News Article | February 15, 2017
Former Deputy Secretary of Legislative Affairs for New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mark Weprin, who has also served as a New York City Council Member and New York State Assembly Member, has joined the New York City and Albany offices of global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP. Weprin will be a Shareholder in the firm’s Government Law & Policy Practice. “It has been a privilege to work with Andrew Cuomo, one of the most successful governors in the history of New York State. At the same time, I am excited to start the next chapter in my career,” Weprin said. “Greenberg Traurig is a nationally and internationally ranked law firm I respect. I look forward to joining a team of credible practitioners in government law and policy and real estate. The firm has an impressive roster that includes attorneys who have served in elected and appointed office, in all branches of government.” At Greenberg Traurig, Weprin will advise clients in legislative and regulatory matters. He will have a particular focus on representing real estate clients, as well as important corporate and not for profit organizations. “We are honored that Mark chose Greenberg Traurig. He has been a highly regarded public servant. He is a first rate lawyer who will thrive at our firm,” Edward C. Wallace, Co-Chairman of the law firm’s New York office, said. Wallace is a former City Council Member-at-Large (Manhattan). “As a one-stop shop for clients with an unparalleled platform and cross-practice collaboration in the real estate, government, environmental, land use, and economic development areas, our clients will benefit from Mark’s experience in a number of ways. In turn, he will be working with lawyers who have experience in all aspects of the City’s largest development projects,” said John L. Mascialino, Chair of the New York City Government Law & Policy Practice. “Mark is well respected in government and the private sector for his ability to create the kind of collaborative solutions that are a hallmark for our firm, making him a perfect fit for Greenberg Traurig,” said Harold N. Iselin, Managing Shareholder of the law firm’s Albany office and Co-Chair of its Government Law & Policy Practice. “Greenberg Traurig has great respect for our clients’ achievements and their positive impact on the City, State, and across the country. We are proud of what we have accomplished as a team, having had the opportunity of representing some of the most iconic New York properties and landmark deals. Mark’s experience is equally impressive and I know that our clients will immediately realize the value of that experience,” said Robert J. Ivanhoe, Chair of the 300+ lawyer Global Real Estate Practice. Prior to joining the Governor’s Office in 2015, Weprin served as a member of the New York City Council District 23 from 2010 to 2015. During this time, he chaired the sub-committee on Zoning and Franchises, overseeing land use and development in New York City. In addition, he held the position of Chair of the Queens Delegation. From 1994 to 2009, Weprin served in the New York State Assembly where he authored 63 laws and served as Chair of the Small Business Committee and Chair of the Jewish Legislative Caucus. He was the lead proponent of the Autism Initiative. Weprin received his J.D. from Brooklyn Law School in 1992; and a B.A. from The State University of New York at Albany in 1983. About Greenberg Traurig’s New York City & Albany Government Law & Policy Practice Greenberg Traurig has one of New York City’s leading real estate, land use, and government relations offices in the City. The Government Law & Policy group, which has been consistently ranked among the Top 5 lobbying practices in New York City by the City Clerk’s Office, represents major U.S. companies, leading not-for-profit institutions, and large real estate companies in important transactions involving New York City. The group's attorneys are part of a national practice named “Law Firm of the Year” in the U.S. News-Best Lawyers 2014 edition of Best Law Firms for Government Relations. The Albany Government Law & Policy Practice was recognized in 2016 by City & State on its “Albany Power 100 List,” which ranks the most influential players in New York State politics, business, and media. That marked the fourth year the team has been listed. Through its Albany Government Law & Policy Practice, Greenberg Traurig is widely recognized as the premier government relations and lobbying law firm in Albany. The Observer recognized Greenberg Traurig as the only law firm on its list of Albany’s Top 40 Power Players. About Greenberg Traurig's Real Estate Practice The Greenberg Traurig Real Estate Practice is a cornerstone of the firm and recognized leader in the industry. The firm’s real estate attorneys deliver diversified and comprehensive legal solutions for property acquisition and investment, development, management and leasing, financing, restructuring, and disposition of all asset classes of real estate. The team draws upon the knowledge and experience of nearly 300 real estate lawyers from around the world, serving clients from key markets in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. The group’s clientele includes a broad range of property developers, lenders, investment managers, private equity funds, REITs, and private owners. About Greenberg Traurig Greenberg Traurig, LLP (GTLaw) has more than 2,000 attorneys in 38 offices in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East and is celebrating its 50th anniversary. A single entity worldwide, GTLaw has been recognized for its philanthropic giving, was named the second largest firm in the U.S. by Law360 in 2016, and among the Top 20 on the 2016 Am Law Global 100. Web: http://www.gtlaw.com Twitter: @GT_Law.
