Environment and Ecology

Glyphosate is to go back to trial - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Oct 13, 2018

Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos[1] has written a Tentative Ruling that glyphosate is to go back to trial. I’m not a lawyer, but her ruling looks pretty damning. Let’s have a look at what it says. What’s a Tentative Ruling? Tentative rulings are preliminary indications of rulings ahead of the final ruling. (Lawyers indicate these tentative rulings rarely differ substantially … Read More

The world’s most ancient alpine songbird - Guest Work

Guest Author Oct 13, 2018

Lucy Dickie We might be well known for being home to the world’s only nocturnal and flightless parrot (especially after an incident a few years ago involving Stephen Fry), but few people probably know that we can also claim the world’s most ancient alpine songbird–the pīwauwau, or rock wren. Rock wren are part of the family Acanthisittidae (the New Zealand … Read More

Novel science communication sees Bird of the Year take on Tinder - Guest Work

Guest Author Oct 10, 2018

Imagine if our MPs used the mobile dating app Tinder to campaign during an election. The media would have a field day! And yet scientists from the University of Otago and the University of Canterbury are using this exact tactic to campaign for the critically-endangered kakī (black stilt) in Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year competition. The … Read More

Doing less good than we could – carbon edition - The Dismal Science

Eric Crampton Oct 09, 2018

New Zealand has an emissions trading scheme. It isn’t perfect. But for the sectors covered by the ETS, including transport, best policy for reducing carbon dioxide emissions is fairly simple: buy and retire credits.  The government simply cannot know whether the cheapest way of reducing CO2 emissions is by getting the least efficient cars off the road; having people switch … Read More

Bird of the Year: Which birds are good for ecosystem services? - Guest Work

Guest Author Oct 05, 2018

Bio-Protection Research Centre We are midway through one of the most important electoral contests of the year: Bird of the Year. Every year, this popular campaign raises awareness of New Zealand’s native birds and the perilous state many populations are in. At the Bio-Protection Research Centre we also think it’s a great opportunity to get people thinking about … Read More

Satellite measurements of slow ground movements may provide a better tool for earthquake forecasting - Guest Work

Guest Author Oct 02, 2018

Simon Lamb, Victoria University of Wellington It was a few minutes past midnight on 14 November 2016, and I was drifting into sleep in Wellington, New Zealand, when a sudden jolt began rocking the bed violently back and forth. I knew immediately this was a big one. In fact, I had just experienced the magnitude 7.8 Kaikoura … Read More

Using images to misinform - BioBlog

Alison Campbell Oct 02, 2018

The internet, while it can be a godsend if you need to find something out (gotta love google maps for directions), can also be a wretched hive of wrongness and misinformation. That misinformation can take many forms, but when it comes to 1080 it’s clear that those opposed to NZ’s use of this chemical firmly believe that a picture … Read More

Charisma in nature - Guest Work

Guest Author Oct 01, 2018

Sophie Fern It’s been a huge couple of weeks in New Zealand conservation, with Conservation Week, followed by the Great Kererū count and today voting opens for Bird of the Year. I find Bird of the Year fascinating, both because I am a giant bird-nerd, but also because I have a professional interest in what people like about the natural … Read More

Some thoughts on the current tahr debate - Guest Work

Guest Author Sep 28, 2018

Professor David Norton New Zealand’s native flora evolved without ungulates (deer, chamois, tahr, goats, merinos) and did not develop many of the defensive mechanisms that are present in plants in other parts of the world. Ungulates have well documented adverse impacts on New Zealand’s native vegetation, especially when at high densities. Exclusion of ungulates, including tahr, has led to … Read More

Carbon emissions and the Taranaki ban - The Dismal Science

Eric Crampton Sep 28, 2018

MBIE’s advice on Labour’s ban on Taranaki oil and gas exploration suggested that global emissions could go up. Could that happen? It depends on what you think’s going on in the rest of the world. Suppose that the whole world were under a binding emissions cap under a global cap and trade regime. If New Zealand produced less natural … Read More