A new report from World Wildlife Fund states that global populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish have declined by 58% between 1970 and 2012. Specifically the animals living in the Worlds lakes, rivers, and freshwater
r systems have experienced the most dramatic population declines, which is at 81%. This sudden decline is due to human activity and and if nothing changes, global wildlife populations could drop two-thirds by 2020.
The greatest threat to wildlife is the loss and degradation of the animals habitat. This is primarily due to the increasing demand for food and energy. Global food production is the leading cause for the destruction of habitats and of wildlife because agriculture currently occupies approximately one-third of Earth’s total land area and accounts for 70 percent of all freshwater use.
Humans have created this so we are also the ones who can fix it. We need to rethink how we produce, consume, approach to food, energy, transportation, and how we live our lives. There are already steps being taken to save these animals such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an essential guide to decision-making that can ensure that the environment is valued alongside economic and social interests.
New research has found that urban warming reduces growth and photosynthesis in city trees. Insect pests also affect the growth, but the heat is the greater problem. As an experiment, researches went to 20 pairs of willow oak trees across North Carolina. At each site, one tree was treated with and oil that kills insect pests, and the other tree was not. The temperatures were also monitored at each site. They tracked the growth of all 40 trees for 2 years. They measured the growth by measuring the circumference of each tree’s trunk, by measuring how many specific branches grew on each tree, and by measuring each tree’s photosynthesis.
The results were that insect pests were more found at hotter sites. So the hotter it was the more insects there were on the tree. They also found that warming/heat negatively affected tree photosynthesis and growth. This was regardless of whether pests were present or not present. So, the warming temperature reduces tree growth greatly and insect pests affect them even more.
According to a new research, the wearing down of habitats is a greater risk to turtles and tortoises than the global temperature rising. More than 60% of these species are being described as vulnerable and critically endangered because they are being collected for food and medicine, and their habitats are being degraded.
A team of researches from the University of Bristo conducted an experiment to test if long-term climate change poses a threat to turtles and tortoises or if it poses an opportunity them, and how they might respond to increased global temperatures. However, since turtles live such long lives, it is impossible to test the impact of warming over several generations, so the researches used models and fossils of turtles during warmer times.The Late Cretaceous fossil was investigated and they found that during periods with much warmer climates, turtles and tortoises were able to stand the heat as long as there was enough water.
The results are that turtles and tortoises are able to adapt to the global temperature rising and can stand temperature changing. But habitat loss is a threat to turtles and tortoises and a great risk to the survival of theses species.
A new study of Washington study finds a new trend toward “earlier sea ice melt in the spring and later ice growth in the fall across 19 polar bear populations.” It is no surprise that the Arctic sea is melting at a jurassic rate, but NASA scientists have revealed that sea ice break-up and sea ice-freeze up are changing in all areas, causing harm for the population of polar bears. Information drawn from 35 years of satellite data shows that the number of ice covered days have declined at a rate of 7-19 days per decade along with sea ice concentration vastly declining to a high of 9% per decade.
This consistent trend across polar bear regions results in about an additional 6-8 weeks of ice free periods ultimately altering polar bear assessments and their species’ conservation status. There is a lot of research being done to help conserve the polar bear population, but it seems that there is nothing to stop the rate of global warming in time.
Scientists proclaim that breeding climate-friendly cows can be sped up by using genetic information. They found that the amount of methane it produces is linked to its genotype. A recent study has also found that “there are currently approximately 1.3 to 1.5 billion cows grazing, sleeping, and chewing their cud at any given time on planet Earth”(http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2014/04/cow-farts-really-significantly-contribute-global-warming/).
Out of all the greenhouse gases produced by humans, 16% is consisted of methane. One third of this percentage is just from cattle production, each cow individually emitting around 500L of methane daily. Scientists question whether it could be possible to produce cows with lower methane emissions through different means available for breeding. Also keeping in mind that the genotype and feed affect a cow’s make-up and functioning (all major keys in the functioning of a cow’s entire biological system).
Cows were examined in different European countries and scientists reveal that carbon missions were found to be different between farms and countries, but they were able to generalize that methane emissions are reduced if the production level or age of production are increased. Measuring and recording cows’ daily consumption and milk production will enable the analysis of the energy metabolism of dairy cattle in addition to methane measurements. If scientists continue to keep track of these pieces of information, production of methane from cattle could be reduced drastically over the years.