News at a glance: Logging ’s effects, endangered abalone, and a contract for UC postdocs
CONSERVATION Life can thrive in a partially logged forest, study finds Forest plants and animals can thrive in selectively logged areas , calling into question their designation as degraded ecosystems, a study in Malaysia has found. An international team of researchers studied differences among an intact old forest, partly logged forest areas, and sites cleared for oil palm plantations, all of them in Sabah state on northern Borneo. The scientists used data—gathered over 12 years by the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems project, one of the world’s largest ecological studies—about local plant productivity, animal populations, and what they ate. In each plot, the team calculated how photosynthetic energy flows through the ecosystem, a measure of its vitality and resilience. The selective logging created open space that fostered plant growth, which led to a 2.5-fold increase in consumption of vegetation by animals compared with the old-growth forest, the researchers report this week in Nature . The diversity of birds and mammals stayed roughly the same. In the monoculture palm plantations, animals consumed as much as in the old-growth forest, but their species diversity plummeted. The research was funded primarily by the U.K. Natural Environment Research Council. PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT Museum head pushes for diversity The American Museum of Natural History last week named as its new president b...
Source: ScienceNOW - Category: Science Source Type: news
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