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UBC Research suggests that Global Warming could harm Predator-Prey Relationships

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Great Horned Owl by Jon Nelson via Flickr

A recent UBC study has highlighted that climate change may harm the amount of predator and prey relationships

Rebecca Tyson, an associate professor of mathematics at UBC’s Okanagan campus, recently published a study on predator and prey relationships, how they change seasonally, and how climate change may lead to the extinction of some species.

With mathematical modelling, Tyson uses quantitative tools and computational models based on key features of real ecosystems and landscapes. These models can then be used to inform environmental management and conservation strategies.

“Researchers watch the population of a species over time, and they’re looking for specifics. Does the population persist, does it oscillate, is it stable?” says Tyson, explaining there can be a fine balance between the populations.

Tyson’s models suggest that as summers become longer due to global warming, as forecasted, the relationships between predators and their prey will change.

There are two types of predators, she explains. A generalist will eat berries, a small variety of prey animals and pretty much anything to survive. And a specialist lives on one food-type alone. Some predators, however, can switch from being a specialist in one season to being a generalist in another.

It’s these switching specialists she’s worried about. The great horned owl requires a steady diet of snowshoe hares for survival during the winter, but can survive on a wide variety of prey in the summer. During an extended summer, great horned owls may run hares to near extinction. This in turn puts other northern animals in danger such as lynx which survive on snowshoe hares, as they now do not have a steady supply of their food source.

“At the moment we have stable cyclical relationships between prey and predator,” Tyson says. “But we have found some new behaviour which leads us to ask whether longer summers make existing predator/prey relationships sustainable.”

Tyson says she hopes her findings, which she did not expect to find, lead to more field studies and research on seasonal animal relationships and climate change.

“This is a perfect example of a situation where we found something unexpected,” she says.

“These predator/prey relationships are balanced, but when changes such as an overall warming of one or two degrees occur, we can get close to point where these relationships become fragile and we risk losing species.

“When you lose a species, like the hare or lynx, you lose it forever.”

Tyson’s study was recently published in the journal The American Naturalist.

 

Environment

Why Going Green is Good For Your Furniture

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These days, it seems like the planet can use all the help that it can get. Worrisome changes in the environment have made it crucial for humans to step up and make necessary changes to their lives to protect the future of the world. While it might feel like one person can’t make much of a difference, there are actually plenty of ways that the individual can create positive changes. Online mailbox has some useful bits of advice to share about how going green with your furniture can make a positive impact on the environment.

Eco-friendly furniture boasts a number of benefits to both homeowners and the planet. The decision to switch out your current decor for something that can help the environment is one worth considering.

Financially Sound

Many people worry that eco-friendly products are too costly. This is a general misconception about going green that has prevented a large number of homeowners from taking action. Still, looking at the numbers can help you to see the reality. Most of the materials found in eco-friendly furniture options are much more affordable than other options. Experts have been working for years to craft sustainable and less expensive materials for use in a variety of goods. This means that you are likely to save a bit of cash when you opt to go for this type of furniture.

Clean Manufacturing

A great deal of the goods and produced across the world harm the environment in the way that they are created. The chemicals released into the environment during some of these processes can do serious harm to the air, soil, and water. Furniture made up of eco-friendly materials will not damage the planet in this way. This is because the process to manufacture these options is much safer and does not release the same deadly byproducts. By cutting back on the more dangerous production practices, a bit of pressure can be taken off the planet.

Preserve Resources

Since most eco-friendly furniture options consist of synthetic materials, it allows fewer trees to be cut down each year for the purpose of crafting goods. Trees are an incredibly important aspect of the planet’s survival. Plants, trees specifically, are responsible for producing clean oxygen and offering shelter to an array of lifeforms. Protecting trees for the future is a must for the survival of all life on Earth. When you make the choice to switch to a new kind of furniture, you are able to help reduce the need for wood and preserve the forests of tomorrow.

The world is facing more problems now than ever before. In order for positive changes to be made to the environment, people must stand up and make the right decisions. Taking manageable steps like being selecting in the goods that you buy can be a great way to do your part. Consider the benefits of switching to eco-friendly furniture. This is a choice that can help you to protect precious resources, eliminate harmful byproducts created from manufacturing processes, and save a bit of money all the while. Explore your options and make a decision that will help preserve the planet.

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Environment

Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness

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Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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