Rutger's English Blogg

Biodiversity and beech forests 2013-05-15

Publicerad 2013-05-16 11:18:39 i Allmänt
How do we increase biodiversity? By cutting down a number of beeches, so the light comes down to the ground. Then other plants could grow there. Plants need light to live. The beeches blocks the light for other plants, The leaves also covers the ground effectively. If we change beech forest to a park the biodiversity increases. But even an area of low Biological Diversity has its charms, the trees are impressive.

When man interferes in a right way in a natural ecosystem the biodiversity increases. We can have a pasture with richer flowering and species richness of up to 50 different species per square meter. This species richness will never be without human interference. Urban Emanuelsson writes about this in his book about biodiversity in Europe "The early 1900s conservationists put the wildlife high. They were often heavily influenced by an American wilderness romantic attitude. Also, significant portions of today's conservation has ideological wilderness character. Humans just destroy if she comes into context. That many of Europe's most species-rich habitats would be "created" by man can be a bit difficult to accept for those conservationists. "Furthermore, he writes that it is this way of thinking that has led to the international regulations for national parks that have been established. The rules say that national parks should be as untouched by humans as possible, which eventually leads to the cultural landscape is not managed and eventually diappear in growth of certain trees. He also writes "In addition, the critics of natural environment protection wonders a little mockingly if cultural landscapes habitat really is so precious. They're not original and therefore not worthy of protection. "
Our Swedish ecosystem is not so original, a few thousand years old maximum.
Before the ice had scraped the area clean.
Below you see an area with greater biodiversity than a beech forest.
Now I do not mean that we should start cutting down the remaining beech forests. They are stately and impressive, but if a storm would blow down such forrest or man chop it down and then if it grows up again, during regrowth there are greater biodiversity. Natural disturbances can be for a short time, but creating greater biodiversity.

Doomsday prophets 2013-05-14

Publicerad 2013-05-14 17:03:04 i Allmänt

In his book, Paul Ehrlich wrote "The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate. ". "As dark as the religious predictions. He still drives the same way and in the recent interview in The Guardian, he says that his most predictions have come true. Have advocates strong population reduction, additional tax on children and luxury tax  on children's items such as diapers, etc.. He advocates sterilizing, better contraception and more abortions.

 He has been in Gothenburg and received the Volvo Environment Prize, which was established in 1990, The Volvo Environment Prize. The price has through the years been distributed to some deserving people, writes Lars Bern on Newsmill, but the lasting impression is that it is tainted by the jury often picked out pure prophets of doom with a weak foothold in a virtual reality. Other prophets of doom who received this award are John Holdren and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber by Lars Bern et al. see

Another doomsday celebrity who has been in Gothenburg and won an award is Al Gore. But this time it was not Volvo price but "Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development."

The world and  love pessimists  but optimists are those that promote development. Yields of grains have risen more than expected. Latest in this area is the forecast of an increase in global yields of 7% in the case of wheat and other cereals. Despite intense drought in the U.S. and elsewhere yields will increase. The threat that extreme weather will increase is just a doomsday threat. As long as man has existed, good weather is regularly interrupted by storms, typhoons and other disasters but man has always bounced back. Think of the late 1600s when it was at its coldest during the Little Ice Age. Failed harvests, one-third of the Finnish population died of starvation. Then we could not send  a lot of corn there. Today, with a world that has been given access to the western technology, we can do it if we just will. Often we are told that society is more vulnerable today because of technology, but in many situations it is the opposite. We know  for examples of how quickly Europe recovered after World War II. When Gustav Vasa took revenge on people from Småland after the war Dackefejden it took over a hundred years before the province recovered according to Wilhelm Moberg's "My Swedish History".  According to Wikipedia, it took decades.



Methane and cows 2013-05-13

Publicerad 2013-05-13 21:05:24 i Allmänt

The headline in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet is: Replace beef with swine and chicken would be a disaster

It states, "A resource-conserving agriculture based on humus-building ley (extended cultivation) with nitrogen-fixing crops and fodder whose value is refined by grazing animals such as cows and sheep. Improved grassland means that carbon sequestration in soil. Ley humus-building properties can eliminate climate impact from ruminants. This applies in particular those cattle that are not driven to excess by using too much concentrate in the form of grain and imported soy protein. The cows and other ruminants such as sheep and goats eat the fiber-rich, soil fertility-building forage plants such as clover and grass in the long term is necessary to maintain the balance of humus soils. The cows refines it for us humans not edible for both milk and meat and recirculates back valuable organic fertilizer. "

"Feed production to livestock reared by conventionally grown cereals a burden on the climate through the production and use of fertilizers and other inputs that require fossil energy. Cereal monoculture without ley is devastating for the environment also by humus supply in the soil decomposes and the carbon content contributes to global warming, while soils fertility declines. Much of today's grain production goes to today's one-sided and in certain regions concentrated feeding and slaughter of pig and chicken production, whose manure surplus also over fertilize oceans with reactive nitrogen and phosphorus in addition to damage to biodiversity, ranks as one of the greatest environmental problems. "

He is saying that grasslands means carbon sequestration. Common fields decreases soil carbon, bacteria converts humus in the fields to CO2.

