Thursday, May 19News That Matters
Shadow

Tag: Restoring

Restoring longleaf pines, keystone of once vast ecosystems

Restoring longleaf pines, keystone of once vast ecosystems

Technology
DESOTO NATIONAL FOREST, Miss. -- When European settlers came to North America, fire-dependent savannas anchored by lofty pines with footlong needles covered much of what became the southern United States.Yet by the 1990s, logging and clear-cutting for farms and development had all but eliminated longleaf pines and the grasslands beneath where hundreds of plant and animal species flourished.Now, thanks to a pair of modern day Johnny Appleseeds, landowners, government agencies and nonprofits are working in nine coastal states from Virginia to Texas to bring back pines named for the long needles prized by Native Americans for weaving baskets.Longleaf pines now cover as much as 7,300 square miles (19,000 square kilometers) — and more than one-quarter of that has been planted since 2010.“I like...
Microfinance lenders aim at repayment collection, restoring credit cycle amid rising stress

Microfinance lenders aim at repayment collection, restoring credit cycle amid rising stress

Finance
KOLKATA: Microfinance firms and small finance banks are desperately looking to boost repayment collection to revive cash flow and resume loan disbursement to restore normalcy in credit cycle even as the Reserve Bank of India extended moratorium on payment till August 31 for borrowers under stress. The prime concern expressed by microfinance leaders now is that the extended moratorium might increase stress and derail the robust credit discipline that they nurtured over the years. "It's a disaster," said a chief executive of an MFI. "Many of the borrowers may not able to service loans after the six month of repayment holiday." Merely about 15% borrowers have shown willingness to start repayment till the third week of May, people familiar with the matter said. Repayment rates were down to 12...
Dinosaurs: Restoring Mongolia’s fossil heritage

Dinosaurs: Restoring Mongolia’s fossil heritage

Science
Eighty million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period, Mongolia's Gobi Desert was a dinosaur's paradise of vast valleys, freshwater lakes and a humid climate. Mammal-eating velociraptors, lizard-hipped sauropods and spike-armoured ankylosaurs could have been spotted roaming in what are now the Martian red sandstone spires of Bayanzag's Flaming Cliffs. These prehistorically favourable conditions make the Gobi Desert the largest dinosaur fossil reservoir in the world. Over almost 100 years of palaeontological research in the Gobi, more than 80 genera have been found. But for many people living there, this scientific heritage remains unknown."Putting a fence up is not protection; protection is people's knowledge," Mongolian palaeo...

Restoring life to the Aral Sea's dead zone

Science
The loss of the Aral Sea in central Asia is an ecological disaster. Toxic chemicals in the exposed sea bed have caused widespread health problems. Can an ambitious project to plant millions of trees save the Karakalpak people of Uzbekistan? Seventy-eight-year-old Almas Tolvashev shuffles through the sand towards the rusting hulk of a fishing boat. The lighthouse that keeps watch over a crumbling flotilla of 10 or so ships is a stark reminder that Moynaq was once a thriving fishing port on the Aral Sea."The history of the Karakalpak people starts with the sea," says the former fisherman. "Fishing was the first thing fathers taught their sons".Moynaq lies at the heart of Karakalpakstan, a semi-autonomous republic within Uzbekistan....