Bolivia’s second largest lake has nearly disappeared. Lake Poopó, a saltwater lake located in a shallow depression in the Altiplano Mountains, used to cover an area about the size of Los Angeles. While it’s not the first time the lake has dried out, scientists believe its recovery hangs in the balance due to the combined stress of drought, climate change, and water diversion.
"For a long time in environmental science we've done a pretty good job of keeping people outside the box of ecosystems" says Dr. Peter Groffman, who studies the microbial and chemical ecology of urban landscapes and waterways.
Bolivia's second largest lake, Poopó, has all but dried up, threatening the livelihood of fishing communities and spelling ecological disaster for hundreds of species. The Bolivian government is blaming dry weather spurred by El Niño and a changing climate, but that's not the whole story.
In the Hudson Valley, our forests have been shaped by human activities, which have often altered and hidden the roles played by natural processes like climate and soil fertility. For thousands of years, we have been manipulating local plant communities.
Religions are based on systems of faith, morals, and practice. Science is based on a system of theories, evidence, and hypothesis testing. Both are embedded in the structures of society where a convergence of beliefs and knowledge can often work together for a common social good.
I spent a lot of time outdoors as a kid in southern Michigan in the 1960s and 70s. The river in my hometown was a sour-smelling mess the color and consistency of potato soup, the miles of enticing beaches along nearby Lake Erie were never once open for swimming,
Since the bad old days of the 1970s and '80s, there has been a whole lot less acid falling on the Northeast. That’s mostly thanks to the 1990 Clean Air Act, which has made a big difference to lakes and streams.
Managing fish in human-altered rivers is a challenge because their food webs are sensitive to environmental disturbance. So reports a new study in the journal Ecological Monographs, based on an exhaustive three-year analysis of the Colorado River in Glen and Grand Canyons.
Most of us are familiar with the idea that we need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to prevent global warming. Methane is also a problem, and we hear about it much less frequently. But compared to carbon dioxide, methane's impact on climate change is some twenty times more powerful.
In rural areas, unpaved roads hold a certain charm. They restrict the volume and speed of traffic and, compared to their paved counterparts, are less expensive to build. But are they a greener alternative?
Most of us have experienced a river shoreline— from a park, a train, or a boat. When we see where the water meets the land, how many of us have considered how modified shorelines influence river health?
The next time you find yourself reaching for your umbrella, take a moment to consider the fate of rainfall after it hits the ground. While some rain is absorbed by natural ground cover, such as fields or forested areas, a high percentage becomes stormwater delivered to our rivers, creeks, ponds and lakes
We tend to think of nature as having reliable patterns; the leaves turn color each autumn, seasonal birds come and go. But there are also examples of sudden, unexpected changes in the environment around us.
Few themes in literature are more alluring than the lost world. Places such as Atlantis, Shangri-La, Conan Doyle's "Lost World", and now the bestselling "The Lost City of Z" conjure up images of strange landscapes, exotic civilizations and hidden treasures.
If you ever saw "Star Wars," you'll remember the trash compactor scene: Trying to escape from the Imperials, Luke and his friends duck into what turns out to be a trash compactor, where things go from bad to worse.