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Tag Archive: Caterpillar


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Monarch Butterfly Populations Are Rising Again After Years In Decline

 

Credit: Wikipedia

Credit: Wikipedia

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This year, we have published several stories about the dwindling monarch butterfly populations and some of the efforts that have been made to save the species. New reports last week have indicated that these efforts may actually be paying off, because Monarch populations are actually beginning to grow again. In Mexico, one of the main breeding areas for these butterflies, scientists believe that this year there will be at least three times as many of them this year than there was last year.

During a recent conference at the Piedra Herrada research reserve, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said that Mexico and the US will be working together to create pesticide-free zones for the butterflies to flourish.

“Mexico, the U.S., and Canada have many species that don’t know our political borders, that cross the borders freely,” she said during a conference at the Piedra Herrada research reserve, adding that the three countries will be working together to rebuild the populations.

She told the audience that they hope to see “225 million monarch butterflies returning right here to Mexico every year. We believe we can get there by working together and it sounds like we may be on our way, we hope.”

“We are very glad to report that calculations done before the landfall of Hurricane Patricia showed the monarch presence could cover up to four hectares, a clear indication that the efforts mentioned by Secretary Jewell are having a positive effect,” Environment Secretary Rafael Pacchiano said.

“We estimate that the butterfly population that arrives at the reserve is as much as three and could reach four times the surface area it occupied last season,” he added.

For years, environmental experts have been warning about the steady decline of monarch butterfly populations. The causes of this decline have been largely speculation until recently, but a new report suggests that Monsanto’s herbicide Roundup Ready could be responsible.

The report was recently released by US environment watchdog Center for Food Safety and sheds new light on what has been happening with monarch butterfly populations.

According to the report, Monsanto’s herbicide has wiped out 99 percent of milkweed in corn and soybean fields in the US Midwest since 1999.

This has resulted in a decline of nearly 90 percent in monarch butterfly populations in the past 20 years.

Without the milkweed, the butterfly’s food supply is entirely cut out because caterpillars eat only milkweed plants, and then milkweed is needed again when it is time for the butterfly to lay their eggs.

Although this is a very serious problem, it is something that the average person can help to solve. Anyone with some space in their lawn or garden can plant milkweed to help reverse the trend that Monsanto started.

Below are some PDF guides which give you step by step instructions on how to plant milkweed and create habitats for monarch butterflies:

  1. Planting Native Milkweed Species
  2. Avoiding Non-Native Species
  3. Create Habitat for Monarchs
  4. Gardening for Monarchs

 

John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can purchase his books, or get your own book published at his website www.JohnVibes.com. This article (Monarch Butterfly Populations Are Rising Again After Years In Decline) was made available via

True Activist

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Environmental

Study finds that mild winters are detrimental to butterflies

by Staff Writers
Notre Dame IN (SPX) Apr 25, 2012


So although mild winters may be a cause for celebration for many of us, those who are concerned are biodiversity might find them to be much more somber seasons.

The recent mild winter throughout much of the United States was a cause for celebration for many. However, butterfly aficionados shouldn’t be joining in the celebration.

A new study by Jessica Hellmann, associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Notre Dame, and researchers from Western University found that mild winters, such as the one many of us just experienced, can be taxing for some butterfly or possibly other species.

Hellmann and her fellow researchers studied caterpillars of the Propertius Duskywing butterfly, which feed on Gary Oak trees. This species of caterpillar, like many insects, has a higher metabolic rate and burns more fat during mild winters.

“The energy reserves the caterpillars collect in the summer need to provide enough energy for both overwintering and metamorphosing into a butterfly in the spring,” Caroline William, lead author of the study, said.

So a butterfly needs to conserve as much energy as it can during the winter months. In the paper, Hellmann and her colleagues explain for the first time how warmer winters can lead to a decrease in the number of butterflies.

However, Hellmann and the Western University researchers found that warmer winters might not always reduce butterfly populations as much as one might initially think. They reared caterpillars in two different locations: one which often experiences more variable and warmer winter temperatures and one which generally features more stable and generally cooler winter temperatures.

The caterpillars that were exposed to the warmer and more variable conditions were better able to withstand the warmer conditions, simply by being exposed to them. They did so by lowering the sensitivity of their metabolism.

However, the ability of even caterpillars accustomed to warmer, more variable winters to cope with such conditions is still limited, according to the researchers. They calculated the energy use of both groups of caterpillars and discovered that the caterpillars that lower their metabolic rates to deal with warmer winters still use significantly more energy to survive them.