News Article | February 16, 2017
BINGHAMTON, NY - The ability of small intestine cells to absorb nutrients and act as a barrier to pathogens is "significantly decreased" after chronic exposure to nanoparticles of titanium dioxide, a common food additive found in everything from chewing gum to bread, according to research from Binghamton University, State University of New York. Researchers exposed a small intestinal cell culture model to the physiological equivalent of a meal's worth of titanium oxide nanoparticles--30 nanometers across--over four hours (acute exposure), or three meal's worth over five days (chronic exposure). Acute exposures did not have much effect, but chronic exposure diminished the absorptive projections on the surface of intestinal cells called microvilli. With fewer microvilli, the intestinal barrier was weakened, metabolism slowed and some nutrients--iron, zinc, and fatty acids, specifically--were more difficult to absorb. Enzyme functions were negatively affected, while inflammation signals increased. "Titanium oxide is a common food additive and people have been eating a lot of it for a long time--don't worry, it won't kill you!--but we were interested in some of the subtle effects, and we think people should know about them," said Biomedical Engineering Assistant Professor Gretchen Mahler, one of the authors of the paper. "There has been previous work on how titanium oxide nanoparticles affects microvilli, but we are looking at much lower concentrations," Mahler said. "We also extended previous work to show that these nanoparticles alter intestinal function." Titanium dioxide is generally recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and ingestion is nearly unavoidable. The compound is an inert and insoluble material that is commonly used for white pigmentation in paints, paper and plastics. It is also an active ingredient in mineral-based sunscreens for pigmentation to block ultraviolet light. However, it can enter the digestive system through toothpastes, as titanium dioxide is used to create abrasion needed for cleaning. The oxide is also used in some chocolate to give it a smooth texture; in donuts to provide color; and in skimmed milks for a brighter, more opaque appearance which makes the milk more palatable. A 2012 Arizona State University study tested 89 common food products including gum, Twinkies, and mayonnaise and found that they all contained titanium dioxide. About five percent of products in that study contained titanium dioxide as nanoparticles. Dunkin Donuts stopped using powdered sugar with titanium dioxide nanoparticles in 2015 in response to pressure from the advocacy group As You Sow. "To avoid foods rich in titanium oxide nanoparticles you should avoid processed foods, and especially candy. That is where you see a lot of nanoparticles," Mahler said. The paper, "Titanium dioxide nanoparticle ingestion alters nutrient absorption in an in vitro model of the small intestine," was published in NanoImpact. Biomedical Engineering Teaching Assistant and current graduate student Zhongyuan Guo was the lead author of the study, while Nicole J. Martucci '16, current Binghamton graduate student Fabiola Moreno-Olivas, and Elad Tako from the Plant, Soil and Nutrition Laboratory for Agricultural Research Services within the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Ithaca, N.Y. were all co-authors. The research was supported by grants from the Binghamton University Research Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and the CONACYT Fellowship.
