Down in New Zealand there’s a fence that people go out of their way to see. This fence was the first of its kind and was built to keep invasive predators out while conserving native species. The fence was built a couple decades ago and was specially designed to protect threatened species in New Zealand that were becoming prey to everything from cats to small mammals. Birds are loving it because their nests are protected while they can still fly away and gather food.
The sanctuary has become a significant tourist attraction in Wellington and is responsible for the greatly increased number of sightings of species such as t?? and k?k? in city’s suburbs.
Sometimes described as the world’s first mainland island sanctuary in an urban environment, the sanctuary has inspired many similar projects throughout New Zealand, with predator-proof fences now protecting the biodiversity of many other areas of forest. Examples include the 7.7-hectare (19-acre) lowland podocarp forest remnant of Riccarton bush/Putaringamotu, the 98-hectare (240-acre) Bushy Park, and the 3,500-hectare (8,600-acre) Maungatautari Restoration Project enclosing an entire mountain.
Way back in 2011 we took at a new app that helps to identify the world around, back then it was to help the California redwoods. That app is iNaturalist and it’s had a great decade plus of identifying all sorts of plants and animals. The app, which has a very active and committed user based has been so successful that species that had never been seen before have now been found. The ap started as a research project and will now live on as a nonprofit thanks to a generous donation. Here’s to studying the world through citizen science!
Data from iNaturalist have been used in more than 4,000 research publications, and users have identified new species through browsing its observations. “We have a better understanding of current biodiversity than we have ever had because of iNaturalist—hands down,” says Young. In total, more than 2.8 million observers have uploaded more than 150 million verifiable observations to iNaturalist, and in July, an average of 124 observations were uploaded per minute.
Every month, around 350,000 people record observations. But Loarie recalls a time when he considered 50 regular iNaturalist users a triumph. Like any critter on its site, iNaturalist has gone through a number of life stages.
It’s clear that being around nature is good for one’s health, but why? Researchers have been looking into the physiological reasons for the benefits of nature and multiple reasons have been found. Being in nature is good for you in many tiny ways that culminate into a big benefit to your immune system. Everything from a small house plants to large trees in local parks helps your immune system function better.
Be comforted knowing that you can improve your health (and other’s) by just helping plants grow.
In built environments, trees and landscaping may promote health not only by contributing positive factors like phytoncides but also by reducing negative factors.Air pollutionis associated with myocardial inflammation and respiratory conditions (Villarreal-Calderon et al., 2012).High temperaturescan cause heat exhaustion, heat-related aggression and violence, and respiratory distress due to heat-related smog formation (Anderson, 2001;Akbari, 2002;Tawatsupa et al., 2012). Andviolenceaffects physical and mental health (e.g.,Groves et al., 1993). Vegetation filters pollutants from the air (although see Table 2 in the Supplementary Materials for details), dampens the urban heat island (e.g.,Souch and Souch, 1993), and appears to reduce violence (Table 2 in the Supplementary Materials for review).
We keep kicking wildlife out of their homes, and it’s time to reverse that process. We need to invite wild animals back into the places they used o live, this is known as rewilding. The most celebrated rewilding effort was done in Yellowstone when wolves were reintroduced into the park, which led to a much healthier ecosystem. Now, there are places all around the world trying to return their parks and natural areas back to their pre-industrial prime. In Scotland they are looking to make rewilding a national effort.
He explains that they are urging all political parties to commit to five different measures to protect nature and boost the economy:
Commit to rewilding 30 per cent of public land.
Establish a community fund to support rewilding in towns and cities.
Backing the reintegration of keystone species such as rehoming beavers and reintroducing the Eurasian Lynx where there is local support.
Create a coastal zone where dredging and trawling are not permitted
Introduce a plan to control deer populations, allowing land to recover from overgrazing.
The Scottish public is behind the idea too. Last year the SWA commissioned a poll across Scotland which found widespread support for the principle of rewilding. More than three-quarters of people who expressed an opinion backed the concept, ten times as many as those who objected to it.
Doctors in Canada may soon be prescribing the oldest medicine in the world: walking it off. Thanks to the work of family doctor Dr. Melissa Lem in British Columbia the province will allow a walk in nature to be prescribed by doctors. It’s been proven time and time again that exposure to nature helps with all sorts of medical conditions and recovery times. This initiative to prescribe nature means people can take medical time from work to go for a hike and get a nudge from their doctor to improve their lives.
Dr. Lem wants to bring the program to every province.
Prescriptions for nature became available through this program at the end of last month, and their availability will improve as more health-care practitioners sign up for the prescription packages, which include fact sheets, relevant literature and a unique provider code. This can be done on the programâ€™swebsite.
In the coming months, Lem intends to expand the program to other provinces and territories, forging partnerships between health-care and parks organizations and sharing the resources she has spent years collecting. Until then, she said health-care providers outside B.C. can sign up in advance and will get their prescription packages when the program reaches them.