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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Ecosystem Services' Category


16
Nov

Pesticide Spraying of Urban Trees Found to Disrupt Natural Biological Management of Landscapes

(Beyond Pesticides, November 16, 2022) Putting up with moderate pest levels can attract and maintain predators and parasitoids that provide important biological control services throughout the landscape, according to research recently published in Environmental Entomology. While scale insects can be a problem in urban areas, dropping sticky ‘honeydew’ on cars and structures, they also play a critical role in maintaining native populations of pest predators. Scientists at NC State University (NCSU) set out to understand just how important these pest populations are at maintaining their own natural enemies. To do so, researchers worked through a series of three hypotheses on the connection between urban trees, scale insects, and pest predators. Focus was first placed on investigating different oak species and comparing the number of predators between trees infested and not infested with scale. Twigs from willow oaks, sawtooth oaks, and overcup oaks were collected from scale infested and scale uninfested trees on the NCSU campus over the course of spring, and counted for their scale abundance. Then, through the summer, researchers used a sampling tool that effectively shook insects out of the tree and into a funnel collection. Unsurprisingly, scale infested oaks contain more scale insects. But these trees also […]

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06
Sep

Ending Fossil Fuel-Based Pesticides and Fertilizers Central to National Forum and Legislation

(Beyond Pesticides, September 6, 2022) Beyond Pesticides is holding its National Forum series, Health, Biodiversity, and Climate: A Path for a Livable Future, beginning on September 15. The National Pesticide Forum has undergone tremendous change in the format, giving participants easier access to timely, bite-sized, and provocative learning experiences and empowering action to fuel change. This year, it focuses on meeting the health, biodiversity, and climate crises with a path for a livable future. We examine both the existential problems associated with current public health and environmental crises and chart a course for a future that solves these urgent problems—public health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency. The first seminar launches September 15, the second on October 12, and a third will be announced for November. Register for free! The Forum will address both the science that defines the problems associated with the threats and the solutions, some of which are contained in legislation such as the Zero Food Waste Act and the Compost Act. Two ways of helping to reduce agricultural carbon emissions and reduce hunger are addressed in these two bills—by maximizing the amount of food that is eaten and ensuring that food waste is composted to build soil […]

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05
May

First Report of Environmental Pollutant Risk Among Tropical Mammals Across the Globe

(Beyond Pesticides, May 5, 2022) A report published in Biological Conservation finds environmental pollutants, including pesticides, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and particulate matter, adversely affect tropical terrestrial wildlife. Specifically, these contaminants can interact with one another, altering the chemical landscape of the ecosystem, and causing changes in the endocrine and microbiome systems of mammals. Since the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), global attention to the danger of pesticides has increased, with environmental agencies banning the use of legacy pesticides like organochlorines for their devastating toxic—sometimes lethal—effects. However, these chemicals can remain in the environment for decades and interact with various current-use pesticides, including organophosphates, neonicotinoids, and pyrethroids. Although many studies demonstrate that environmental pollution plays a significant role in premature deaths among humans, there is a lack of research on how environmental pollution directly affects tropical species mortality. Considering human and wildlife habitats tend to overlap, and chemical pollutants can drift from chemically treated areas, wildlife populations are more likely to experience similar health effects. With the number of chemicals in the ecosystem growing, studies like these highlight the need for pesticide policies that protect human health in addition to the integrity of the chemical landscapes accommodating wildlife. The researchers note, “Using […]

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15
Apr

Beyond Pesticides Makes Science-based Case that It Is Imperative to Phase Out Pesticides in a Decade

The organic solutions to problems highlighted in the latest issue of Pesticides and You—based on the importance of healthy ecosystems and public health protection—are within reach, and the data creates an imperative for action now that phases out pesticides within a decade, while ensuring food productivity, resilient land management, and safe food, air, and water. (Beyond Pesticides, April 15, 2022) The current issue of Pesticides and You, RETROSPECTIVE 2021: A Call to Urgent Action, is a look at a year of science, policy, and advocacy that informs both the existential problems that the U.S. and the world are facing due to toxic pesticide dependency, and solutions that can be adopted now. The information in this issue captures the body of science that empowers action at the local, state, and federal level, and provides a framework for challenging toxic pesticide use and putting alternatives in place. The issue finds that 2021 was a pivotal year in both defining the problem and advancing the solution. This year in review is divided into nine sections that provide an accounting of scientific findings documenting serious pesticide-induced health and environmental effects, disproportionate risk to people of color and those with preexisting conditions, regulatory failures, at the same time […]

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13
Apr

Ecosystem Services Provided by Birds and Bees Synergize to Increase Farm Yield and Profit

(Beyond Pesticides, April 13, 2022) The combined effects of insect pollination and natural pest control provided by birds synergize to improve yields and income for coffee farmers, finds research published this month in the journal PNAS. Ecosystem services – the positive benefits provided by ecosystems, wildlife, and their natural processes – underpin agricultural production, but are often analyzed in silos, on a case by case basis in the scientific literature. The current research finds that the quantitative benefits of ecosystem services can be greater when considering their interactive effects. “Until now, researchers have typically calculated the benefits of nature separately, and then simply added them up,” says lead author Alejandra MartĂ­nez-Salinas, PhD of Costa Rica’s Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE). “But nature is an interacting system, full of important synergies and trade-offs. We show the ecological and economic importance of these interactions, in one of the first experiments at realistic scales in actual farms.”   Researchers based their experiment in Costa Rica, working with 30 shade grown coffee farms owned by small landholders. Eight coffee plants on each farm were selected for the study. Pest control services provided by birds were assessed using a 20mm mesh screen that excludes […]

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