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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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As Trump accepts nomination for President, delegates emphasize themes of unity and optimism envisioning 'new golden age.' But RNC convention was marked by strong opposition to LGBTQ rights, which both opened and closed the event.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Climate change alters ME biodiversity as species' range shifts north

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Monday, June 3, 2024   

Scientists said climate change is having an unprecedented and accelerating effect on the biodiversity of plants and animals in Maine. Rising sea temperatures are altering critical habitats and food webs, as seen in the collapse of Atlantic shrimp stock and loss of kelp beds, which hurts both marine life and Maine's vital fishing industry.

Kristen Puryear, ecologist for the Maine Natural Areas Program, said climate change is compounding existing threats like overdevelopment along the coast, where biodiverse tidal marshes are running out of space.

"Species likely to be vulnerable are those that are already rare on the state or global level, or have narrow or specialized habitat needs," Puryear explained.

Puryear pointed out scientists have the conservation tools to help mitigate the effects of climate change on wildlife, including using strategically connected landscapes and corridors to help species adapt and grow more resilient, even as they seek habitat further north.

Forests make up nearly 90% of Maine's land area, and scientists said they have reached a biological tipping point, growing more vulnerable to wildfires, disease and invasive pests. Species like glossy buckthorn, bittersweet and barberry can crowd out other native plants and become breeding grounds for ticks.

Puryear acknowledged other species will arrive in Maine's hardwood and softwood forests with minimal effects.

"To some degree, allowing these novel species to just move in on their own if they're not causing big upsets to the whole ecosystem may be something that we do have to let go," Puryear emphasized.

State officials said the vast number of trees in Maine offset nearly all the greenhouse gas emissions produced in the state, but emerging threats could change it. Maine's four-year plan to prepare for climate change is being updated by scientists with the Maine Climate Council and should be released later this year.


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Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at a political event in Grand Rapids, Mich., in early 2024. (The White House/Wikimedia Commons)

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