As a result of climate change, spring snowmelt in the Alps is now occurring earlier in the year – by the end of the century it is predicted to occur 50-130 days earlier. New research, conducted at the University of Manchester, has demonstrated that this change in timing is affecting microbial communities beneath the soil which is having critical knock-on effects on both above-ground life and carbon cycling.
A rare bee, not recorded in its native Australia for almost a century, has been found in Queensland. Assumed extinct, three populations of Pharohylaeus lactiferus were found following extensive sampling across almost 250 sites. However, although populations are now known to exist, P lactiferus remains rare and extremely susceptible to habitat destruction.
A new project, organised by the National Trust, plans to create ‘blossom circles’ in cities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in a bid to inspire the UK equivalent of Hanami – the traditional Japanese custom of appreciating the transient beauty of flowers. As well as creating nature-rich havens and contributing to the Trust’s ambition to plant 20 million trees by 2030, it is hoped that these spaces will aid in the emotional recovery of local people following a very difficult year.
The connection between time spent in nature and improved mental health has long been known, and a recent study conducted at the University of Connecticut has shown that this continues to be true throughout the global pandemic. Participants who felt that they were in tune with or had a connection with the natural world were found to be coping better with increased stress experienced during the pandemic in comparison to those who did not feel this connection.