Rethinking assessment of biodiversity in northern New Zealand forests: Incorporating lichens, a neglected but important group, in vegetation monitoring

The Australia & Pacific Science Foundation is supporting an @UnitecNZ biodiversity project    from:

GR:  Information on distribution, numbers, and trends is lacking for many species groups.  This project aims to add information for New Zealand forest lichens.  Many similar projects are needed worldwide.

A Weapon Against Climate Change May Be Right Under Our Feet

Healthy soil may play a huge role in mitigating global warming and helping us adapt to it.  From:

GR:  Healthy soil contains a rich array of microorganisms that are adapted to the site and to the plants and animals growing on the soil. Healthy soil blocks weed invasions, reduces flooding by absorbing precipitation, and produces the most plant growth.  Centuries of farming and livestock grazing have destroyed most soils.  Cows compact the soil, break up the essential surface and subsurface biological crusts. Flooding increases and carries with it the finest soil, the topsoil. Researchers have learned that it takes decades and even a century for damaged soils to recover.  I know of no places that gauge their rest-rotation cycles in decades.  However, that is what is required to restore the soil.  We must begin now restoring our soils. It’s too late to block climate change, but healthy soil is essential if we hope one day to have healthy ecosystems again.

Enhancing our soils’ biodiversity can improve human health

Colorado State University’s Diana Wall and coauthors make the case to integrate soil biodiversity research into human health studies in a paper published online in Nature November 23.

GR:  This research adds to doubts of human abilities to survive for very long on another planet or on this one if the ecosystems are replaced by concrete.

Converting A ‘Weedy’ Grass To Quality Forage For Livestock

Messing with Nature and Calling it Range Management


Purple threeawn

“While native plants are adapted to thrive in our region, they don’t always provide the best forage for livestock or wildlife. But what if you could change that? What if you could convert bad forage to good? That’s the question Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist Lance Vermeire asked when studying purple threeawn, a decidedly less than…”


welfare ranchingGR:  The ignorance displayed by this range manager is shocking.  It should remind us all that focusing too closely on a single goal can cause us to overlook critical alternatives.  This article describes an instance where managing nature to benefit domestic livestock creates a willingness to take chances.  Range managers have gambled on new techniques and new species for many years.  They ignore negative possibilities and focus on their goal—more food for cows or sheep. They do not consider ecosystem responses to their new techniques.  They do not consider the effects on on soil microorganisms, and they do not worry about future invasion potential. The result of similar “range management” has been the loss of more than 100-million acres of productive native grasslands and shrublands in the western U. S.  Go here to read more about the results of foolhardy management of rangelands.