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Conservation

Earth's Sixth Mass Extinction Event Under Way, Scientists Warn

Researchers talk of ‘biological annihilation’ as study reveals billions of populations of animals have been lost in recent decades

           

Earth already in midst of sixth mass extinction, scientists say

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - PNAS - Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines

theguardian.com - by Damian Carrington - July 10, 2017

A “biological annihilation” of wildlife in recent decades means a sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history is under way and is more severe than previously feared, according to research.

Scientists analysed both common and rare species and found billions of regional or local populations have been lost . . . 

 . . . “All signs point to ever more powerful assaults on biodiversity in the next two decades, painting a dismal picture of the future of life, including human life” . . . 

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The Diversity of Life Across Much of Earth Has Plunged Below ‘Safe’ Levels

An aerial view shows a tract of Amazon rain forest that has been cleared by loggers and farmers for agriculture near the city of Santarem, Para State, April 20, 2013. (Nacho Doce/Reuters)

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Science - Has land use pushed terrestrial biodiversity beyond the planetary boundary? A global assessment

washingtonpost.com - by Chris Mooney - July 14, 2016

In an ambitious study that represents the latest merger between big data approaches and the quest to conserve the planet, scientists have found that across a majority of the Earth’s land surface — including some of its most important types of terrain and its most populous regions — the abundance or overall number of animals and plants of different species has fallen below a “safe” level identified by biologists.

The reason is not exactly a surprise — from grasslands to tropical forests, humans are using more and more land for agriculture, to live on, to build roads and infrastructure upon. When we take over, we clear the land or otherwise convert it for our purposes.

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Ebola activity heats up as West Africa's rainy season begins

CIDRAP NEWS by Lisa Schnirring                                                                               June 3, 2015

(Scroll down for WHO stuation report.)

In  its weekly epidemiologicpidemiologic profile of the outbreak Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Ebola activity in Guinea and Sierra Leone has become more intense and widespread since May 10, when the region saw cases hit a 10-month low.

Last week the two countries reported 25 new lab-confirmed cases, 13 in Guinea and 12 in Sierra Leone. The number is up from 12 reported the week before.

Overall, the total of confirmed, probable, and suspected cases in the two countries and Liberia—which is now Ebola free—has risen to 27,145, including 11,147 deaths, the WHO said.

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Amazon Deforestation ‘Threshold’ Causes Species Loss to Accelerate

        

Corn plantation nearby remaining forest in the Amazon region.  Credit: Jose Manuel Ochoa-Quintero

One of the largest area studies of forest loss impacting biodiversity shows that a third of the Amazon is headed toward or has just past a threshold of forest cover below which species loss is faster and more damaging. Researchers call for conservation policy to switch from targeting individual landowners to entire regions.

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH STUDY - Thresholds of species loss in Amazonian deforestation frontier landscapes

University of Cambridge - cam.ac.uk - March 4, 2015

One of the first studies to map the impact of deforestation on biodiversity across entire regions of the Amazon has found a clear ‘threshold’ for forest cover below which species loss becomes more rapid and widespread.    

By measuring the loss of a core tranche of dominant species of large and medium-sized mammals and birds, and using the results as a bellwether, the researchers found that for every 10% of forest loss, one to two major species are wiped out.

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Ebola halts HIV progress in Sierra Leone, says UN

Thomson Reuters Foundation by Misha Hussain                                                        Feb.27, 2015

 DAKAR -- The West African Ebola outbreak has halted progress in tackling HIV in Sierra Leone, shutting health clinics and scaring patients from being tested or seeking treatment, the United Nations has said.

In an internal document seen by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) raised concerns that HIV prevalence and drug resistance in the country could increase as a result.

"Hospitals have closed down because they have been overrun by Ebola patients and non-Ebola patients are too afraid to go to them for fear of catching the virus," said Hakan Bjorkman, who manages UNDP's AIDS programme.

"HIV prevention activities in schools and awareness raising for the general population has been suspended due to the restriction of movement, the closure of all education institutions and the overall ban on public gathering."

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U.S.-built Ebola treatment centers in Liberia are nearly empty as outbreak fades


Workers at an Ebola treatment center relax Jan. 10, 2015 in Tubmanburg, Liberia. The facility was built by the U.S. military. (Whitney Leaming/The Washington Post)

WASHINGTON POST  by Kevin Sieff                                                          Jan. 19, 2015

UBMANBURG, Liberia — Near the hillside shelter where dozens of men and women died of Ebola, a row of green U.S. military tents sit atop a vast expanse of imported gravel. The generators hum; chlorinated water churns in brand-new containers; surveillance cameras send a live feed to a large-screen television.

There’s only one thing missing from this state-of-the-art Ebola treatment center: Ebola patients.

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Britain says it has strengthened Ebola screening after first case

REUTERS                                                                                            Jan. 6, 2015

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