Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Yuletide Warning: Rudolph Losing Ground to Climate Change

17.12.2010
Imagine Christmas without reindeer.

We might someday have to do just that, Cornell University conservation scientist Jeff Wells warns.

Wells, a visiting fellow at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is warning that the beloved animals of Christmas folklore are in severe decline thanks to global warming and industrial development in their boreal forest homes.

Wells is a science advisor for Pew Environment Group's International Boreal Conservation Campaign and formerly the Audubon Society's national conservation director. Now a senior scientist for the Boreal Songbird Initiative, Wells warns that the numbers of caribou, as reindeer are known in North America, will continue to drop unless this key habitat is protected.

Circling the northern latitudes of the Earth, caribou thrive in cold climates. They are tough, adaptable creatures that can survive in winter by eating only lichens. But when the health of their habitats are threatened, Wells said, so too is the health of the herd.

While some caribou live in large migratory groups, many remain year-round within the Canadian boreal, the world's largest remaining intact forest. Wells said in Ontario the species range has retracted at a rate of two miles a year, resulting in the loss of half of the province's woodland caribou range. Sixty percent has been lost in Alberta, and 40 percent in British Columbia.

More recently, massive declines in the numbers of the barren-ground, long-distance migratory caribou have been recorded; with some herds dropping as much as 90 percent. One herd, for example, went from an estimated 472,000 in 1986 to 128,000 by 2006.

Wells attributes much of this to industrial development, especially in the woodland caribou, which are known to be highly sensitive to habitat changes. Add the fact that so many barren-ground herds across the globe are at such low numbers at the same time makes Wells concerned that the twin threats of global warming and industrial activities have had a major negative impact on herd survival.

Protecting caribou habitats would also help combat climate change, Wells says, noting that his research, published in the report, “The Carbon the World Forgot” and in the July/August 2010 edition of Forestry Chronicle finds that the Canadian boreal stores more than 208 billion tons of carbon – 26 years worth of global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

In addition to the ecological crisis, Wells notes that the disappearance of the caribou would be a cultural catastrophe for many indigenous populations.

"It would be the loss of their identity and a severing of a vital link to their ancestral past," Wells said.

John Carberry | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.cornell.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>