The Waggle - Issue 43
Regenerating Australia’s Wildlife: A recently published study has found 26 Australian species have recovered to the point where they are no longer considered to be threatened under Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC). The list includes 1 fish, 4 frogs, eight birds, and fifteen mammals, including the famous humpback whale, which was delisted by the government’s scientific panel last year. While most of the species are still far from historical population sizes, scientists have noted that they are no longer rapidly declining, and in some cases, their populations are now increasing. Researchers have attributed these recoveries to targeted strategies (i.e. translocation, predator-free havens, and predator control) implemented by the government, conservation groups, and indigenous land managers, which are critical to continue to prevent numbers from slipping backward.
The Waggle - Issue 42
Amazing Hemp: After the 2018 Farm Bill decriminalized hemp (a cousin to marijuana), this hard-working plant is enjoying a heyday. For millennia, hemp fibers have been used to make rope, paper, textiles, shoes, construction materials, and other products. Today, the many benefits of hemp are expanding. It is being processed into a biodegradable alternative to plastic. It is an excellent source of plant protein for humans and animals. Hemp plants use water six times more efficiently than cotton plants. Research suggests hemp is twice as effective as trees at absorbing and locking up carbon. A recent study in Scotland determined that these climate benefits could translate into significant market potential for hemp products. Recently, the USDA’s “Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities” program awarded $35 million to five hemp-specific projects. While this amount is relatively small, it’s a good start for a versatile and recently liberated plant!
The Waggle - Issue 41
Protecting Ecuador’s Cloud Forest: An article released earlier this month highlights grassroots conservation in Ecuador’s threatened cloud forest including regenerative agriculture, restoration, female empowerment, and anti-mining protests. These biodiversity hotspots house ⅙ of the world’s plant species, and animals from spectacled bears, to puma, to a number of endemic amphibians, but their proximity to mining operations has threatened Ecuador’s largely degraded cloud forests for decades. Defensa y Conservación Ecológica de Intag (DECOIN) has been supporting this regenerative work for the past 28 years. They are guided by their ecosystems: from women-owned natural materials co-op, to natural restoration practices which include planting over 75,000 native trees since the 2000s, to supporting organic coffee farms in the region. They currently steward 12,000 acres of land against mining threats, creating a wellspring of opportunities for the many species sharing their vibrant landscape.