How do zoos decide which animals to keep?

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) boasts over 700 million visitors to its zoos each year – including London Zoo (UK), Calgary Zoo (Canada) and hundreds of other institutions around the world. This makes them a huge asset in raising awareness for the environmental threats that animals face, whilst also generating substantial funds …

Yellowstone: Wolves as ecosystem engineers

The effects of the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park, USA, have been widely studied – the prolonged absence and then reintroduction of wolves at the top of the food chain makes this case study a great natural experiment into ecosystem dynamics. This post will collate the interesting bits from the research, and look …

Wangari Maathai: Building change by planting trees

Nobel prize winner, environmentalist, and professor Wangari Maathai created the “Green Belt Movement”, an initiative to prevent environmental degradation linked to commercial deforestation across Kenya. During the 1970s and onwards, colonial and post-colonial pressures forced Kenyan farmers to grow cash crops such as tea and coffee for the foreign market, rather than the traditional crops …

Urban greening: make our cities green again!

55% of the world’s population now live in urban areas – in Europe, that number soars to almost 75% (The World Bank, 2020). These cities can be extremely densely packed, making green spaces difficult to preserve, and even harder to squeeze into established areas (Haaland & van Den Bosch, 2015). When gardens, parks and fields …

News: Tiktok, tuna and the world’s largest bee

This post is just a brief one highlighting some of the top, positive, environmental news from September 2020. Enjoy. Tiktok Millennials (born between 1980 and 2000) and Generation Z (late 90s- 2010s) are becoming increasingly more aware of environmental issues by using the Internet, with one notable example being the video-sharing platform Tiktok. Many users …

Seasonal eating: what’s the point?

Today we are back with my most favourite topic: FOOD! This post is going to look at seasonal and local produce,  our perceptions of what is “seasonal” and whether eating with the seasons is better for the environment. Enjoy! Our supermarkets today allow us to purchase food products from all over the world. This incorporates …

Palaeoecology: how an understanding of ancient savannas helps inform elephant management

Despite their role as a conservation flagship species, elephants can be highly destructive to their natural environment. They play a huge role in the management of savanna ecosystems across Africa, but in some areas, the widespread damage they bring to vegetation and farmer’s land makes them a pest. Two main control methods have been suggested …

What has Boris got against newts?!

Last month (July 2020) the UK prime minister Boris Johnson said the following words: “Time is money. And the newt-counting delays in our system are a massive drag on the productivity and prosperity of this country.” …What’s that all about? What are newt-counting delays, and how are newts linked with societal productivity and prosperity? This …

Mutualism in nature: Fungal friends and finding Nemo

Mutualism is the technical term used to describe a relationship between organisms from which both parties benefit. For example, bees benefit from the nectar provided by flowers, when the flowers themselves are pollinated by the spread of their pollen to other flowers. It differs from symbiosis, a word which is often used alongside mutualism, as …

Land sharing or land sparing? Conservation vs food production

The land-sharing land-sparing framework (LSLS) addresses the issue of providing food for an ever-growing population, whilst maintaining or improving biodiversity (Kremen, 2015). The first of the two ideas is land-sharing, which combines conservation and wildlife-friendly farming practices within the same area of agricultural land (Phalan et al., 2001). England’s Environmental Stewardship policy promotes this strategy …

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