Popular Amazon News and Current Events

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Traditional Amazonian drug linked to improved sense of wellbeing
A psychedelic drug traditionally used in South America improves people's general sense of wellbeing and may offer a treatment for alcoholism and depression, new research suggests. (2017-11-09)

Mapping Biodiversity and Conservation Hotspots of the Amazon
Researchers have used remote sensing data to map out the functional diversity of the Peruvian Andes and Amazon basin, a technique that revealed hotspots for conservation. (2017-02-09)

Revised Brazilian forest code may lead to increased legal deforestation in Amazon
Researchers show that up to 15 million hectares of forest risk losing protection owing to a new clause in the law under which state governments can let private landowners protect only 50 percent of their property, down from 80 percent previously, if over 65 percent of the state is protected by conservation units or indigenous reservations. (2019-01-04)

Researchers describe first-ever hybrid bird species from the Amazon
A team of U of T Scarborough researchers have described the first known hybrid bird species to be found in the Amazon rainforest. Through a series of genetic and other tests the team have revealed that the golden-crowned manakin -- first discovered in Brazil in 1957 but not seen again until 2002 - is in fact a hybrid species. (2017-12-25)

Climate change risk for half of plant and animal species in biodiversity hotspots
Up to half of plant and animal species in the world's most naturally rich areas, such as the Amazon and the Galapagos, could face local extinction by the turn of the century due to climate change if carbon emissions continue to rise unchecked. Even if the Paris Climate Agreement 2°C target is met, these places could lose 25 percent of their species. Researchers examined the impact of climate change on nearly 80,000 plant and animal species in 35 areas. (2018-03-13)

Biodiversity loss in forests will be pricey
A new global assessment of forests -- perhaps the largest terrestrial repositories of biodiversity -- suggests that, on average, a 10 percent loss in biodiversity leads to a 2 to 3 percent loss in the productivity, including biomass, that forests can offer. (2016-10-13)

Hunting is changing forests, but not as expected
In many tropical forests, over-hunting is diminishing the populations of animals who are vital for dispersing the seeds of woody plants. Those same plants are vital for carbon storage and previous theoretical modeling studies predicted dire consequences to defaunation, this research suggests otherwise. Instead the data shows the effects on the ecosystem are less straightforward and less immediately devastating. (2018-02-15)

'Keep it local' approach more effective than government schemes at protecting rainforest
Conservation initiatives led by local and indigenous groups can be just as effective as schemes led by government, according to new research. In some cases in the Amazon rainforest, grassroots initiatives can be even more effective at protecting this vital ecosystem. (2017-09-12)

Mapping biodiversity and conservation hotspots of the Amazon
Researchers have used remote sensing data to map out the functional diversity of the Peruvian Andes and Amazon basin, a technique that revealed hotspots for conservation. (2017-01-26)

Amazon basin deforestation could disrupt distant rainforest by remote climate connection
The ongoing deforestation around the fringes of the Amazon may have serious consequences for the untouched deeper parts of the rainforest. A new research study shows that it is not only the climate that is adversely affected by deforestation. In fact, the very stability of the ecosystem in the entire Amazon region is altered when deforestation takes place in the outermost regions. (2017-06-26)

Increasing tropical land use is disrupting the carbon cycle
An international study led by researchers at Lund University in Sweden shows that the rapid increase in land use in the world's tropical areas is affecting the global carbon cycle more than was previously known. By studying data from a new satellite imaging system, the researchers also found that the biomass in tropical forests is decreasing. (2020-01-28)

The influence of hydropower dams on river connectivity in the Andes Amazon
Hydropower dams in the Andes Amazon significantly disturb river connectivity in this region, and consequently, the many natural and human systems these rivers support, according a new study. The results challenge previous research that collectively underestimates these dams' effects, the authors say. Given the importance of the Andes Amazon rivers to more (2018-01-31)

Amazon rainforest losses impact on climate change, study shows
Human activity has removed more than one-tenth of trees and plants from the Amazon rainforest since the 1960s, a study shows. (2015-04-21)

