Backyard Nature's Direct Feed from
Brightsurf Science News
Environment News

Rain Forests Current Events and Rain Forests News Events, Discoveries and Articles from Brightsurf
Last updated on  February 21st, 2018
One thing leads to another: Causal chains link health, development, and conservation: Click here
The linkages between environmental health and human well-being are complex, and recent scholarship has developed a number of models for describing them. Unfortunately, these efforts have been constrained by varying practices and a lack of agreement among practitioners on consistent practices. Jiangxiao Qiu, an Assistant Professor in Landscape Ecology at the University of Florida, and his colleagues propose an alternative approach to understanding the interplay of social and ecological spheres: causal chains.
Tropical trees use unique method to resist drought: Click here
Tropical trees in the Amazon Rainforest may be more drought resistant than previously thought, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Riverside. That's good news, since the Amazon stores about 20 percent of all carbon in the Earth's biomass, which helps reduce global warming by lowering the planet's greenhouse gas levels. The study was published Monday in the journal New Phytologist.
Climate projections show a warmer future for the Pacific northwest: Click here
In the midst of an unseasonably warm winter in the Pacific Northwest, a comparison of four publicly available climate projections has shown broad agreement that the region will become considerably warmer in the next century if greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere rise to the highest levels projected in the the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 'business-as-usual' scenario.
Land use change has warmed the Earth's surface: Click here
Recent changes to vegetation cover are causing the Earth's surface to heat up. Activities like cutting down evergreen forests for agricultural expansion in the tropics create energy imbalances that lead to higher local surface temperatures and contribute to global warming.
NASA sees ex-Tropical Cyclone Gita affecting New Zealand: Click here
NASA's Terra satellite passed over the Southern Pacific Ocean and saw the low pressure area previously known as Tropical Cyclone Gita, affecting New Zealand.
Declines of specific animal species in tropical forests affect lowland western Amazonian tree communities: Click here
Human hunting of large Amazon rain forest animals -- such as spider monkeys, capuchin monkeys, tapirs and white-lipped peccaries, as well as some bird species such as guans and trumpeters -- is having an impact on the spatial distribution of seeds needed to produce future generations of trees, a new study shows. Ultimately, this could affect the capacity of these forests to serve as 'carbon sinks' that absorb global carbon dioxide emissions.
New study sheds light on illegal global trade of pangolins: Click here
Animal traffickers are taking advantage of remote ivory trade routes to smuggle pangolins -- one of the world's most endangered animals -- out of Central Africa, a new study has found.
Fungal enzymes could hold secret to making renewable energy from wood: Click here
An international team of researchers, including scientists from the University of York, has discovered a set of enzymes found in fungi that are capable of breaking down one of the main components of wood. The enzymes could now potentially be used to sustainably convert wood biomass into valuable chemical commodities such as biofuels.
For tropical forest birds, old neighborhoods matter: Click here
Old, complex tropical forests support a wider diversity of birds than second-growth forests and have irreplaceable value for conservation, according to an Oregon State University-led exhaustive analysis of bird diversity in the mountains of southern Costa Rica.
Hunting is changing forests, but not as expected: Click here
In many tropical forests, over-hunting is diminishing the populations of animals who are vital for dispersing the seeds of woody plants. Those same plants are vital for carbon storage and previous theoretical modeling studies predicted dire consequences to defaunation, this research suggests otherwise. Instead the data shows the effects on the ecosystem are less straightforward and less immediately devastating.
In 16 years, Borneo lost more than 100,000 orangutans: Click here
Over a 16-year period, about half of the orangutans living on the island of Borneo were lost as a result of changes in land cover. That's according to estimates reported in Current Biology on Feb. 15 showing that more than 100,000 of the island's orangutans disappeared between 1999 and 2015.
Carefully managed fire can promote rare savanna species: Click here
In the first continent-wide study of the effects of fire on bird and mammal diversity in the African savanna environment, researchers have found that increasing 'pyrodiversity' boosts the variety of species of mammals by around 20 percent and of birds by 30 percent in savannas with high rainfall.
