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ACES, Extension researchers add expertise to Illinois climate change report

Illinois is undergoing a rapid change in weather patterns that already has started to transform the state and could affect the future of farming, a major new scientific assessment by The Nature Conservancy in Illinois reveals.

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Frequent fire too hot to handle for invasive plants

URBANA, Ill. – Land managers know one of the best ways to prevent forest fires is to set fires. Periodic controlled or prescribed burns can reduce the amount of flammable materials lying about on a forest floor, so when wildfires do start, they stay small.

Prescribed fires do more than that, though. New University of Illinois research shows frequent fires can help keep invasive plants in check by reducing nitrogen availability in soils.

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Simple fish hook change creates career highlight, real conservation impact

URBANA, Ill. – Many young environmental scientists and wildlife biologists go into their fields with a fundamental urge to save the planet, to protect the aspects of nature that most inspire their passion and awe. But, considering the incremental nature of science, it’s relatively rare for an environmental study to translate directly into a positive conservation outcome.

This time, it did.

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Songbird parents evict young for their own benefit

URBANA, Ill. – Parents, you might know the feeling. When kids get pushy and demanding, it’s a tempting fantasy to shove them out of the house and let them survive on their own. Of course, we’d never put our babies in harm’s way, but according to new research from the University of Illinois, many songbird parents give nestlings the boot well before they’re ready.

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In a warming climate, can birds take the heat?

URBANA, Ill. – We don’t know precisely how hot things will get as climate change marches on, but there’s reason to believe animals in the tropics may not fare as well as their temperate relatives. Many scientists think tropical animals, because they’re accustomed to a more stable thermal environment, may be pushed beyond their limits quickly as temperatures soar. And that could lead to massive species loss. 

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Trees set sixth-graders up for success

URBANA, Ill. – The transition to middle school is undeniably tough for many sixth-graders, even in the best of times. Mounting academic demands, along with changes in peer dynamics and the onset of puberty, result in a predictable and sometimes irreversible slump in academic performance.

A new University of Illinois study suggests an unexpected but potentially potent remedy: trees.

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Global report: Forests underrated as allies to curb rural poverty

URBANA, Ill. – Poverty is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. Globally, one in 10 people lives on less than $1.90 per day. If current trends continue, the World Food Programme predicts the number of hungry people will reach 840 million, or one ninth of the world’s population, by 2030.

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Lessons in green schoolyards benefit kindergarteners, especially girls

URBANA, Ill. – Amid one of the strangest back-to-school seasons in modern history, many teachers, parents, and caregivers are struggling to enrich their students’ experiences beyond screen-based learning. A new study from University of Illinois researchers suggests daily outdoor lessons in green spaces could boost self-regulation in young children, setting them up for greater academic and social-emotional success.

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New center employs economic tools for sustainability solutions

URBANA, Ill. – A group of applied economists launched a new research center this week at the University of Illinois. The Center for the Economics of Sustainability (CEOS) is made up of agricultural, development, environmental, financial, and consumer economists who collaborate with stakeholders and researchers from many other disciplines. Together, they study how best to manage natural resources and how to design policies and markets to achieve sustainability at the lowest possible cost.

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Importance of rainfall highlighted for tropical animals

URBANA, Ill. – Imagine a tropical forest and you might conjure up tall trees hung with vines, brightly colored birds, howling monkeys, and … rain. Indeed, precipitation patterns, along with temperature, dictate where tropical forests are distributed around the world, but surprisingly, scientists know very little about the direct effects of rainfall on animals.

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