Here are selected articles and other news about science and the environment for your DNR Weekend Reading:
Washington Department of Ecology: Sunshine causing algae blooms in Western Washington waters
Marine water algae blooms are rearing up in part of Puget Sound and lakes in several Western Washington counties. Some types of blooms can produce toxins that can cause illness — especially in the elderly, small children and pets. The blooms are fed by nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, from human and other sources in water runoff.
Wonkblog (Washington Post): Who uses renewable power, in one map
A handy map from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows how much electricity each state gets from wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal (but not hydropower — a source that provide 82 percent of the electricity produced in Washington State.)
BBC News: Lack of contact with nature ‘increasing allergies’
A lack of exposure to a “natural environment” could be resulting in more urban dwellers developing allergies and asthma, research has suggested. Finnish scientists say certain bacteria that play an important role in the development and maintenance of the immune system are found in greater abundance in non-urban surroundings.
University of Florida News: UF study finds logging of tropical forests needn’t devastate environment
A new study says that well-managed selective logging may be the only realistic solution to conserving tropical forests in the face of global demand for timber resources and huge financial incentives to convert primary forests into agricultural plantations. The study found that on average, 85 to 100 percent of the animal and plant species diversity and 76 percent of stored carbon in a tropical forest present before an initial harvest remained after it was selectively logged.
Green blog (New York Times): Mammoth Trees, Champs of the Ecosystem
In a research plot in California’s Yosemite National Park, big trees (those with a diameter greater than three feet at chest height) account for only 1 percent of trees but store half of the area’s biomass. Current models used by foresters to estimate the biomass storage of a forest may underestimate the role that just a few giant trees can play.