Deforestation in the tropics: Click here
Scientists at the UFZ have adapted a method from physics to mathematically describe the fragmentation of tropical forests. In the scientific journal Nature, they explain how this allows to model and understand the fragmentation of forests on a global scale. They found that forest fragmentation in all three continents is close to a critical point beyond which fragment number will strongly increase. This will have severe consequences for biodiversity and carbon storage.
NASA totals rainfall from destructive Tropical Cyclone Gita: Click here
Tropical Cyclone Gita dropped a lot of rain as it strengthened into a major hurricane in the South Pacific Ocean. NASA's IMERG calculated totals based on satellite observations that revealed over a foot (305 mm) of rain had fallen in various areas.
NASA finds strongest storms in weakening Tropical Cyclone Sanba: Click here
Infrared data from NASA's Terra satellite found the area of strongest storms in weakening Tropical Cyclone Sanba when it was over the island of Palawan.
Tropical Cyclone Gita packs heavy rain, warnings now for Tonga and Fiji: Click here
Hurricane Gita strengthened into a powerful Category 4 hurricane on Feb. 12 and triggered warnings in Tonga and Fiji. NASA's Global Precipitation Measurement Mission or GPM core satellite analyzed Tropical Cyclone Gita and found heavy rainfall occurring within the system. On Feb. 12, Gita was bringing that heavy rain to Tonga and Fiji where warnings were posted. NASA's Terra satellite also provided a visible image of the storm, which had developed an eye.
Middle Earth preserved in giant bird dung: Click here
While the giant birds that once dominated New Zealand are all extinct, a study of their preserved dung (coprolites) has revealed many aspects of their ancient ecosystem, with important insights for ongoing conservation efforts.
NASA finds heaviest rainfall in Tropical Cyclone Gita's northern quadrant: Click here
NASA's GPM core satellite examined rainfall in Tropical Cyclone Gita soon after the storm came together. Tropical Cyclone Gita formed near American Samoa in the Southwestern Pacific Ocean and triggered warnings and watches on Feb. 9. A Tropical Cyclone Warning is in force for Niue.
A lightning-based nowcast-warning approach to predict short-duration rainfall: Click here
Scientists have noticed and taken advantage of lightning to predict approaching rainstorms, but there are few potent prediction or warning methods available for the rainfall caused by short duration rainfalls(SDR) events. After studying the relationship between lightning and precipitation over Beijing during the warm seasons of 2006 and 2007, scientists developed a lightning-based nowcast-warning approach for SDR events, and then tested its performance over the Beijing Metropolitan Region .
FSU researchers: Savanna fires pump Central African forests full of nitrogen: Click here
Florida State University researchers are part of a global team of scientists revealing the unexpected role that large-scale fires and high nitrogen deposition play in the ecology and biogeochemistry of these lush Central African forests.
Evolution -- and skill -- help hefty hummingbirds stay spry: Click here
Evolved differences in muscle power and wing size -- along with a touch of skill -- govern hummingbirds' inflight agility, according to new research in the journal Science. As opposed to other winged animals, larger species of hummingbirds are able to adapt to outmaneuver smaller species.
Increased UV from ozone depletion sterilizes trees: Click here
UC Berkeley paleobotanists put dwarf, bonsai pine trees in growth chambers and subjected them to up to 13 times the UV-B radiation Earth experiences today, simulating conditions that likely existed 252 million years ago during the planet's worst mass extinction. The UV-B made the pines temporarily sterile and created malformed pollen, evidence that ozone depletion from volcanic eruptions could have led to high UV-B levels that contributed to the end-Permian crisis for plants and animals.
WSU researchers build alien ocean to test NASA outer space submarine: Click here
Building a submarine gets tricky when the temperature drops to -300 Fahrenheit and the ocean is made of methane and ethane. Washington State University researchers are working with NASA to determine how a submarine might work on Titan, the largest of Saturn's many moons and the second largest in the solar system. The space agency plans to launch a real submarine into Titan seas in the next 20 years.
GPM satellite finds rainfall pushed away from Tropical Cyclone Cebile's center: Click here
Vertical wind shear continued to hammer Tropical Cyclone Cebile in the Southern Pacific Ocean and NASA's GPM core satellite saw rainfall was pushed away from the center.
