In other news: Environmental stories from around the web, January 11, 2019

first_imgArticle published by John Cannon Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored There are many important conservation and environmental stories Mongabay isn’t able to cover.Here’s a digest of some of the significant developments from the week.If you think we’ve missed something, feel free to add it in the comments.Mongabay does not vet the news sources below, nor does the inclusion of a story on this list imply an endorsement of its content. Tropical forestsScientists set up a mirror for wildlife in the rainforest, with comical results (Sputnik News).Researchers in Ecuador discover a new species of frog with a thumb-claw (Newsweek).In late 2018, an eastern bongo, a critically endangered antelope from East Africa, was born at a Florida zoo (First Coast News, News 4 Jacksonville).Researchers argue that dams built in lowland rainforests are too costly to biodiversity to be justified (Phys.Org/University of Stirling).As Colombia’s forests fall, organized crime profits rise (Insight Crime).California’s plan for carbon trading could infringe upon communities’ rights, leaders say (Devdiscourse).Forest clearing for oil palm plantations in Borneo is affecting the group size of proboscis monkeys (Phys.Org/Cardiff University).Tanzania began a six-month push to root out illegal logging in the country (Khmer Times, Xinhua).Haiti could lose half of its species to deforestation-related habitat loss by 2035 (WHYY Philadelphia).Tree plantations in Southeast Asia are becoming a popular investment in China (South China Morning Post).Illegal logging led to landslides in Indonesia (The Jakarta Post).A female bongo died after complications from a cesarean section birth in Virginia (WAVY).Other newsRanchers across the western United States struggle to cope with increasing numbers of wolves (Pacific Standard).Warmer water is causing problems for Guadalupe fur seals (Hakai Magazine).Climate change is throwing off Australia’s “thermostat,” the Great Barrier Reef (Hakai Magazine).Proponents of a dam project in Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve say its construction is necessary for the country’s economic development (IPP Media).The U.S. government shutdown is hampering wildlife conservation work (WBUR Boston).Wild animals are beginning to use a highway overpass in the state of Washington (Smithsonian Magazine).A bustling economy kept U.S. carbon emissions high in 2018, despite the closure of coal-fired power plants (The New York Times, The Washington Post).Banner image of an eastern bongo in Kenya by Chuckupd via Wikimedia Commons (Public domain).FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Conservation, Environment, Weekly environmental news update last_img read more

Pregnant woman on $100,000 bail for embezzlement

first_imgA pregnant woman found herself before the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts on Friday to answer to a charge of embezzlement.Latoya LovellLatoya Lovell, 29, of Georgetown, denied the allegation brought against her. Magistrate Leron Daly read the charge which alleged that between June 9 and September 16, 2017 in Georgetown, Lovell fraudulently embezzled $2.3 million taken into possession by her in the name of Stephen Electrical Agency.The facts of the matter were not read to the court. However, the Attorney for the accused asked that bail be granted due to the fact that the defendant is seven months pregnant.Police Prosecutor Harris objected to this based on the amount of money embezzled.However, bail was granted to the accused in the sum of $100,000 and Lovell is expected to return to court on November 10 for reports.last_img read more

Some local forest areas reopen after fire

first_imgANGELES NATIONAL FOREST – U.S. Forest Service officials are slowly reopening the areas in the Angeles and Los Padres national forests burned in September’s 163,000-acre Day Fire. Some closures remain in force because of ongoing fire control measures, rehabilitation activities and concerns about potential new fires in extremely dry areas of northern Ventura and southern Kern counties, according to Kathy Good of the Los Padres National Forest. In the Angeles National Forest, the east side of Pyramid Lake, including Emigrant Landing, reopened Friday after being closed for more than a month. Several areas of the Angeles remain closed, including Piru Ponds, the Frenchman’s Flat day-use area, along Highway 99 and sections of the west shoreline of Pyramid Lake. (661) 257-5252160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe joys and headaches of holiday travel: John PhillipsAreas of the Los Padres that reopened Friday include all lands west of Highway 33; all forest lands west of and including the Gene Marshall-Piedra Blanca National Recreation Trail between the Piedra Blanca Trailhead near Rose Valley and Haddock Camp on Pine Mountain Ridge; the Rose Valley recreation area and roads and campgrounds along Pine Mountain Ridge to Reyes Peak Trailhead. Closures that remain in effect in the Los Padres include Nordhoff Ridge Road; all areas of the Sespe Wilderness except lands west of the Gene Marshall-Piedra Blanca National Recreation Trail and all areas south and east of and including Pine Mountain Road and Reyes Peak Road, as well as Reyes Peak Trail. Hunters will be affected by the continuing closures in the Los Padres. To accommodate this weekend’s opening of deer season, the California Department of Fish and Game will honor tags for zone D13 in zones D11 and D15. Details are available at or by calling the Ojai Ranger office at (805) 646-4348 or the Santa Clara-Mojave Rivers Ranger office at (661) 296-9710. last_img read more

