Biodiversity News

Below are links to stories on Biodiversity, especially relating to aviation and airports.

 

EU warned: biofuels will drive biodiversity loss

New research from the European Commission confirms that EU biofuel targets will speed up the rate of extinction of plants and animals. The EU has committed to halting biodiversity loss by 2020 – yet without reform, it’s biofuels policy will seriously undermine this. The indirect land use impacts would convert some 17,000 km2 of natural habitats to grow biofuels, none protected under EU legislation, with the transition to cropland decreasing species abundance by some 85%.

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Thames Estuary and Marshes SPA – one of the top 5 UK sites for wintering or migrating birds

The salt marshes on the Peninsula are part of the Thames Estuary and Marshes Special Protection Area, designated for its internationally important populations of wintering birds. The site regularly supports some 33,000 wintering waterfowl, of which avocets and ringed plovers occur in internationally important numbers. In summer, there are important breeding populations of avocets, marsh harriers, Mediterranean gulls and little terns.

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Three recent bird strike incidents for aircraft including Qantas and Thomas Cook

A Qantas Boeing 747 had to turn back to Johannesburg after one of its engines suffered a bird strike, the latest in a string of incidents to beset Qantas. The plane's number two engine lost power after sucking in a bird shortly after takeoff  with damaged turbines forcing an unplanned landing. There were 171 passengers on board. On 19th June a British holiday jet flying back to Manchester survived flying into a flock of seagulls on take-off in Dalaman.  

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Climate risks greater for long distance migratory birds

Birds embarking on long distance migrations are more vulnerable to shifts in the climate than ones making shorter journeys, a study in the Proceedings of the Royal Society suggests. Scientists say the increasingly early arrival of spring at breeding sites in Europe makes it harder for the birds to attract a mate or find food if they arrive after the optimum time. The researchers warn the "increasing ecological mismatch" can lead to a decline in bird populations.

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Birds of prey and robot bird being used to keep birds away from airports

East Midlands airport is to use the assistance of an eagle owl, owned by GB Pest Control, to help keep pigeons away from flight paths. They see traditional methods as equally effective as chemical based pest control or shooting, and far better for the environment. In the Netherlands, a company has produced a remarkably life-like flying robot bird, the Ro-Bird, which flaps realistically and is apparently effective in chasing off birds.

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Climate change could destroy 80% of rainforest by next century

A study by the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology in California has shown that fewer than 1/5 of plants and animals which currently live in the world's rainforests will still be here in 90 years time - due to climate change and deforestation. Rainforests currently hold more than half of all the plant and animal species on Earth. There will be severe alterations in species composition. Steep declines in CO2 emissions are needed. (Telegraph)

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British wildlife faces climate change devastation, warns Environment Agency

Rising temperatures and sea levels brought on by climate change could have devastating effects on British wildlife from salmon to wildfowl, the Environment Agency warned.   It said the country's waterways could be hit by invading species which spread disease to native wildlife and clog up rivers and streams. Some fish will struggle with warmer water. Salt flats will be inundated. UK biodiversity is already feeling effects of climate change.

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Ocean acidification rates pose disaster for marine life, major study shows

The world's oceans are becoming acidic at a faster rate than at any time in the last 55m years, threatening disaster for marine life and food supplies across the globe. Acidity is already up by 30%. A report by more than 100 of Europe's leading marine scientists states that the seas are absorbing dangerous levels of CO2 as a direct result of human activity. This is already affecting marine species, depleting planktonic species and affecting shell formation

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Wildlife crisis worse than economic crisis – IUCN

Life on Earth is under serious threat, according to a detailed analysis of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The 2010 target to reduce biodiversity loss will not be met. 1,159 species are extinct, extinct in the wild, or critically endangered. Climate change is not currently the main threat to wildlife, but this may soon change. A significant proportion of species that are currently not threatened with extinction are susceptible to climate change.

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Bird Strikes A Growing Problem At US Airports

Despite renewed efforts by New York officials to keep skies around the city's airports clear of wildlife, a passenger plane was damaged after hitting a bird as it landed this week in what is a growing industry problem. While the flight landed safely at La Guardia airport on Tuesday, it became one of about 7,000 planes a year in the US to be involved in a so-called bird strike, of which 14% suffer damage, industry data shows. (Planet Ark)

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