Viruses -- lots of them -- are falling from the sky: Click here
An astonishing number of viruses are circulating around the Earth's atmosphere -- and falling from it -- according to new research from scientists in Canada, Spain and the US. The study marks the first time scientists have quantified the viruses being swept up from the Earth's surface into the free troposphere, beyond Earth's weather systems but below the stratosphere where jet airplanes fly. The viruses can be carried thousands of kilometres there before being deposited back onto the Earth's surface.
Scientists explain the impacts of aerosol radiative forcing: Click here
Aerosol optical properties and direct radiative effects on surface irradiance were examined using seven years (2006-2012) of Cimel sunphotometer data collected at Panyu--the main atmospheric composition monitoring station in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region of China. Optical properties and radiative impacts of the absorbing particles can be used to improve the accuracy of inversion algorithms for satellite-based aerosol retrievals in the PRD region and to better constrain the climate effect of aerosols in climate models.
Mapping the first family tree for tropical forests: Click here
More than 100 researchers have collaborated to classify the world's tropical forests according to their evolutionary history, a process that will help researchers predict the resilience or susceptibility of different forests to global environmental changes.
Ecuador: Deforestation destroys more dry forest than climate change: Click here
Tropical forests worldwide are at risk. Two of the main threats are the deforestation for arable land and climate change. Scientists from Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Th√ľnen-Institute compared the losses due to deforestation with those that would result in extreme climate change scenarios in Ecuador. Although global warming is likely to change the distribution of species, deforestation will result in the loss of more dry forests than predicted by climate change damage.
NASA measured rainfall from Fehi's remnants in New Zealand: Click here
The remnants of Tropical Cyclone Fehi brought rain to New Zealand before it fizzled out. NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's GPM core satellite provided a look at the rainfall from its vantage point in space.
Ultrafine aerosol particles intensify rainfall in Amazon region: Click here
Study published in Science reveals that pollution particles from cities substantially affect storm cloud formation over tropical forest. The determinant role played by nanoparticles in the process of convection signals hints at the revision of widely accepted climactic models, whose concepts were developed in countries located in temperate areas of the globe.
Agroforestry systems may play vital role in mitigating climate change: Click here
Agroforestry could play an important role in mitigating climate change because it sequesters more atmospheric carbon in plant parts and soil than conventional farming, according to Penn State researchers.
New research suggests toward end of Ice Age, human beings witnessed fires larger than dinosaur killers: Click here
12,800 years ago, thanks to fragments of a comet, humans saw an astonishing 10 percent of the Earth's land surface, or about 10 million square kilometers, consumed by fires.
Taking the long view: US scientists affirm value of long term research: Click here
A new Yale-led study provides a detailed glimpse into how the US ecological community views the direction of long-term research, its critical role in the advancement of knowledge, and research areas that scientists believe should be prioritized in the future.
Forest conservation can have greater ecological impacts by allowing sustainable harvesting: Click here
New research at the University of Missouri has found that forest owners at greater risk of illegally cutting trees from their forests prefer to participate in conservation programs that allow sustainable timber harvesting. The findings of the study, conducted by Francisco Aguilar and Phillip Mohebalian, could be used to craft conservation contracts that are more likely to be accepted by forest owners and might succeed in preventing deforestation and forest degradation.
NASA finds Extra-Tropical Cyclone Fehi sheared: Click here
Tropical Cyclone Fehi has transitioned into an extra-tropical cyclone was wind shear pushed the bulk of clouds and thunderstorms south of its center. NASA's Terra satellite and the NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's GPM satellite confirmed the effect of wind shear as the storm triggered warnings in New Zealand.
NASA's GPM probes Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Cebile: Click here
NASA's GPM Probes Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Cebile NASA analyzed a major tropical cyclone spinning in the Southwestern Indian Ocean and measured its rainfall.
NETs will not compensate for inadequate climate change mitigation efforts: EASAC report: Click here
A new report confirms that negative emission technologies (NETs) offer only 'limited realistic potential' to remove large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and not at the scale envisaged in some climate scenarios.
