15 Life on Land (34)
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Research from Kimberly Sheldon at the University of Tennessee suggests insect behavior is adjusting for climate change
If the TV series “Dirty Jobs” covered animals as well as humans, it would probably start with dung beetles. These hardworking critters are among the insect world’s most important recyclers. They eat and bury manure from many other species, recycling nutrients and improving soil as they go.
Dung beetles are found on every continent except Antarctica, in forests, grasslands, prairies and deserts. And now, like many other species, they are coping with the effects of climate change.
I am an ecologist who has spent nearly 20 years studying dung beetles. My research spans tropical and temperate ecosystems, and focuses on how these beneficial animals respond to temperature changes.
- dung beetles
- kimberly sheldon ut
- how will insects adjust to climate change
- climate change insects
- the conversation
- body temperature
- nesting behavior
- climate change
- nutrient cycling
- greenhouse gas emission
- brood ball
- bullheaded dung beetle
- onthophagus taurus
- offspring survival
- temperature variability
- rainbow scarab
- phanaeus vindex
- soil amelioration
- soil temperture profile
- reproductive success
- global warming
Help control invasive exotic plants Saturday at Oak Ridge cedar barrens
OAK RIDGE — The Oak Ridge Cedar Barren will again be the site of exotic invasive plant removal on Saturday, Nov. 5 as we conduct our fall cleanup, our third and final cleanup of the year. Located next to Jefferson Middle School in Oak Ridge, the Barren is a joint project of the City of Oak Ridge, State Natural Areas Division, and Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning. The area is one of just a few cedar barrens in East Tennessee, and is subject to invasion by bushy lespedeza, leatherleaf viburnum, privet, autumn olive, mimosa, Nepal grass, multiflora rose, and woody plants that threaten the system’s prairie grasses. Our efforts help to eliminate invasives and other shade-producing plants that prevent the prairie grasses from getting needed sunlight.
Hellbender Press reported in detail on last year’s Cedar Barren spring cleanup.
Bog turtles raised for resurrection at Zoo Knoxville’s ARC
KNOXVILLE — Zoo visitors might overlook the collection of critters behind a small, unremarkable window. But amid the showier gila monster, reticulated python, king cobra and Cuban crocodiles, there’s a regional species on the brink of extinction that’s worth a closer look.
Behind the glass, tiny juvenile bog turtles poke their heads out from underneath sphagnum moss at Zoo Knoxville’s Clayton Family Amphibian Reptile Conservatory (ARC).They are mostly brown, with splashes of gold on their heads. When they mature, they will move to the Bern Tryon Turtle Propagation Bog just outside. Eventually, the zoo will release the heartiest of the bunch. This process, called head-starting, involves raising the turtles from eggs and feeding them well in captivity so they’ll be bigger and have a better chance to survive after returning to the wild.
Beavers mitigate forest fires
NPR: California enlists beavers in battle against climate change
Forest areas with beaver dams are less prone to severe fire damage because of more consistent soil moisture and less extreme air aridity and temperature conditions. Read about it or listen to Randy Simon’s 2-minute beaver podcast on National Public Radio’s Earth Wise web page.
UT Arboretum event reminds us to love and care for the butterflies among us
OAK RIDGE — With an orange flutter, a cluster of painted lady butterflies took to the sky.
It was a timed release, coming toward the end of the seventh annual University of Tennessee Arboretum’s Butterfly Festival last month.
Earlier, other live painted lady butterflies were available to watch in mesh tents. Visitors got a chance to touch Madagascar hissing cockroaches and look at preserved insect collections with butterflies and other creatures from around the world. Children ran around the event with butterfly face paint, butterfly masks and butterfly wings. But the event was also a chance to buy butterfly-friendly plants and learn about butterflies and their relationships with other species.
- university of tennessee arboretum
- butterfly festival
- pollinator plant
- tennessee naturscapes
- michelle campanis
- stephen lynn bales
- georgeann eubanks
- family garden as butterfly habitat
- jerome grant
- migratory butterfly
- cosmopolitan butterfly
- butterfly garden
- painted lady butterfly
- zebra swallow butterfly
- tennessee state butterfly
Citizens pay it back on Public Lands Day in Oak Ridge, Smokies and beyond
OAK RIDGE — Rain drizzled as volunteers dug and clipped plants in woods around an old cemetery turned science lab.
It was a Public Lands Day event at Tennessee Valley Authority Worthington Cemetery Ecological Study area in Oak Ridge near Melton Hill Lake. Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning, an environmental organization based in Oak Ridge, led the Sept. 24 work party in support of American public lands.
Other events were held throughout the country to mark the date (including Great Smoky Mountains National Park), which has proven itself to be the most productive day of the year for citizen sweat equity in public lands.
GATLINBURG — The director of the National Park Service is expected in Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Saturday to celebrate National Public Lands Day.
Director Chuck Sams plans to make some remarks in appreciation for the volunteers who help backstop national park maintenance costs before citizens fan out for various tasks across the park. Sams is the first Native American to head the park service, and he will be joined by Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Chief Richard G. Sneed.
