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Articles from Science for Environment Policy

17.08.2012
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Articles from Science for Environment Policy
A service from the European Commission
Green communities: making sustainability work in the big city
Championing local communities and local people may be one way to make communities more self-reliant and more sustainable, but what about the big cities? A recently published article argues that the economics of cities - which will soon be home to most of the world´s population - are crucial to sustainability goals and that cooperation in green city networks could reduce their collective impact on the environment.
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Smoke from forest fires kills approximately 340,000 people each year
Inhaling smoke from forest, grass and peat fires causes about 340,000 premature deaths worldwide every year, according to new research. Reducing the number and extent of human-induced landscape fires could significantly improve air quality, mitigate climate change and reduce the rate of biodiversity loss, say scientists.
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Urban growth leads to reduced water availability
Whatever form it takes, urban growth leads to reduced groundwater availability, according to a new study. The paper highlights the fact that urbanisation is not always sustainable and recommends that planners consider no-growth scenarios for economic development.
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Black carbon and ozone pollutants may be driving tropical expansion
Man-made pollutants may be responsible for the expansion of the tropics in the northern hemisphere, according to recent research. Black carbon aerosols and tropospheric ozone, formed from human activities, are heating the atmosphere and shifting major atmospheric circulation patterns further north, which could create drier conditions in the subtropics.
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Sustainable agriculture: wider debate of farming techniques needed
There is a need to broaden the debate on sustainable food security from a straight comparison between organic and conventional farming to a consideration of a variety of farming techniques. This is the conclusion of a new review of research that indicates, for some crop types, organic yields can nearly match conventional yields under good management practices and growing conditions.
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Informing climate change adaptation in forestry management
Adapting to climate change is essential to the sustainable management of forestry but it needs to be grounded in current scientific knowledge. A recent US study has brought together scientific experts and forestry managers to ascertain some general adaptation strategies for the future.
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Street lighting affects insect biodiversity
Insect communities are permanently changed by the presence of street lighting, according to new research. The authors of the study found that predatory and scavenging insects such as ants and ground beetles were more common under streetlights at all times of day, suggesting that light pollution does not simply attract different types of animals at night.
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