“We still have lot to learn about how organisms will respond to climate change,” Hellmann said. “Our study shows significant biological effects of climate change, but it also shows that organisms can partially adjust their physiology to compensate. We now need to discover if other species adjust in similar ways to our example species.”

So although mild winters may be a cause for celebration for many of us, those who are concerned are biodiversity might find them to be much more somber seasons.

Related Links
University of Notre Dame
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com

 

Challenges hinder agroforestry research, policy formulation and adoption in Indonesia

by Yvonne Otieno
Nairobi, Kenya (SPX) Apr 25, 2012


File image.

Indonesia, the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, most of which come from deforestation, is setting out to reverse the trend. One of the ways it plans to do so is to create a national strategy to put more trees on farms, a practice known as agroforestry

The importance of collaboration among all research partners in agroforestry was recently emphasised at a historic workshop to develop a national strategy on agroforestry research in Indonesia.

During the meeting, five key challenges facing agroforestry in Indonesia were also identified. The first challenge mentioned was the Government’s partial approach to research, which translates into low adoption of research recommendations.

Second, land tenure insecurity, particularly in State forest areas, leads to social conflict and degradation of forest resources. Third, the trade-off between conservation and development activities lead to difficulty in deciding forest management.

The slow progress of community-based forestry management schemes introduced by the Ministry of Forestry hampered agroforestry development and emerging issues related to climate change and affecting forestry and land management were also mentioned as hindrances.

Despite the challenges, the meeting identified opportunities for agroforestry, such as the large pool of knowledge worldwide; increasing support for agroforestry-related policies; availability of potential partners in research and development, including the World Agroforestry Centre, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), NGOs, regional governments, the private sector and universities; and international concern for climate change that provides financial support for agroforestry research.

The meeting included experts from the Forestry Research and Development Agency (FORDA) of the Ministry of Forestry (including the newly formed agroforestry research centre at Ciamis), Bogor Agricultural Institute, University of Lampung, Gadjah Mada University and the World Agroforestry Centre Indonesia office. Several key resource persons with expertise in policy analysis, natural resource management and agroforestry were also present.

The day-long workshop was jointly opened by Dr Ir Bambang Trihartono MF, head of FORDA’s Centre for Research and Development for Enhancement of Forest Productivity, and Dr Ujjwal Pradhan, regional coordinator of the World Agroforestry Centre in Southeast Asia.

In their opening speeches, both talked of focusing on achieving clear research outcomes and timeframes with direct impact on the development of agroforestry.

FORDA had prepared a draft document, which the workshop discussed in detail. The draft stated that the vision of the strategy was ‘agroforestry mainstreamed into forestry development in Indonesia and widely adopted by the community as a forestry and land-use system to meet sustainable forest management goals for improving people’s livelihoods and sustaining natural resources’.

The mission of the meeting was in two parts; first to develop the partnerships and involvement of research actors in producing knowledge for the development of agroforestry in Indonesia and second was to widen the adoption of agroforestry by stakeholders in Indonesia.

The opening presentation by Dede Rohadi of FORDA, who is also a consultant to CIFOR, explained that although agroforestry was a legal practice and widely practised it had not yet been formally acknowledged in Government planning and policy.

FORDA had been conducting significant research activity for some time. However, research into the social aspects had been less adequately addressed yet there were many problems in the social arena that affected agroforestry development.

Dede provided a background to the research status of agroforestry in Indonesia, dividing the research topics into four: silviculture, environment, social and economic. A literature search had revealed that the first, silviculture, had more than 120 publications associated with it; environment had 109; economic 112; and social 98.

The strategy development targeted several areas for initial research including smallholders’ production systems and markets for agroforestry practices, community-based forest management in State forest areas, harmonising agroforestry practices with global climate change, and enhancing agroforestry practices for environmental services.

The research into smallholders’ production systems is closely linked with CGIAR Research Program 6 whose objective is enhancing the management and use of forestry, agroforestry and tree genetic resources across landscapes from forests to farms; and the research priorities of FORDA[y1] .

The results from the research will be disseminated through national and international journals, popular media, policy briefs, international and national seminars, the internet, working groups and demonstration plots.

In order to implement the strategy, the capacity of staff and farmers would need to be enhanced, typically through training and workshops; exchange programs involving study tours, internships and seconded scientists; a post-graduate program; and advocacy.

The deliberations of the day’s workshop are being taken into account in the continuing drafting of the national strategy. A national workshop with partners from other ministries, especially agriculture, marine and fisheries and the National Planning Agency, will be held in the near future to establish a cross-ministry approach.