News Article | March 3, 2017
WESTWOOD, NJ, March 03, 2017-- Dr. Phyllis G. Supino has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.Recognized for more than four decades of invaluable contributions to her field, Dr. Supino parlays her knowledge into her role as professor of medicine and public health and director of clinical epidemiology and clinical research for the division of cardiovascular medicine at the State University of New York Downstate College of Medicine, where she has worked since 2008. Prior to entering the field, she earned a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences from the City College of New York. Dr. Supino became an instructor of psychology and research associate in cognitive psychology at Princeton University in 1975, and the following year, she earned an Ed.D. in science education from Rutgers University, and was the recipient of the Phi Delta Kappa Award for Excellence in Dissertation Research. Upon graduating, she started with The Educational Improvement Center through the New Jersey Department of Education, where she worked as director of research and evaluation for two years. Subsequently, she took on a variety of other roles in higher institutions, including Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Cornell University Medical College, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where she served as the director of research in emergency medicine, and Weill Cornell Medical College, where she worked before obtaining her current role. Over the years, her primary research focus has been cardiovascular medicine.In order to remain abreast of changes in the field, Dr. Supino affiliates herself with the New York Academy of Medicine, where she is a fellow, as well as the International Academy of Cardiology, where she serves as a member of its scientific advisory board, the American Statistical Association, and the American Heart Association. Throughout her career, she has parlayed her extensive knowledge to articles in professional journals and to her textbook, "Principles of Research Methodology: Guide for Clinical Investigators," which helps medical professionals to understand the scientific process. Dr. Supino is also credited with developing the first comprehensive approved course on clinical research methodology for physicians at Weill Medical College, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and the State University of New York Downstate College of Medicine, and is proud to have served as a research mentor to more than 100 medical students, residents, fellows, and junior faculty and as a member of the editorial board and reviewer for a number of medical journals. Further, she was honored with her appointment as chair of the Institutional Review Board at SUNY Downstate, as well as with The Howard Gilman Award for Excellence in Research and Teaching in Cardiovascular Diseases, the Best Mentor of the Year Award from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Emergency Department, and the Best National Science Abstract Award, which was given to her by the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology and International Affiliates. As a testament to her success, Dr. Supino was featured in Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who in the World, and Who's Who in the East.About Marquis Who's Who :Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America , Marquis Who's Who has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who's Who in America remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who website at www.marquiswhoswho.com
News Article | February 16, 2017
BUFFALO, NY, February 16, 2017-- Buffalo, NY, February 16, 2017 Dr. Donald Shedd has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.A diplomate of the American Board of Surgery, Dr. Shedd was an instrumental member of the medical community for more than four decades. Now retired, he celebrates a distinguished career in higher education and surgery. He came to prominence following his medical education at Yale University, where he achieved a Bachelor of Science in 1944 and an MD in 1946. He came to prominence as an intern at Yale New Haven Hospital, assistant resident and then resident at Yale New Haven Hospital, and then instructor of surgery at Yale University Medical School. During his first tenure teaching, Dr. Shedd learned that this was the area that he would make his impact in his career. He remained in assistant and associate professor roles within the university until 1967, when he took an opportunity in Buffalo, NY, that would enable him to teach and work in the hospital concurrently. Dr. Shedd is highly regarded for his three decades of excellence as the chief of the department of head and neck surgery at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and as a research professor at the State University of New York College at Buffalo.Dr. Shedd was a founding member of the board of directors for Hospice Buffalo, Inc., which provides end- of- life care, support and spiritual guidance services for patients and their families during any long-term or life-limiting illness. His impact can also be demonstrated through the written works that Dr. Shedd has published in his tenure. He authored "Historical Landmarks in Head and Neck Cancer Surgery," contributed numerous articles to professional journals and co-edited "Surgical and Prosthetic Speech Rehabilitation," "The Early History of Hospice Buffalo," and "Head and Neck Cancer." To remain at the top of his field, Dr. Shed is a member of the American Head and Neck Society, the Society of University Surgeons, the Society of Surgical Oncology, the New England Surgical Society and the Society of Head and Neck Surgeons, where he served as president from 1976 to 1977. In recognition of his excellence in his career, Dr. Shedd was listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare, Who's Who in Science and Engineering and Who's Who in the East. Looking to the future, Dr. Shedd will continue to enjoy retirement while taking on select advisory opportunities in the medical field.About Marquis Who's Who :Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America , Marquis Who's Who has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who's Who in America remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis now publishes many Who's Who titles, including Who's Who in America , Who's Who in the World , Who's Who in American Law , Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare , Who's Who in Science and Engineering , and Who's Who in Asia . Marquis publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who website at www.marquiswhoswho.com
