Often urban expansion occurs concomitantly with economic growth in developing countries, not to mention land use change including the conversion of forest to agricultural land. A new study in Landscape and Urban Planning suggests that expansion of Panama City and Colon, both of which are surrounded by richly biodiverse rainforests, could result in future biodiversity loss.

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The Woodland Trust claim that an area of ancient woodland the size of Birmingham (100 square miles) has been lost in the last decade. The rate of this loss is said to be comparable to the rate of forest loss in the Amazon.

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Marine Biologists have disturbingly discovered that some of the UK's harbour seal Phoca vitulina vitulina populations have and are undergoing 'massive' declines. The results are particularly concerning given that scientists are as yet, unable to account for exactly why these declines are occurring at their present rate.

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Yesterday, the BES policy team attended the Science Advisory Council Meeting at Westminster, London. The day provided an opportunity to meet with members of Defra, the media, other NGOs, listen to talks from senior scientists and learn about Defra's present and future plans.

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A high citation index is an interpretation of the effectiveness of science communication between scientists, not to mention the importance and relevance of the research, within that particular field. But is a highly cited paper an indication of effective communication to the public and policy makers?

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Speaking on the Today Programme, Professor Dick Godwin spoke of the overemphasis on environmental issues in farming, rather than growing food for the people. The Royal Agricultural Society of England released a report today warning that England's soils are being overworked.

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To all early-career researchers in the biological sciences:

    Are you passionate about your research? Do you think it is important for good science and evidence to be communicated to a wider audience? What can you do about misconceptions and misinformation about science?
Science in the media: What happens when research announcements go wrong; statistics are manipulated; risk factors are distorted; or discussions become polarised? Speakers: Professor John Atkinson, Associate Dean Research & Commercialisation, School of Health Nursing and Midwifery, University of The West of Scotland; Dr Dave Reay, Lecturer in Carbon Management, University of Edinburgh; Dr Debbie Wake, Clinician in Endocrinology, Diabetes and General Medicine, NHS Lothian; Dr Shaun Treweek, Health Services researcher, Dundee University.

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A recent report conducted by leading experts from across Europe published by the Royal Society, suggests we need much stronger legislation regarding tropospheric (low/ground-level atmosphere) ozone pollution. Tropospheric ozone lowers crop yields, damages natural ecosystems and harms human health potentially leading to respiratory problems.

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Speaking to the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General introduced proceedings highlighting the important role wetlands have in the fight against climate change. The Secretary General recognised how wetlands contribute to livelihoods and human well-being.

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Considerable research efforts have suggested that there is, or could be a link between insect pollinator decline and agricultural output. The body of science on the subject of pollinators and agriculture has influenced policy at the highest level; the creation of the International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators (IPI) at a United Nations meeting in 2000.

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Recent research published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology suggests greater attention ought to be paid to seed predators, especially in the context of natural and agro-ecosystems. Whilst a great deal of work and policy has focused on the functional importance of pollinators in the agricultural landscape, scant attention has duly been paid to insect seed predators.

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The Carbon Trust, a government funded agency, is to unveil plans that will set the agenda for algal biofuels becoming a significant alternative to fossil fuels by 2020. £26m has been allocated to research and development of infrastructure that will make algal biofuels a commercial reality, facilitating their use for UK road transport.

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A £100 Million funding shortfall in funding paints an uncertain future for the world's leading seed bank project in Kew, London. Scientists are said to have less than a year to raise the enormous sum, after which the Millenium Seed Bank, the most important of its kind, could face closure.

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A team of scientists based at the Centre for Agricultural and Biosciences International (CABI), after extensive experimental trials, have finally found a solution to the super invasive Japanese Knotweed Fallopia japonica. Japanese knotweed is one of several invasive non-native species, that are collectively estimated to cost the UK billions of pounds in eradication programmes. It is notorious for growing rapidly from tiny fragments, and has the ability to pierce and break-up concrete and tarmac.

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New research published in PNAS indicates that although policy is successful in designating areas to protect biodiversity, these areas rarely environ ecosystem services. The lack of congruence is such that, in terms of protecting ecosystem services, these areas could be considered to have been selected completely at random.

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By Seth Preston, Communications Manager, Toxics Cleanup Program Next week, the Toxics Cleanup Program is bringing in a group of experts from throughout the nation to Bainbridge Island. The purpose?

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