SYSTEMS

From climate change and ocean acidification to food webs, nutrient cycling, and pollination, gain a big-picture view of the threats to—and importance of—Earth’s natural systems.

Hundreds of new dams are currently planned for Central American rivers, posing a threat to Indigenous peoples and wildlife. Preserving the integrity of these corridors between mountains and sea will help them both.

photo essay | 03.27.19

Free-Flowing, For Now

photo essay | 08.27.19

Free-Flowing, For Now

Restoring native crustaceans along West Africa’s Senegal River may be a critical step in controlling one of the world’s deadliest tropical diseases.

video | 03.17.19

Protected by Prawns

video | 23.17.19

Protected by Prawns

Australia’s corals may get all the headlines, but the country’s kelp-dominated temperate reefs are at least as important and imperiled. Now they're finally getting the restoration focus they deserve.

photo essay | 01.25.19

The Unsung Reef

photo essay | 26.25.19

The Unsung Reef

Community-led conservation has taken root in Papua New Guinea. Now the plan’s architects must ensure that ecological protection and economic prosperity can coexist.

article | 01.08.19

Where the Rainforest Meets the Road

article | 54.08.19

Where the Rainforest Meets the Road

In Bangladesh, a bat-borne virus you've probably never heard of is poised to become the next pandemic—and medicine alone may not be sufficient to stop it. Is an ecological intervention the answer?

article | 12.12.18

The Reservoir

article | 39.12.18

The Reservoir

The lionfish that haunt one of the world’s most famous shipwrecks are now laying claim to new battlegrounds.

spotlight | 12.12.18

The Wreckers

spotlight | 38.12.18

The Wreckers

In western Washington, the Tulalip Tribes bet big on beavers.

article | 11.22.18

They Will Build It

article | 27.22.18

They Will Build It

Peruvian chefs and Amazon dwellers hope the answer is yes—and that the path to salvation will be sabroso.

article | 10.23.18

Can Wild Foods Save the Amazon?

article | 19.23.18

Can Wild Foods Save the Amazon?

Their prey may be tiny, but these Indian mackerel need both gaping mouths and an assist from their school-mates to successfully snag a meal.

spotlight | 10.09.18

Open Wide

spotlight | 36.09.18

Open Wide

Shockingly, being eaten alive by dozens of hungry wasp larvae may have its advantages.

spotlight | 09.11.18

It’s a Wasp-Eat-Caterpillar World

spotlight | 07.11.18

It’s a Wasp-Eat-Caterpillar World

From climate change to a border wall, the oft-overlooked but vital scrubland plants in South Texas face myriad threats. To save them, this self-taught naturalist is taking matters into his own hands.

article | 08.15.18

Borderland Rebellion

article | 54.15.18

Borderland Rebellion

While its partner is away at sea, this sooty albatross patiently holds down the nest and awaits its turn to forage—contributing to an equal partnership that will last a lifetime.

spotlight | 08.15.18

The Long Haul

spotlight | 53.15.18

The Long Haul

Some Tasmanian devils have taken a surprising turn in response to a devastating cancer, offering new hope for the endangered species' survival.

photo essay | 07.31.18

All Eyes on the Devil

photo essay | 36.31.18

All Eyes on the Devil

Battling rising seas and creeping asphalt, scientists race to save two endangered species.

article | 07.18.18

Butterflies in the Storm

article | 04.18.18

Butterflies in the Storm

As reefs endure another onslaught, scientists are taking a closer look at how corals live and grow—and what may enable them to persist in a changing world.

video | 06.12.18

Lens of Time: Growing Against the Odds

video | 20.12.18

Lens of Time: Growing Against the Odds

For American pikas, the rush to store enough food for winter is becoming more hazardous—and climate change isn’t the only culprit.

spotlight | 06.12.18

Dine and Dash

spotlight | 03.12.18

Dine and Dash

An "unholy" river in India may be the last, best hope for one of the world's largest and most imperiled crocodilians.

photo essay | 06.05.18

Basking on the Brink

photo essay | 30.05.18

Basking on the Brink

When corals are stressed, they expel their colorful—and life-sustaining—algae. Dive into a coral polyp to see both how and why.

immersive | 05.23.18

Inside Coral Bleaching

immersive | 30.23.18

Inside Coral Bleaching

Despite myriad threats, some coral reefs are thriving, or rebounding, suggesting it may be far too early to write the obituary for these critical ecosystems.

article | 05.23.18

Picture of Health

article | 29.23.18

Picture of Health

Cuba’s sustainable farming practices could provide a recipe for restoring struggling coral reefs around the world.

photo essay | 05.08.18

Farm to Reef

photo essay | 04.08.18

Farm to Reef

As the world’s marine ecosystems face ever-increasing threats, is the trend toward huge, remote reserves a promising new development or a worrisome distraction?

article | 04.10.18

A Drop in the Ocean?

article | 34.10.18

A Drop in the Ocean?