Narconon plan sent back to commission

first_imgTreatment used in the program, such as sweating out toxins, has been questioned by critics, who charge that the facility is a front to lure people into the Church of Scientology. The treatment program began about 40 years ago and is based on the principles of a book by L. Ron Hubbard, the late founder of the Church of Scientology. When asked about such criticism, Carr called it incorrect and irrelevant. He said there is no religious indoctrination in the program. “It’s hard enough work to get someone off heroin or alcohol without getting into the religious issues,” he said. Word of the proposed treatment center on Bouquet Canyon Road had worried some Leona Valley residents who sent a letter last winter to the county Regional Planning Commission about their concerns that their rural community would be disrupted. Some of those residents arrived at Tuesday’s hearing to testify. Among them was Jan Powell, a Leona Valley Town Council member. She helped organize a community meeting for residents to meet with Narconon representatives and learn about the proposed center. Powell said she was in open-minded at first and wanted to know more about Narconon. She said representatives initially told her that Narconon was not connected with the Church of Scientology, but later told her there was a relationship. She said she felt she had been initially deceived. “It’s not that they’re associated with Scientology,” she said. “It’s the fact that they were deceitful to me.” Vance Kirkpatrick, a former sheriff’s deputy, also came to the hearing. The Leona Valley resident said the location for the treatment center is too remote for quick responses from police or firefighters in case of emergencies. He recalled a fire several years ago that burned homes in the area before firefighters arrived. He said the treatment center belongs elsewhere. “If a staff (member) or neighbor was the victim of a crime, it would be a long time calling,” he said. Burbank resident Tom Solari had planned to testify Tuesday on behalf of Narconon. Working in the film-production industry, Solari said he was moved when he filmed Narconon graduation and saw there was not a dry eye in the room. “There is no community that does not have this as a problem, and to have this there is a tremendous asset,” Solari said. (661) 257-5254160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPhotos: At LA County Jail, Archbishop José H. Gomez celebrates Christmas Mass with inmatesNarconon International aims to open a 66-bed facility near Leona Valley on 30.4 acres formerly used for a boarding school. Narconon President Clark Carr said that if the center had been approved Tuesday, work would have begun immediately. Renovations are expected to take at least six months. But Carr supported the efforts to resolve any problems. “We’re here for the long haul,” Carr said. The center would treat adults whose average stay would be three to four months. Narconon plans no new buildings on the land, which borders the Angeles National Forest, but will add parking. LOS ANGELES – A public hearing on plans for a drug and alcohol treatment center with ties to the Church of Scientology was postponed Tuesday after last-minute concerns surfaced about the rural site in upper Bouquet Canyon. The proposal to establish a Narconon center came before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and drew a crowd of about 500. Supervisors sent the plan back to the Regional Planning Commission because of concerns about traffic, fire, safety and flood control. The commission had approved the project in March. Complaints about the approval to Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich’s office prompted him to call for the hearing Tuesday. There is no date set yet for the matter to return to supervisors. last_img read more


first_imgDOZENS of investors in the dodgy ‘pyramid’ scheme sweeping Donegal met in a Letterkenny Hotel last night to vent their anger.Dozens of angry investors, some who invested more than €200,000 each in the scheme, are fuming that they have been left high and dry.The Mr.Big behind the scam, which supposedly bought cheap stock and sold it on as a profit, has now fled to Estonia. He has constantly told investors that they WILL get their money and named several dates for the money transfer.But each time the conman has come up with different excuses.Two of the agents who helped publicise and oversee the scheme met with investors at the Letterkenny Hotel and again assured them they will get their money.An email from the company which arranged the investment scheme told investors they will have an update on their money by this FRIDAY. However one investor told after the meeting that he will believe the promises from the company when he has his cash in his hand.“I have been told on four different occasions that I will be getting my money on four different dates.“But each time these people have come up with different excuses. I’m at my wits end but I have to keep believing I will get my cash or I will crack up.“I invested a six figure sum and I owe an absolute fortune. I don’t know what I will do if I don’t get my cash back.“Now we’ve been told that we will be hearing major news on Friday about our money. I’m hoping against hope but we’ll see,” he said. EndsDOZENS OF INVESTORS MEET AT ANGRY MONEY SCAM MEETING was last modified: January 11th, 2011 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Letterkenny Chiropractic – Meet the team giving free spinal checks this month!

first_imgDid you know that Ireland’s oldest Chiropractic Clinic has a base in Letterkenny? Letterkenny Chiropractic on the Glencar Road is part of Ireland’s longest established group who have been providing high-quality care and healing for almost 35 years.Dr Aram Proudman and his team at Glencar have been helping people of all ages solve their health problems for many years. It’s not just back complaints that chiropractic is used to treat, but headaches and injuries in the neck, arms, and legs too. If you are struggling to find relief for a specific issue, why not see if Chiropractic can help? This month, the team are opening the Letterkenny Chiropractic clinic to everyone to get FREE spinal checks from 19th September – 19th October.  Call 0749125207 to book now.Letterkenny Chiropractic, GlencarChiropractic provides a safe and gentle way to help your body to function at its best.  It can be the key to solving many health problems – not just back pain. If you are searching for a way to deal with back issues, neck pain, headaches, stress, carpal tunnel syndrome and more, then chiropractic may be a drug-free non-surgical way to alleviate the problem. Chiropractic is about addressing the root of the problem, which can often be along the spine. Dr Aram Proudman said: “Chiropractic works because every cell, tissue and organ requires information from the brain in order to work properly. This information travels down from the brain, through the spinal cord and out through the nerves to these structures. The spinal bones are there to protect this delicate system. If these spinal bones are not moving properly or fixed in the wrong position due to injury, repetitive strain or other factors, this communication can be affected.“Chiropractors assess the body to detect any abnormal motion or position of the spinal bones, pelvis and skull that may be affecting this communication between your brain and your body.”The team are looking forward to showing how ‘Chiropractic Works’ by offering spinal checks to people looking for full wellness in their lives. The offer is open to adults and children of all ages. Diagnosis is the first step, so why not see what they can do for you by booking a free visit by calling: 0749125207Meet the Letterkenny Chiropractic Team: Dr. Aram ProudmanDr. Kevin Proudman Dr. Tina TooskyCorina Mc CormackFor more information and to book your visit, call 0749125207Visit: Chiropractic – Meet the team giving free spinal checks this month! was last modified: September 19th, 2018 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:chiropractorshealthletterkenny chiropracticspinal checklast_img read more