News Article | February 22, 2017
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc. (KBW), a full-service, boutique investment bank and broker-dealer that specializes in the financial services sector, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Stifel Financial Corp. (NYSE:SF), today announced that Brian Wornow has joined the firm as Managing Director in the Financial Services Investment Banking Group. He is based in the firm’s New York office. Mr. Wornow brings more than 20 years of experience to KBW and is responsible for expanding the group’s work across the mortgage finance and real estate services sectors, advising clients on mergers & acquisitions, divestitures, public and private equity and debt offerings. In this role, he will work alongside more than 20 professionals in KBW’s Financial Services Group as well as more than 100 experts in the firm’s overall investment banking group. “KBW continues to expand our Financial Services Investment Banking division by investing in quality talent with deep industry relationships and we are thrilled to have someone with Brian’s experience and accomplishments join our team,” said Peter J. Wirth, Head of Investment Banking at KBW. “Brian’s extensive background adds even greater depth to our team of mortgage and real estate services experts. He is a proven deal professional and his intimate operational knowledge of the mortgage and real estate sectors will make him a valuable asset to our clients as they navigate the myriad opportunities and risks in today’s market,” added Keith Meyers, Head of Financial Services Investment Banking. Mr. Wornow most recently he served as Senior Managing Director at Clayton Holdings. Prior to that, he acted as Managing Director and Co-Head of Morgan Stanley’s residential mortgage whole loan trading business. Brian has also held executive and managerial roles at UBS Securities, LLC, Mortgage IT, LLC (a wholly owned subsidiary of Deutsche Bank Securities), and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. He graduated with honors from the State University of New York at Binghamton and received his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. KBW LLC, a Stifel company, operates in the U.S. and Europe through its broker dealer subsidiaries, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc. and Stifel Nicolaus Europe Limited (“SNEL”), also trading as Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Europe (“KBW Europe”). Over the years, KBW has established itself as a leading independent authority in the banking, insurance, brokerage, asset management, mortgage banking and specialty finance sectors. Founded in 1962, the firm maintains industry-leading positions in the areas of research, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions as well as sales and trading in equities securities of financial services companies. Stifel Financial Corp. (NYSE:SF) is a financial services holding company headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, that conducts its banking, securities, and financial services business through several wholly owned subsidiaries. Stifel’s broker-dealer clients are served in the United States through Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated; Keefe Bruyette & Woods, Inc.; Miller Buckfire & Co., LLC; Century Securities Associates, Inc.; and Eaton Partners, LLC, and in the United Kingdom and Europe through Stifel Nicolaus Europe Limited. The Company’s broker-dealer affiliates provide securities brokerage, investment banking, trading, investment advisory, and related financial services to individual investors, professional money managers, businesses, and municipalities. Stifel Bank & Trust offers a full range of consumer and commercial lending solutions. Stifel Trust Company, N.A. and Stifel Trust Company Delaware, N.A. offer trust and related services. To learn more about Stifel, please visit the Company’s web site at www.stifel.com.
News Article | February 22, 2017
Forest losses were higher in the west, and collectively were the size of the state of Maine During the 1990s, in the continental US key connecting forest patches have been lost resulting in an increase of the average forest distance by more than 500m, according to a study published February 22, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Sheng Yang and Giorgos Mountrakis from State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, USA. Changes in national forest patterns other than fragmentation have been little studied. However, forest attrition -- the complete removal of forest patches -- can cause habitat losses as well as severe declines in the population sizes and richness of species. Based on an analysis of satellite-derived land cover data, Yang and Mountrakis studied geographic patterns of forest cover loss in the continental US during the 1990s. The researchers found that the total loss of forest cover nationwide was 90,400 square kilometers during this decade, a 2.96% decline that is about the size of the state of Maine. In addition, forest attrition was considerably higher in the western US, rural areas and public lands. Investigating the reasons for these patterns, said the researchers, is essential for proactive conservation management. This work could be extended to forests worldwide using recent maps of global forest cover. In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS ONE: http://dx. Citation: Yang S, Mountrakis G (2017) Forest dynamics in the U.S. indicate disproportionate attrition in western forests, rural areas and public lands. PLoS ONE 12(2): e0171383. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0171383 Funding: This work was supported by the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council, U.S. Forest Service and a SUNY ESF Graduate Assistantship. We would like to thank Dr. Colin Beier and Dr. David Nowak for their insights and Dr. Steve Stehman for statistical support. Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
