Tag Archives: Conservation

Ecology: Planting Trees To Cool Scotland’s Rivers

The Woodland Trust – River woodland is key to tackling

the twin climate and biodiversity crises – reducing flooding, improving river health and restoring the ecosystem. We’re working in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to plant and restore river woodland for people and wildlife.

In Scotland, this particularly means fish. Salmon, to be exact. Whole upland river catchments devoid of trees are seeing Scotland’s rivers warm to a point that could see salmon disappear in just 20 years. These fish need clean, cold water to thrive, and river woodland is the way to return it to them. The Woodland Trust is working across river catchments to expand native woodland alongside rivers and burns.

Trees provide shade and cover for young salmon and trout, stabilize riverbanks, slow the flow of water downstream and create wildlife corridors. A key part of this work involves working with landowners to plant and restore river woodland on their land, advising on the initial planting and empowering them to monitor their river woods into the future.

Scotland Views: The Beltie Burn – A River Restored

The Easter Beltie Restoration project returned a straightened agricultural stream to a natural meandering course, to improve habitats for nature and boost climate resilience.

The project was the only one of its kind in the north east of Scotland, and has created a new, two-kilometre stretch of meandering river corridor flowing through ten hectares of floodplain, rich in habitats where nature can thrive.

The Beltie Burn is a burn in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, which below Torphins and Glassel is known as the Burn of Canny. It begins in the hill of Benaquhallie, and flows for 25 km south-east through Torphins before joining the River Dee about 4 kilometres west of Banchory.

Wildlife: The Black Rhino’s Comeback In Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, the mighty rhino is making a comeback. In southern Africa, the animal was poached to near extinction in recent decades. We visit a wildlife sanctuary, with an elite anti-poaching team, to see how the animal is being bought back from the brink.

It’s one of the most successful rhino conservation projects in Africa. In south-eastern Zimbabwe, a private wildlife sanctuary is working hard to bring endangered rhinos back from the brink. In decades past, the mighty Black Rhino was poached to near extinction in southern Africa. Its horn, almost worth its weight in gold, makes it a target for organised poaching gangs.

In 1998, the privately-funded Malilangwe Trust had a population of 28 white and 28 black rhinos, imported from South Africa. Today its rhino population numbers in the hundreds. Reporter Michael Davie, an Australian born in Zimbabwe, returns home to witness this extraordinary wildlife success story. He spends time with the sanctuary’s highly trained anti-poaching team, the Malilangwe Scouts, the tip of the spear against the ever present poaching threat.

“Individually you can’t win against poaching and we need every one of us to fight against poachers,” says Patrick, a Sergeant in the Scouts. “You have to be a team, a strong one.” Davie captures all the incredible action of the hectic “rhino ops” where specialists dart the animals from helicopters then move in on 4WDs as they dash across the park. Led by ecologist Sarah Clegg, the rhino ops team collect vital data on the herd.

“They’ve got this reputation of being bad-tempered and dangerous and they are, but I think it’s mostly that they’re just such emotional creatures,” says Sarah, who’s studied the animal for more than two decades. “They’re just insecure, you know? And so they need more love.” Malilangwe increased its rhino population to such an extent that last year, it relocated some of its Black Rhino herd to nearby Gonarezhou National Park — a former killing ground for rhinos.

“It’s what we all aim for in our careers as conservationists,” says Sarah. “It’s a wild park, so being able to put the rhino back into that park is like waking it up again.” This visually stunning story has a powerful message of hope. “Everyone needs to know the rhino is special,” says Patrick.

Science: Biofuels For Planes, Biodiversity In Ecosystems, Conservation

On this week’s show: Whether biofuels for planes will become a reality, mitigating climate change by working with nature, and the second installment of our book series on the science of food and agriculture.

First this week, Science Staff Writer Robert F. Service talks with producer Meagan Cantwell about sustainable aviation fuel, a story included in Science’s special issue on climate change. Researchers have been able to develop this green gas from materials such as municipal garbage and corn stalks. Will it power air travel in the future?