Cape Town pupils reap a healthy meal

first_imgThe garden includes 40 different varietals of vegetables and herbs – aubergine, tomato, spinach, leeks, cabbage, broccoli, beetroot, rosemary, thyme, basil and many more.In 2013 a study by the African Food Security Urban Network found that 12 million South Africans are food insecure. This in a country that is generally food secure.FOOD SECURITYSouth Africa’s Vision 2030, better known as the National Development Plan, identified food security as an important target in meeting the objectives of the NDP.A project in Cape Town funded by Woolworths MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet fund is creating food security for a group of pupils in Observatory and Salt River. The edible garden planted at Observatory Junior School will produce 10 kg’s of fresh vegetables daily, allowing the 1 500 pupils at Dryden Primary School, Mary-Kihn Primary and Observatory Junior School to enjoy a healthy fresh meal.Helene Brand, MySchool’s CSI Manager, explained that the Salt River/ Observatory area was home to many households unable to provide a packed lunch. A secondary benefit she pointed out, “The edible garden at Observatory Junior School is our contribution towards giving more learners access to fresh food and a living garden where they can learn how to grow food and take responsibility for the upkeep of the garden.”THE GARDENThe garden at Observatory Primary is 400 square meters and includes 40 different varietals of vegetables and herbs – aubergine, tomato, spinach, leeks, cabbage, broccoli, beetroot, rosemary, thyme, basil and many more.Harvested produce is shared between all three schools, and is the base for the healthy lunch provided to learners every day. All three schools will also use the garden as an educational resource centre, actively involving learners in managing the garden. They will plant and harvest what they’ve grown, giving them a lifelong skill.Andy Clark, head of transformation at Woolworths Financial Services, said: “We’ve worked with all three schools through our participation in the Community of Learning Principals and the Partners for Possibility initiative and wanted to continue supporting them, so they can continue on their journey to be more sustainable and independent. They are run by highly committed staff and are motivated to participate in initiatives that will benefit their learners.“We are hoping to roll out more gardens at schools in the area, contributing to the communities in which we operate.”YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOWMore than half of Urban Harvest, the company that established the garden, 250 edible garden projects are based at schools in the greater Cape Town area. They seed gardens and help maintain and train people until they are self-sustainable.Explaining their philosophy Urban Harvest’s Ben Getz said: “The edible garden teaches learners that ‘you reap what you sow’. In the garden hard work pays off in many ways and the learners gain a greater sense of responsibility.“They also gain a sensitivity to and an appreciation for quiet, meditative, slow time when weeding or feeding the garden. They learn about keeping space neat and organised and a respect for nature and its lessons.”FETSA TLALAIn 2013 the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson launched Fetsa Tlala – an initiative aimed at improving household food security and stimulating sustainable job creation in the poorest districts of the country.This initiative ensures that underutilised agricultural land is put under production to increase local access to food.Fetsa Tlala will be financed through, amongst others, the Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme (CASP). Allocations to provinces will be dedicated to food production, either crop or livestock production. More inclination, however, is towards the production of staple food such as maize, beans, wheat, sunflower, ground nuts and potatoes.CASP is the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries’ premier support programme and is funded through the Division of Revenue Act.last_img read more

Oracle Open World 2011: Chip Chat Broadcasts Live

first_imgSource – Flickr User: katielipsIntel Chip Chat and host Allyson Klein will be broadcasting live from Oracle Open World on Monday October 3rd from 1:00 PM PDT to 3:45 PM PDT, and from 9:00 AM PDT to 11:45AM PDT on Tuesday, October 4th with business data and intelligence experts from Intel and Oracle.  Who? To start we have Tim Shetler, a VP from Oracle who will be discussing Exadata, and from Intel we will have Steve Shaw discussing database technologies, and the following day we will have our very own resident data center expert on mission critical technology Pauline Nist.Want to know more?  Follow @IntelChipChat to get more details and to ask your questions to the experts live at Oracle Open World 2011! Remember your first introduction to databases?  If you design and administer them it was probably how to make a system to organize your books or music.  For everyone else, it was probably the same…. We live in a world with expanding amounts of information and every day big data gets…bigger – exponentially at that.  Now is your chance to ask questions to the people who breathe big data, and dream about mission critical architectures.last_img read more

‘Fairy Circle’ Mystery Solved?

