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Expert-reviewed information about the Earth.  For everyone.

  • Earth's atmospheric air Featured Article Earth's atmospheric air Earth's atmospheric air

    The Earth's atmospheric air is a colorless, odorless and tasteless mixture of gases consisting mostly of nitrogen (N2) and oxygen (O2). It is the part of Earth's... More »

  • Composting Featured Article Composting Composting

    Composting is the controlled biological decomposition and pasteurization of organic materials under aerobic conditions— it involves the action of mesophilic microorganisms... More »

  • Cnidaria Featured Article Cnidaria Cnidaria

    Cnidaria (corals, jellyfish, and Hydra) are incredibly diverse in form, as evidenced by colonial siphonophores, massive medusae and corals, feathery hydroids, and box jellies... More »

  • Fluid catalytic cracking Featured Article Fluid catalytic cracking Fluid catalytic cracking

    Fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) is the most important conversion process used in petroleum refineries. It is widely used to convert the high-boiling hydrocarbon fractions of... More »

  • Vertical farming Featured Article Vertical farming Vertical farming

    The advent of agriculture ushered in an unprecedented increase in the human population and their domesticated animals. Farming catalyzed the transformation of hunter-gatherers... More »

  • Europa Island Featured Article Europa Island Europa Island

    Europa Island located in the southern Mozambique Channel, between Madagascar and Mozambique. Europa Island is about 100 kilometers (km) southeast of Bassas da... More »

  • What Is Aquaculture? Featured Article What Is Aquaculture? What Is Aquaculture?

    The term aquaculture broadly refers to the cultivation of aquatic organisms in controlled aquatic environments for any commercial, recreational or public purpose. The breeding,... More »

Recently Updated
Sierra de la Laguna pine-oak forests Last Updated on 2014-04-23 17:41:20 The Sierra de la Laguna pine-oak forest is a mountainous ecoregion which rises from the arid Baja California Sur, creating islands of unique vegetative communities. There are approximately 694 plant species, approximately 85 of which are endemic to this ecoregion. Overall species richness is low to moderate, with a total of only 231 vertebrate taxa, for example. The ecoregion is classified to be in the Tropical and Subtropical Coniferous Forests biome. Much of the pine-oak association remains intactThe condition of an ecological habitat being an undisturbed or natural environment due to the inaccessibility of the rugged and inaccessible terrain; however, overgrazing occurs in some parts of the ecoregion, and faunal predators are often killed by local ranchers to protect livestock. This ecoregion is contained in a larger area known as the Cape Region, and constitutes the... More »
Central American pine-oak forests Last Updated on 2014-04-23 17:21:00 This ecoregion, which is contained within several Central American countries, supports a rich assortment of conifer species. Much of this region is considered an Endemic Bird Area, and provides habitat for the Golden-cheeked warbler and Azure-rumped tanager. Few reserves are designed to specifically protect these pine forests, which are threatened by logging.                                   The Central American pine-oak forest ecoregion incorporates the central Chiapas state of Mexico, southern Guatemala, most of Honduras and El Salvador, and small areas of west central Nicaragua. This ecoregion encompasses the Sierra Madre de Chiapas with mountain ranges that run parallel to the Pacific coast, and various mountain ranges with complex topography. The area, which delineates... More »
Windward Islands dry forests Last Updated on 2014-04-23 17:04:52 The Windward Islands dry forests ecoregion is sparsely distributed among the Windward Island Group of the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles. It is typically found as an intermediate gradient between the more mesichabitat characterized by moderate soil moisture, high-elevation forests and the xeric, coastal areas. Much of this ecoregion has been substantially altered by shifting cultivation. Many areas that were once dry evergreen or semi-evergreen seasonal forest, are now cultivated and dominated by farms, rural villages, roads, pastures and banana tree patches. This ecoregion shares flora and fauna with adjacent moist forests and, in some areas, with species native to coastal habitats. Arid coastal areas and inaccessible interior mountains put a disproportionate amount of human-related pressures (i.e., agricultural expansion, roads, buildings) on this ecoregion. Consequently,... More »
Trinidad and Tobago dry forests Last Updated on 2014-04-23 17:00:38 The Trinidad and Tobago dry forests are found on the Caribbean Islands of Trinidad and Tobago. Due to recent separation from South America these islands' flora and fauna reflect the ecology of equatorial South America more than any other Windward Island where biotic endemism is common. On Trinidad, this ecoregion’s proximity to Port of Spain, the industrial and commercial center and focal point for tourism in the country, has predisposed it to significant agricultural and industrial alterations. As much as 13% (69,000 hectares (ha)) of the land area in Trinidad and Tobago has been proposed for protected areas status, portions of which are included within this ecoregion. Official Government approval is still pending however, recent trends indicate an environmentally conscious direction for the islands’ natural resources. This ecoregion covers only a small portion... More »
Sierra de la Laguna dry forests Last Updated on 2014-04-23 16:56:19 Located at the southern end of the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico, the Sierra de la Laguna dry forests ecoregion was once an isolated island, containing a large number of endemic species. After sufficient mountain uplift and the joining the Baja Peninsula mainland, this ecoregion underwent significant speciation, and is thus today high in species diversity; this portion of the peninsula contains the majority of the species found in the southern part of the Baja Peninsula. The Sierra de la Laguna dry forest is a subtropical dry forest classified within the Tropical and Subtropical Broadleaf Forests biome; the ecoregion is threatened by overgrazing from domestic cattle and the hunting by humans. Designated as a Protected Natural Area (PNA), this important ecoregion is at risk from habitat... More »