Artificial Border Walls Impede Wildlife Adapting to Climate Change
A first-time study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA examined how human-made barriers could restrict wildlife movement as their habitats become uninhabitable due to climate change, Bloomberg Green reported.
"Species all over the planet are on the move as they respond to a changing climate," Professor Stephen Willis of Durham University's Department of Biosciences and the joint-study lead, told Durham University, according to Phys.org. "Borders that are fortified with walls and fences pose a serious threat to any species that can't get across them."
Researchers at Durham University in the UK studied about 80 percent of climate niches for land mammals and birds, and which temperature and precipitation pattern best suits their preferences, Bloomberg Green reported. Researchers then predicted where these niches would be if greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise, showing how they will dramatically shift over the coming decades.
By 2070, under a high-emissions scenario, 35 percent of mammals and 29 percent of birds are expected to have half of their climate niches in countries they are not currently found in, study authors wrote.
Researchers examined aspects that could restrict wildlife from moving to more suitable areas. Human-made physical borders, such as walls and fences, could be an "overlooked obstacle to climate adaptation," they noted.
Durham University reported that borders between the U.S. and Mexico, China and Russia and India and Myanmar pose the biggest ecological threats.
While past research has identified ecological damage caused by the U.S.-Mexico border wall, researchers said their findings show this damage could be worse than previously expected and that this border could be "one of the worst international borders on the planet along which to build such a wall."Researchers predict that the U.S.-Mexico border wall could prevent 122 species from finding a new climate niche. These barriers could also "destroy habitats, fragment populations, [and] prevent dispersal and migration," the authors wrote.
As of early last year, the U.S. contained about 131 Mexican grey wolves, while the Mexican population numbered around 20 to 30, Maggie Howell of the Wolf Conservation Center told Sierra. Although these numbers were at a population high since the wolves were reintroduced in the 1990s, Trump's border wall hampered their ability to grow, Sierra reported.
"The fact that something everybody in the recovery of Mexican gray wolves is working toward is now literally being blocked off... I'm feeling the devastation to this subspecies," Howell told Sierra last year. "We are blocking off a chance for these animals to one day be a self-sustaining, healthy, recovered population."
However, the Biden administration plans to terminate additional border wall construction, which could further help rebuild the Mexican gray wolf population. It could also boost the endangered Sonoran pronghorn population that lives near the border.
But as climate change becomes more severe, ending border wall construction may not be enough to conserve some wildlife species. That's why the authors also call for "cooperation across national boundaries to minimize biodiversity loss in the face of global change."
Developing conservation initiatives and habitat corridors that transcend national borders is necessary for the future of their survival, Durham University reported.
"Our findings show how important it is that species can move across national boundaries through connected habitats in order to cope with this change," Willis told Durham University, according to Phys.org. "If we're serious about protecting nature, expanding transboundary conservation initiatives and reducing the impacts of border barriers on species will be really important — although there's no substitute for tackling the greenhouse gas emissions at the root of the issue."
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Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.
<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
By Hui Hu
Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.
Comparing rime ice and glaze ice shows how each changes the texture of the blade. Gao, Liu and Hu, 2021, CC BY-ND
Ice buildup changes air flow around the turbine blade, which can slow it down. The top photos show ice forming after 10 minutes at different temperatures in the Wind Research Tunnel. The lower measurements show airflow separation as ice accumulates. Icing Research Tunnel of Iowa State University, CC BY-ND
While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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