News Article | February 24, 2017
WESTBOROUGH, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Virtusa Corporation (NASDAQ GS: VRTU), a global business consulting and IT outsourcing company that combines innovation, technology leadership and industry solutions to enhance business performance, accelerate time-to-market, increase productivity and improve customer experience, today announced that Joseph G. Doody has joined its Board of Directors as an independent director, effective February 22, 2017. Kris Canekeratne, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Virtusa, stated, “On behalf of the Virtusa Board of Directors, I am very pleased to welcome Joe Doody to our Board. Joe brings a wealth of operational and management experience to Virtusa. We believe his strong track record of driving growth at a large multinational corporation will be a great asset to Virtusa as we execute on our growth strategy.” Joseph Doody has over 40 years of professional experience most recently serving as Vice Chairman of Staples, Inc. where he leads Staples’ strategic reinvention and has responsibility for strategic planning, business development, and the company’s operations in Australia, New Zealand and high-growth markets. Previously, Mr. Doody was President of North American Commercial for Staples, President of Staples Contract & Commercial, and President of North American Delivery. Before joining Staples in 1998, Mr. Doody served as President of Danka Office Imaging in North America and held various managerial positions with Eastman Kodak Company. Mr. Doody currently serves on the Board of Directors of Casella Waste Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CWST), an integrated regional solid waste services company and Paychex, Inc. (NASDAQ:PAYX), a leading provider of solutions for payroll, HR, retirement, and insurance services and is the Chairman at Staples China. Mr. Doody holds a B.S. in Economics from State University of New York at Brockport and an M.B.A. from the Simon School of Business, University of Rochester. Virtusa provides end-to-end information technology (IT) services to Global 2000 companies. These services, which include IT consulting, application maintenance, development, systems integration and managed services, leverage a unique Platforming methodology that transforms clients’ businesses through IT rationalization. Virtusa helps customers accelerate business outcomes by consolidating, rationalizing, and modernizing their core customer-facing processes into one or more core systems. Virtusa delivers cost-effective solutions through a global delivery model, applying advanced methods such as Agile and Accelerated Solution Design to ensure that its solutions meet the clients’ requirements. As a result, its clients simultaneously reduce their IT operations cost while increasing their ability to meet changing business needs. On March 3, 2016, Virtusa, through its India subsidiary, acquired an aggregate of approximately 51.7% of the fully diluted outstanding shares of Polaris Consulting & Services, Ltd., from founding shareholders, promoters, and certain other minority stockholders. In April 2016, Virtusa purchased an additional 26% of the fully diluted outstanding shares of Polaris from the company’s public shareholders in a mandatory open offer. In December 2016, to comply with applicable India rules on takeovers, Virtusa sold 3.71% of its shares of Polaris common stock through a public offering, and its ownership interest decreased from 78.6% to 74.9% of Polaris’ basic shares of common stock outstanding. Polaris is a majority owned subsidiary of Virtusa. Founded in 1996 and headquartered in Massachusetts, Virtusa has operations in North America, Europe, and Asia. Virtusa, Accelerating Business Outcomes, BPM Test Drive and Productization are registered trademarks of Virtusa Corporation. All other company and brand names may be trademarks or service marks of their respective holders.
News Article | February 15, 2017
Global Lyme Alliance (GLA), the leading private nonprofit dedicated to conquering Lyme disease through research and education, announced today that it is awarding a record total of approximately $2 million in grants to top researchers at leading academic and medical research institutions across the U.S. These recipients of GLA’s 2016-2017 grant cycle are working on a wide array of projects to develop a greater understanding of the disease, improve diagnostics, treatment and prevention. “For years our organization has led the Lyme community in identifying and backing innovative research, so we’re especially proud and excited that we’ve doubled our research funding since last year,” said Scott Santarella, GLA’s CEO. “The more funds we raise, the faster we can solve the mystery of Lyme disease and bring about change for millions who suffer from tick-borne illnesses.” “GLA prides itself for providing the vision to drive the research agenda, initiating the teaming of top researchers to collaborate on projects and evaluating research proposals received globally. We continue to provide the leadership in scientific research that others follow and build upon,” said GLA Chairman and Scientific Advisory Board member Robert Kobre. In announcing the new grants, Santarella noted that GLA had received the most grant applications in its history—$4.3 million in funding requests. “While we were pleased to