Measuring out their lives in coffee spoons

Many of us sit down with a cup of coffee and surf the internet for news on the environment; however, our daily latte may be harbouring an environmental disaster all of its very own. It appears that illegally-grown coffee plantations have begun to encroach on the natural habitats of the Sumatran rhino, tiger and elephant.…
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Tortilla crisis: how green fuel may be harming Mexico’s poor

In the face of global warming which is now acknowledged by almost all to be at least partly man-made, and of high oil prices and worries about dependence on imports from politically unstable regions, the idea of renewable energy from plants seems a very attractive one. Biofuels aren’t at risk from political upheaval or terrorism,…
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Slick seabirds

Since the MSC Napoli ran into difficulties two weeks ago, it’s not only the coastguard and Swedish emigrants who are having to repair the damage done.  One RSPCA centre had received more than 420 birds by Wednesday morning and up to 10,000 are expected.  Rescued guillemots are being given specialist care although many have been…
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Maryland at Risk of Losing Millions of Trees

The Maryland Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources are cutting down hundreds of ash trees (genus Fraxinus) in parks and forests this week in Prince George’s County, as a strategy to stop an outbreak of the invasive beetle, emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis, Fairmaire). Since being discovered in the US, in 2003, possibly arriving in…
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Trees for flights?

It’s been difficult to avoid the current debate about carbon offsetting in the news recently and one topic that comes up again and again is planting trees. In a world where people are flying shorter distances more frequently can we really make up for this by planting a few trees here and there? A number…
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Reducing soil erosion in the real world

It is well understood that soil erosion has serious impacts on water quality because of the pollutants carried in runoff from the fields into water courses. Sustainable practices to limit soil erosion are available, “but it is the economical and socio-political factors that lead to erosion which need to be tackled if sustainable practices to…
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Can ecotourism help save ‘Planet Earth?’

For the last few Sunday nights, a significant proportion of the British population has been glued to the mesmerising BBC wildlife series ‘Planet Earth’. An accompanying series on the digital channel BBC4, on the challenges faced by wildlife and habitats from increasing human population, will have been seen by far fewer people, but it may…
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Inconvenient Truths Down On the Farm

The recent UK Stern Review on the economic costs of climate change and Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth have focused attention on the serious consequences that may result. A new review by Jurg Fuhrer published in CAB Reviews highlights the implications for agriculture, pointing out that it is “among the sectors most directly exposed…
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Doing the right thing with water: The sustainable management of water in Agriculture

Water is important – ask any of us who live in the South East of England (where CABI is based) and have had to live with the hosepipe bans (and threats of worse restrictions) this year. So much for the green and pleasant land. But, being serious, water management IS important and figuring out what…
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