Metals known to have harmful health effects found in indigenous exposed to oil spills
People from two indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon who live close to the country's longest oil pipeline have mercury, cadmium and lead in their bodies at concentrations that could be harmful to their health. (2018-02-09)

New research suggests bird songs isolate species
Two birds that look the same, but have songs so different they can't recognize each other, should be considered distinct species, suggests new research. Among 72 related populations of Central and South American birds the researchers tested, they found evidence for 21 new species. (2017-09-13)

Hidden Inca treasure: Remarkable new tree genus discovered in the Andes
Hidden in plain sight -- that's how researchers describe their discovery of a new genus of large forest tree commonly found, yet previously scientifically unknown, in the tropical Andes. Researchers from the Smithsonian and Wake Forest University detailed their findings in a study just released the journal PhytoKeys. (2017-09-07)

Caught on camera: Amazonian crop raiders
Caught on camera in the jungle, a striking set of photos from the University of East Anglia (UK) reveal the secret lives of Amazonian crop-raiding animals. Researchers spent a year working with 47 Amazonian communities in the Juruá region of Amazonas, Brazil. They set up 132 motion-activated camera traps and took over 61,000 photos that reveal the Amazon's 'worst offending' crop destroyers. (2018-03-01)

Despite odds, fish species that bypasses sexual reproduction is thriving
An international team of scientists has sequenced the genome of the Amazon molly, a fish that reproduces asexually. The researchers expected that the asexual organism would be at a genetic disadvantage, but the Amazon molly is thriving. (2018-02-12)

People use emotion to persuade, even when it could backfire
We intuitively use more emotional language to enhance our powers of persuasion, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The research shows that people tend toward appeals that aren't simply more positive or negative but are infused with emotionality, even when they're trying to sway an audience that may not be receptive to such language. (2018-04-02)

Study: How to calculate pricing and resources for cloud computing
Researchers in the University at Buffalo School of Management have developed a new algorithm that cloud computing service providers can use to establish pricing and allocate resources. (2018-04-18)

FSU researchers: Savanna fires pump Central African forests full of nitrogen
Florida State University researchers are part of a global team of scientists revealing the unexpected role that large-scale fires and high nitrogen deposition play in the ecology and biogeochemistry of these lush Central African forests. (2018-02-08)

Malaria-carrying parasites spread more when they can jump into multiple birds -- study
A study out of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University found that blood parasites that cause malaria spread more widely if they can use many different kinds of birds as hosts. But even those 'generalist' parasites are limited. (2018-04-30)

Scientists hark back to Pleistocene to trace prioritary areas for conservation
By recreating a 20,000 years-old South American biome map and then comparing it with current conditions, a Brazilian study identifies intact forest remnants which has greater genetic diversity for they presented high climatic stability in the period. (2018-05-04)

Forest conservation can have greater ecological impacts by allowing sustainable harvesting
New research at the University of Missouri has found that forest owners at greater risk of illegally cutting trees from their forests prefer to participate in conservation programs that allow sustainable timber harvesting. The findings of the study, conducted by Francisco Aguilar and Phillip Mohebalian, could be used to craft conservation contracts that are more likely to be accepted by forest owners and might succeed in preventing deforestation and forest degradation. (2018-01-31)

Tropical birds live longer than temperate counterparts
An international research team has found strong evidence that passerine birds near the equator live longer than their higher latitude counterparts. (2018-03-07)

In first, 3-D printed objects connect to WiFi without electronics
UW engineers have developed the first 3-D printed plastic objects that can connect to other devices via WiFi without using any electronics, including a laundry bottle that can detect when soap is running low and automatically order more. (2017-12-05)

Climate change could raise food insecurity risk
Weather extremes caused by climate change could raise the risk of food shortages in many countries, new research suggests. (2018-04-01)

Ultrafine aerosol particles intensify rainfall in Amazon region
Study published in Science reveals that pollution particles from cities substantially affect storm cloud formation over tropical forest. The determinant role played by nanoparticles in the process of convection signals hints at the revision of widely accepted climactic models, whose concepts were developed in countries located in temperate areas of the globe. (2018-02-01)

