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Ask the Conservationist

Conservancy Scientists Answer Your Questions

What’s the difference between global warming and climate change? Can we reintroduce extinct species? And what causes coral to bleach?

It’s a bewildering world, and we’re here to help. Do you have a question for one of our 600 scientists? Submit it here, and each month, we’ll take the best ones to our Conservancy scientists for them to answer.

In the meantime, see what questions Conservancy scientists have answered thus far.


People and Conservation
October 2013: Does Eating More Vegetables Mean Using More Water?

Fruits and vegetables require tons of water to grow. So what's a water-conscious vegetarian to do?

September 2013: How Can I Work in the Field of Conservation?

Is there a way to get a job in the field of conservation, even if one doesn't have a four-year degree?

May 2013: Can Cell Phones Help Conservation?

Can mobile phones revolutionize how we care for the planet… and improve people’s lives in the process?

January 2013: Can City-Dwellers be Conservationists?

Does living in a city mean you're less connected to the natural world? Our scientist tackles one reader’s complex question.

December 2012: What is the Conservancy's Stance on Hunting?

Does the Conservancy allow hunting on its preserve? And if so, why?

November 2012: What Can Conservation Learn from Religion?

How could religion actually help environmentalists solve some of the huge problems facing our planet? Find out.

February 2012: Coffee, Forests and Poverty--What's the Connection?

In Vietnam's Central Highlands, coffee plantations are a leading cause of deforestation, but also a leading source of income for local people. One resident wants to know, how can his people earn a living and reduce their impact on the environment?

March 2011: Save a Tree, Save How Much CO2?

A reader from Ohio helped save 170 acres of forest from development.But do such efforts to save small forest tracts really have much of an impact? Find out.

February 2011: Can We Right the Water Imbalance?

With extreme floods in the news lately—Pakistan, Australia, Brazil—it's hard to believe that the world has a water scarcity problem. Or that some of these same places also suffer from severe drought. What's going on with water around the globe? Our freshwater scientist explains.

January 2011: Why Does Biodiversity Matter?

Read our scientist's explanation for why it's important to preserve biodiversity. Learn more.

August 2010: Conservation and the Military — Unlikely Friends?

A Facebook friend from Texas wants to know: is the Conservancy involved inside military bases to promote or teach the base managers about its impact on their local environment? Find out.

September 2009: Real Estate Agent – Friend or Foe of Nature?

A reader asks how she can help save important wetlands while helping her real estate clients. Learn more.

June 2009: How to be a Conservationist?

Sanjayan offers his top 10 tips for how to be a conservationist. See them now.

May 2009: Don’t Feed the Cranes

People inadvertently put cranes in harm’s way when they attract these birds with feed. Learn more.

February 2009: Why Not Re-introduce Species?

Many species went extinct after humans came along. Should we restore the balance? Learn more.

Climate Change
November 2010: Retiring to Florida? Don't Forget Climate Change

A reader is planning to retire in Florida, but first wants to know what the climate change impacts could be there. Learn more.

September 2010: Campfires and CO2

A concerned camper from Florida wrote to us with a burning question: how does the CO2 output of campfires compare to letting wood rot? Find out.

May 2010: Are Prescribed Burns Good or Bad for Carbon Storage?

How does our work to restore fire in landscapes impact the carbon stored in these forests? See how.

April 2010: Are Snowstorms a Sign of Global Warming?

Climate models project more precipitation and more intense storms as our climate warms. Learn more.

March 2010: Are the Conservancy’s Headquarters Sustainable?

Go inside the Conservancy's headquarters and see how we're reducing our carbon footprint. Learn more.

February 2010: The Carbon Market of the Future

Can owners of small, wooded plots of land participate in the carbon market of the future? Learn more.

December 2009: How to Measure CO2?

More than 40 states already participate in a "climate registry" that collects emissions data. Learn more.

November 2009: Urban Forests and Climate Change

Can urban forests help sequester carbon and offset emissions? Learn more.

July 2009: How to Help Corals Survive Climate Change?