The grass cow grazing becomes both carbon dioxide, methane and meat. The methane will be after a few years oxidized to CO2 in the atmosphere. This carbon will eventually be grass through photosynthesis. And the grass also store carbon in the soil. The grasslands are building up a stock of carbon in the soil through the roots.

It's fun to read a scientist who really know their subject as opposed to those that only focus on one thing that Elin Röös do with the methane from organically raised livestock. Link to meat guide.

The article is written by Artur Granstedt  associate professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.




Mekong Delta 2013-05-10

Publicerad 2013-05-11 14:23:56 i Allmänt

The Delta is 39 000 km2, it is rich in biologic diversity despite the intesive agriculture. Over 10, 000 new species have been described there in recent times. A quarter of Vietnam's arable land are available here. Just below 18 million inhabitants. It is

Vietnam rice bowl. Attempts to regulate the river and build power plants upstream affect sediment transport and then sea waves erodes the coastal strip.
Erika Bjerström on SVT went to Vietnam and documented this but called it climate change.
The technique she used was to interview a fisherman who had their leased land destroyed by the waves. For him something gruesome happened, the climate must have changed was his thought and he had certainly like others heard about rising sea level. Most likely, he has not heard of diminishing quantities of sediment to the delta or that the delta sink even if it is slow. The salt water increases in wells, we also heard.

For him, it is clearly a tragedy. But why use this tragedy to defend climate alarmism.

We read a statement made by the researchers.

Saline and brackish groundwater is widespread in the delta and in many areas fresh and saline water tend to mix both within and between aquifer layers. The salty water is mostly derived from when the delta was forming in a marine environment during past interglacial periods when sea levels were higher than present day (Deltares, 2011).

In the western and northern parts of the delta, groundwater is predominately fresh where salt water has, over millennia, been flushed from the system. In coastal areas groundwater is generally saline, both naturally and because of salt water intrusion caused by excessive pumping to serve the fresh water supply demands of the surrounding communities(Phuc, 2008; Hung et al., 2000).

A global comparison found that the Mekong Delta is currently sinking by as much as 6mm per year primarily as a result of groundwater extraction, overwhelming the rates of sea level rise (Syvitski et al., 2009).The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) web site also reports the unchecked use of bores has caused localised land subsidence and pollution problems in the delta.The end result will be increased vulnerability to natural disasters and climate change.

A comparison:  For example, compaction in the Chao Phraya Delta in Thailand has ranged from 50 to 150 mm/year as a result of groundwater withdrawal (Saito, Y et al., 2007; USGS2009). Aquifer compaction as a result of regional groundwater level decline is a particularly serious risk.

The ground compacts when people take up too much water, the surface level drops.

About the same thing, you can read about on this site:
Falling river basins in Asia are fairly common. See blog comment

Scientists compare this with the Mississippi Delta. See:
A comparative study between the Mekong and Mississippi.
Decreasing amounts of sediment.

River sediment is the lifeblood of deltaic ecosystems, providing nutrients for agriculture and fisheries, and sustaining coastal wetlands. Sediment starvation caused by dams, navigation, and flood control structures compounds problems of subsidence, or sinking of the ground surface, that increases the vulnerability of deltas to sea-level rise. Capturing sediment before it reaches the delta can have unintended consequences, including high rates of land loss, coastal erosion, and sinking cities that are more vulnerable to flooding. In the Mississippi Delta, sediment delivery to the coast has decreased 50% in the 20th century, particularly after the construction of levees and major dams. With these essential minerals and nutrients no longer reaching the coast, the Mississippi Delta is experiencing a staggering rate of land loss, coastal erosion, and subsidence.

Similar to the Mekong Delta. This is currently being studied.
Ongoing studies:
One of the new snakes species found in the Mekong region.



Ice Age effects on soil 2013-05-08

Publicerad 2013-05-09 19:49:09 i Allmänt

The map that is picture of the day shows an overview of glaciation. The sea level was 120 meters lower. The continents were larger. Maximum glaciation was in the northern hemisphere, this is because the land area is greater in the northern hemisphere. The North American glaciation was larger than the European.
The whole earth was cooler in the tropics, the temperature was 3-4 degrees lower. The tropical rain forests of the Amazon and the Congo was significantly less. In Southeast Asia, the difference was not so large because the land mass that was larger. Persian Gulf, the North Sea and the Yellow Sea did not exist. But it was a "ditch" between Asia and Australia.
Deserts were much larger. In Australia, the drying up of the continent was so severe that about 80% of the people died. Among the earth's coral reefs were the mass deaths. For the Earth's ecosystem the ice age was a strain. The Arctic areas was extremely large. The ice age was no successful period in earth history. For more than 10,000 years ago, we got a heating up so fast that the climate change led to the large so-called Ice Age animals became extinct. For an example, the woolly rhinoceros.

Bildkälla Wikipedia

This Wikipedia article says that "The 3.5-meter-long animal was exposed early to hunting by man, which perhaps led to its extinction, although no one can say for sure. Woolly rhinoceros was hunted even by Neanderthals. It was confirmed by findings in cave ofGudenus in Lower Austria. where species disappeared about 10,000 years ago. The youngest known fossils are 8,000 to 10,000 years old, found in Ukraine. Finds from the cave Kesslerloch in Switzerland confirms that the species which lived on for 12 - to 14 000 years ago. " Man is hinted to be the one that was the reason that this animal died out. Our textbooks are even more confident about this.
More recently, they have found a skull of a rhino 3.7 million years old on the Tibetan highlands which led to a theory that the rhinos evolved in Tibet and was originally adapted to cold climates. The great horn the animal maybe used as a snow shovel.

One of the researchers says "Cold places, Such as Tibet, Arctic, and Antarctic, are where the most unexpected discoveries will be made in the future," said Xiaoming Wang from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. "These are the Remaining That frontiers are still largely unexplored."

It is interesting to read the latest research on the woolly rhinoceros and why it went extinct out.

The research article was titled "Extinction chronology of the woolly rhinoceros Coelodonta antiquitatis in the context of late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions in northern Eurasia."
The rhino was fully adapted to the tundra climate the article says "an animal adapted to feeding on low-growing herbaceous vegetation and a dry climate with minimal snowfall." Researchers have tried to follow how this animal gradually as a result of climate change become extinct. It does not seem to have found their way back to Tibet. Heating made the treeless landscape with minimal snowfall disappeare gradually.

It is also said that "Its final extinction probably Relates to Lateglacial interstadial warming and Increased precipitation (especially snowfall) accompanied by the replacement of low-growing herbaceous vegetation by shrubs and trees. The survival of woolly rhinoceros in northeastern Siberia When it had disappeared Further west May related to the lateral persistence of open vegetation in That Region. The timing of its final extinction could related to the fact That the Lateglacial interstadial was Significantly warmer than any other event in the previous 50 millennia. "

That one can find that the sparse befolningen at the time, sometimes hunted rhinos does not mean that man was the cause that this cold-adapted animals disappeared.

The following maps shows the distribution at different times. More maps are available in the research report.

Places with rhino fossils older than 46 000 years. Color differences on the rings has to do with security in time datings.


Fossil finds when ice age had its maximum.


Fossil finds at the end of the ice age.

 In Siberia the environment suitable for rhinos lasted  lasted the longest.



The big animals 2013-05-07

Publicerad 2013-05-09 10:32:13 i Allmänt


The giraffes started to fight as giraffe males usually do when they fight over females. See the following figure. They fight by swinging their necks at each other. The sound they bashed each other could be heared in a long distance.


Some of the "big five" as Kajsa saw them
1. Buffalo

Tough and erratic. A solitary lion avoids these. They sometimes encircle what they see as a danger. Usually in flocks of 20 to 30 animals.

2. Elephants

At a walk the first day Kajsa saw a few elephants. When it Is hot they have to cool themselves even if it's just a little water, one at a time. In South Africa, the elephants are left alone. Elsewhere in as Cameroon they have experienced a veritable slaughter because of the ivory. On the farm where Kajsa did her volunteer work they had made a couple of artificial waterholes where water was available at different times, to avoid to much trampeling.
Elephants before the car. The animals here are entirely unafraid of cars. They seem to look at large cars as harmless animals that they do not need to care about. They react differently to people who are moving individually in the bush.
3. Rhinos
Rhinos were not as common here as elephants. Rhinos are in a more worse state than elephants. Last year between 400 and 500 rhinos were killed only in Kruger National Park. In the area where Kajsa were working they had rhinos guards, but despite of that it happens that they were killed.

All this volunteer trip was a great and educational experience for my students. It was not so much work and any work depicted. But learning!


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