The business of biodiversity: can we put a value on nature?

Image credit - Luca Bravo/ Unsplash

By Gareth Willmer, from Horizon Nature provides people with everything from food and water to timber, textiles, medicinal resources and pollination of crops. Now, a new approach aims to measure exactly what a specific ecosystem supplies in order to incentivise decision-makers and businesses to help combat biodiversity loss. The concept of quantifying these so-called ecosystem services, which … Read more

Sloths: how did two different animals wind up looking so similar?

Image Credit - Flickr/Harry and Rowena Kennedy CC BY-NC-ND 4.0/ CC BY 3.0

Sloths and guppies appear to have little in common – one is an arboreal mammal living in the slow lane, while the other is a tiny tropical fish with a frantic existence. Yet both could hold the key to better understanding a fundamental process of evolution. Hanging lazily from tree branches where they barely move … Read more

Bee diversity critical to world’s food supply

Image Credit - Curro Molina

by Jonathan O’Callaghan Ecosystems that contain only a few bee species underperform in terms of plant production whereas those with many different species thrive, according to research which highlights the importance of bee diversity to securing the world’s food supply. Wild bees are hugely important not only to natural environments, but also to our very way … Read more

Sixth mass extinction could destroy life as we know it– biodiversity expert

Image credit - Paul VanDerWerf, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Alarming declines in the number of insects, vertebrates and plant species around the world have raised fears that we are in the midst of a sixth major extinction that could cause a collapse of the natural ecosystems we rely upon to survive. Urgent international action is needed to halt this potentially catastrophic decline in biodiversity, … Read more

Noisier waters linked to behaviour change, hearing loss in whales

Image Credit - Flickr/spezz CC BY 2.0

Studies investigating whale-watching boats and the inner ears of marine mammals could soon provide new insight into the effects of noisier oceans on cetaceans – dolphins, whales and porpoises – who depend on their hearing for navigating, finding food and communicating underwater. Noise in our oceans is increasing due to human activities such as shipping, … Read more

‘It eats everything’ – the new breed of wildfire that’s impossible to predict

Image credit - Pablo Trincado, licensed under CC BY 2.0

By Annette Ekin We’re fighting a different kind of wildfire whose behaviour experts are struggling to predict. Climate change and negligent forest management are causing higher-intensity, faster-moving fires that can generate enough energy to evolve into erratic firestorms, known as pyroCbs, in the face of which first responders can do little. ‘Traditionally we could predict the fire behaviour and the … Read more