Lessons in the "nature" Category

Burma – Nature’s Lost Kingdom

Today, let’s talk about Burma/Myanmar. We will focus on its almost impenetrable jungles; many of which have remained undisturbed for decades.

It is in these jungles where many of the rarest species on earth still survive. For how much longer begs the question because the country is rapidly opening up after 50 years of being closed to outsiders.

Category: Nature / Burma / Lost Kingdom

Deadly disease threatens 80 million ash trees

Today, let’s talk about trees, in particular, ash trees. This popular type of tree is found in many forests in Britain, especially in the east of England. The ash tree in Britain is under attack from a killer fungus disease that threatens to wipe out 80 million ash trees across the country. The presence of the new disease begs the question of how much longer the ash tree will be found in significant numbers in Britain.

Category: Nature / Trees / Ash trees

Scientific advances could bring back the dodo & mammoth

Long-extinct creatures like the dodo and the woolly mammoth could be brought back to life again thanks to the advancement of science. Other such creatures could live again such as the fearsome sabre-toothed tiger, the Tasmanian tiger and the woolly rhinoceros. We could even see the lumbering Neanderthal return, not too mention a glyptodont, which was a VW Beetle sized armadillo which last roamed the earth 11,000 years ago.

A recent edition of the New Scientist said that while such feats were well beyond the means of today’s best brains, advances in science could lead to a day when they are brought back from the dead. After all, who would have believed 50 years ago that we would now be able to clone animals such as Dolly the sheep or be capable of reading the instructions for making humans (DNA).

Category: Science / DNA / Extinct Animals

A lost world discovered in Papua New Guinea

A lost world of giant woolly rats, fanged frogs, grunting fish and tiny bear like creatures has recently been discovered in Papua New Guinea. The exciting discovery was made by scientists and biologists in a remote volcanic jungle crater on the main island on the Pacific island.

The scientists who came from the United States, Britain and Papua New Guinea arrived at their destination by helicopter. Stepping off it they found themselves on a mist shrouded rim of the crater of Mount Bosavi. When they climbed into the kilometre deep crater where few humans have been they soon found more than 40 previously unidentified species.

They explored a pristine jungle habitat teeming with life that has evolved in total isolation since the volcano last erupted more than 200,000 years ago. The expedition that lasted 5 weeks discovered 16 species of new frogs that have never been seen before; at least 3 new fish, a new bat and a giant rat, which could turn out to be the biggest rat in the world...

Mangrove loss faster than land-based forests

Mangrove forests are disappearing faster than land-based forests according to a new United Nations report the UN News Service and CNN reported recently. “The World Atlas of Mangroves” says the destruction of the world’s mangrove forests is happening up to four times faster than the land-based forests.

The study commissioned by the U.N. Environmental Program (UNEP) reports that one fifth (around 35,500 square kilometres) of the world’s mangroves - forests straddling both land and sea – have been lost since 1980. The study does however report that the annual destruction has slowed to 0.7% a year. It warns that any further destruction due to coastal development and shrimp farming will result in significant economic and ecological declines.

Studies estimate mangroves generate up to US$9,000 per hectare annually from fishing – much more than the tourism, aquaculture and agriculture which the UN says are the biggest drivers of mangrove loss.

Category: Nature / Mangrove Forests / United Nations