May 1, 2016
Half-Earth Our Planet's Fight for Life By E.O. Wilson Liveright. 272 pp. $25.95 Reviewed by Mike Weilbacher Entomologist Edward O. Wilson, the modern era's Rachel Carson, has an audacious idea that might jump-start a lagging conversation about a burning issue. "I propose," he writes in Half-Earth: Our Planet's Fight for Life , "that only by committing half of the planet's surface to nature can we hope to save the immensity of life-forms that compose it. " That's right: Half-Earth asks us to set aside half the world for the rest of creation.
March 15, 2016 |
A long-range experiment is happening in West Philadelphia's Haddington Woods, a 40-acre urban forest, where experts, citizen scientists, and officials hope to find ways to restore and preserve city parklands, and find answers to dealing with invasive species, soil degradation, and even global warming. "All of the [city's] forests are degraded," said Joan Blaustein, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation's director of urban forestry. Haddington Woods, north of the 69th Street Transportation Center and east of Cobbs Creek Golf Club, was chosen as a testing ground because it has some of the most degraded - and some of the healthiest - forests in the city.
June 21, 2015 |
STONE HARBOR, N.J. - Less than 50 years ago, there were more herons than vacationers in southern Stone Harbor. Southern Seven Mile Island was recognized as a "veritable paradise for birds" as early as the late 19th century. As many as 9,000 herons nested at the Stone Harbor Bird Sanctuary in the 1960s and early 1970s - an incredible number for a 21-acre site, according to Wetlands Institute executive director Lenore Tedesco. But by 1983, there were only about 1,000 birds, as the site had fallen victim to overdevelopment and the intrusion of invasive species.
March 29, 2015 |
AVALON - It seems everyone wants to save Armacost Park. But just how to accomplish the continued preservation of the 11-acre maritime forest - which experts say has been deteriorating for decades because of invasive vines and other non-native plant species - may be debatable. So a handful of residents, who say they want nothing done to change the park, carried handmade signs and held a news conference Friday afternoon in the rain and biting wind to make their point. "If the environment of the park is destroyed, the migrant birds won't be able to use it for nourishment and a stopover point," said Terry Master, an ornithology expert and professor of biological sciences at East Stroudsburg University, who was brought in by the residents to investigate the issue and speak to the media.
February 8, 2013
By Charles Lane Former President George W. Bush's dog Barney has gone to that great kennel club in the sky. But I'll bet Barney died smiling. He lived to see the day when humans finally acknowledged that cats are a menace. In fact, government-affiliated scientists have produced statistical proof of feline perfidy, in a new study showing that cats stalk and kill 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals in the United States each year, give or take a few billion. This "kill rate" is two to four times higher than previously believed, and worse than that attributable to windmills, cars, and other "anthropogenic" threats.
March 26, 2012 |
Tom Barkman, a Bedford County dairy farmer, got a shock one morning a few years ago when a 15-acre section of his just-planted cornfield was ripped to shreds, the seeds gone. The culprits, he would soon find out: a group, or sounder, of feral swine, 300-pound crop consumers that destroy most everything in their path. They were escapees, he believed, from a neighboring game-hunting preserve. So Barkman, who owns 600 acres in Clearview, 100 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, replanted the field - not once but two more times, before grabbing his shotgun and finally staking out his field.
March 24, 2012 |
One look at those big teeth and that eel-like body, and Gary Stolz knew: A northern snakehead had been caught in a tidal area of the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum. The three-pound, 24-inch fish was caught Thursday, on the west side of Route 420. It meant that this odd and ugly invasive species, so bizarre it's been dubbed "frankenfish," was continuing its slow but sure colonization of the region's waterways. Whether it fits seamlessly into the food chain of the region or its voracious appetite for fish, frogs, and even small mammals allows it to take over the aquatic ecosystem is still a matter of conjecture.
October 11, 2011 |
FRESNO, Calif. - Dozens of foreign insects and plant diseases slipped undetected into the United States in the years after 9/11, when authorities were so focused on preventing another attack that they overlooked a pest explosion that threatened the quality of the nation's food supply. At the time, hundreds of agricultural scientists responsible for stopping invasive species at the border were reassigned to antiterrorism duties in the newly formed Homeland Security Department - a move scientists say cost billions of dollars in crop damage and eradication efforts.
October 17, 2009 |
There's no real name for the genus from which Carole Lonner's The Kids Left. The Dog Died. Now What? springs, but there is little doubt that it's born of an invasive species. Carried on the winds from town to town, some varieties are hardier than others and take root for months while others blow in and out in a week, but they all share a few common characteristics. Look for four or so actors (usually two heterosexual couples, but occasionally all women); a collection of scenes - rather than a fully developed plot - that serve mostly as prompts for tunes humorous or wistful; and dialogue that trades on mere recognition of specific demographic touchpoints rather than insight or wit. Benign ground cover or noxious weed?