receive so many quality grant applications this year, such a profusion underscores the fact that there are far more talented scientists eager to focus on Lyme disease than there is funding to support them,” Santarella said. He noted, for example, that $25 million is allocated by the National Institutes of Health annually for Lyme research, which infects more than 330,000 in the U.S. each year, compared with $42 million for the mosquito-transmitted West Nile virus, which affected about 2,000 in the U.S. last year. “Federal funding for Lyme research is miniscule, yet the Lyme threat keeps growing,” he said. “This speaks to GLA’s importance in working with private donors to fill the void and drive advancements in the field.” GLA’s 2016-2017 grants were awarded to researchers at the following institutions: Columbia University; Cornell University; Institute for Systems Biology; Johns Hopkins University; Northeastern University; State University of New York-Stony Brook; Tulane National Primate Research Center; University of California-Davis; University of California-San Francisco; University of Illinois-Chicago; University of North Dakota; University of Pennsylvania, and University of Texas-San Antonio. “As the number of Lyme and tick-borne disease cases continues to grow, there is a tremendous impetus to keep the science moving forward,” said Mayla Hsu, GLA’s Director of Research and Science. “GLA is proud to support the important research being conducted by some of the best and brightest men and women in the field today.” GLA’s research portfolio includes a broad range of projects such as persistence of infection after antibiotic treatment and the development of new diagnostics. Studies focus on microbial physiology; genetic work to determine how the bacteria that causes Lyme survives in a host; efficacy of different modes of antibiotic therapy, and why some people continue to have symptoms despite the seeming absence of bacteria. Researchers were selected following a rigorous evaluation process using guidelines established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Each proposal was evaluated by Grant Review Committee members of GLA’s Scientific Advisory Board and met the same scientific standards that NIH applies to its own grant review process. The resulting 2016-2017 grant awards represent projects judged to have exceptional prospects of delivering measurable advances. Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the U.S. There are no accurate diagnostic tests for the disease, no tests to prove that Lyme bacteria are eradicated or that an individual is cured. Some 20 percent of individuals with Lyme end up with long-term health problems. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ABOUT GLOBAL LYME ALLIANCE Global Lyme Alliance is a leading private nonprofit dedicated to conquering Lyme and other tick-borne diseases through research and education. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit is headquartered in Greenwich, CT. For more information go to GLA.org.
News Article | March 2, 2017
Satellite maps are the latest innovation in detecting deforestation in the United States. Led by Giorgios Mountrakis, who is an associate professor at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, the research on deforestation-tracking was backed by graduate student Sheng Yang for developing the forest tracking spatial tools. The newly developed satellite mapping method "goes beyond forest quantity" and offers guidance toward conservation strategies as well, noted Mountrakis. The study has been published in PLoS ONE. North America has a history of dense forests. However, decades of agrarian activities, urban development, and other human actions deprived much of once-lush forest cover. The newly developed method works around two variables: Observed Forest Cover Change and the Observed Attrition Forest Distance Change. The latter can detect the nearest forest from a given point. It functions by contrasting the 1992 forest data versus 2001 mapped with the help of satellites. The authors showed that in the nine years between the two given time frames, the nearest forest in the United States became far off by a third of a mile. The "forest attrition distance" is an index that reflects the loss of isolated forest patches, which the authors attributed to distancing from forests caused by the loss of forest patches. As the distance between forests increases, it takes a toll on biodiversity and adds to soil erosion, local climate, and other conditions. Using the metrics, they ascertained the loss of total forest cover from 1992 to 2001 to be 3 percent which translates to 35,000 square miles. In the corresponding period, forest attrition distance increased 14 percent, which according to Mountrakis is "striking." The difference in the two metrics is that forest attrition encompasses geographic distribution of forests. Despite similar percentage of loss of forests, forest attrition distances may not be the same for two forests and the ecological outcomes will also differ based on the pattern of tree removal. High forest attrition means tree loss occurring in big swaths of trees and low attrition distance implies tree loss restricted to a few patches. The authors noted that forest attrition has been acute in the western United States and said they are tracking the minute trends. The study is impressive with the focus on geographic patterns in the context of fragmentation. Use of spatial processes for studying forest attrition, removal of forest patches leading to habitat loss and richness of species is significant. The spatial indicator has the potential for universal use as an independent scale with a global potential. The proximity indicator is useful for evaluating forest attrition across regions and in mapping urban stratifications. Meanwhile, reports are coming that renewed deforestation has hit Amazon forests after a lull under the "Save the Rainforest" movement. In the Amazon basin, big deforestation activity is being led by the appetite for agricultural crops like soy and is defeating efforts to preserve biodiversity and fight climate change. Washington-based organization Mighty Earth revealed a satellite data that showed Brazil's deforestation in areas where U.S. food companies Cargill and Bunge are active as agricultural traders. The data said the savanna areas in Cerrado region had lost more than 321,000 acres in deforestation between 2011 and 2015. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
