THE GREEN PLANET BLOG - Our World and Environment...

All about conservation, ecology, the environment, climate change, global warming, earth- watch, and new technologies etc.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

World banana supplies at risk through disease...

Bananas are the world's most widely-traded fruit, according to the most recent UN Food & Agriculture Organisation data. Photo / Thinkstock
Bananas are the world's most widely-traded fruit, according to the most recent UN Food & Agriculture Organisation data. Photo / Thinkstock
A disease damaging banana crops in Southeast Asia has spread to the Middle East and Africa, posing risks to world supply and trade totalling $8.9 billion, according to the United Nations' Food & Agriculture Organisation.

The TR4 strain of Panama disease, a soil-born fungus that attacks plant roots, is deadly for the Cavendish banana that makes up about 95 per cent of supplies to importers, including North America and Europe, Fazil Dusunceli, an agriculture officer at the FAO, said by phone this week from Rome. While the disease hasn't reached top Latin America exporters such as Ecuador, Costa Rica or Colombia, TR4 was discovered in Jordan and Mozambique, indicating it moved beyond Asia, he said.
Read more:
• Why we must save the banana
• Scientists 'incredibly concerned' for fate of banana

"The export market is dominated by the Cavendish, and it is unfortunately susceptible to this particular race of the disease," Dusunceli said.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Hectors and Maui dolphins - endangered species...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A quarter of European Bumblebees could die out in coming years...

Almost one-quarter of European crops’ vital pollinators – bumblebees – could die out in the coming years, as half of the species are declining, a new study says. Citing human factor and climate change, it warns of “serious implications” for agriculture.
A preview of the recent European Commission-funded study, published on the website of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Wednesday, says it has some “bad news” for Europe’s bumblebees.

As much as 46 percent of the 68 bumblebee species living in Europe have a declining population and just 13 percent are increasing in numbers, the study shows. According to IUCN, 24 percent of those species are “threatened with extinction.”

The study, which contributes to the European Red List of pollinators and is part of the Status and Trends of European Pollinators (STEP) project, stresses that three of the five “most important insect pollinators of European crops” are bumblebee species.
Bumblebees have for thousands of years played a “critical role” in agriculture as they help crops reproduce by transferring pollen from plant to plant. However, as agriculture and urban development have intensified in recent years and cultivated land has been changed, bumblebees have been hit by the loss of habitat and the loss of their preferred forage, as well as pollution and insecticides.

Reuters / Stephen Ausmus

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pollution of our waterways is the worst problem to affect the global community - it directly affects the purity of our freshwater supplies...

Worldwide, just under 900 million people lack reliable access to safe water that is free from disease and industrial waste. And forty percent do not have access to adequate sanitation facilities. The result is one of the world’s greatest public health crises: 4,500 children die every day from waterborne diseases, more than from HIV-AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.
A robust economy depends on water. So does a thriving ecosystem. Enter politics, fulcrum of the water issue, weighing the fate of economies against the health of individuals and of the environment as a whole. Balance has been elusive. One fifth of the world’s population lives in areas where water is physically scarce, and a quarter of the population faces shortages due to lack of infrastructure.”

Saturday, March 29, 2014

New Zealand native bird: The wonderful Tui...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kauri tree dieback disease spreads to the Coromandel - threatens the future of the species

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald
Kauri dieback disease has been discovered in the Coromandel - a development that has been described as "serious blow" to efforts to protect the species.
Test results have shown the presence of Phytophthora taxon Agathis (PTA) or Kauri dieback disease in the Whangapoua Forest, just north of Whitianga - the first confirmed case in Kauri-rich Coromandel.
The giant kauri is a treasured feature of Coromandel, and its own Kauri 2000 movement has seen volunteers plant more than 40,000 kauri across the peninsula since 1999 in an effort to replenish numbers.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The protective traits of plants


NaturalNews:   Plants may not be able to move, but they have evolved a staggering array of techniques for affecting their surroundings. These adaptations allow plants to do everything from incapacitating predators and deterring rivals to colonizing new lands and even changing the behavior of the plants and animals in their vicinity.

Some of the most striking ways in which plants manipulate their surroundings involve defending themselves from predation. In addition to "passive" defenses such as bark or spines, many plants are also filled with toxic chemicals capable of delivering anything from an irritating rash to fatal poisoning. But this is not the only way that plants can affect their predators -- plants produce a wide variety of chemicals that can act like the hormones or neurotransmitters produced by animals' own bodies (this is where drugs like heroin and cocaine come from).

Read more here: