In this issue

Issue 200


From wetlands to wasteland: it's not just oceans that can turn acidic
Around 2007–2009, at the end of the Millennium Drought, large areas of the lower Murray–Darling Basin in South Australia had slowly turned from fertile, irrigated farmland and ecologically diverse wetlands into dried out wastelands of cracked soil and mud.
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Bat’s immunity may hold key to preventing future Ebola outbreaks
Bats are the natural host species for Ebola and other viruses, many of which can be fatal when transmitted to humans. More than 100 viruses have been identified in bats and this number is rising each year. Culling bats is not the answer: not only do they pollinate plants and control insects, they may also hold the key to disease prevention.
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If nature is the ultimate supermarket, who is looking after its supply chain?
Insects pollinate over 35 per cent of the food we eat or feed to livestock – like fruit, vegetables, oilseeds, legumes and fodder. While bees didn't set out to fertilise food crops for the good of humankind, their urge to collect pollen and nectar for the good of the hive, by a stroke of luck, has provided us with an ‘ecosystem service' that's become indispensible to our way of life.
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Plants absorb more CO2 than we thought, but ...
Through burning fossil fuels, humans are rapidly driving up levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which in turn is raising global temperatures.
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Pause for hope: de-carbonisation could halve CO2 emissions and enhance prosperity by 2050
‘Hey, only the fate of humanity is at stake’, read a hand-written placard at the recent People’s Climate March in New York that attracted more than 300,000 people. It was not the only sign that indicated public despair. But it’s not too late to do something.
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How 'biocontrol' fights invasive species
Australia’s ‘ferals’ – invasive alien plants, pests and diseases – are the most significant bioeconomic threats to Australian agriculture. They also harm our natural ecosystems and biodiversity. Some, such as mosquitoes, also act as carriers of human diseases.
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Knowledge a key ingredient for PNG food security
Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a land of diversity, home to hundreds of ethnic groups who between them speak 848 different languages. Its geography ranges from extensive coral reefs, to dense lowland rainforest, to snow-capped peaks more than 4 kilometres above sea level. It is one of the world's least explored countries, and also home to some of the world's poorest communities.
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Brad Ridoutt: measuring food’s water footprint
Dr Brad Ridoutt started his career as a forest scientist, before specialising in carbon and water footprinting. He uses a life cycle assessment (LCA) approach to assessing the complex connections between greenhouse gas emissions and water use in food manufacturing and agriculture.
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In Brief - Round-up of sustainability news

Wind could supply almost one-third of global energy by 2030
Will the Outback remain one of Earth’s great natural wonders?
Coastal towns tailor their blueprints for the future
‘Phantom’ household cars save money and emissions
Deep-sea creatures tuck into jellyfish ‘manna’ from above
Encouraging car use is bad for environment and health: OECD
Don’t put all eggs in one basket: advice for bilby conservation
International technology innovator to lead CSIRO
Sounds of distant thunder? Following the flight of a desert nomad
Australian plan looks to the next 20 years in Antarctica
Southern Hemisphere ocean warming underestimated: new research findings
Acid oceans will affect marine life for thousands of years
People should help set marine policy priorities: survey findings
Renewable energy future possible and preferable
Research expedition could improve tsunami risk estimates for the Pacific
Gates open to low-cost, high-yield food crops for Africa
Getting the water balance right will be key to developing the north
Indigenous experts share common ground
Diverse experiences make for happy tourists in remote areas
What kills one bird species may colour another

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