Assisted migration

Would you move a species threatened by climate change to an area where it isn’t currently found but where the new climate suits it better? That’s “assisted migration,” and the lively debate around it is described by Carl Zimmer in the New York Times here. He quotes a thorough review of the ecological and evolutionary responses to climate change which may be found online as a pdf here. It seems to me that assisted migration is likely to be feasible for only a small number of wild species, but what about crops? Making threatened crops and landraces available to farmers in more suitable climates sounds like a pretty good idea to me.

Woodlands as players in human history

The great Cambridge botanist Oliver Rackham has a new book out, called “Woodlands.” Insofar as it is fair to say that the life work of such a Renaissance Man has only one subject, woodlands is it, and how trees are not “merely part of the theatre of landscape in which human history is played out, or the passive recipients of whatever destiny humanity foists on them . . . (they are) actors in the play.” There’s an admiring and knowledgeable review here.

Conserving animal genetic resources in Vietnam

A CIRAD project is using both somatic cloning and in situ approaches to conserve genetic resources of various threatened useful wild animals (including livestock relatives) in the highands of Vietnam. GIS is also being used to map genetic diversity as measured by molecular markers. The results will be extended to prepare a conservation strategy for the region as a whole.

Kenyan medicinal plant remedies documented

Catching up with some old friends in Nairobi last week I found out that one of them has been involved in preparing a really wonderful “Herbal and Nutritional Guide for Kenyan Families” for an NGO called the Trust for Indigenous Culture and Health. According to its mission statement, TICAH works “to strengthen our understanding of the positive links between cultural belief, practice, and knowledge and the attainment of health.”

Saving the ghaf

WWF and local partners have launched a public awareness campaign to save the multi-purpose ghaf tree (Prosopis cineraria) in the United Arab Emirates. This is part of a project which also includes the establishment and sustainable management of a conservation area.