We discuss and comment on the role agriculture will play in the containment of the CO2 problem and address protocols for terraforming the planet Earth.
A model farm template is imagined as the central methodology. A broad range of timely science news and other topics of interest are commented on.
Friday, January 18, 2013
Bird Watching in China
This approach needs to be applied globally. Data needs to be
collected confirmed as to quality and posted. Folding in older
records will provide a lot of depth and then over time we will have a
temperature sensitive distribution map.
It is also something that once established, can be introduced to
school children to participate in. I remember as a young lad my own
enthusiasm for birds and my collector's instincts. It beat hockey
cards. This provides a steady stream of data with some level of
teacher supervision. Imagine this at work globally?
Birds also provide early warning when it comes to other ecological
changes and data mining a base like this is likely to work very well.
A recent study used
bird watching records to build up the first bird watching database in
China, which found a batch of new records of national level and a
trend of of species moving to higher latitude and higher elevation
regions. The study named "Bird Watching in China Reveals Bird
Distribution Changes", published in 2012 (31) issue of Chinese
Science Bulletin, was senior-authored by LI Xueyan and led by
Professor GONG Peng from Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for
Earth System Modeling, Center for Earth System Science, Tsinghua
In recent years, bird
watching becomes more and more popular in China. Besides enjoying the
fun of bird watching, recording information about species and
population can bring new data for scientific research.
Since bird is one of
the most sensitive indicators of ecosystem health, both habitat range
and migration route of birds could be affected by global climate
change and the most direct impacts come from human activities and
global warming. Nowadays the status and trend of bird distribution
have drawn a great amount of attention in the field of global change.
Using bird watching
data, recent studies have highlighted the impact of human activities,
response of climate change, identification of biodiversity hotspots,
development of natural conservations and evaluation of protective
However, to date there
has been no geographic distribution database of birds that is
convenient for spatial-temporal analysis in China. Actually, how to
obtain accurate location of geographic names on different scales has
been a bottleneck problem of many databases in the field of history,
ecology and environmental science.
A spherical GIS
software "Global Analyst" (GA) was developed in Peng Gong's
group that has been used in establishing China Bird Watching Database
(CBWD). Using Google Earth remote sensing images which have high
resolution and timely as base map, GA can support place name-querying
and also provide abundant information about habitats and geographic
ranges for mappers.
The first bird
watching database with geographic coordination uses points to
represent the data, makes it convenient for update and maintenance,
and provides an open platform for crowdsourcing.
Xueyan Li and her
collaborators analyzed 30936 records from 2003 to 2007 in CBWD,
including 17 Orders, 70 Families and 1078 Species. In terms of
globally-threatened species on the IUCN red list, the current
database includes four Critically-endangered species, 11 Endangered
species, and 44 Vulnerable species (Birdlife International, 2008),
whilst also highlighting 27 species in the under Protection Class I
CBWD includes 14
species which are additions to the national checklist, these new
records occur either border on other countries (Yunnan, Sinkiang and
Tibet) or are coastal areas (Tianjin and Hebei). 109 species appeared
outside their original distributions from 2003 to 2007, show a trend
of moving to high latitude and high elevation regions, which provide
evidence for researches about ecological response to climate change.
The study could
broaden minds of using bird watching data in scientific research, and
lead the future bird watching activities.
This work is supported
by the Major Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of
China (Grant No.30590370), National High-tech Research and
Development Projects (Grant No.2009AA122000) and The China
Conservation Fund of Hong Kong Bird Watching Society.