Author Archive

Melting Glaciers May Worsen Northwest China’s Water Woes

Yale Environment 360: During four of the last 10 summers, more than half of the 800-mile Tarim River in northwestern China ran dry. Landscape ecologist Niels Thevs has been there conducting fieldwork and has watched water shortages take the heaviest toll on downstream cotton farmers, who irrigate six or seven times during the growing cycle. “One could really feel the struggle for water,” Thevs recalls. “People did everything they could.” But their typical strategy -- drilling wells -- only further depleted the basin’s...

Saving Ancient Walnut Forests In the Valleys of Central Asia

Yale Environment 360: Kyrgyzstan's fertile and densely populated Fergana Valley is home to some of the largest intact stands of walnut trees on Earth. Its so-called walnut-fruit forests -- which contain 300 species of plants and trees, including ancestral strains of apples, plums, and pears -- cover roughly 30,000 hectares, splashing green onto an otherwise dry-and-dusty Central Asian landscape. Driving beside a riverbed on the valley's floor, you might momentarily mistake nearby walnut forests for the olive groves of...