DNR weekend reading: Light pollution, native plant landscaping, urban forests and nanotube toxicity to aquatic animals

Diamond Butte Fire
DNR crews on the Diamond Butte Fire in Yakima County. While not large in size, the fire is considered dangerous because it threatens to enter a heavily timbered area of the Ahtanum State Forest where there are many dead and downed trees . Photo: WIIMT-1.

There’s lots to read in this weekend’s installment of DNR Weekend Reading, including links to recently published articles and studies from science journals, blogs and websites:

Scientific American: Glare-Raising: How Much Energy Does Excessive Nighttime Lighting Waste?
The federally funded National Optical Astronomy Observatory reports that poorly-aimed, unshielded outdoor lights waste $2 billion (17 kilowatt-hours) of energy in the U.S. each year. According to the McDonald Observatory’s Dark Skies Initiative (DSI), the solution to light pollution is 90 percent education and 10 percent technology.

National Science Foundation: Native Plants in Urban Yards Offer Birds “Mini-Refuges”
Yards with plants that mimic native vegetation offer birds “mini-refuges” and help to offset losses of biodiversity in cities, according to results of a study published in the journal PLOS ONE. “Native” yards support birds better than those with traditional grass lawns and non-native plantings.

US Forest Service–Northern Research Station: Natural Regeneration Building Urban Forests, Altering Species Composition
A study by U.S. Forest Service scientists published recently in Urban Forestry and Urban Greening suggests that natural regeneration may be the most cost-effective means to attain desired tree cover levels and associated ecosystem services in forested regions, but relying on natural regeneration may alter the tree species making up a given forest.

University of Missouri: Super-Strong, High-Tech Material Found to be Toxic to Aquatic Animals by Researchers at MU and USGS
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have potential uses in everything from medicine to electronics to construction. However, CNTs are not without risks. A new study found that they can be toxic to aquatic animals. The researchers urge that care be taken to prevent the release of CNTs into the environment as the materials enter mass production.

University of Maryland: Half of the Particulate Pollution in North America Comes from Other Continents
Roughly half the aerosols that affect air quality and climate change in North America may be coming from other continents, including Asia, Africa and Europe, according to a new study. The study suggests there are more factors affecting domestic pollution than the Environmental Protection Agency has accounted for.

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