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Gleanings from Headline News – June 2021

Firefly Summer

Chasing after the blinking glow of fireflies on a warm summer evening is a favorite childhood memory for many. Unfortunately, recent assessments have shown that several firefly species in the U.S. and Canada are at risk of extinction due to habitat loss, light pollution, and climate change. The assessments identified some key actions that need to be taken to protect and better understand fireflies from coast to coast. Read more at Xerces Society.

Celebrate Pollinator Week June 21-27

Pollinator Week is an annual event celebrated internationally in support of pollinator health. It’s a time to celebrate pollinators and spread the word about what we can do to protect them. The great thing about Pollinator Week is that you can celebrate and get involved any way you like! Read more at Pollinator Partnership.

Should We Help Endangered Species Move?

The conservation community has fiercely debated whether to help species move as climate change and habitat loss threatens more extinctions. Now, scientists are calling on an upcoming international conference to set guidelines for this complex – and potentially risky – challenge. Read more at Yale Environment 360.

New Hampshire Team Works to Create Living Shoreline

The Great Bay Living Shoreline Project in New Hampshire aims to create new living shoreline projects in the Great Bay Estuary that protect salt marsh habitat and coastal communities from erosion, sea-level rise, and flooding. Project partners have obtained grant funds to support professionals looking to gain hands-on experience with living shoreline design. Read more at New Hampshire Great Bay Living Shoreline Project.

A New Invasive Tick to Worry About

This year’s tick season has brought an unwelcome development beyond the usual concerns about the disease-bearing arachnids with the confirmation of what one scientist said is a new invasive species in the Northeast. The Asian Longhorn Tick poses a risk to livestock but doesn’t seem to like people. Read more at EcoRI News.

Be on the Lookout for the Invasive Box Tree Moth

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the presence of box tree moth, Cydalima perspectalis, in the continental United States. APHIS is taking action alongside state partners and industry to contain and eradicate the invasive pest that was imported on nursery plants shipped from Ontario, Canada. Read more at US Department of Agriculture.

Tree-Smart Trade

Invasive pests attack urban, suburban, and rural trees and can decimate entire species of trees in a matter of decades, but there is a path forward. Our government can be smart and prevent the introduction of new pests to stop further damage. Read more at Cary Institute.

Plants Forced to Adapt to Rapidly Changing Climate

New research published found that humans have stressed plant ecosystems more severely, and for longer, than previously thought. Many of the forests we have now are dying because those trees established under cooler, moister conditions. As the climate becomes hotter and more extreme, we have to plant species that can handle that. Read more at Nations of Change.

Could Dandelions Make More Sustainable Tires?

The Russian dandelion helped supply the Allied forces with rubber through the Second World War. Now, tire makers are hoping it could make a commercial comeback. Over recent years, projects in Europe and the US have been taking a fresh shot at making dandelion rubber commercially viable. Many issues still exist, but this could help reduce deforestation from natural rubber plantations in Southeast Asia. Read more at DW.

A Ticky Situation

They say the best way to protect yourself from ticks is avoiding their habitat, which can be very tricky for gardeners, especially since New England, New York, and Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan are all Lyme disease hotspots. Experts swear by tick repellent clothing and body tick checks after being in a tick-infested habitat. Perhaps the most promising solution is a preventative shot called Lyme PrEP, developed at the University of Massachusetts and recently approved for clinical trials. The shot could come to market as soon as 2023. Read more at Sierra Club Magazine.

How Best to Restore the Natural World?

What’s the best way to protect nature and restore what has been lost? A series of new scientific papers offer conflicting views on whether efforts should focus on individual species or ecosystems, and they point to the role human inhabitants can play in conserving landscapes. Read more at Yale Environment 360.

Rethinking Forest Carbon Offsets

A critical examination of markets for forest carbon offsets in the United States suggests that offset deals provide little if any true “additionality” that enhances rates of forest carbon sequestration. The majority of credits sold on those markets, particularly for credits based on unrealistic baselines, provide no real offset to greenhouse gas emissions at all. Read more at The Cary Institute.

Wolves Have a Place in Healthy Ecosystem

Wolves were an essential part of promoting biodiversity and the overall health of ecosystems. Since wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone, other plants and animal species are thriving. Yet newly-passed laws in Montana and Idaho – intended to reduce the wolf populations in those states by 80 percent and 90 percent, respectively – are taking us back 100 years to when wolves were driven to near extinction in this country. Read more at Sierra Club Magazine.

The EU Moves to Slash Plastic Waste

As part of a broader effort to create a circular economy that reduces waste and greenhouse gas emissions, the European Union will ban a host of throwaway plastic items next month and is working to create an expansive and lucrative market for recycled plastics. Read more at Yale Environment 360.

Citizen Scientist Track Fireflies

Firefly Watch combines an annual summer evening ritual with scientific research. Join a network of community scientists around the country by reporting observations from your own backyard and helping scientists map fireflies. Read more at Mass Audubon.