Habitat Exchanges // More Frequent Wildfires

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photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Habitat Exchanges (starts at 3:00):  The greater sage grouse is ruffling feathers all the way to Washington.  September 30th is the deadline for the US Fish & Wildlife Service to determine whether to list the grouse under the Endangered Species Act. More than a third of the sage grouse’s shrinking range is on private land. Which is why many ranchers, oil and gas developers and other landowners have been scrambling to keep the grouse from getting listed. Listing would mean tighter restrictions on land use. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is one of several environmental organizations that are trying to help come up with ways to preserve the sage grouse and its habitat without cramping the livelihood of ranchers and other land owners. One of the newest voluntary tools is what is called a habitat exchange, a marketplace with buyers and sellers of conservation credits.  How On Earth’s Susan Moran talks with Eric Holst, associate vice president of EDF’s working lands program, about these exchanges.

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photo credit: Brian Harvey

More Frequent Wildfires (starts at 15:30):  This summer, fires have raged across much of the Northwestern U.S. The towering blazes, many of which are nowhere near being contained, have already charred more than two million acres of land. It’s a story that’s becoming increasingly common. Big fires like these are erupting more often than they did just decades ago, scientists say, and many place the blame on climate change.  On today’s show, Brian Harvey, a forest ecologist at the University of Colorado Boulder who studies the causes and consequences of extreme fires, talks with us about why wildfires have grown more frequent in recent years — and what that means for the recovery of the nation’s forests.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Daniel Strain
Producer: Joel Parker
Engineer: Joel Parker
Headline Contributors: Joel Parker, Daniel Strain
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Unprocessed Food // Bee Biodiversity

Unprocessed-book coverReal Food (start time 4:20): What we eat , and how we eat, is inextricably connected to our own health as well as the health of the planet.  Every decision we make—whether to bake a chocolate cake or buy it from Safeway or at a Farmer’s Market—is full of nuances and even contradictions. Megan Kimble is a writer who became obsessed with wondering how she could make a difference in the world by examining her eating habits. Her just-published book, called Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food, is her personal journey into the scientific, public health, environmental and political issues related to food. Kimble will  speak tonight at the Boulder Book Store, at 7:30, and tomorrow night, July 30, at Tattered Cover in Denver, at 7:00 p.m.

Photo credit: Dan Groege

Palaeorhiza (from Papau New Guinea). Photo credit: USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

The Buzz About Bees (start time 13:49): Across the United States, buzzing pollinators are key to the growth of countless flowering plants. But many bee species are also disappearing nationwide, due to pesticide use, habitat loss, and other threats.  Dr. Sam Droege is a wildlife biologist who studies this vanishing world. He heads up the U.S. Geological Survey’s Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab. For several years he’s also led an effort to photograph bees — very, very close up.  Droege’s bee photos are the basis for a new book called “Bees: An Up-Close Look at Pollinators Around the World.”

Hosts: Susan Moran, Daniel Strain
Producers: Susan Moran, Daniel Strain
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Headline contributions: Daniel Strain

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Birds v. Cats // Humor Science

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Robin male and fledgling chick. Photo courtesy Jon Erickson, Creative Commons

Birds v. Cats (start time 4:35): Spring is in full bloom on Colorado’s Front Range. Robins and other birds wake us up before the crack of dawn with their choruses.  This is also a time when many chicks will hatch and then fledge — a time when they are most vulnerable to predators. The biggest single threat to birds is a favorite household pet – yes, cats. Actually, feral and pet cats alike.  Dr. Amanda Rodewald, an ecologist and director of conservation science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology at Cornell University, discusses with host Susan Moran the various threats to birds and their habitat, and how humans can be part of the solution. Spoiler alert: Keep Felix inside, at least during nesting season. For more info on how you can get involved, go to the American Bird Conservancy‘s Cats Indoors program.

Humor CodeThe Science of Humor (start time: 14:32): Have you ever laughed at something you know you shouldn’t have? Like when someone you know falls down the stairs? Dr. Peter McGraw discusses with How On Earth contributor Daniel Strain the roots of humor — why we find some things funny, and other things not. He’s a quantitative psychologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder where he heads up the Humor Research Laboratory, or HuRL. Yup, HuRL.  He’s also coauthor of the book The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny. And he will be speaking this Thursday, May 21, at The Science Lounge, a monthly event at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Daniel Strain
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Beth Bennett
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Headline contributions: Daniel Strain

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