International team sequences first Amazon molly fish genome
No species is immune from the suffering of unrequited love, but scientists expect to learn volumes about the biological basis of sex from the newly sequenced genome of an all-female, asexual Texas native -- the Amazon molly -- that has thrived as a master of male manipulation over millennia. (2018-02-12)

UNH researchers find human impact on forest still evident after 500 years
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire used high-tech tools to more precisely view where these cleared sites were and how much lasting impact they had on the rainforest in the Amazon Basin in South America. (2018-01-18)

No sex for all-female fish species
They reproduce through gynogenesis. Their offspring are clones of the mother. According to established theories, the Amazon molly should have become extinct a long time ago. A new study shows how the fish avoids this fate. (2018-02-12)

Revealed by a multidisciplinary effort: History of maize domestication not what we thought
The domestication of maize, a process which began in what is now central Mexico nearly 9,000 years ago, was far more complex and nuanced than once previously thought, a new study finds. The results of an analysis of the ancient grain's genetic heritage reveals southwestern Amazonia as a secondary improvement center for early maize. (2018-12-13)

'Top-ranked' reviewers aren't the top influencers when it comes to online sales
Top-ranked reviewers on online retail sites such as Amazon.com may influence purchases, but a research study from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business finds that those who post reviews less often and more informally can be seen as more trustworthy and have more of an impact on sales. (2018-05-09)

Researchers map the illegal use of natural resources in the protected Brazilian Amazon
New research published in the open access peer-reviewed journal PeerJ uses law enforcement data collected from 2010 to 2015 to understand the geographical distribution of the illegal use of natural resources across the region's protected area network. In the study, a total of 4,243 reports of illegal use of natural resources were evaluated and mapped. These reports generated US $224.6 million in fines. (2017-10-10)

Amazon rainforest may be more resilient to deforestation than previously thought
Taking a fresh look at evidence from satellite data, and using the latest theories from complexity science, researchers at the University of Bristol have provided new evidence to show that the Amazon rainforest is not as fragile as previously thought. The research is published today in Nature Communications. (2017-05-30)

Genetics of the modern heirs of the Inkas shed new lights about their origins and lineages
A study of the Inka origins and their lineages was performed in twelve contemporary families with presumed patrilineal lineage to Inka monarchs. A comparison of Y-chromosome and mtDNA markers of these descendants with a database of about 2400 South American native individuals of Peru, Bolivia, Brasil and Ecuador showed two distinct patrilineal clusters, and a very diverse matrilineal origin. In addition they show great affinity to areas South of Cusco including the Lake Titicaca. (2018-04-06)

Even the tiniest aerosol particles can kick up a storm
A new study suggests that tiny aerosol particles from pollution plumes have a greater influence on stormy weather over pristine regions of the world, such as oceans and large forests, than previously believed. (2018-01-25)

Untangling the complex taxonomic history of a Neotropical liana genus
How do you separate one species from another? Having remained a major challenge in biology as a whole, species delimitation becomes an especially daunting task when it comes to tropical plant groups, where information in biology, morphology and distribution is often scarce. To tackle this issue, a new monograph in PhytoKeys demonstrates how integrative taxonomy can untangle taxonomic complexities for a genus of Neotropical lianas. (2018-01-29)

Scientists project a drier Amazon and wetter Indonesia in the future
Climate models predict that an increase in greenhouse gases will dry out the Amazon rainforest in the future while causing wetter conditions in the woodlands of Africa and Indonesia. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine and other institutions have identified an unexpected but major factor in this worldwide precipitation shift: the direct response of the forests themselves to higher levels of carbon dioxide. (2018-04-27)

Crop failure in the Andes
As co-author of a study published in Global Change Biology, Kenneth Feeley, along with fellow biologist, Richard Tito, a native Quechua Indian from the region and the study's first author, discovered that tough times lie ahead for rural farmers growing the Andes' staple crops -- corn and potatoes. (2018-01-18)

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