Articles on Ecology

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Burned area in Santa Rosa, California, Oct. 11, 2017. US Department of Defense

Why were California’s wine country fires so destructive?

Fire is part of the ecology in much of California, but recent wildfires have caused much more damage than past burns of similar size. A fire ecologist points to two key factors: winds and population growth.
This Auroch skeleton from Denmark dates to around 7,500BC. The circles indicate where the animal was wounded by arrows. Malene Thyssen./Wikimedia

The quest to revive extinct Aurochs to restore ancient lands

Bringing back aurochs is a competitive and ambitious venture aiming at recreating wilderness in Europe. But ethical and scientific questions linger.
Unlike napalm, which immediately scalded its victims, Agent Orange kills and maims slowly over time, its effects passed down through generations. U.S. Army Operations in Vietnam R.W. Trewyn, Ph.D/Wikimedia

Agent Orange, exposed: How U.S. chemical warfare in Vietnam unleashed a slow-moving disaster

The use of Agent Orange in Vietnam had deep impacts, including a poisoned water supply, birth defects and cancer. Despite decades of attempted litigation, justice for spraying victims seems unlikely.
A brown bear snags a sockeye salmon in Alaska. In warm years, red elderberries ripen early and Kodiak bears leave streams full of salmon to eat them. Jonathan Armstrong

As a warming climate changes Kodiak bears’ diets, impacts could ripple through ecosystems

Climate change is making berries ripen early in Kodiak, Alaska, luring bears away from eating salmon. This shift may not hurt the bears, but could have far-reaching impacts on surrounding forests.
A drain carries water but does little else, but imagine how different the neighbourhood would be if the drain could be transformed into a living stream. Zoe Myers

More than just drains: recreating living streams through the suburbs

Drains take up precious but inaccessible open space in our cities. Converting these to living streams running through the suburbs could make for healthier places in multiple ways.
Leaf sizes vary according to a complex mix of temperature and water. Peter Wilf/Supplied

New research unlocks the mystery of leaf size

Some leaves are millimetres across, and others are a metre square. An international study has found the essential factors controlling leaf variations.
Eugenia uniflora (flowers and young red leaves) a native Brazilian species, now invasive in Hawaii. Forest & Kim Starr/Wikimedia

How we used cameras in the sky to track invasive plant species

For mapping patterns of plant invasion from the sky, understanding plant behaviour on the ground and using it along with remote sensing cameras, is crucial.
The High Line in New York City, a former elevated railroad trestle converted to a public park. Shinya Suzuki/Flickr

Urban nature: What kinds of plants and wildlife flourish in cities?

In an urbanizing world, people increasingly are seeking out nature in cities. Research shows that diverse species of animals, plants and insects can thrive in areas that humans have altered.

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