Current Areas News and Events

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Model predicts global threat of sinking land will affect 635 million people worldwide
A new analysis suggests that, by 2040, 19% of the world's population - accounting for 21% of the global Gross Domestic Product - will be impacted by subsidence, the sinking of the ground's surface, a phenomenon often caused by human activities such as groundwater removal, and by natural causes as well. (2020-12-31)

Rural areas have fewer mental health services for young people
Very rural areas in the United States have fewer mental health services for young people, yet that's where the help is most needed, says a study published in JAMA Network Open. Previous studies have shown that the suicide rate among young people in rural areas is higher and growing faster. Yet by one measure, using ZIP codes, only 3.9 percent of rural areas have a mental health facility that serves young people, the study found. (2020-11-02)

Protected areas help waterbirds adapt to climate change
Climate change pushes species distribution areas northward. However, the expansion of species ranges is not self-evident due to e.g. habitat degradation and unsustainable harvesting caused by human activities. A new study led from the University of Turku, Finland, suggests that protected areas can facilitate wintering waterbird adaptation to climate warming by advancing their range shifts towards north. (2020-10-21)

More than 90% of protected areas are disconnected
Ongoing land clearing for agriculture, mining and urbanisation is isolating and disconnecting Earth's protected natural areas from each other, a new study shows. Lead author Michelle Ward, from The University of Queensland's School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, said the findings were ''alarming''. (2020-09-11)

Protected areas can 'double' imperilled species populations
A University of Queensland-led research team has revealed that many endangered mammal species are dependent on protected areas, and would likely vanish without them. Professor James Watson, of UQ and the Wildlife Conservation Society, said despite the success of protected areas, their popularity as a go-to conservation tool has started to wane. (2020-09-06)

A call to arms: Enlisting private land owners in conservation
In 1872 the United States created Yellowstone, the first National Park in the world. Since then many more parks, monuments, preserves, wildernesses and other protected areas have been created in the USA. Protected areas, like Yellowstone, are invaluable, but are they actually effective at preserving endangered species? And if not, how can future protected areas do better? (2020-07-17)

Stopping deforestation: lessons from Colombia
A study of deforestation in Colombia by researchers from The University of Queensland has revealed some valuable insights which could be used to help slow deforestation in areas around the globe. (2020-05-01)

Disasters can affect cervical cancer screening for years
Screening is important for the early detection of cervical cancer, but rates were significantly affected, in some areas for years, following a devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. (2020-03-27)

Renewable energy developments threaten biodiverse areas
More than 2000 renewable energy facilities are built in areas of environmental significance and threaten the natural habitats of plant and animal species across the globe. A University of Queensland research team mapped the location of solar, wind and hydropower facilities in wilderness, protected areas and key biodiversity areas. (2020-03-25)

Children with ADHD more likely to receive medication if they live in poorer areas
Children with ADHD from the poorest areas are significantly more likely to receive medication as children with ADHD from the most affluent areas, according to the first UK study of its kind. (2020-02-07)

Approaching the perception of touch in the brain
More than ten percent of the cerebral cortex are involved in processing information about our sense of touch -- a larger area than previously thought. This is the result of a joint study by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig and Ruhr Universität Bochum. (2019-11-25)

Wilderness areas halve extinction risk
The global conservation community has been urged to adopt a specific target to protect the world's remaining wilderness areas to prevent large scale loss of at-risk species. (2019-09-18)

In rural areas, buprenorphine is provided by primary care clinicians
As the United States undertakes intense efforts to increase the number of prescribers of buprenorphine for opioid use disorder, it is critical to understand who currently provides such treatment and how. (2019-05-14)

Time for a new global protected area target
The world needs a new international protected area target based on scientific evidence, according to a team including University of Queensland scientists. UQ researcher Professor James Watson, who is also with the Wildlife Conservation Society, said protected areas were critically important for safeguarding biodiversity. (2019-04-11)

Children benefit from living near conservation zones
Children who live near protected areas designated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) live in wealthier and healthier households than those who live far away from the conservation zones, say Robin Naidoo and colleagues. Their findings suggest that the practice of setting aside protected zones for wildlife and cultural conservation (2019-04-03)

Ramped up efforts needed to protect the world's inland waters
Surface water protection is well below global targets in over half of the world's countries, according to a new study from the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission's science and knowledge service. (2019-02-05)

Not all marine protected areas are created equal
Europe's impressive network of marine protected areas (MPAs), which now cover 29 percent of territorial waters, is not as effective as has been thought at preserving the marine biodiversity it was created to protect. (2018-12-20)

Study uncovers link between air pollution and intellectual disabilities in children
British children with intellectual disabilities are more likely than their peers to live in areas with high outdoor air pollution, according to a new Journal of Intellectual Disability Research study funded by Public Health England. (2018-11-21)

Study predicts decreasing brown bear habitat due to climate change
A recent analysis of data related to the brown bear (Ursus arctos) estimates that suitable habitat will be reduced by 11 percent across Central Asia and the Asian Highlands by 2050 due to climate change, predominantly due to the changes in temperature and precipitation. The findings are published in Ecology and Evolution. (2018-11-21)

Climate change causing more severe wildfires, larger insect outbreaks in temperate forests
A warmer, drier climate is expected is increase the likelihood of larger-scale forest disturbances such as wildfires, insect outbreaks, disease and drought, according to a new study co-authored by a Portland State University professor (2018-11-07)

