Secrets of Australia’s rangelands uncovered

 

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The rangelands include some of Australia’s most iconic arid and semi-arid landscapes, they support pastoral and tourism industries, yet are some of our most understudied ecosystems

 

The secrets of the understudied Australian rangelands, which make up 81% of the continent, have been exposed in new scientific work

 

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Gardening in the face of a changing climate?for the future

Keep the climate in mind when you’re choosing what to plant (shutter stock) 

Since 1880, the average global temperature has increased by 0.8°℃, with large changes in rainfall redistribution. With these changing conditions upon us, and set to continue, gardeners will have to alter the way they do things.

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How the warming world could turn many plants and animals into climate refugees

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The Flinders Ranges were once a refuge from a changing climate (Shutterstock)

Finding the optimum environment and avoiding uninhabitable conditions has been a challenge facing species throughout the history of life on Earth. But as the climate changes, many plants and animals are likely to find their favoured home much less hospitable.

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Devil’s Gardens and the demon gardener

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A Devil’s Garden at Posada Amazonas (Keith Martin)

Imagine you are hacking your way through the Amazon rainforest and you venture across a grove completely devoid of ground vegetation and dominated by a single tree species. A highly unusual occurrence in one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth. Congratulations you have found a Devil’s garden

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Cryptic but important genetic differences within species

different-races-dr-rosedaleAs Charles Darwin noted, the physical differences between individuals of a species are  important for their future survival and success (or not). However there are also many not so obvious differences (known as cryptic variation) between individuals that give us important insights into the evolutionary and ecological history of a species. This information is important for how we make use of and conserve a range of our native biodiversity.

Some of the obvious and cryptic differences between human races (Dr Rosedale)
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Tales from the forest – Teak

 

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Teak is one of the most valuable timber trees in the world, but where did it originally come from…

Teak tree – from Jalan Jati -a project on memories of wood, trees and people and has been captured on film, exhibitions and books. (Woodprint collage – Ranjang Jati (Teak Bed) Woodprint of a 1930’s teak bed found in a Singapore junk store with reproduction of a printout of the DNA profile. Collage on Paper with charcoal. 240 cm x 150 cm. Image Lucy Davis)

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The sexual frustration of the isolated tree

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Habitat clearance is threatening global biodiversity. In many places, isolated trees are all that remains of once extensive forest. So what happens to these trees and how can they survive in their new, highly modified environment without becoming the ‘living dead’?

The world’s most isolated tree, an acacia in Nigeria, used for decades as a marker by Tuareg traders and caravans, was recently knocked down by a drunk truck driver who thought it was a mirage

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The maladapted future is here – it’s just not evenly distributed*

 

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Why do we need to take urgent account of current climate maladaptation in ecological restoration…..

 

* paraphrased quote from cyberpunk essayist, William Gibson

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CSI trees – how forensic science is helping combat illegal logging

Sister City (Part II)

Forensic science has achieved infamy, thanks to television dramas like CSI. But it isn’t just about solving human crimes. Scientists are also using evidence from wood to help solve murders, but in this case the victims are the trees themselves, and the crime is illegal logging.

 

Abby and Co solving crime through forensic science in NCIS (CBS)

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WTF acronym buster: REDD+ and GCF

about-redd-940x410REDD+ (Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) is nothing new, but how exactly does it help reduce deforestation and green house gas emissions and will it be given a new lease of life through the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

The concept of REDD was extended with a ‘+’ to more specifically focus on the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries

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