News Article | February 22, 2017
Over several decades in the past century, city populations swelled as Americans moved away from rural forests. Now the forests are moving farther away from Americans. A new study of satellite images taken over 10 years starting in 1990 shows the rural forest canopy disappearing. Forest space disappeared from the United States in such big chunks that the average distance from any point in the nation to a forest increased by 14 percent, about a third of a mile. While that’s no big deal to a human driving a car with a pine-scented tree dangling from the rearview mirror, it is to a bird hoping to rest or find food on epic seasonal flights across the globe, according to the study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One. But forests aren’t just for the birds. They improve the quality of life for fauna and flora, from bears to flowers. Altering forests can change the dynamics of ecosystems and can potentially “affect water chemistry, soil erosion, carbon sequestration patterns, local climate, biodiversity distribution and human quality of life,” a statement announcing the report said. [The new California gold rush: Loggers see money sprouting from millions of dead trees] Using forest maps over the continental United States, researchers Sheng Yang and Giorgos Mountrakis of the State University of New York at Syracuse marked tree canopy that disappeared over a decade in red to highlight the change. In one illustration included in the study, the page appeared to bleed. “So if you are in the western U.S. or you are in a rural area or you are in land owned by a public entity, it could be federal, state or local, your distance to the forest is increasing much faster than the other areas,” Mountrakis said. “The forests are getting further away from you.” One of the findings of the study is a twist that Yang, a graduate student, and Mountrakis, an assistant professor at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, didn’t anticipate. The disappearance isn’t happening in cities, where people often complain about the uprooting of trees for development. It’s happening in rural America, where trees are falling and hardly anyone hears. That finding turns conventional wisdom about forest loss on its head, Mountrakis said. “The public perceives the urbanized and private lands as more vulnerable, but that’s not what our study showed,” he said. “Rural areas are at a higher risk of losing these forested patches.” “Typically we concentrate more on urban forest,” said Sheng, “but we may need to start paying more attention — let’s say for biodiversity reasons — in rural rather than urban areas. Because the urban forests tend to receive much more attention, they are better protected.” While people in the sticks are losing their forests, the relationship between urban dwellers and trees is a love story. Dating back to when President Thomas Jefferson denounced the removal of trees that cooled the new capital city as “a crime little short of murder,” Jill Jonnes wrote in her book, “Urban Forests,” city slickers have fought to defend the little green space they get. Rock Creek Park in the District of Columbia, Central Park in New York, Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Griffith Park in Los Angeles, and Golden Gate Park in San Francisco are examples of urban forests that are fussed over, pampered and protected by law. They are also cherished gathering places that help define their cities. The remote areas that Americans have come to know as wild lands are being whittled away by farms, development and wildfire, particularly in the West, Mountrakis said. Arizona, Colorado and Nevada saw significant attrition or separation of forests, according to the satellite images. [California’s drive to save water is killing trees, hurting utilities and raising taxes] In California and Colorado, trees stressed by drought are being eaten to death by beetles, standing dead on mountainsides by the hundreds of millions, virtual ghost forests. Ecologists argue whether fires that might consume them are a good or bad thing, in that it would kill the beetles yet threaten homes too close to the forest edge. Human development is another grim agent of tree canopy loss. The researchers said they hope public land managers, such as the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, along with officials at the state level, will pay attention to their research. They hope to follow up the study with research into the drivers behind the loss of forests. But the pictures don’t lie, he said. There’s no doubt that huge clumps of trees are disappearing. “You can think of the forests as little islands that the birds are hopping from one to the next,” Mountrakis said. The loss of forests has side effects. It alters the local climate, decreases biodiversity and leads to soil erosion. “This is the major driver — we can link the loss of the isolated patches to all these environmental degradations,” he said. The study tracked the loss of forest by calculating the distance to the nearest forest from all points on an area map, Mountrakis said. They noticed that some chunks of tree space disappeared within a forest, but that has less of an environmental impact as forests that wither on the edge, slowly transforming them into islands. Researchers worry about migrant bird starvation and links to climate change The Endangered Species Act could itself end up on the threatened list An eagle ‘hot spot’ in Virginia could soon be replaced by a golf course