A decades-long debate over protection of the lesser prairie-chicken could usher the Endangered Species Act into a new era.

immersive | 03.13.18

A Grand Experiment on the Grasslands

immersive | 43.13.18

A Grand Experiment on the Grasslands

Female hares can deftly defend themselves when unwelcome suitors pay a visit, but when climate change comes calling, fighting back proves more difficult.

spotlight | 01.02.18

Boxing Day

spotlight | 18.02.18

Boxing Day

In Mongolia, the conflict between preserving wilderness and conserving culture is coming to a head.

article | 12.19.17

When Reindeer Can’t Roam

article | 36.19.17

When Reindeer Can’t Roam

Can the cattle industry be remade to save the Amazon rainforest?

article | 12.13.17

Better Beef

article | 56.13.17

Better Beef

As extinction rates climb, we have a responsibility—to our own speciesand to others—to work toward reversing the trend.

opinion | 12.05.17

Betting on Conservation

opinion | 25.05.17

Betting on Conservation

Under cover of subtlety and slow-motion, plants not only perceive the organisms around them, in some cases, they also prepare for battle.

video | 11.07.17

Lens of Time: When Plants Fight Back

video | 38.07.17

Lens of Time: When Plants Fight Back

In today’s world, solutions-based science and environment stories aren’t just a pleasant diversion—they’re a critical step toward a healthy future for our species.

opinion | 11.07.17

Life Stories

opinion | 37.07.17

Life Stories

We’ve feared and maligned them for centuries, but it’s the bats that really have something to be afraid of.

spotlight | 10.31.17

Bat Odds

spotlight | 03.31.17

Bat Odds

What was once a popular vacation destination for Hollywood's elite has become a last stronghold for some of Africa's most beleaguered species.

photo essay | 10.19.17

Vultures of Eden

photo essay | 39.19.17

Vultures of Eden

These social birds defy the two-parent family structure, proving that cooperation can make evolutionary sense.

video | 10.10.17

The Anomalies: The Acorn Woodpecker

video | 41.10.17

The Anomalies: The Acorn Woodpecker

In untangling a mysterious herring collapse from the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, scientists reveal just how resilient—and unpredictable—ecosystems can be

article | 09.26.17

Boom and Busted

article | 57.26.17

Boom and Busted

The U.S.-Mexico borderlands contain some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in either country. Trump’s wall would imperil all of it.

article | 09.06.17

Up Against the Wall

article | 59.06.17

Up Against the Wall

The wildfires of tomorrow will be like nothing we’ve ever seen. But the debates they’ll spark have already been raging for more than a century.

article | 08.15.17

Bigger, Hotter, Faster

article | 41.15.17

Bigger, Hotter, Faster

The dieoff is happening out of sight and out of mind. Reversing it will require scrappy scientists and unlikely allies.

article | 07.11.17

Resurrecting the Riverkeepers

article | 44.11.17

Resurrecting the Riverkeepers

To curb climate change, step one is imagining a sustainable future; step two is figuring out how to pay for it.

opinion | 06.20.17

Embracing Hope—and a Carbon Tax

opinion | 15.20.17

Embracing Hope—and a Carbon Tax

When El Niño hits the Galápagos Islands, marine iguanas struggle to find enough food—then they undergo a remarkable transformation.

spotlight | 06.13.17

Survival of the Smallest

spotlight | 12.13.17

Survival of the Smallest

While President Trump considers pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement on climate, the Arctic is telling us what’s at stake for our planet.

article | 05.31.17

On Thin Ice

article | 21.31.17

On Thin Ice

This innovative new approach to land and ocean management in the Bahamas proves that economic prosperity and ecological health can go hand in hand.

article | 05.16.17

Model Island

article | 38.16.17

Model Island

One of the planet’s most massive migrations, the KwaZulu-Natal sardine run triggers a dazzling feeding frenzy off the coast of South Africa.

spotlight | 05.02.17

Greatest Shoal on Earth

spotlight | 02.02.17

Greatest Shoal on Earth

A blood-sucking mite is wreaking havoc on honey bees—but scientists have discovered a surprising new way to fight back.

video | 04.25.17

Can Mushrooms Save the Honey Bee?

video | 15.25.17

Can Mushrooms Save the Honey Bee?

In one of nature’s more surprising interactions, a butterfly hunts crocodilian tears in search of life-sustaining salts.

spotlight | 04.11.17

Tear Hunter

spotlight | 06.11.17

Tear Hunter

Coastal dunes set the stage for a surprisingly valuable partnership between a fungus and a tree.

video | 04.04.17

Invisible Nature: Star of the Dunes

video | 56.04.17

Invisible Nature: Star of the Dunes

Their record-setting heft doesn't stop blue whales from being surprisingly sinuous swimmers.

spotlight | 03.21.17

Graceful Giant

spotlight | 11.21.17

Graceful Giant

Argentina’s vast Iberá wetlands lost many of their largest species decades ago. Can an audacious rewilding plan rebuild a bygone world?

article | 03.14.17

The Mending

article | 16.14.17

The Mending

Renowned sustainability expert shares ideas for addressing food shortages in Africa without compromising the health of ecosystems.

