Category Archives: Ecological Restoration

Discovery reveals secrets about how ghost orchids reproduce

Deep in remote Florida swamps, a team of researchers and photographers have made a new discovery that upends what we thought we knew about the ghost orchid, one of the world’s most iconic flowers, and how it reproduces. These rare, charming orchids were long thought to be pollinated by a single insect: the giant sphinx…
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12 Bugs You Should Never Kill

Butterflies The mere presence of butterflies adds a heavenly vibe to any garden, but these graceful insects also help beautify plants by pollinating them. One of the best ways to attract a few of these magnificent creatures is by planting liatris, spiky flowers that some butterflies find very appealing. Praying Mantises Praying mantises are like…
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How trees could save the climate

Around 0.9 billion hectares of land worldwide would be suitable for reforestation, which could ultimately capture two thirds of human-made carbon emissions. The Crowther Lab of ETH Zurich has published a study in the journal Science that shows this would be the most effective method to combat climate change. The Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich investigates nature-based…
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How This Popular Garden Plant May Spread Parasites That Harm Monarchs

For monarch butterflies in the eastern United States, life revolves around milkweed, a group of about 100 plants in the genus Asclepius that provide food, shelter and nectar for the iconic insects. During their annual migration to the their overwintering sites in the mountains of Mexico, millions of the butterflies float from milkweed to milkweed…
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Mowing for monarchs

You might think that mowing fields wouldn't benefit monarch butterfly populations. New research from Michigan State University, however, shows that disturbances like mowing -- at key times -- might help boost the iconic butterfly's numbers. The results are published in the current issue of Biological Conservation, and they show that strategic grassland management benefits monarchs in…
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Free-floating DNA to reveal the health of river and lake ecosystems

The mix of DNA floating in rivers and lakes will finally be used to monitor the state of aquatic ecosystems, after years of tests to show that the technique works. Conventionally, aquatic life is monitored by capturing organisms, either by using nets or scraping under boulders, for examination. These techniques are time-consuming, can harm species and require skilled ecologists. Monitoring fish typically involves using…
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Monarch butterfly populations are on the rise

The latest survey of monarch butterfly habitat in Mexico is a testament to the power of conservation. The area of forest occupied by hibernating monarch butterflies in Mexico has increased by 144% in relation to last year’s survey—the biggest growth in the past 12 years. A new colony of monarchs was also found in the…
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Study on Weed Killers and Monarch Butterflies Spurs Ecological Flap

Monarch butterfly populations have been declining since the 1990s, and several studies have linked this to the proliferation of crops genetically engineered to tolerate the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup. Crops are routinely doused with it, killing all but the engineered plants—and the casualties include milkweed, on which monarchs exclusively lay their eggs. Some 850 million milkweed…
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