Nature

Deforestation in Brazil wiping out ancient tree species

An araucaria forest in a conservation area in Brazil where it is safe from deforestation

What’s going on here?  Deforestation in Brazil could wipe out an ancient, Jurassic-era tree species in just 50 years. What does this mean? Brazil’s critically endangered araucaria tree could be gone by 2070 because of illegal logging and deforestation for public works, reports Mongabay. These distinctive, candelabra-like trees (Araucaria angustifolia) once covered an area about double the size of Portugal. Now logging…

Polar heatwaves causing alarm

What’s Going On Here? Last weekend saw heatwaves at both of the planet’s poles. Antarctic temperatures reached record levels, 40 degrees C above normal. During the same period, weather stations in the Arctic recorded temperatures 30 degrees C above normal for this time of year. What Does This Mean? It’s unprecedented for both poles to record such temperatures. The heatwaves have caused…

3 ways that fungi could help us combat our waste and climate crises

A group of small, light brown mushrooms growing up a mossy log in a woodland setting.

From plastic waste to intensive fossil-fuel practices polluting natural environments, we humans have created a lot of mess on our planet. Innovative scientific research has been experimenting with fungi as a potential method of cleaning up our waste. Specifically, mycelium has the potential to help us eat-away at some of the waste we’re leaving behind.   What is mycelium?  Mycelium is essentially the…

Otterly alarming: toxic chemicals found in Britain’s favourite top predator

River Otter sitting on a rock

What’s Going On Here? A recent study revealed high levels of PFASs (Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) in the livers of otters. PFASs are known as ‘forever chemicals’ as they don’t break down easily. Instead they accumulate in humans and animals and persist in ecosystems. PFASs are powerful chemicals responsible for the grease and water-resistant properties of a variety of products, from non-stick…

Neonicotinoids – What’s the buzz?

What’s Going On Here? After an application from the National Farmers Union (NFU) and British Sugar, last week Defra authorised the ‘emergency’ use of a neonicotinoid pesticide treatment on sugar beet crops planted in England in the 2022 season. In 2018, the EU banned all outdoor uses of neonicotinoids due to evidence that they cause harm to bees.  What Does This Mean? …

Post-Brexit biodiversity plans incite concern

tomatoes growing on a farm, with farmer in the background

What’s going on here? Under the EU, BUnder the EU, British farmers received grants through the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Following Brexit, the government has promised to introduce the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS), consisting of: The Sustainable Farming Incentive, Landscape Recovery and Local Nature Recovery schemes. ELMs promises the restoration of 300,000 hectares of land 2042 by paying farmers and landowners…

The retreat of Antarctica’s riskiest glacier: Thwaites

What’s Going On Here? Scientists have warned that the eastern ice shelf of Antarctica’s Thwaites Glacier could shatter within the next decade, accelerating melting and sea level rise. What Does This Mean? West Antarctica’s Thwaites glacier is about the size of Great Britain and sheds circa 50 billion tonnes of ice each year.  Earlier this week, The International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC),…

Scientists to map “invaluable ally” in climate crisis: world’s fungi networks

Fungi networks

What’s Going On Here? Scientists have come up with a plan to save an “invaluable ally” in the climate crisis – sprawling underground networks of fungi that absorb and store carbon dioxide. The new project, from the Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN), will map the mysterious fungal web for the first time, helping scientists locate those most under threat.…