Illegal logging and wildlife poaching are driving species to extinction. But the scientists working to save these species may also inadvertently be releasing information that helps poachers find and destroy these species. Read on for helpful advice on how to avoid releasing a treasure map for poachers, rewritten from an interview with Robyn Williams for ABC’s Ockham’s razor.
With almost a third of arable land classified as degraded, what can we do to reverse the rapid pace of degradation and can we do it in a way that benefits us?
Weeds are the bane of life for gardeners, farmers and conservationists, but they may have some previously unrecognised benefits in highly degraded landscapes.
Feral honey bees – European bees which have escaped from hives into the wild – are surprisingly useful in Australia. They pollinate over 70% of crops that require pollination, like apples, pears, lucerne, melons, berries, canola. But with Varroa mite, a blood-sucking pest of bees, decimating the feral honey bee population globally, and set to invade Australia in the near future, what can be done to maintain pollination services?
Rewilding is the concept of reintroducing native animals and plants to an area where they have declined or gone extinct.
I’m not talking here about which supermarket or grocery you shop in, or whether your food was grown locally or comes from overseas, but rather where the crop plants we eat were first discovered and developed as food. Now that we can pretty much eat whatever we want, from wherever we want, whenever we want – do you know where the food you eat first evolved and originated from?
Highly collectable species, especially those that are rare and threatened, can be put at risk from poaching if information describing there location is published. But rather than withholding this information, scientists should publish such data through secure portals so that this knowledge can be used to help conserve and manage the world’s most threatened species.
A new global analysis looking at the distribution of forests and woodlands has ‘found’ 467 million hectares of previously unreported forest in dryland ecosystems – a land area equivalent to 60% of Australia. In this day and age of advanced remote sensing how are such discoveries still possible?
We may have been able to tame the dog – the only large carnivore to now happily coexist with humans. But how does domestication occur and can we learn from it to develop new animal breeds and crop varieties for food?
Science can identify the source of timber and verifying legality. So it should be a simple case to apply the science to new international legislation that aims to limit illegally logged timber in global supply chains. Well not quite, the application of science requires detailed understanding of the timber industry and supply chain dynamics.