Palm Oil’s Inconvenient Truth

Palm oil is quickly growing to be one of the most economically lucrative crops, at a huge expense to the environment. With weak political clout by environmental groups in western nations and high demand for palm oil products in India and China, there is little that can be done to curb rainforest habitat loss as the market for palm oil continues to soar.

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Losing a Louisiana Icon

Along with the American alligator and the crawfish, bald cypress trees (Taxodium distichum) and their swamps are one of the most iconic images of Louisiana. With their quirky “knees”, flared bases, and long lives, it is not surprising these trees have long supported and defined the culture of the state and the region. Fittingly, bald cypress is the state tree of Louisiana. However, within the past 150 years humans have changed the Louisiana landscape in ways that have caused bald cypress trees to die off faster than new ones can grow to replace them. As older trees die and waterways become increasingly developed and controlled, the future of this iconic Louisiana species has become uncertain.

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Reviving Our Rivers

Most rivers in the developed world are mere artifacts of what they once were – wild dynamic beasts that wiggled across the landscape recycling old land and creating new surfaces. With human development came the desire to manage water movement, and now most rivers flow through static channels held in place by levees and controlled by dams. But recently some regions are making efforts to give rivers a bit more freedom and restore their associated floodplains.

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