Wildlife masterpieces mark an artistic autumnal fundraiser for the Tennessee Aquarium
CHATTANOOGA — While getting ready to tackle his next artistic masterpiece at the Tennessee Aquarium, Avior the red-ruffed lemur likes to take a few steps to center himself: languid naps in the sunshine, delicate nibbles of romaine lettuce, a resounding howl to focus his energy.
Only after these rituals are complete can this master of composition — a true “Lemur-nardo” da Vinci — begin putting paw and tail to canvas to create his next opus.
Avior’s latest triumph — made using non-toxic, animal-friendly tempura paint, naturally — is a 16-by-20-inch piece created in collaboration with his fellow lemurs and social media star Atlanta-based artist Andrea Nelson (TikTok video). Avior and Nelson’s masterwork is one of more than two dozen pieces of art made by aquarium animals now up for bid during the Tennessee Aquarium’s online fall fundraising auction. The auction will conclude at noon on Monday, Sept. 26.
People are restoring native plants on their properties. You should, too.
‘There are a lot of messes out there and this is something that you can do right at home that has a positive effect.’
KNOXVILLE — If you want to help native wildlife and attract it to your yard, plant some native plants and kick back on your porch and watch them grow. That’s a good place to start.
That’s the message from Native Plant Rescue Squad founders Gerry Moll and Joy Grissom.
People walking by Moll’s garden in the Fourth and Gill neighborhood off Broadway just north of the city center will see tall plants; not hedges or other foreign plants, but various short trees and native flowers. It looks like an explosion of growth on both sides of the sidewalk, but it’s not chaos.
- plant native species
- plant conservation
- plant rescue
- replace your lawn
- native species knoxville
- ben pounds journalist
- native grass
- native plant rescue squad
- gerry moll
- make your yard wild
- attract wildlife to your yard
- joy grissom
- 4th and gill knoxville
- basic habitat needs of wildlife
- garden for wildlife
- national wildlife federation
ONEIDA — Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area this week announced regulations for those wanting to kill invasive wild hogs during the 2022 fall and winter seasons.
Most hog populations within the protected areas of BSF are believed to be present on the Tennessee side of the park, which spans the Kentucky border. Feral hogs have been present in East Tennessee for generations. They destroy local flora and fauna mainly by rooting in low-lying mountain and valley areas. They are especially fond of salamanders, many species of which are in grave decline. In Great Smoky Mountains National Park, hunters are regularly deployed to cull hogs throughout the park.
“The wild hog is an invasive exotic species that has a significant negative impact to native species and do a great deal of damage to farmlands and residential areas. The damage they cause threatens park resources including federally listed plants,” according to a release from the park service.
This story was provided by Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Next demonstration on Thursday, Oct. 20
GATLINBURG — Great Smoky Mountains National Park is celebrating the success of a community science project led by nonprofit partner Discover Life in America (DLiA) called Smokies Most Wanted. The initiative encourages visitors to record life they find in the park through the iNaturalist nature app. DLiA and the park use these data points to map species range, track exotic species, and even discover new kinds of life in the park.
“iNaturalist usage in the Smokies has skyrocketed from just four users in 2011, to 3,800 in 2020, to now more than 7,100 users,” said Will Kuhn, DLIA’s director of science and research.
In August, the project reached a milestone, surpassing 100,000 records of insects, plants, fungi, and other Smokies life submitted through the app. Among them are 92 new species not previously seen in the park.
Last chance for comments in support of saving the country’s best remaining forests
On July 14, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of the Interior opened a public comment period following President Biden’s Executive Order to conserve mature and old-growth forests.
The deadline for comments is Tuesday, Aug. 30. Now is the time to protect our federally managed forests to safeguard our communities from the future impacts of climate change. Make your voice heard and submit a comment to the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.
The mature and old-growth trees in our federally managed forests are one of this country’s greatest resources. These forests provide critical habitats for wildlife, prevent erosion and flooding, protect our drinking water, and are an essential climate solution.
United States forests cover about 290 million hectares of land and make up the fourth largest forest area of any country in the world. In 2019, the carbon sequestered in these forests offset approximately 12 percent of United States greenhouse gas emissions.
— Sierra Club
Dirt is far from just dirt. It’s a foundation for life.
This story was originally published by The Revelator.
Look down. You may not see the soil beneath your feet as teeming with life, but it is.
Better scientific tools are helping us understand that dirt isn’t just dirt. Life in the soil includes microbes like bacteria and fungi; invertebrates such as earthworms and nematodes; plant roots; and even mammals like gophers and badgers who spend part of their time below ground.
It’s commonly said that a quarter of all the planet’s biodiversity lives in the soil, but that’s likely a vast understatement. Many species that reside there, particularly microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and protists, aren’t yet known to science.
- the revelator
- soil type
- soil moisture
- why is soil important
- soil microbe
- soil microorganism
- nutrient cycling
- reading university
- climate change
- soil degradation
- plastic pollution
- genetically modified organism
- artificial fertilizer
- land use change
- convention on biodiversity
- soil biodiversity observation network
- global soil biodiversity initiative
- ecosystem research
- farm to fork strategy
- microbial transplants
- soil quality
- soil sealing