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CJS's pick of the countryside and wildlife news, updated weekdays.

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logo; CJS in-depthOur In Depth second feature for English Tourism Week

The Importance of Visitor Research by the Visitor Studies Group, www.visitors.org.uk

For anybody working or managing a visitor attraction or any site or facility that attracts visits from members of the public or organised groups, there are many arguments, from the financial to the ethical, for undertaking good quality audience research.  Including a Case study from The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority

Who comes to Pembrokeshire Coast National Park?  Why do they come?  What do they do when they get here? What do they like?  What really bugs them?  Will they come back again?  And more importantly, who are the ‘non-visitors’, and what can we do to entice them?  To help us go about finding answers to these questions we’ve joined the Visitor Studies Group.

 

Ten key principles of the Tree Charter published -Sylva Foundation

logo: Charter for trees woods & peopleTen key principles of the Tree Charter have been published today (Monday 27 March), aiming to bring trees and woods to the centre of UK society.

The 10 guiding principles for the future of trees, woods and people, have been drawn from more than 50,000 stories submitted by members of the public, including woodland owners via a survey Sylva Foundation ran in 2016. The principles reveal the role of trees in our lives, and are agreed by a coalition of more than 70 cross-sector UK organisations, including Sylva Foundation. These organisations are now united in calling for people across the UK to stand up for trees by signing the Tree Charter and helping to shape history.

The principles will form the bedrock of the new ‘Charter for Trees, Woods and People’ to be launched in November 2017, which aims to secure a brighter future for the nation’s woods and trees, and to protect the rights of all people in the UK to access the many benefits they offer.

 

Article 50 triggered: the challenges ahead for science and the environment – British Ecological Society

Today (Wednesday 29 March), the Prime Minister has written to the European Council to formally declare the UK’s intention to leave the European Union, triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

The letter has set the clock ticking on a two year period of negotiation as the UK and the EU thrash out the terms of our departure. While this window can be extended by unanimous approval, if negotiations remain on track, by the end of March 2019, the UK will no longer be a member of the EU.

In the words of Brexit Secretary David Davis, the UK is “on the threshold of the most important negotiation for this country in a generation”. The withdrawal negotiations will cover a huge amount of ground, from the cost of the “divorce bill” to the terms of any new trade deal, and the extent of our future access to EU programmes. So what happens now? How will it affect science and the environment? And how will we be engaging with this process?

 

Asian hornet monitoring takes flight with new app developed by CEH scientists – Centre for Ecology & Image: Centre for Ecology & HydrologyHydrology

Non-native species and mobile applications experts at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) have collaborated with the UK government to develop a new app to record and monitor sightings of the Asian hornet.

Image: Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

The team at CEH, which includes ecologist Professor Helen Roy and mobile applications developer Karolis Kazlauskis, developed the Asian Hornet Watch app as part of a GB Non-native Species Alert System to help protect biodiversity.

The app – launched by Minister for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity Lord Gardiner during Invasive Species Week – includes information on the ecology of the Asian hornet as well as details of species that are commonly confused with it.

 

Seasonal warming leads to smaller animal body sizes – Queen Mary University of London

Changes in the body size of animals measured under controlled laboratory conditions have been shown to closely match changes in body Curtis Horne and colleagues investigate the effects of seasonal warming on body size in insects and crustaceans (Queen Mary University of London)size with seasonal warming in nature, according to research from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Cold-blooded species rely on the temperature of their external environment to dictate their internal body temperature. When these species are reared in warmer conditions in the laboratory they usually develop faster, maturing at a smaller adult size. This biological phenomenon occurs in over 83 per cent of cold-blooded species.

Curtis Horne and colleagues investigate the effects of seasonal warming on body size in insects and crustaceans (Queen Mary University of London)

Despite the huge number of environmental factors than can vary seasonally, and the potential limitations of the study, the researchers found a statistically significant match between body size responses to temperature measured in the laboratory and in nature, which suggests that they share common drivers.

 

Forests fight global warming in ways more important than previously understood – Ohio State University

Trees’ role extends beyond carbon consumption, study finds

Forests play a complex role in keeping the planet cool, one that goes far beyond the absorption of carbon dioxide, new research has found.

Trees also impact climate by regulating the exchange of water and energy between the Earth’s surface and the atmosphere, an important influence that should be considered as policymakers contemplate efforts to conserve forested land, said the authors of an international study that appears in the journal Nature Climate Change.

“Forests play a more important role in cooling the surface in almost all regions of the Earth than was previously thought,” said study co-author Kaiguang Zhao, assistant professor of environment modeling and spatial analysis at The Ohio State University.

Read the paper: Bright, R. M. et al (2017) Local temperature response to land cover and  management change driven by non-radiative processes. Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE3250

 

Scientific publications

Møller, A. P. & Erritzøe, J. (2017) Brain size in birds is related to traffic accidents. Royal Society Open Science. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.161040

 

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Disclaimer: the views expressed in these news pages do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of CJS.