Fossil pollen record suggests vulnerability to mass extinction ahead

Image of two researchers in woods.

(Georgia Institute of Technology) Reduced resilience of plant biomes in North America could be setting the stage for the kind of mass extinctions not seen since the retreat of glaciers and arrival of humans about 13,000 years ago, cautions a new study. “Our work indicates that landscapes today are once again exhibiting low resilience, foreboding potential extinctions to come. Conservation strategies focused on improving both landscape and ecosystem resilience by increasing local connectivity and targeting regions with high richness and diverse landforms can mitigate these extinction risks.”

Scientists put forward plan to create universal species list

Image of insect specimen collection.

(The Guardian) The 10-point plan aims to end centuries of disagreement and confusion over how to classify the world’s library of life with an authoritative list of the world’s species and a governance mechanism responsible for its quality. Researchers hope a single recognized list would improve global efforts to tackle biodiversity loss, the trade in endangered wildlife, bio security and conservation.

Hedging against biodiversity loss

Image of hedgerows and road verges.

(The Applied Ecologist) Hedgerows and road verges are important habitats across the globe. Hedgerows are ubiquitous around the world because of their historical use as livestock barriers, markings of land property, and wood production. Road verges cover an estimated 0.2 percent of the earth’s land surface – an area equivalent to the entire United Kingdom. New research is showing that the benefits of these habitats to both nature and people are numerous.

Bees, birds and butter: New study shows biodiversity critical for shea crop in Africa

Image of woman processing shea nuts.

(EurekAlert/Trinity College Dublin) Shea trees, an important agroforestry crop in West Africa, benefit from bees moving pollen between their flowers to produce fruit. A new study found that in sites with low tree and shrub diversity, fruit production was severely limited by a lack of pollination. In higher-diversity sites, more honey bees were observed, and other bees visited flowers in greater numbers, boosting pollination services.