brilliant ideas | 03.14.17

How to Feed Africa Sustainably

brilliant ideas | 15.14.17

How to Feed Africa Sustainably

Feeding the world sustainably—and nutritiously—may require crops that most people have never heard of.

article | 03.07.17

Ancient Crops Find New Life

article | 55.07.17

Ancient Crops Find New Life

The Amazon rainforest faces myriad threats. But this iconic ecosystem—one of Earth’s most important natural resources—may be more resilient than scientists ever expected.

immersive | 02.28.17

The Lungs of the Planet

immersive | 11.28.17

The Lungs of the Planet

A tropical rainforest’s ability to take a deep breath depends in large part on a somewhat surprising factor—the age of its leaves.

infographic | 02.28.17

From Leaf to Landscape

infographic | 09.28.17

From Leaf to Landscape

Armed with a suite of high-tech tools, scientists are measuring the flow of gases into and out of the Amazon rainforest.

video | 02.28.17

Catching the Rainforest's Breath

video | 08.28.17

Catching the Rainforest's Breath

Unreported catches limit our ability to manage fisheries sustainably—but not in the way you might expect.

opinion | 01.31.17

The Catch with Unreported Fish Catches

opinion | 00.31.17

The Catch with Unreported Fish Catches

Agricultural entrepreneurs want to solve the planet’s livestock-feed crisis by farming insect larvae. Will their scheme fly?

article | 01.18.17

Maggot Revolution

article | 18.18.17

Maggot Revolution

Ecuador's Yasuní National Park may be the world's richest rainforest. What will become of it now that oil extraction has begun?

photo essay | 01.10.17

Breaking Precious Ground

photo essay | 16.10.17

Breaking Precious Ground

Gypsy moths have been gaining ground in North America for 150 years. Can a caterpillar-melting virus keep them in check?

video | 12.27.16

Invisible Nature: Invasion of the Caterpillars

video | 40.27.16

Invisible Nature: Invasion of the Caterpillars

It took decades to hammer out a landmark conservation deal to save Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest. Now the real work begins.

article | 12.06.16

How to Save a Rainforest

article | 45.06.16

How to Save a Rainforest

A record-setting dry spell is transforming California’s forests—and in this case, colorful foliage is not a good thing.

video | 11.22.16

The Color of Drought

video | 14.22.16

The Color of Drought

Since 2011, drought and pestilence have killed more than 100 million trees in California. What does that mean for the fate of the world’s largest tree, the giant sequoia?

immersive | 11.22.16

Last Tree Standing

immersive | 11.22.16

Last Tree Standing

As the trees at the heart of America’s western wilderness are dying, ecologists are trying to grow their way out of the problem.

article | 11.15.16

The Seed Savers

article | 17.15.16

The Seed Savers

How the next president responds to the world's environmental challenges will determine the fate of our world for centuries to come.

opinion | 11.08.16

American Leadership for a Sustainable Future

opinion | 41.08.16

American Leadership for a Sustainable Future

Wielding narrative power in global politics when things are dying… or dead

opinion | 11.01.16

An Ecologist’s Guide to Writing Obituaries

opinion | 55.01.16

An Ecologist’s Guide to Writing Obituaries

Peter Kareiva and Michelle Marvier argue that there's more to meaningful ecosystem assessment than a simple species count.

opinion | 10.25.16

The Shortfalls of “Biodiversity”

opinion | 30.25.16

The Shortfalls of “Biodiversity”

Both native and invasive—protected and reviled—western junipers are a living contradiction.

article | 08.09.16

The Tree that Ate the West

article | 13.09.16

The Tree that Ate the West

Now more than ever, we must all quickly learn—and live by—the lessons our living world can teach us.

opinion | 07.19.16

Learning the Lessons of the Planet

opinion | 37.19.16

Learning the Lessons of the Planet

A photographer slips into the ocean to swim among hundreds of sperm whales, and witnesses a rarely seen social spectacle.

photo essay | 07.12.16

A Gathering of Giants

photo essay | 41.12.16

A Gathering of Giants

The fate of the Southeast's longleaf pine forests, and the endangered woodpeckers that depend on them, may rest in the hands of the U.S. military.

article | 06.28.16

The Birds and the Bombs

article | 12.28.16

The Birds and the Bombs

In the harsh, hot soda lakes of East Africa, flamingos thrive, and now scientists are beginning to understand how these birds live where other species die.

photo essay | 06.21.16

March of the Flamingos

photo essay | 28.21.16

March of the Flamingos

Back from the brink, Eurasian beavers are once again an integral part of the river ecosystem in France's Loire Valley.

spotlight | 05.24.16

Mealtime Swim

spotlight | 44.24.16

Mealtime Swim

Jonathan Foley argues that there's never been a more critical time to embrace the lessons that natural history can teach us.

opinion | 05.17.16

Remembering the Stories of Nature

opinion | 24.17.16

Remembering the Stories of Nature

Elizabeth Hadly weighs in on why bats need our help—now more than ever—and why we need bats.

opinion | 04.26.16

Battling Disease

opinion | 38.26.16

Battling Disease

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