GPM satellite analyzes Tropical Cyclone Fehi's rainfall: Click here
The Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Fehi in the Southern Pacific Ocean season and identified heavy rainfall in the system.
New UTSA study examines the causes and consequences of the 2015 Wimberley floods: Click here
A new study by Chad Furl, postdoctoral research associate, and Hatim Sharif, professor of civil and environmental engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio, delves into the 2015 Wimberley, Texas floods that destroyed 350 homes and claimed 13 lives. Furl and Sharif researched the factors that led to the catastrophic flooding and shed light on new ways people in flood-prone areas can protect against future tragedies.
Untangling the complex taxonomic history of a Neotropical liana genus: Click here
How do you separate one species from another? Having remained a major challenge in biology as a whole, species delimitation becomes an especially daunting task when it comes to tropical plant groups, where information in biology, morphology and distribution is often scarce. To tackle this issue, a new monograph in PhytoKeys demonstrates how integrative taxonomy can untangle taxonomic complexities for a genus of Neotropical lianas.
Tiny particles have outsized impact on storm clouds and precipitation: Click here
Tiny airborne particles from urban and industrial air pollution, wildfires and other sources can have a stronger influence on powerful storms than scientists previously predicted, according to a new study co-authored by University of Maryland researchers. The findings suggest that ultrafine aerosols, which are smaller than one-thousandth the width of a human hair, can intensify storms, increase the size of clouds and cause more rain to fall.
The origin of snakes -- new evolutionary scenario presented: Click here
The early evolution of snakes happened from surface-terrestrial to burrowing in the lizard-snake transition suggests a research group at the University of Helsinki.
Tiny particles have outsize impact on storm clouds, precipitation: Click here
Tiny particles fuel powerful storms and influence weather much more than has been appreciated, according to a study in the Jan. 26 issue of the journal Science. While scientists have known that aerosols may play an important role in shaping weather and climate, the new study shows that the smallest of particles have an outsize effect. The tiny pollutants -- long considered too small to have much impact on droplet formation -- are, in effect, diminutive downpour-makers.
Even the tiniest aerosol particles can kick up a storm: Click here
A new study suggests that tiny aerosol particles from pollution plumes have a greater influence on stormy weather over pristine regions of the world, such as oceans and large forests, than previously believed.
Is species richness increasing? Insight into an intense ecological debate: Click here
Could biodiversity be remaining steady at locations around the world, even as species go extinct and biodiversity declines globally? This question has created a stir among conservation biologists and ecologists that has lasted for 15 years. New insights into the debate are critically reviewed in an editorial by the editors of the international scientific journal Biological Conservation, and a separate article in the same journal.
A race against pine: Wood-boring wasp in North America threatened by a Eurasian invader: Click here
Invasive species have diverse impacts in different locations, including biodiversity loss, as a result of native species being outcompeted for similar resources. A US research team studied the case of an aggressive Eurasian woodwasp that has recently established in North America and poses a threat to a native competitor species. In their paper, published in the open-access journal Neobiota, the scientists seek a solution for the seemingly rapid decline in the native wood-boring insect.
New NOAA research holds promise of predicting snowpack even before the snow falls: Click here
As farmers in the American West decide what, when and where to plant, and urban water managers plan for water needs in the next year, they want to know how much water their community will get from melting snow in the mountains. This melting snow comes from snowpack, the high elevation reservoir of snow which melts in the spring and summer. New NOAA research is showing we can predict snow levels in the mountains of the West in March some eight months in advance.
Climate change linked to more flowery forests, FSU study shows: Click here
New research from a Florida State University scientist has revealed a surprising relationship between surging atmospheric carbon dioxide and flower blooms in a remote tropical forest.
Warming Arctic climate constrains life in cold-adapted mammals: Click here
A new study led by Joel Berger has uncovered previously unknown effects of rain-on-snow events, winter precipitation and ice tidal surges on the muskoxen.
UNH researchers find human impact on forest still evident after 500 years: Click here
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire used high-tech tools to more precisely view where these cleared sites were and how much lasting impact they had on the rainforest in the Amazon Basin in South America.