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We want to make cutting edge research in the environmental sciences accessible to all by highlighting recent studies and explaining how these advances shape the understanding of our world.

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Left on REDD: International conservation policies fail to respond to local context

What happens when a groundbreaking international conservation program causes national inequity? As one participant states,
“we all have a common interest in keeping trees. The question is how? And for that we need to recognize the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples.”

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Where will the tall trees grow?

What will the landscape look like when the world is four degrees warmer? Seven degrees warmer? Will you see the same trees and shrubs? Will the same birds visit your bird feeder? If you live in a forest now, will you then live in a desert? The implications have wide consequences not least for the production of food and the provision of water for your future self.

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Using Mathematical Models to Better Understand Mosquito-Borne Disease Transmission

Diseases like dengue, chikungunya, and Zika are largely (or entirely!) spread by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes thrive in hot, humid weather. This is why we see more mosquitoes during the warm summer months – hotter weather means more mosquitoes. That should mean more mosquito-borne disease too, right? Not exactly. Recent research is showing that the relationship between temperature and the spread of these diseases is actually more complicated.

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Biking – When and where you ride could affect your health

Trading your car for a bike to get around can help reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions, which is why many major cities have started to install bike lanes along roads. This study looks at the potential exposure to airborne black carbon, an indicator of fossil fuel combustion, that a bicyclist could experience during their commute in a major Brazilian city.

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Dropping the base: Could climate change make rivers and lakes more acidic?

We can thank the Clean Air Act for doing a lot to improve our environment, including helping to make rivers and lakes less acidic. But in some places, climate change has the potential to reverse some of that progress. In this study, scientists set out to investigate a potentially hidden impact of climate change: making rivers and streams more acidic.

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Going, going, gone! Living shorelines send nitrogen packin’!

Coastal wetlands provide critical ecological services, but are rapidly disappearing from the planet. Salt marshes are a type of coastal wetland that provides habitat, food, and shelter, while preventing erosion, and protecting our water quality. Researchers are investigating how well reduce nutrient pollution, specifically nitrogen, from terrestrial and aquatic environments. A recent study discovered that living shorelines such as salt marshes are quite effective at removing nitrogen, especially in the first seven years after construction. These findings indicate that living shorelines are an effective solution to coastal pollution challenges.

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Building Barriers to Stop Sea Level Rise, What’s at Stake?

Anticipated growth of coastal communities is expected in the ensuing future. As these communities expand so will the issue of coastal protection. Currently 14% of the continental US has armored shorelines to protect infrastructure and people from storm surges and consequent flooding. However, the biological impact of these barriers is under scrutiny. Research conducted by Gehman and colleagues at the University of Georgia investigated how armored coastlines impact both biotic and abiotic features of coastal-upland boundaries along coastal Georgia compared unarmored and forested locations.

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