Related Links
World Agroforestry Centre Indonesia
Forestry News – Global and Local News, Science and Application

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Cyber Space

Obama condemns monitoring abroad as Congress pushes CISPA

Published on Apr 24, 2012 by

President Obama announced that he is planning on fighting genocide in the Middle East by cracking down on entities that use technology to conduct human rights violations. On Monday, Obama signed an executive order that targets individuals who use technology to monitor and track dissidents. Although President Obama opposes the monitoring of individuals abroad, Congress is attempting to pass a legislation that will allow the US government to do just that domestically. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing Protection Act (CISPA) could alter online freedoms in the US, and Declan McCullagh, CNet News correspondent, joins us for a closer look.

 

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Survival / Sustainability

10/4/2011 3:42:55 PM
By David Wendell – Bushcraft on Fire
Dealing often with people who may run into a “survival situation” the question of “Survival Mentality” often comes up. And while it is important to have a positive attitude in far-out situations, I believe that this mentality also comes into play in our everyday lives. In homesteading, sustainability, and self reliance this outlook can mean the difference between success and failure, and in a critical situation it could even mean life or death! We all face severities in our everyday life, and the ability to overcome these difficulties will determine the outcome. So what exactly is a “Survival Mentality?”Simply put,  a survival mentality is the inward knowing that you can do what needs to be done to overcome whatever adversity you might be facing. This could be as simple as building a new addition, or as severe as a strong storm or drought wiping out your entire crop for the year. How would you be able to handle these things if they occurred in your life? The only way to be able to face such hardship with a positive attitude is by adhering to the old adage…

“Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.”

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Adapt… or Face Extinction

Animals adapt to the environment or face extinction, while some humans seem too stuck in their own old ways.

By Joe Novara

186-104-1b

“Did Seattle win last night?” my friend Ernst, the animal psychologist, asked during brunch at my place.

“How should I know?” I snapped back. “The morning paper isn’t here yet. I hate when that happens. Messes up my whole Sunday routine.”

“You should not be so set in your ways,” my friend counseled. “You have to adapt to the environment. Like animals adapt. They have to or face extinction.””You think I should get with it – read the news on handheld computers rather than flattened trees.”

“It’s all a matter of information-format conditioning,” Ernst began, easing back into the lounge chair. I hate it when he waxes professorial. “Take the early Greeks…” he began.”No thanks,” I retorted. “…they were very upset when the written word was discovered. What was going to happen to all those epic story-poems told by heart? And when books first came out, the Romans must have missed unwinding with a good scroll.”

“Hey look, I didn’t ask for a lecture. I only want my morning paper in the morning, not the afternoon. Okay?”

“We all have to adapt to changing times,” Ernst persisted. “Take animals, for instance. They’re too slow. Look at roadkill.””I usually try not to. But, okay. I can see where you’re going – roadkill would have to continue for a million years before animals know to ‘stop, look and listen’ before they cross the street. Is that it?”

“Something like that. Animals can figure out how to live around cities. But they can’t get the concept of roads. They’re wired to go from one place to another the same way, over and over, no matter what’s in the way.”

“Right. Plop your garden across a snake’s migratory path and he could give a hiss about detours and alternate routes.”

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Activism

Hundreds rally for Mumia’s release outside the DoJ

Published on Apr 24, 2012 by

Mumia Abu Jamal is an American writer and journalist whose prison case
has sparked international outrage. He has spent the last 29 years on
death row, but earlier this year his sentence was reduced to life in
prison without the possibility of parole. Abby Martin of RT reports
from the “Occupy the Justice” rally in Washington, DC on Mumia’s 58th
birthday, where hundreds have gathered in solidarity with the Occupy
Movement to call attention to his case, the unfairness of the US
justice system and an end to mass incarceration in the US, where one
out of every 100 Americans are currently in prison.

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Articles of Interest

The Associated Press April 24, 2012, 7:38PM ET

Ex-BP engineer arrested in Gulf oil spill case

By CAIN BURDEAU and MICHAEL KUNZELMAN

NEW ORLEANS

Federal prosecutors brought the first criminal charges Tuesday in the Gulf oil spill, accusing a former BP engineer of deleting more than 300 text messages that indicated the blown-out well was spewing far more crude than the company was telling the public at the time.

Two years and four days after the drilling-rig explosion that set off the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, Kurt Mix, 50, of Katy, Texas, was arrested and charged with two counts of obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying evidence.

His attorney, Joan McPhee, issued a statement Tuesday evening describing the charges as misguided and that she is confident Mix will be exonerated.

“The government says he intentionally deleted text messages from his phone, but the content of those messages still resides in thousands of emails, text messages and other documents that he saved,” she said. “Indeed, the emails that Kurt preserved include the very ones highlighted by the government.”

Read Full Article Here

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