Beavers are one of nature's most industrious engineers. Using branches and mud, the intrepid animals create dams that slow moving water. In New York's Hudson Valley, their constructions are a common sight on streams and in wetlands.
Beavers, once valued for their fur, may soon have more appreciation in the Northeastern United States. There they are helping prevent harmful levels of nitrogen from reaching the area's vulnerable estuaries. By creating ponds that slow down the movement of water, they aid in removing nitrogen from the water.
Since its inception, sustainability has been human-centric. It came into vogue in 1987, with the publication of a UN report called Our Common Future, which defined sustainable development as: "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
If you've ever taken a walk outside to "clear your head," it turns out you were onto something. Scientists, doctors, and the average person have long known that time spent in nature can have de-stressing, mood-boosting effects. They just haven't been exactly sure why.
Want to feel younger? Live on a street with more trees. That's the finding of University of Chicago researchers who studied the impact of street trees on the real and perceived health of residents of Toronto, Canada.
The value of wetlands extends beyond evenings in early spring, when a chorus of peepers makes the woods come alive with the sound of their music. Or when you stumble upon a male wood duck in a secluded forest pond— and marvel at its colorful beauty.
Every winter, ski resorts groom trails using heavy machines that do a great job flattening the snow, but also compact the soil underneath. In the offseason, the compacted soil makes it hard for vegetation to regrow, so a lot of money is invested in re-vegetation.
Zebra mussels are one of the most pernicious invasive species in the United States having infested the Great Lakes in the 1980s and then having spread to 29 states by hitching rides on boats on inland waterways.
Woodland pools are small, seasonal wetlands. In the Northeast, they are typically covered with ice and snow in the winter. In the heat of summer they dry up. And in the spring and late fall they contain standing water. Now is a great time for exploring the diversity of life in woodland pools.
Drinking water supplies around the world often contain trace amounts of pharmaceuticals, agricultural and industrial chemicals, and other synthetic compounds that can harm reproduction in fish and may be linked to adverse health effects in humans.
Biogeochemist Kathleen Weathers studies the chemicals and living organisms in fog or mist. Illuminating the chemical relationships among water, land, forests and the ocean increases our understanding of the ecological importance of fog and air pollution.
A terrestrial ecologist at Cary, Clive Jones' work focuses on the concept of organisms that help to engineer the ecosystem. In this interview, he talks about the relationship between ecological engineering and ecological compensation.
A new paper from members of the HEAL (Health & Ecosystems: Analysis of Linkages) consortium delineates a new branch of environmental health that focuses on the public health risks of human-caused changes to Earth’s natural systems.
Cary scientists David Strayer and Emma Rosi-Marshall delivered expert testimony at a May 5, 2013 congressional briefing that highlighted problems with aquatic invasive species and “natural infrastructure” solutions. The briefing took place on Capitol Hill as the U.S. Senate debated the Water Resources Development Act.
Nothing is more beautiful than a tall, stately tree. But sometimes they get in the way of progress. Well-meaning people think that planting a couple of smaller trees will make up for the loss of the elder statesman. Not so.
A new report warns that climate change is causing shifts in species composition faster than expected. Co-author and Cary scientist Peter Groffman comments, "cold temperatures are a critical regulator of species outbreaks and also of species distributions".
Business, especially the pesticide industry, will face challenges in developing sustainable practices that will reduce insecticide use. Yet their active participation is necessary to bring about change.