Ocean acidification is slowly weakening corals and reef structure, and is hard to detect. Learn more.

April 2009: Cap-and-Trade vs. Carbon Tax

Which is better for reducing the impacts of climate change? Learn more.

January 2009: Changing Climate, Changing Habitats

Healthier, more intact habitats are able to better adapt to changes. Learn more.

Oceans and Coasts
April 2013: Is the Great Barrier Reef Disappearing?

Is this iconic coral reef system disappearing? Find out.

October 2012: What Can We Do About the Lionfish Invasion in the Atlantic?

Can we control the exploding population of invasive lionfish in the Atlantic? Find out.

September 2012: Can We Save Coral Reefs?

The outlook for coral reefs is pretty gloomy—can they be saved? Find out.

December  2011: How Is the Gulf of Mexico Doing?

One-and-a-half years after the oil spill, the Gulf isn't making news headlines much anymore, says one reader. But how is the Gulf doing now, and what will its future be? Read more.

May 2011: Can Oyster Reefs Be Built from Scrap Concrete?

More than 85 percent of the world's shellfish have been lost—which is why the Conservancy is rebuilding oyster reefs. One eco-minded reader wants to know: can this work be done from recycled concrete? Read more.

July 2010: Hope for the Gulf

As oil washes on the shores of Louisiana, Alabama and Florida, one can't help but wonder: Is there any hope for the future of our Gulf States? Find out. 

June 2010: Oil vs. Nature

Mike Beck gives us perspective on how the BP oil spill will affect the Gulf of Mexico. Learn more.

Freshwater Conservation
March 2013: Is There Really a Global Freshwater Shortage?

Our freshwater scientists answers how he sees the world's ever-expanding population handling any potential water shortages.

October 2009: Dams – the Good and the Bad

Our conservation scientist in Illinois talks about the good and the bad about dams. Learn more.

Forest Conservation
June 2013: How Does a Forest Become Naturally Overgrown?

Reporters and media use the term "overgrowth" when describing why forest fires are so intense, but isn't there a carrying capacity in nature that would prevent this from occurring?

August 2009: Why Do Nurseries Sell Invasives?

At the national level, we are working to prevent invasive species from being introduced to market. See how.

March 2009: Don’t Invasives Have Rights, Too?

Why do invasive species get such a bad rap? Learn more.

Green Living
August 2012: Can We Stop the Sale of Invasvies?

If you have a green thumb, you may have noticed that some plant nurseries still sell invasive species. Who is responsible for putting a stop to this?

July 2012: Can a Frequent Flier Be Green?

How does airline travel negate other efforts to reduce your impact on the planet? A whole lot!

May 2012: The Search for Eco-Friendly Clothing

One reader wants to make sure his clothing budget goes toward "green" choices. Check out our advice for him!

April  2012: How to Make Your Office Bike-Friendly

You want to bike to work (good for you!) but are a little intimidated by all the gear and preparation—here are some tips to make it easier!

March 2012: Are Garbage Disposals Eco-Friendly?

What's the best way to dispose of your non-compostable food scraps (like chicken bones)—in the trash or garbage disposal?

January  2012: Why Put Solar Panels on Your Home?

One reader points out that installing home solar systems seems a lot less efficient than installing large, industrial ones—so why all the focus on residential solar power?

November 2011: How Green Is Compostable Packaging

Plastic-wrapped veggies, bulk food, compostable containers — the different packaging choices at your local grocery store can be confusing. Our expert weighs in on the greenest option for your groceries.

April 2011: Green Your Furniture

Is furniture made from "parawood" (also known as rubberwood) an environmentally friendly option? Our forest expert in Asia Pacific explains why you might want to steer clear of this supposedly sustainable choice.

December 2010: Green Washing

You want to do your part to protect the environment, and using eco-friendly cleaning products at home is one  way. Or is it? Our readers want to know if so-called "green" cleaning agents actually benefit nature, or if they're just a marketing ploy. Learn more.

January 2010: Creating Backyard Habitat

Planting native shrubbery is an easy way to provide needed resources for wildlife survival. Learn how.

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