T.G.I…M.? Why Wildlife Wants Your Vacation to End Sooner

When the workweek ends and the weekend arrives, many people leave their office life to visit the great outdoors. From birdwatching to biking, spending time in nature may be a positive experience for you, but your presence may make the animals living in the natural spaces you visit on the weekend wish it was Monday already.

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Double trouble: how floods after bushfire affect the health of our rivers

Between Christmas 2019 and the  2020 New Year, forested mountain ranges across drought-stricken areas in Eastern Australia came alight, with fires ravaging 11 million hectares of bush (Eucalyptus woodlands and rainforests) – a size comparable to England’s land area. These megafires threw the states of New South Wales and Victoria into a state of emergency. The bushfire crisis took a sudden turn when heavy rainfall flooded the scorched land in the span of just two weeks. Unfortunately, while rainfall might appear to be a blessing in light of the megafires, the resulting floods were ultimately not sweet relief for rivers. 

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What Smokey the Bear didn’t know about invasive species

Fires are increasing across the United States and researchers are looking to weed out the one of the culprits — invasive grasses. Using information from fires and non-native grass invasion across the country, researchers from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst set out to determine if invasive grasses increase the number of fires across the United States. Of the twelve grass species analyzed, 66% increased fire frequency, adding another layer to the complexity of managing wildfires. As individuals we can help halt this “grass-fire cycle” by reducing the spread of invasive grasses and human-caused sparks.

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Ghost Forests: Are they as scary as they sound?

Sea level rise has been accelerating over the last century, which will impact coastal ecosystems and their animals. Scientists have set out to study the conversion of forests to wetlands that is occurring with sea level rise, which results in the formation of ghost forests. While the loss of these forests is problematic, the resulting gain in wetland may actually be beneficial, making ghost forests less scary than they sound.

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Macadamia Farmers Going Nuts Over Birds and Bats

Removing natural vegetation around farms may keep crop predators such as monkeys off farms, but it also can keep away beneficial species of birds and bats that eat common insect pests. Do the services provided by birds and bats outweigh the disservices from monkeys? Researchers ventured into macadamia orchards to try and crack open the answer.

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