Brazilian Protected Area Network Largely Unaffected By Recent Amazon Fires

August 2019 saw dramatic increases in wildfires in the Brazilian Amazon, leading to arguments between Brazil and G7 leaders and widespread concern among conservationists. Popular media reports suggested that ‘swathes of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil are on fire’. Here we investigate the spatial distribution of fires through August 2019, showing that fires were largely restricted to deforested regions and areas with low canopy cover, particularly in unprotected areas. In contrast, Brazil’s protected areas had one third as many fires, and forest in protected areas with high canopy cover was almost entirely unaffected by fire. Protected areas reduce deforestation and carbon emissions, and have proved largely untouched by recent fires.

Revealing the hidden threat from crop pests

Five years ago I gave at talk at the International Mycological Congress, IMC10, in Bangkok, on the distributions of crop pests and pathogens around the world. One aspect which hadn’t received much attention was the problem of pseudo-absences in the pest distribution data we use, obtained from the CABI Knowledge Bank. CABI’s pest distribution data … Continue reading Revealing the hidden threat from crop pests

PhD on Fusarium Wilt of Banana

Preparing for Fusarium Wilt of Banana in Latin America and the Caribbean We have a PhD position available on the SWBIO Doctoral Training Programme, on the threats facing banana production from Fusarium Wilt, a.k.a. Panama Disease. You can apply here: Main supervisor: Dr Daniel Bebber (University of Exeter) Second supervisors: Prof Sarah Gurr (University … Continue reading PhD on Fusarium Wilt of Banana

PhD at the Eden Project – deadline 28th May

Project Description This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding from the NERC Great Western Four+ Doctoral Training Partnership (GW4+ DTP). For further details about the programme please see The Studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit and will commence in September 2018. For eligible students the … Continue reading PhD at the Eden Project – deadline 28th May

Bananas at a crossroads


Over the past year, my colleagues and I have met with banana producers, importers, retailers, and researchers around the world. A picture is emerging of an industry facing multiple pressures, with important choices to be made to ensure environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

By Dan Bebber

Bananas, the UK’s favourite fruit, appear at first glance to be among our most reliable and resilient fresh produce – they are stocked in every supermarket on every day of the year and their price seldom varies by more than a few pence per kilo. But beneath this apparently smooth and steady supply lies a complex international supply network affected by extreme weather, plant disease, social and political shifts, and the looming threat of climate change. The reliability of banana availability to UK consumers, despite these diverse threats and the fact that only one variety of banana is internationally traded, makes the banana supply…

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