friends

House Wren

For many species of birds, there is a shortage of great places to nest. There may be birds that would love to call your habitat home, but they have a specific nesting requirement which needs to be met. Birdhouses can be placed in backyards, schoolyards, parks, orchards, farms, pastures, cemeteries, woodlots, deserts, cities…you name it. Support more nesting birds, and give a bird a home. Use these resources to become the ultimate nest box landlord; find out what features make a birdhouse ideal, which species you can attract to your area, and how to troubleshoot any problems that arise.

Read How to make a safe, successful home for our feathered friends at nestbox.org

November 1, 2017 at 10:51 am Leave a comment

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