Also in the special issue this week, Nathalie Seddon, a professor of biodiversity at the University of Oxford, chats with host Sarah Crespi about the value of working with nature to support the biodiversity and resilience of our ecosystems. Seddon emphasizes that nature-based solutions alone cannot stop climate change—technological approaches and behavioral changes will also need to be implemented.

Finally, we have the second installment of our series of author interviews on the science of food and agriculture. Host and science journalist Angela Saini talks to Jessica Hernandez, an Indigenous environmental scientist and author of Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes Through Indigenous Science. Hernandez’s book explores the failures of Western conservationism—and what we can learn about land management from Indigenous people.

This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy.

[Image: USDA NCRS Texas; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

[alt: cows in a forest]

Authors: Meagan Cantwell; Robert Service, Sarah Crespi, Angela Saini

Preservation: Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

“When it comes to climate change, scale is essential. We need to be scaling up our work and being really bold and ambitious, and that’s exactly what Cairngorms Connect is.” Find out how Scotland’s largest landscape-scale restoration project is fighting back against climate change in our new film for Cairngorms Connect.

Cairngorms National Park is a national park in northeast Scotland, established in 2003. It was the second of two national parks established by the Scottish Parliament, after Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, which was set up in 2002. The park covers the Cairngorms range of mountains, and surrounding hills. Already the largest national park in the United Kingdom, in 2010 it was expanded into Perth and Kinross.

Roughly 18,000 people reside within the 4,528 square kilometre national park. The largest communities are Aviemore, Ballater, Braemar, Grantown-on-Spey, Kingussie, Newtonmore, and Tomintoul. Tourism makes up about 80% of the economy.[4] In 2018, 1.9 million tourism visits were recorded. The majority of visitors are domestic, with 25 per cent coming from elsewhere in the UK, and 21 per cent being from other countries.

Zero Waste: Trash Turned Into Cash (The Economist)

The world is facing a growing waste problem, with 2bn tonnes produced last year alone. Is it possible to clean up this mess by turning trash into cash? 00:00 – The world has a huge waste problem.

Video timeline: 00:45 – Upcycling to reduce waste 02:46 – Building offices from recycled products 03:46 – The problem with traditional recycling 04:59 – Waste reduction relies on a circular economy 05:38 – Taiwan’s waste management success 08:20 – The problem with incineration 09:55 – Is the future zero waste? 10:43 – Consumption attitudes are changing Read our special report on waste here https://econ.st/3JrlD6y

BBC Earth: The Movement To Protect Pangolins

In China, Maria joins forces with Angelababy, one of the country’s biggest megastars. She is taking a bold approach to addressing the demand for pangolin products.

Pangolins, sometimes known as scaly anteaters, are mammals of the order Pholidota. The one extant family, the Manidae, has three genera: Manis, Phataginus, and Smutsia. Manis comprises the four species found in Asia, while Phataginus and Smutsia include two species each, all found in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Nature View: Bald Eagles Soar In New York City

Bald eagles were nearly extinct in New York City due to environmental factors such as pollution and pesticides. Michael George spoke to an urban park ranger sergeant who participated in the two-decade effort to bring the birds back to the city.

The bald eagle is a bird of prey found in North America. A sea eagle, it has two known subspecies and forms a species pair with the white-tailed eagle, which occupies the same niche as the bald eagle in the Palearctic. 

Wildlife: The Alpine Ibex – Return From Extinction

The ibex is the king of the Alps, famed for its curved horns and extreme climbing skills. But for centuries, these mountain goats were hunted by humans – to the very brink of extinction. A royal hunting reserve in Italy saved the Alpine ibex, but is climate change now threatening them all over again? We tell the story of their remarkable comeback and ask what the future might hold.

The Alpine ibex, also known as the steinbock, bouquetin, or simply ibex, is a species of wild goat that lives in the mountains of the European Alps. It is a sexually dimorphic species: males are larger and carry longer, curved horns than females. Its coat colour is typically brownish grey.