Articles on Ecosystem services

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Underwater view of waves breaking over a healthy coral reef, reducing wave energy at the shoreline that can cause flooding. Curt Storlazzi, USGS

Coral reefs provide flood protection worth $1.8 billion every year – it’s time to protect them

A new report shows that coral reefs reduce damage from floods across the United States and its trust territories by more than $1.8 billion every year – and pinpoints that value state by state.
Marine parks are good for fish - especially if they’re in the right areas. Epstock/Shutterstock

More fish, more fishing: why strategic marine park placement is a win-win

With strategic planning, the marine protected area network could be a third smaller, cost half as much, and still meet the international target of protecting 10% of every ecosystem.
Eastern quolls have been introduced in Booderee Nation Park as part of a rewilding project. Oisin Sweeney

We can ‘rewild’ swathes of Australia by focusing on what makes it unique

Rewilding is gaining popularity around the world, as a means to restore ecosystems to their ancient state. But just like Vegemite, Australian rewilding projects need to have a unique flavour.
The West Moberly First Nation would like to see biodiversity-rich riparian areas in the Peace River Valley, in northeastern British Columbia protected. They will be destroyed by the Site C hydro dam, currently under construction. Garth Lenz

Protecting not-so-wild places helps biodiversity

Countries can protect biodiversity and recognize Indigenous peoples as conservation partners.
Marshes at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Ataraxy22/Wikimedia

Protecting the world’s wetlands: 5 essential reads

Marshes, swamps and other kinds of wetlands provide valuable services, such as effective natural flood control. But they are being destroyed for development in many parts of the world.
Soil is a non-renewable part of the environment. Can it sustain food production for our growing population? www.shutterstock.com

In 100 years’ time, maybe our food won’t be grown in soil

The thin layer of soil on our planet's surface ultimately sustains us all, but it's a finite resource. With a growing global population, perhaps it is time to start looking for alternatives.
Healthy Tasmanian devil populations have cornered the market on carrion. Menna Elizabeth Jones

Tassie devils’ decline has left a feast of carrion for feral cats

A new study involving leaving animal carcasses strewn across Tasmania shows that in places where devils have dwindled, other scavengers are stepping up to fill the gap, with nasty knock-on effects.
Nature offers many benefits to people. (Shutterstock)

It pays to invest in biodiversity

Governments around the world have vowed to halt the loss of global biodiversity by 2020, but without more investment, we'll miss some of the targets.
Oysters can do a lot more than they’re given credit for.

The surprising benefits of oysters (and no, it’s not what you’re thinking)

Oysters aren't just good for a feed. They also give a vital boost to coastal ecosystems, which is why efforts are underway to restore Australia's once-abundant oyster reefs to their former glory.
Australia’s Purnululu National Park is a World Heritage wilderness, but many other pristine places lack similar protection. AAP Image/Tourism Australia

Earth’s wildernesses are disappearing, and not enough of them are World Heritage-listed

Wilderness areas are vitally important, yet are largely overlooked by the United Nations' list of natural World Heritage. This week's meeting in Poland is a chance to redress that balance.
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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