first_imgLike others who came before him, Norbert Juergens was caught in the spell of fairy circles. These bare patches of ground, often outlined with a fringe of tall grass, pockmark a 2000-kilometer-long strip of desert stretching from Angola to South Africa. Though the formations have confounded scientists for years, Juergens—an ecologist at the University of Hamburg in Germany—thinks that he may be the first to crack the puzzle.The strange saga of the fairy circles got even stranger last year. That’s when Walter Tschinkel, a biologist at Florida State University in Tallahassee, analyzed 4 years of satellite images of the formations in Namibia’s NamibRand Nature Reserve. Tschinkel had been intrigued by the circles since first encountering them on a vacation to Africa in 2005. The images revealed that some of the formations arose and others vanished over the 4-year period—the first evidence that they were somehow “alive.” Extrapolating from the data, Tschinkel estimated an average “lifespan” of 41 years. But he couldn’t figure out what made them. Some suspected that termites were killing the grass from below, but Tschinkel found no evidence that the insects caused fairy circles. Nor did he find anything wrong with the soil itself.Juergens’s search for answers began a year after Tschinkel’s. He started traveling throughout Africa in 2006—including to remote areas in Angola, still reeling from its recent civil war—in search of fairy circles. He became intrigued with the formations after noticing, like Tschinkel, that the mysterious patches seemed to come and go from the landscape. He recorded any signs of animal life that he came across in and around the circles, such as tracks, dung, or nests. He also dug trenches from the center of the circles to the outside in order to find any subterranean organisms that may be lurking below.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)During these investigations, which spanned 40 field trips and about 1200 sampled fairy circles, a pattern emerged. Using a process of elimination, Juergens saw that only one species was nearly always present at the fairy circles he visited: the sand termite.Tschinkel and others may have missed these “extremely clandestine” insects, which seem to “swim” through the sand, Juergens says, leaving only very fine tunnels. Unlike some other termite species, they do not build complex underground galleries, have no aboveground nest, and emerge only occasionally at night. Other researchers could easily overlook the insects’ fine tunnels by digging too deeply or forcefully, says Juergens, who focused his efforts a few centimeters to tens of centimeters beneath the surface. Juergens found sand termites or their burrows at the vast majority of fairy circles that he investigated, he reports online today in Science.Juergens believes that in their tunneling, sand termites damage plant roots and feed on them, slowly forming fairy circles in the process. He found the termites in all of 24 newly forming fairy circles that he examined in Namibia. He’s still at a loss as to why the fairy circles eventually “die,” but he hypothesizes that competition or predation by ants plays a role.Juergens thinks that the sand termites—which must maintain body moisture to survive—build and tend to these circles on purpose. Whereas plants quickly suck up the desert’s stingy 100 millimeters of annual rain, the fairy circles’ bare centers allow the rainwater to seep into the porous, sandy earth, where it remains indefinitely. To quantify this, he stuck humidity probes into a range of depths in the fairy circles’ bare centers, where the devices recorded soil moisture over a period of four years. “These bare patches are water traps,” Juergens says. “Over the years, I didn’t measure 1 hour with less than 5% water at 60 centimeters, which is certainly wet enough to support termite life.”This water sink, he thinks, also promotes the characteristic “luxurious belt” of high grass that often grows around the fairy circles’ edges, because it does not have to compete with thirsty neighboring plants. During the rainy season, the termites venture into the surrounding grasslands to feed, and in extreme drought seasons they turn to their belt of high grass for sustenance. These nibblings slowly expand the circles’ diameters over the years, Juergens says.Vivienne Uys, a termite taxonomist at the Agricultural Research Council in Pretoria, says that Juergens’s findings on the biology of sand termites are consistent with what scientists know about the species. But she says she needs more evidence to be convinced that the insects create fairy circles. “The link between foraging activity of the termite resulting in the formation of a perfect circle of bare soil is unclear.”Tschinkel agrees. “Juergens has made the common scientific error of confusing correlation—even very strong correlation—with causation,” he says. “If Juergens claims termites are killing the grass, he’s got to show that they’re actually attacking living plants. That’s not easy to do, and he didn’t do it.””My view is that fairy circles have little, if anything, to do with termites,” agrees Michael Cramer, a plant ecophysiologist at the University of Cape Town. He now has a manuscript in review proposing that fairy circles are the product of natural vegetation patterns resulting from competition for scarce resources. “The only way for this question to be properly answered,” he says, “is with more thorough investigations and focused experiments.”Juergens stands by his findings. He also says the termites should be marveled at for far more than their ability to make fairy circles. The formations, he notes, act as small oases not just for their termite creators but also for a diverse assembly of desert fauna. He observed numerous species ranging from insects to birds to mammals—including jackals, springbok, moles, foxes, aardvarks, and others—spending time at the fairy circles, foraging either on termites, the high perimeter grass, or else preying on other species that aggregated there.All in all, Juergens found 10 to 20 times more biodiversity at fairy circles than in the surrounding desert. “These tiny termites have managed to turn rainfall as little as 50 millimeters per year into a continuous, permanently livable ecosystem,” he says. “Identification of this termite as opposed to other candidates behind fairy circles is part of the story, but the more interesting story is that this insect evolved to be a masterpiece of ecosystem engineering.”last_img read more