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Expert-reviewed information about the Earth.  For everyone.



  • Aquifer Featured Article Aquifer Aquifer

    Introduction An aquifer is a geologic formation, group of formations, or part of a formation that contains sufficient saturated permeable material to yield significant... More »

  • Trinity Site, New Mexico Featured Article Trinity Site, New Mexico Trinity Site, New Mexico

    Trinity Site, Alamogordo Bombing Range, New Mexico ( 33°40'30.00"N, 106°28'30.00"W) was the site of the first atmospheric atomic bomb test which took... More »

  • Composting tips Featured Article Composting tips Composting tips

    Composting turns household wastes into valuable fertilizer and soil organic matter. All organic matter eventually decomposes. Composting speeds the process by providing an... More »

  • Marine microbes Featured Article Marine microbes Marine microbes

    The term 'Marine microbes' encompasses all microscopic organisms generally found in saltwater. Most micro-organisms are acellular and fall into the major categories of... More »

  • Dugong Featured Article Dugong Dugong

    The Dugong, often referred to as the sea cow, is actually more closely related to elephants than to the bovine namesake.  Throughout much of their range, the Dugong has... More »

  • Endangered species Featured Article Endangered species Endangered species

    An endangered species is a biological taxon that is at risk of becoming extinct in a proximate time frame much sooner than the long term horizon in which species typically... More »

  • Carpenter bee Featured Article Carpenter bee Carpenter bee

    This hexapod (six-legged) insect is a bee in the subfamily Xylocoinae of either the genus Ceratina or Xylocopa that makes its nest in wood or plant stems. Along... More »

  • Welwitschia Featured Article Welwitschia Welwitschia

    The Welwitschia (Welwitschia mirabilis) is a gymnosperm relict plant endemic to the Namib Desert. The species aerial architecture consists of a pair of very wide curled and... More »

  • Frugivore Featured Article Frugivore Frugivore

    A frugivore is a type of herbivore (plant-eating animal) that eats a substantial portion of fruit.  A few frugivores species eat only fruit, but many also consume leaves... More »

Recently Updated
Ecosystem services fact sheet Last Updated on 2014-07-09 17:01:53 This ecosystems services fact sheet is intended to provide an overview of the subject of ecosystem services, e.g. the economic consequences to humankind of benefits provided by the natural environment. This fact sheet was originally developed by the Ecological Society of America (ESA). Have you ever considered that the cereal you eat is brought to you each morning by the wind, or that the glass of clear, cold, clean water drawn from you faucet may have been purified for you by a wetland or perhaps the root system of an entire forest? Trees in your front yard work to trap dust, dirt, and harmful gases from the air you breathe. The bright fire of oak logs you light to keep warm on cold nights and the medicine you take to ease the pain of an ailment come to you from Nature’s warehouse of services. Natural ecosystems perform fundamental life-support services upon which human... More »
African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Last Updated on 2014-07-09 16:51:53 Entry into Force: 16 June 1969 Preamble We, the Heads of State and Government of Independent African States, Fully conscious that soil, water, flora and faunal resources constitute a capital of vital importance to mankind; Confirming, as we accepted upon declaring our adherence to the Charter of the Organization of African Unity, that we know that it is our duty "to harness the natural and human resources of our continent for the total advancement of our peoples in spheres of human endeavour"; Fully conscious of the ever-growing importance of natural resources from an economic, nutritional, scientific, educational, cultural and aesthetic point of view; Conscious of the dangers which threaten some of these irreplaceable assets; Accepting that the utilization of the natural resources must aim at satisfying the needs of man according to the carrying capacity of the... More »
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda Last Updated on 2014-07-09 16:11:36 Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (1°07'S x 29°65'E) is a World Heritage Site located in south-western Uganda at the junction of the plain and mountain forests. The area covers 33,000 hectares (ha) and is known for its exceptional biodiversity, with more than 200 species of trees, over 100 species of ferns, more than 350 birds and over 200 butterflies, as well as many endangered species, including the mountain gorilla. In the Kigezi (Rukigi) Highlands of southwestern Uganda overlooking the western rift valley, within the Districts of Kabale, Kisoro and Kanangu. The Park borders the Democratic Republic of Congo on the west. The nearest main town is Kabale 29 kilometers (km) by road to the south-east: 0°53' to 1°08'S x 29°35' to 29°50'E. 1932: The present northern and southern sectors of the forest were gazetted as... More »
Cape Floral Protected Areas, South Africa Last Updated on 2014-07-09 16:01:32 Cape Floral Protected Areas (32°36’S to 34° 30’S and 18° 18’E to 25°50’E) is a World Heritage Site located in South Africa. The Cape Floral Region is located in southwest and southern South Africa, between the coast and the Cedarberg and Swartberg Mountain ranges, mostly in Western Cape Province. It comprises a cluster of eight sites over an area about 850 kilometers (km) long by an average of 110 km wide located between approximately 32°36’S to 34° 30’S and 18° 18’E to 25°50’E. The northern margin reaches into the Northern Cape, the inland margin on the north-facing mountain slopes is formed by the Succulent Karoo and the Nama-Karoo and the eastern margin is in the thicket vegetation of Eastern Cape Province. In relation to Cape Town, Cape Peninsula National Park extends from the city 50 km south;... More »
Comoé National Park, Côte d'Ivoire Last Updated on 2014-07-09 15:50:49 Comoé National Park (8°32' - 9°32'N, 3°01' - 4°24'W) is a World Heritage Site. One of the largest protected areas in West Africa, this park is characterized by its great plant diversity. Due to the presence of the Comoé river, it contains plants which are normally only found much farther south, such as shrub savannas and patches of thick rainforest. The present unrest in Côte d'Ivoire is having an adverse effect on the site, as is poaching of wildlife and fires caused by poachers, over-grazing by large cattle herds and the absence of effective management. Located in the far northeast of the country south of the border with Burkino Faso between the towns of Bouna and Kong, 350-450 kilometers (km) north of Abidjan: 8°32' - 9°32'N, 3°01' - 4°24'W. 1926: Rudimentary protection... More »