Articles on Ecology

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A small colony of Townsend’s big eared bats at Lava Beds National Monument, Calif. Shawn Thomas, NPS/Flickr

It’s wrong to blame bats for the coronavirus epidemic

The value that bats provide to humans by pollinating crops and eating insects is far greater than harm from virus transmission – which is mainly caused by human actions.
To understand the effects of a big die-off, researchers set up experiments with wild boar carcasses. Brandon Barton, Mississippi State University

Rotting feral pig carcasses teach scientists what happens when tons of animals die all at once, as in Australia’s bushfires

Death is a natural part of ecosystems. But it's unusual for a large number of animals to all die at once. Researchers are investigating how a mass mortality event affects what's left afterwards.
When there are too many elites in a society, competition for power makes existing problems worse. Francisco Goya / Wikimedia

History repeats itself. That’s bad news for the 2020s

The 2020s promise to be a decade of mounting strain. But will these years be a story of spiralling decline or triumph over adversity?
Cities around the world appear to be harboring increasing numbers of rats, including this one: the inflatable ‘Scabby the Rat.’ robert cicchetti/Shutterstock.com

Super rats or sickly rodents? Our war against urban rats could be leading to swift evolutionary changes

Cities often embark upon drastic and expensive eradication campaigns designed to rapidly rid the city of pests like rats. But are the surviving rats stronger or weaker than before?
Burning invasive, nonnative grasses on federal land at Lower Table Rock, Oregon. BLM

Invasive grasses are fueling wildfires across the US

Along with climate change and drought, invasive grasses are promoting wildfires across the US, even in areas that don't normally burn.
Aja Conrad, the Karuk Tribe’s workforce and internships coordinator, lights a prescribed fire in Orleans, California. Jenny Staats

What western states can learn from Native American wildfire management strategies

Instead of suppressing wildfire, the Karuk Tribe in the Pacific Northwest is using it as an integral part of its climate change management plan. Federal, state and local agencies are taking note.
Aborigines Using Fire to Hunt Kangaroos, by Joseph Lycett. New research suggests the assumption Aboriginal people lived in open vegetation sustained by fire is misplaced. National Library of Australia

New research turns Tasmanian Aboriginal history on its head. The results will help care for the land

History has told us Aboriginal people in Tasmania almost exclusively occupied open plains. Revelations to the contrary could transform modern conservation.

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