Tag Archives: ecology

Puerto Rico insect study flawed

“But if I were you, I’d take these claims with a big pinch of salt, especially if they include the words “climate change.” That is because the most dramatic, oft-quoted study that links insect loss with climate change turns out to be flawed to the point of uselessness. It is so bad that the Global Warming Policy Foundation has sent a formal complaint to its publishers calling for its withdrawal.” click here

Wind turbines are a serious threat to predatory birds

“Wind turbines are the world’s new ‘apex predators’, wiping out buzzards, hawks and other carnivorous birds at the top of the food chain, say scientists. A study of wind farms in India found that predatory bird numbers drop by three quarters in areas around the turbines. This is having a ‘ripple effect’ across the food chain, with small mammals and reptiles adjusting their behaviour as their natural predators disappear from the skies.” click here

Wind turbines impact biodiversity, ecosystems in India

“The situation may not be different in India. In fact, it may be worse considering the high levels of biodiversity in every square kilometre of forest. In Rajasthan, for instance, transmission lines and spinning blades have reportedly led to increasing mortalities of the critically-endangered Great Indian Bustard. In studies of wind farms from Kutch to Andhra Pradesh, direct collisions have been reported. In Karnataka, where over 6,000 acres of forest land have been diverted for windmills, anecdotal evidence suggests that not only birds, but also amphibians and mammals such as wolves could be affected.” click here

Twelve ecosystem catastrophe false alarms

“Some time ago it struck me that the majority of alleged environmental catastrophes and threats are invisible or very remote, thus making it virtually impossible for the average person to validate them through observation. Observations, along with replications of those observations, are the very foundation of the scientific method. Seeing is believing, and seeing the same result again and again under similar circumstances reinforces the belief. Is it possible that activist groups and the media choose to cite supposed catastrophes and threats that are invisible, very remote or both because the majority of people cannot verify them in person and therefore must rely on the activists, the media, and other third parties to tell them the truth? At the conclusion of this essay, the reader may judge.” click here

A Global Database of Terrestrial Biodiversity: Interpretation and Speculation

The shear number of names on this article is all the evidence needed to recognize this as a political effort, not a scientific effort. As with other large databases, presuppositions drive the data interpretation. Good data is hard to come by. The more the better. But safe guards are needed to ensure the data is not arbitrarily changed as has been done with global temperature data. The database may be useful but the “human impacts” discovered will be a matter of interpretation and/or speculation.

Hudson LN and lots of others. The PREDICTS database: a global database of how local terrestrial biodiversity responds to human impacts. Ecology and Evolution. 2014 Dec;4(24):4701-35. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1303

Biodiversity continues to decline in the face of increasing anthropogenic pressures such as habitat destruction, exploitation, pollution and introduction of alien species. Existing global databases of species’ threat status or population time series are dominated by charismatic species. The collation of datasets with broad taxonomic and biogeographic extents, and that support computation of a range of biodiversity indicators, is necessary to enable better understanding of historical declines and to project – and avert – future declines. We describe and assess a new database of more than 1.6 million samples from 78 countries representing over 28,000 species, collated from existing spatial comparisons of local-scale biodiversity exposed to different intensities and types of anthropogenic pressures, from terrestrial sites around the world. The database contains measurements taken in 208 (of 814) ecoregions, 13 (of 14) biomes, 25 (of 35) biodiversity hotspots and 16 (of 17) megadiverse countries. The database contains more than 1% of the total number of all species described, and more than 1% of the described species within many taxonomic groups – including flowering plants, gymnosperms, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, beetles, lepidopterans and hymenopterans. The dataset, which is still being added to, is therefore already considerably larger and more representative than those used by previous quantitative models of biodiversity trends and responses. The database is being assembled as part of the PREDICTS project (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems – http://www.predicts.org.uk). We make site-level summary data available alongside this article. The full database will be publicly available in 2015.

Click here for paper (Open Access).