Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

This complex theme deals primarily with interactions between organisms and the environmental factors that impact them, but to a greater extent between individual inanimate environmental factors.

innovations-report offers informative reports and articles on topics such as climate protection, landscape conservation, ecological systems, wildlife and nature parks and ecosystem efficiency and balance.

Commission kicks off action plan for Global Monitoring of Environment and Security

Philippe Busquin, Research Commissioner and responsible for space policy, opened the first meeting of the GMES Steering Committee in Brussels today. This meeting gathered, for the first time, the users and suppliers of GMES services and technologies. The steering committee will assist in the implementation of the EU’s Action Plan on Global Monitoring of Environment and Security (GMES). The goal set by the European Union is to develop by 2008 an operational and autonomous European global monitoring ca

Depleted uranium soils battlefields

Report assesses chemical effects of Gulf war weapon.

Depleted uranium in weapons may have left some soldiers with kidney damage and could cause long-term environmental contamination, say British scientists. Their independent review calls for accurate exposure tests and long-term environmental monitoring in combat zones.

Depleted uranium (DU) is a dense radioactive substance. It was used in weapons to punch through heavily armoured vehicles during the Gulf War and Kosovo conf

What Shall We Do With Nuclear Waste?

There are two ways of dealing with the problem of nuclear waste. The first one is the easiest but not the most sensible: you can simply bury nuclear waste products and try to forget about them. However, this way does not seem to be the most rational. It seems much more attractive to try to derive some benefit from the situation. In this case it is worth extracting the compounds that could be used in future from the whole mass of nuclear wastes. In the first instance, these are non-burnt uranium and p

Rural people key to saving the world’s forests

The best way to conserve many of the world’s forests — and alleviate poverty in some of its poorest countries — is to allow rural communities to generate income by selling forest products, rather than tightly regulating forest use, according to a report released on 7 March.

Forests are vital to one quarter of the world’s poorest people, who depend on forest resources for their subsistence, the report says. It adds that improving the lives of these people through commercial forestry is esse

ENVISAT: EU Supports New Space Applications for Global Monitoring of Environment & Security

ENVISAT, successfully launched this morning from the European spaceport at Kourou, French Guyana, by an Ariane 5 rocket, is the largest and most sophisticated Earth observation satellite ever built in Europe. From an altitude of 800 km, the 8.2-ton Environment Satellite – Europe’s new “eyes in space” – will deliver an unprecedented wealth of images and data that will help scientists better understand the Earth, and assist European Union decision-makers in reaching environmental and other policy goals

Europe’s environmental eye soars into orbit

The eagerly awaited launch of ESA’s Envisat environmental monitoring satellite took place in Kourou, French Guiana, today at 22:07:59 hrs Kourou time (02:07:59 hrs CET). Envisat’s spectacular night-time launch also marked the return to business for Europe’s Ariane 5 launcher.

Lift-off was witnessed by dozens of cheering engineers, scientists and project members at the launch site and at ESA centres across Europe. Rising into a clear sky, the Ariane 5 propelled the Envisat towards a lofty v

Protecting Natural Spaces Does Not Prevent Invasion by Foreign Species

A study carried out by researchers at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelonashows that protecting natural spaces does not prevent invasion by foreign vegetation species. Montserrat Vilà and Jordi Pujadas, researchers at the CREAF, have published the study, the first to quantify the relationship between species invasions and human activity on a regional scale, in Biological Conservation.

The introduction of foreign species is a global phenomenon which has negative effects on the conservation o

European corals hit hard by fishing

Coral reefs older than the Pyramids are being smashed to bits by fishing boats trawling deep water off the UK coast

European countries are constantly pleading with developing nations to protect coral reefs in tropical countries. But it turns out that their own fishing boats are trashing equally important reefs in their own waters.

Jason Hall-Spencer of the University of Glasgow has found pieces of coral at least 4,500 years old in the nets of trawlers operating off Ireland and Sco

Predicting the species diversity of large herbivores in nature reserves

The number of species of large herbivores that can live in a nature reserve can be easily calculated using just rainfall and soil fertility data. The Wageningen ecologist Dr Han Olff can use this to indicate on a worldwide basis where nature reserves that protect large mammals are needed.

On a map of the world, the researcher from Wageningen University has marked the areas in which the greatest diversity of large game can live. For species-rich nature reserves in East Africa and on the Argen

Refined Petrol Stations

There are always oil spots near the petrol stations. Rainwater washes them away, polluting the environment. Researchers from Perm have developed a refining unit for cleaning rainwater sewage from petrol stations. It was successfully tested in Moscow and Perm.

The unit base is a new filter – “Kombi” – made of fibrous carbon sorbent, which is produced by coagulation of chemical cellulose fibres in a special way. The filtering process consists of three stages – settling, refinement through the

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