Nature

Trees uptake of carbon dioxide predicted to drop as rising temperatures make autumn leaves fall earlier

What’s Going On Here? New research predicts that global heating will cause trees to drop their leaves three to six days earlier than expected. Consequently, forests will absorb and store significantly less carbon dioxide than scientists had hoped. What Does This Mean? In preparation for the coming winter, leaves of deciduous trees change their colour while suspending growth and extracting nutrients. This…

Blue whales return to South Georgia

What’s Going On Here? The critically endangered blue whales have made a return to the island of South Georgia off Antarctica nearly 100 years since it was brought to the edge of extinction from commercial whaling. What Does This Mean? Between 1998 and 2018 only one sighting of a blue whale had been made in the South Georgia area. But in February…

England and Wales tree cover: Uncovered!

What’s Going On Here? Two London boroughs make it into the top 20 list of areas with the most tree cover in England and Wales. What Does This Mean? Tree cover in England and Wales has been mapped and the results might leave you stumped. The trees have been detected using machine learning algorithms applied to high-resolution aerial photographs, terrain maps, and…

Global biodiversity results day wake up call

What’s Going On Here? A decade ago, United Nations members set 20 targets to curb the loss of global biodiversity. The 2020 results are in and the world has failed miserably, with some saplings of success. What Does This Mean? The Global Biodiversity Outlook, published this week by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) found that natural habitats have continued to…

Buzzing about B-lines: UK wildflower scheme launched to boost insect populations

What’s Going On Here? This Monday, 20th July 2020, will see UK conservation charity Buglife launch a new network of insect corridors across the UK, through their wildflower scheme in partnership with Defra (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs). What Does This Mean? The network, consisting of a series of pathways linking existing and potential wildflower corridors, will enable insects to move more…

Why Covid-19 might spell the end of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s animal welfare atrocities

What’s Going On Here? High profile supporters and practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine, also known as TCM, have said its future is untenable if it continues to rely on the trade of endangered animals, which has been pointed to as a likely source of Covid-19. What Does This Mean? TCM is an ancient system of health and wellness that’s been used in…

Let it grow! Roadside verges become mini-meadows for wildflowers and bees

What’s Going On Here? The coronavirus lockdown has meant that councils haven’t mowed roadside verges and mini-meadows have been left to bloom all across the UK! What Does This Mean? One in five of wildflowers in the UK are now endangered and 97% of meadows have disappeared since the 1930s. Roadside verges are a stretch of hope for Britain’s increasingly depleting wildlife habitats. They form…

Not just daffodils in Wales…The Welsh National Forest

What’s Going On Here? So we need to plant more trees, and Wales have gone and done it – commissioning a National Forest that will run the full length of the country! What Does This Mean? The Welsh First Minister announced an initial £15m fund for the woodland, which is designed to protect nature whilst also boosting tourism by creating a ‘connected ecological network’…

More Green and Pleasant Land in 2020?

What’s Going On Here? A former chief scientific adviser to the UK government has said that half the nation’s farmland needs to be transformed into natural habitat to restore wildlife and help fight the climate crisis. What Does This Mean? This idea might seem radical to some but Prof Sir Ian Boyd—who worked at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs…