A global juggling act: feeding the world, saving species

Jim Radford, Deakin University Our planet is on the precipice of a sixth mass extinction event. But unlike the five previous mass extinctions, this one is man-made: a global biodiversity crisis in which species are disappearing three to 12 times faster than the “normal” rate of extinction. Australia is not immune from this crisis. InContinue reading “A global juggling act: feeding the world, saving species”

The why, what and where of the world’s black leopards

Sam Williams, Durham University A black leopard was recently spotted in Kenya’s Laikipia area by San Diego Zoo scientist, Nicholas Pilfold. Sam Williams, a conservation ecologist focused on African carnivores, asked Nicholas about the elusive cats. Where are black leopards found in Africa? There have been a number of reports of black leopard in Africa,Continue reading “The why, what and where of the world’s black leopards”

One-fifth of reptiles heading towards extinction

Almost one-fifth of the world’s reptiles are currently threatened with extinction. A recent study assessed 1500 species for extinction risks. From the 19% found to be in danger, 12% were classified as Critically Endangered, 41% as Endangered and 47% Vulnerable. Three of the species listed as being Critically Endangered are believed to be possibly extinct.Continue reading “One-fifth of reptiles heading towards extinction”

The rise of ultra-processed foods and why they’re really bad for our health

Phillip Baker, Deakin University; Mark Lawrence, Deakin University, and Priscila Machado, Deakin University Humans (and our ancestors) have been processing food for at least 1.8 million years. Roasting, drying, grinding and other techniques made food more nutritious, durable and tasty. This helped our ancestors to colonise diverse habitats, and then develop settlements and civilisations. ManyContinue reading “The rise of ultra-processed foods and why they’re really bad for our health”

Climate Explained: what would happen if we cut down the Amazon rainforest?

Sebastian Leuzinger, Auckland University of Technology What would happen if we cut down the entire Amazon rainforest? Could it be replaced by an equal amount of reforestation elsewhere? Removing the entire Amazon rainforest would have myriad consequences, with the most obvious ones possibly not the worst. Most people will first think of the carbon currentlyContinue reading “Climate Explained: what would happen if we cut down the Amazon rainforest?”

Why you should stop buying new clothes

Alana James, Northumbria University, Newcastle The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, producing 20% of global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions – and it’s estimated that by 2050 this will have increased to 25%. A staggering 300,000 tonnes of clothes are sent to British landfills each year.Continue reading “Why you should stop buying new clothes”

How plywood started the destruction of Indonesia’s forests

Indonesia now has the has the fastest rate of deforestation in the world, driven largely by clearing for palm oil plantations. But the process began long ago, with one of the most common building materials: plywood. As far as commodities are concerned, it was plywood that defined the rainforests of Borneo in the 1970s andContinue reading “How plywood started the destruction of Indonesia’s forests”

Huge ecosystems could collapse in less than 50 years – new study

We know that ecosystems under stress can reach a point where they rapidly collapse into something very different. The clear water of a pristine lake can turn algae-green in a matter of months. In hot summers, a colourful coral reef can soon become bleached and virtually barren. And if a tropical forest has its canopyContinue reading “Huge ecosystems could collapse in less than 50 years – new study”

What’s my name? How wild parrots identify their young

Sunanda Creagh, The Conversation Wild parrots name their chicks by teaching them an individual sound to identify them, researchers have found. Humans and dolphins create unique sounds by which individuals are identified and there was some evidence to suggest captive parrots created ‘contact calls’ – special calls used to identify family and friends. But untilContinue reading “What’s my name? How wild parrots identify their young”

We don’t know how many mountain gorillas live in the wild. Here’s why

Katerina Guschanski, Uppsala University How important are the mountain gorillas of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park to global populations? A new census – carried out by the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (a coalition of governments, non-profits and conservationists) in 2018 – shows that the population of mountain gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest NationalContinue reading “We don’t know how many mountain gorillas live in the wild. Here’s why”

Video: Slowing deforestation is the key to preventing the next pandemic – but what does that cost?

Les Kaufman, Boston University In a recent journal article, a team of biologists, medical scientists, environmental scientists and conservationists proposed a number of measures to reduce the likelihood of future pandemics, many of which originate with wild animals such as bats. They argue that spending billions of dollars per year – a fraction of theContinue reading “Video: Slowing deforestation is the key to preventing the next pandemic – but what does that cost?”

Nature’s hidden wealth is conservation’s missed opportunity

Australia has one of the worst extinction records in the modern world. Since European settlement, a third of the country’s native mammals have disappeared. How can we stem the losses? A recent article in Nature highlighted that most federal and state biodiversity conservation policy fails to recognise biodiversity as a major source of industrial products.Continue reading “Nature’s hidden wealth is conservation’s missed opportunity”

Monkey minds: what we can learn from primate personality

Carla Litchfield, University of South Australia Every human is different. Some are outgoing, while others are reserved and shy. Some are focused and diligent, while others are haphazard and unfussed. Some people are curious, others avoid novelty and enjoy their rut. This is reflected in our personality, which is typically measured across five factors, knownContinue reading “Monkey minds: what we can learn from primate personality”

Humans force wild animals into tight spots, or send them far from home

The COVID pandemic has shown us that disruptions to the way we move around, complete daily activities and interact with each other can shatter our wellbeing. This doesn’t apply only to humans. Wildlife across the globe find themselves in this situation every day, irrespective of a global pandemic. Our latest research published today in NatureContinue reading “Humans force wild animals into tight spots, or send them far from home”

The Coronavirus Crisis: How has Lockdown Impacted Nature?

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a very strange year. Thanks to coronavirus, modern life as we know it has been put on hold. International borders have been shut, governments have ordered businesses to close their doors, and most families have been under lockdown. For anyone wondering where this infectious virusContinue reading “The Coronavirus Crisis: How has Lockdown Impacted Nature?”

Explainer: What is a tipping point, and why should we care?

Our ability to understand and act thoughtfully around this single concept could determine the fate of life on Earth. August 20, 2020 — Lately, you may have heard someone say that we have reached a “tipping point.” This year alone, with the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the sustained civil unrest sparkedContinue reading “Explainer: What is a tipping point, and why should we care?”

Rainbow Cliffs: Why Parrots in the Amazon Eat Clay

Our world holds a whole host of glorious natural spectacles, from great starling murmurations to the ethereal display of coral reef spawning. But to me, none is more thrilling than catching a glimpse of a majestic macaw. Screeching their way through the Amazon rainforest, leaving scattered fruit, broken branches, and a considerable quantity of parrotContinue reading “Rainbow Cliffs: Why Parrots in the Amazon Eat Clay”

What would happen if we lost all wildlife?

Have you ever thought about what would happen if we lost all our wildlife? Thoughts on what our planet will turn into, always make my stomach hurt. Can you imagine having no wildlife anywhere? The scary rate that extinction is taking away our wildlife The rate is crazily high and we seem not to really understand howContinue reading “What would happen if we lost all wildlife?”

Can we feed the world and stop deforestation? Depends what’s for dinner

If we all woke up vegan in 2050, we would require less cropland than we did in the year 2000. This could allow us to “reforest” an area around the size of the entire Amazon rainforest – somehow fitting considering 70-80% of deforestation in the Amazon is due to the livestock industry.

African Greys: How politics killed the parrot

Here at The Nature Nook, we don’t shy away from uncomfortable truths or harsh realities concerning the natural world. But today’s article, about the tragic story of the Congo African grey parrot, is a particularly harrowing read that I don’t recommend to anyone who is sensitive to descriptions of animals in distress. The Congo AfricanContinue reading “African Greys: How politics killed the parrot”