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Bar-coding biodiversity

By Stuart Pimm Braga, Portugal–We don’t have names for perhaps 90 percent of all the species on Earth–and even when we do have names for them, we can’t readily identify many of them. In some cases we may encounter only fragments of specimens, making it even more challenging to identify them. A small piece of DNA, however, is enough to provide a ”bar…

Why the ultimate frequent flyer–the American knot–is endangered

This is the second part of a series on the shorebirds that make one of the longest annual migrations in the world, the 9,000-mile flight that spans the entire Americas, from feeding grounds on Tierra del Fuego to breeding grounds in the Arctic. The heroic journey has evolved over countless generations. But can the migration, and the…

Ringing the knot on the New Jersey shore

Conservation biologist Stuart Pimm joins citizen scientists–highly skilled amateur naturalists and their extraordinary organizer–on a New Jersey beach. The mission : Catch, band, and release hundreds of red knots, tiny birds that stop to rest and feed on one of the world’s epic animal migrations–the annual trek between the southern and northern extremes of the…

The global benefits of Canada’s logging moratorium

A huge swath of Canada’s boreal forest was protected today. Stuart Pimm, a member of the International Boreal Conservation Science Panel, explains why that’s important for biodiversity and for slowing global warming. By Stuart Pimm Today, 20 companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada and 9 leading environmental organizations agreed to protect 72 million hectares (more…

Biodiversity: More than a list and stranger than Avatar

By Stuart Pimm Biscayne National Park, Florida–There’s a distinct air of competition at a bioblitz. We’re all here to identify as many species as we can in 24 hours. We know how well our colleagues have done in the previous three efforts. We can do better. I listen to the opening talks and keep one…

America’s most abundant, most wanted bird

By Stuart L. Pimm What’s America’s most abundant, most wanted bird? OK, I’ll put you out of your misery. It’s the chicken and we eat billions of them. So, now list some of the wild birds that are abundant. Cardinal, red-winged blackbird, mockingbird–they are all native. There’s introduced starling and house sparrow too. We’ve all…

Are you ready to Bioblitz?

By Stuart L. Pimm Another perfect day in paradise. The winds are light, the sunrise glorious, the sky blue all day. The temperature is a pleasant low 70s F and humidity is low. But then, most days at this time of year are perfect here in the Florida Keys. Yes, I know many of you…

2010 Tyler Environmental Prize Announced

National Geographic scientist and Nat Geo News Watch blogger Stuart Pimm is one of two conservationists who have been awarded the 2010 Tyler Environmental Prize. The award, consisting of a U.S.$200,000 cash prize and gold medals, goes to Laurie Marker, the co-founder and executive director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Otjiwarongo, Namibia, and Stuart…

This land is your land… and so, too, is the ocean

By Stuart L. Pimm “This land is your land, this land is my land … ” According to Mary Turnipseed of Duke University’s Marine Laboratory, Woodie Guthrie got it wrong in 1940. What’s ours—as citizens and coastal residents–stretches well beyond “California and New York Island.” Two hundred miles out to sea, in fact. And her…

High-living pika can help us understand our climate fate

By Stuart L. Pimm for NatGeo News Watch If you think small, furry rodent-like mammals are unappealing, then you have never met a pika! They look like very small rabbits, are often quite tame, and they are enormously endearing. They are usually stuffing their faces with vegetation. It’s also where they live that makes them so…

“Pleistocene Park” emerges from Patagonia’s rescued grasslands

Conservation biologist Stuart Pimm reports from Patagonia near the tip of South America on how dedicated colleagues are re-wilding former sheep ranches. Their vision is to create a Yosemite-size national park that protects temperate grasslands for indigenous animals and plants. Culpeo fox photograph by Stuart L. Pimm By Stuart L. Pimm Special contributor to NatGeo News Watch Patagonia,…

Brazil’s Major Victory in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

As part of its target to cut emissions from land-use changes by 80 percent by 2020, Brazil aimed to reduce annual deforestation in the Amazon to no more than 7,000 square kilometres by 2013. Environment Minister Carlos Minc explained today that his country is four years ahead of schedule with that plan. By Stuart L.…

Finding orchids in Colombia’s other rainforest

Colombia has made impressive progress in declaring a large part of its Amazon rain forest protected for conservation. But there’s another rain forest in Colombia, the Chocó, on the Pacific side of the country. This forest teems with even more species than in the Amazon forest, but it is not as well protected. Conservation biologist…

Exploration 101: The dream jobs begin with a slog

Conservation biologist Stuart Pimm has a long and brilliant career as a scientist. Author of numerous research papers and books, he has given lectures in distinguished forums across the world. Yet he is never happier than as a teacher and mentor. In this blog entry Pimm addresses what it takes to be a young explorer in…

The call to boycott Madagascar’s rosewood and ebony explained

Representatives of Malagasy civil society, conservation and development organizations and the international community issued a statement today lamenting the ongoing destruction of Madagascar’s last fragments of forest for the illegal harvest and export of precious woods. Consumers of rosewood and ebony products are asked to check their origin, and boycott those made of Malagasy wood.…