One-third of world's 'protected' areas under intense human pressure
Globally, one-third of protected land is under intense human pressure from processes including road building, grazing, and urbanization, according to a new study. (2018-05-17)

Patients with multiple conditions receive higher level of care in affluent areas
Patients with multimorbidity -- two or more long-term medical conditions -- have complex health care needs, often requiring higher levels of care than other patients. According to a new study, however, patients with multimorbidity in affluent areas receive longer doctor visits, greater perceived empathy, and more patient-centered care than comparable patients in socioeconomically deprived areas. (2018-03-13)

Fires in Australia pop up in places already burned
Fires that span across the Northern Territory and Western Australia appear to have broken out in areas that have already been burned in previous fires. (2017-09-22)

Segregation's unexpected link with black health in history
Racial housing segregation had some unexpected relationships with how long both blacks and whites lived historically in the United States, a new study suggests. (2017-09-11)

Breast-feeding peer support services are lacking in many UK regions
Peer support is recommended by the World Health Organization for the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding, but in a survey of 136 service managers with jobs related to infant feeding across UK NHS Trust and Health Board areas, breastfeeding peer supporters were available in only 56 percent of NHS areas. (2017-07-07)

Why does an anesthetic make us lose consciousness?
Neuroscientists at Goethe University Frankfurt and the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen have now discovered that certain areas of the brain generate less information when under anesthesia. (2017-06-13)

Humans are creating quite a racket, even in the wilderness
Human-related noise is doubling background sound levels in 63 percent of US protected areas, where manmade disturbances are supposed to be reduced, a new study reveals. (2017-05-04)

Hunting by humans significantly reduces bird and mammal populations
In tropical forests, bird and mammal populations are significantly lower -- 53 percent and 82 percent respectively -- in areas where hunting occurs, a new study finds. In many forests that appear structurally undisturbed, hunting can exert a major pressure on wildlife, causing large declines in populations. (2017-04-13)

Hot spots of marine biodiversity most severely impacted by global warming
A new study aimed at identifying areas of highest conservation priority in the world's oceans found six 'hot spots of marine biodiversity' that are severely impacted by climate change and fishing pressures. (2017-02-22)

Global map of roadless areas reveals roads fragmenting majority of land
Roads now fragment land to such an extent that, worldwide, only 7 percent of patches created by roads are greater than 100 square kilometers (38 square miles), a new study reports. The results dramatically highlight the footprint of humans on Earth. (2016-12-15)

China's pristine parks get more merit
A first of its kind study has measured how parks in China have been affected by human impact, and found the most pristine areas are in Tibet and neighboring provinces. Researchers from Griffith University and Beijing's Chinese Academy of Sciences mapped and analyzed the Human Footprint Index for 1834 terrestrial Nature Reserves of mainland China. (2016-12-01)

Logging can decrease water infiltration into forest soils, study finds
Researchers have found that logging operations can negatively affect soil density and water infiltration within forests, particularly along makeshift logging roads and landing areas where logs are stored before being trucked to sawmills. (2016-08-17)

Wide and stubborn variations in longevity across Europe over past 20 years
Wide and stubborn variations in longevity have persisted across Europe over the past 20 years, indicates research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. (2016-02-15)

Study finds growing public support in the USA and Canada for smokefree outdoor laws
A new study has found increasing support in the United States and Canada for smokefree laws for outdoor areas, especially in playgrounds and school grounds. The collaborative study between the University of Otago, New Zealand and University of Alberta, Canada, provides new and some unexpected insights for health promotion in North America. A key finding is that most residents welcome smokefree laws. Support was strongest for smokefree playgrounds and school grounds, but there was also majority support for a range of other smokefree areas. (2015-09-15)

Where you live doesn't matter if you have heart disease, study finds
People living in rural areas are at no greater risk of dying from heart disease than their urban counterparts, according to a new study by researchers at Women's College Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. (2014-10-28)

Protected areas proven to protect biodiversity
Protected areas conserve biodiversity and more action is needed to ensure safeguards are in place to protect these areas, researchers say. (2014-08-27)

Informal child care significantly impacts rural economies, MU study finds
University of Missouri researchers have studied the child care sector in Kansas, particularly in rural areas, and have found that informal child care services create a large economic impact in the state. (2014-07-29)

Higher NHS spending in deprived areas can reduce health inequalities
A policy of higher NHS spending in deprived areas compared with affluent areas is associated with a reduction in absolute health inequalities from causes amenable to healthcare in England, suggests a study published on bmj.com today. (2014-05-27)

Smoking visibility mapped for the first time
The visibility of smoking in city streets has for the first time anywhere been mapped, in new research from the University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand. The methods developed through this research will help policymakers demonstrate the visibility of smoking in different areas, and provide scientific evidence for local authorities to advance smokefree outdoor policies. (2014-04-06)

NOAA announces additions to National System of Marine Protected Areas
NOAA announced the inclusion of 82 existing marine protected areas into the National System of Marine Protected Areas. This addition brings the total number of marine protected areas in the national system to 437. Sites in the system remain under the management of the agency that established them, but work voluntarily and cooperatively together to address common management problems, such as adapting to climate change impacts or managing emerging ocean uses. (2013-08-14)

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